Ntomba Imports

I have not posted to the Basenji Forums for sometime, and regret we just do not have the time to be involved with all the various social media venues.

Laurie and I truly want to thank the basenji fancy and BCOA membership for their support, choosing to approve our petition for registration. We are thrilled that you gave us the opportunity to work with the Ntomba dogs, Mosika and Lokoso. Without AKC registration, we would not pursue an import breeding program. The effort involved to determine if these dogs will breed true to the basenji standard is too great of an endeavor to undertake on the speculation of AKC registration at a later date. Often I wish the basenji breed had a program modeled after the Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis; however such a private domestic registration is a huge endeavor for the limited number of dogs being imported from Africa. Given the shear cost to bring dogs out of the Congo, this not likely to change.

The Basenji Native Stock Petition process works quite well. The process of obtaining professional evaluations put the dogs physically the hands highly qualified individuals. Mosika and Lokoso were evaluated separately by using different evaluators. A special thanks to our evaluators.

Mosika evaluators
Judy Lange, Amun Basenjis, 1978 (Longtime Breeder)
Lesely Hiltz, Beagles since 1967, Licensed AKC Judge, Hounds, Toys,
Herding, Non-Sporting, Best in Show
2000 BCOA National Specialty Judge (Basenji Judge)
Kathy Britton, Khani's Basenjis, 1967, Licensed Basenji Judge, 2006, (Breeder / Basenji Judge)

Lokoso evaluators
Rita Webb, NO KA OI'S Basenjis, 1979 (Longtime Breeder)
Dale Simmons, Whippets since 1963 , Licensed AKC Judge, Sporting, Hounds, Herding,
Best in Show (Basenji Judge)
Marianne Klinkowski, Naharin basenjis, 1968, Licensed Basenji Judge, 1997,
2007 BCOA National Specialty Judge
BCOA Judges Education Chair (Breeder / Basenji Judge)

The evaluators have a pivotal role; they are the hands and eyes of the BCOA membership. Though we submit photos, as most know, not all photos do a dog justice and they also can be misleading. Often I find Mosika free stacked in the yard, gazed upon a squirrel and wish I had my camera in hand. The reality is, no camera can capture what truly defines a basenji, and you have to experience it first hand.

The only change I would recommend to the petition process is to give applicants the ability to provide a brief biography of the evaluators, possible at the top of the evaluation forms. BCOA Members do not necessary know the qualifications of evaluators the petitioners have selected.

Mosika and Lokoso petition was not without opposition. Comments flowed across the social media network. Many comments were speculations that the region which we acquired these dogs was not sufficiently isolated to rule out possible influences from outside introduced dogs. Some comments were factually erroneous, and a few comments were malicious exaggerations.

For the most part, I view the criticism positively, and would hope those so passionately opposed to these dogs will expend the same passion to the preservation of the breed's foundation.

Laurie and I were not involved with the breed when the Liberian dogs were introduce, though we know individuals who still do not consider dominate black color a true trait of the basenji. We were involved in the breed when Jon and Margaret Summer brought their Esenjo youngsters to the Seattle Kennel Club show in 1984, and the 1987-88 imports which resulted in the opening of the stud book and a change in the standard to accept brindle. All these events were controversial. We heard much of the same criticism with our petition. We expected no difference with the Ntomba Imports. I often wonder what Mrs. Burns thought of Veronica Tutor Williams imports from the Sudan, given the 1000 or more miles distance north across the Congo Basin from the source of Mrs. Burns imports.

Differential objective opinions are critical to the best interest of the breed. These options provide for diversity within the breed and establish unique lineages. However, I do expect breeders to be respectful of others options. The whole premises of organized competitive events such as conformation shows, field trials, are to provide a venue which breeders can present the results of their opinions in a sportsmanship like manor. Too often I see a lack of respect and sportsmanship, and it seriously harms the breed, not only from a social point of view, it extends to the very foundations of the breed.

There have been a few comments wondering if we will be doing a test breeding between Lokoso and Mosika. We are 95% sure these two dogs are litter-mates, and it is highly probable that the parents are also inbred. I have my doubt that a test breeding between Lokoso and Mosika will reveal anything more than what is already apparent. I suspect it will actually take 3 to 4 generations of careful breeding to prove out these dogs.

If the Ntomba?s fail to breed true, they are destine to be nothing more than a footnote, having no lasting impact on the breed.

Even if these dogs breed true, it unlikely they will make any significant contribution to the breed, unless they can produce traits the fancy desires. In late 80's, early 90's, fanconi and the desire for the brindled coat drove the contribution of the 1987-88 imports. These conditions do not exist today. Today's drive is focused on increasing the number of distinct individuals to form a broader foundation of the breed. It's a highly debated topic with breeders, and challenges to effectively add foundation stock are enormous.

Esenjo is a good example of the acceptance process. Jon and Margaret Summer did extensive breeding over several generations to determine if their Esenjo progeny would breed true. However, the dogs never gained popularity, and only a few Esenjo descendants remain in the hands of few breeders. The linage is on brink of being extinguished. This has occurred with several imports.

And, should Ntomba's produce desired traits, it is our belief the benefits to the breed can be substantial.

The basenji breed is fortunate not to have widespread popularity. Though the basenji breed have been plagued with some puppy mill and pet shop production, these lines have been self extinguishing over time, likewise with hoarders and the ?Backyard? breeders. Preservation of the breed is driven by the fancy and conformation breeders. This is not the case in many of the highly popular breeds. Conformation breeding is a blessing and a curse for the basenji. It provides for dedicated breeding by those truly are concern with outcome. However, much attrition has occurred as we selectively bred for desired traits and focus on reducing or eliminating health issues. Breeders really need to consider utilizing ancestry tables and additive relationship in their breeding programs to avoid this attrition.

Personally, I'm puzzled by the rationality of voting against any dog that has made it through the documentation and evaluation aspects of the current petition process. Importing these dogs is a huge endeavor. No breeder working with imported dogs wants their efforts viewed as detrimental to the breed. Essentially, these import breeding programs are "guinea pigs" and the reality is it takes 3 or more generations of breeding to prove out these dogs. One can expect 10 to 20 years of effort to establish even a measure of acceptance. And the chance of failure is always possible.

Breeders have a choice whether they use these dogs in their breeding program. If dog fail to produce desired traits, or produce undesired traits or health issues, they will not gain acceptance. That is the harsh nature of conformation breeding. Even a moderate measure of acceptance is doomed to nothing more than a fleeting moment in the modern basenji history.

To truly become foundation stock, the dogs must have wide spread acceptance, and it does not come easily.

We watched on the sidelines as many did, while others proved out the early Avongara. It was 10 years and the evaluation of many breedings before Laurie and I choose to incorporate these dogs. Even now, we still maintain two lines in our kennel, one without Avongara influence, and a line which is influenced by these import. Ntomba will represent a third.

Sincerely, Bryan and Laurie Gregory, Jumoke Basenjis

Thank you for this post Bryan. There is no BCOA requirement of test breeding is there?

A very interesting thread, Bryan. When brindles were introduced into this country there was much adverse opinion and witch hunting - there were so many accusations made about the dogs and also made without proof. It took three years to get the colour accepted and still there are very few breeders who've taken the opportunity to continue to breed them. It seems that the same thing happens in the US - after all as breeders we do have choice. Saying that when Fula was brought in here there were breeders that didn't want to us any Fula progeny. Unfortunately after some years there were no lines without Fula and short of inbreeding (which many are afraid of I know) there was nowhere to go and now all UK lines have Fula in them.

Thank you for the detailed information.

In a word, WOW.

And refreshing.

Thank you for taking the time to write and post; you and Laurie are the sort of breeders we need more of - even if it took you a couple of years to jump into the Native fray.

Thank you for a very interesting and informative post. It answered a few questions for me. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you, Bryan and Laurie. Excellent post, and excellent effort ๐Ÿ™‚

I know these folks and they are the quality breeders with the best ethics. I am so lucky to have them as friends.

@Jumoke:

There have been a few comments wondering if we will be doing a test breeding between Lokoso and Mosika. We are 95% sure these two dogs are litter-mates, and it is highly probable that the parents are also inbred. I have my doubt that a test breeding between Lokoso and Mosika will reveal anything more than what is already apparent. I suspect it will actually take 3 to 4 generations of careful breeding to prove out these dogs.

If the Ntomba?s fail to breed true, they are destine to be nothing more than a footnote, having no lasting impact on the breed.

Brian,
Since Lokoso and Mosika could be littermates per your statements, why could you not do a test breeding using Mobengi or Lokalanga? Would not not be a option?

Personally, I'm puzzled by the rationality of voting against any dog that has made it through the documentation and evaluation aspects of the current petition process.

Thank you for such a well thought out post. I remember we actually discussed these dogs a bit ago here and went to look:
http://www.basenjiforums.com/showthread.php?t=11465

I am confused about the above comment though. The purpose, surely, of allowing voting is to help avoid political factions from blocking dogs and to enable members to be a part of something that impacts their breed.

No matter what expense you go through to get a dog here, or prelim passing, ultimately, if I were voting and your dog seemed to have qualities I felt were detrimental to the breed or I felt issues such as adequate health testing wasn't done (even if BCOA foolishly allows dogs to be added without themโ€“ jmho), I'd have voted no.

Your dogs, all the health testing, lovely looks-- you did it right and the dogs certainly, to my untrained eye, have nothing to make me vote no. But having seen pictures of some other imports, um... yeah I'd be voting no on some of those no matter who else thought they were okay.

I also am confused, or actually disagree, on another point. Yes, it may take "3 to 4 generations of careful breeding to prove out these dogs." The reality is, if these dogs produce poorly even in the 1st and 2nd generation, the likelihood of others using them is small as I would consider 3 and 4 generations out to be more what they were bred to than the originals.

I really wish we had been able to bring in 30 or 40 dogs-- enough to make a real impact. I can't imagine the expense or even feasibility of that though-- just pondering.

You will have to be patient with me. I'm not the best writer, and I always create drafts before I post on weighty subjects. Even then, I still make mistakes. I'm more than happy to share my views and address those questions regarding test breedings, health testing of the imports, and the petition process. I'll see if I can get something written during the weekend.

LOL, create drafts? THINK before posting? What a novel idea. Wish I had thought of that. Oh wait, I don'tโ€“- others wish I had. ๐Ÿ™‚ Will look forward to your post ๐Ÿ™‚

Bryan, on the other thread re Genes, they posted all the health testing of all the dog brought over and submitted. The dog you all brought back had everything tested that "should" be done before breeding. None of the other group had thatโ€ฆ didn't surprise me at all that your group had all the "ducks" in a row.

@DebraDownSouth:

Thank you for such a well thought out post. I remember we actually discussed these dogs a bit ago here and went to look:

http://www.basenjiforums.com/showthread.php?t=11465

No matter what expense you go through to get a dog here, or prelim passing, ultimately, if I were voting and your dog seemed to have qualities I felt were detrimental to the breed or I felt issues such as adequate health testing wasn't done (even if BCOA foolishly allows dogs to be added without themโ€“ jmho), I'd have voted no.

Foolish not to have every test done before stud book submission? I don't know. Non-ideal, yes. I'd like for all health testing to be done before submission personally but it's not a deal breaker for me to make a decision whether a dog should be entered into the stud book. Practically, both the risks for possible introduction of known health issues as well as the risk of introducing "detrimental qualities" into the current gene pool can be easily managed. Like Bryan said, breeders just won't breed to those dogs if whatever they are concerned about (particular health issues or concerns around their "purity"/geographic origin) exists in those dogs. And you can complete all of the other health tests after they are in the stud book too. And we know a one-time thyroid test at 1 yr is not a 100% predictive that the puppies they may later produce won't have thyroid issues. Same with other tests, knowing the results helps you make better breeding plan decisions and minimize risk that you'll produce something you don't want from a health perspective.

If you look at the differences in the related threads, they focus really more on the philosophical versus the practical. I just read through the Petition for the Stud Book and the FAQ on the Native Stock Committee page. They are quick reads and touch on a lot of points we've discussed around concerns around health testing, non-basenij type, test breedings, etc.

https://www.basenji.org/NativeStock/Application/BasenjiStudbookPetition.pdf

https://www.basenji.org/NativeStock/FAQ.htm

I don't really know, but I imagine that the petition was a document of compromise. As contentious as I've seen conversations get online, I can see how that would happen.

A friend of mine who breeds, shows and loves b's said the reason we all get so "headup" is that we care so very much for the breed. I think that is very true.

I think that the basic health testing is as important as any issue. Why admit a dog that has heart, hip and eye problems? Certainly not one that is a probably affected fanconi or HA. Frankly, I think all the tests should be done BEFORE breeding, but with the main purpose of even bringing in the African stock supposedly to add genes, why admit a dog that should not be added right up front for health issues? Of course they can develop thyroid AND heart problems later, but at least have those cleared at time of application. We won't agree on that one. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think your post is right on. IMO, all the health testing should be done before admitting. The Ntomba imports were also dna re color.

@sharronhurlbut:

I think your post is right on. IMO, all the health testing should be done before admitting. The Ntomba imports were also dna re color.

Color would be way down the list for meโ€ฆ. Heck, we have Trindles and I think that is the worst color I have ever seen on a Basenji... However (before every starts jumping up and down), I can appreciate a good dog regardless of the color. As they say, it is only skin deep. But I don't want one.

And while I agree that all testing should be done before they are admitted, since it is not required as part of the application process, can't be demanded. It becomes something of choice. Add to things that can change with age are Eye Exams since they are only good for one year. IMO, since heart problems have not really been much of a problem in Basenjis, that would be lower on my list for any dog being tested (Import or Domestic). The ones I think are important are Hips & Elbows (Prelim if under 2yrs), DNA for Fanconi, Eyes, Thyroid, Patellas.

@tanza:

And while I agree that all testing should be done before they are admitted, since it is not required as part of the application process, can't be demanded.

Exactly right Pat!

Just as their is no requirement for test breedings before (or after acceptance), or for all dogs imported needing to be submitted or even accessible for viewing to the voting public, or for videos or photographs of dogs found in the areas the imports come from to prove provenance [which in truth would prove very little to me, since you can not videotape and/or photograph/document every single animal; what's to stop someone from just picking the more standardized looking samples for their provenance examples? While I would personally be more suspect of seeing cookie cutter dogs in videos or photographs straight from Africa then I would seeing a mix and mash of the same traits we find in the domestic population [I would expect mix and mash based on historical details of what other importers saw themselves, I would not expect cookie cutter examples] not everyone would and might easily be fooled into thinking one set of dogs is more basenji than the other.]

Yes, these things might be something we all desire to some degree but in the end - they are not required and they can not be demanded. The beauty is - we can make our own decision on what we can or can not live with and choose to either breed to them or not. As Bryan says - if not embraced and used within the fancy, those dogs will be but a blip on the radar screen, hardly worth the angst or the discussion they have generated.

Since none of the above have ever been required for those that came before, it would be unfair to this reader to just change the rules in the middle of the game, just because it suits a few people on a public forum.

@sinbaje:

Since none of the above have ever been required for those that came before, it would be unfair to this reader to just change the rules in the middle of the game, just because it suits a few people on a public forum.

The concerns from all viewpoints brought up here were addressed to some degree in the 2008 studbook petition and changes were made to the previous stud book process to address them (e.g. lack of a membership participation previously). The process has been changed and hasn't been the same for every native stock dog, unless I'm reading the native stock committee documentation incorrectly. It's not just a few people on a public forum who have had some concerns with the process, it's just a few people on a public forum discussing them.

And yes, most of this doesn't really matter this go around because we have a set process. The current process attempted to address those previous concerns, but obviously won't make everyone happy. It is what it is. That does not mean there is not room for improvement if the stud book is opened again.

I would also say that just because you set a procedure in place, there is no reason it can not be improved on and changed. Many times what seemed to be reasonable doesn't turn out that way. So if it means a change to the current procedure and the BOD and members agree, that is what should be done regardless if during the current open stud book time frame or future.

What if AKC was requested to keep the stud books open as an extention to this current time period? Should we just go along with what is being done now when there are improvements to the procedure that can be made? IMO, the answer is easy. And in a word YES, we should always look to improve the process.
Add to this the fact that maybe where these imports come from and the relationship to the general population of dogs should be incorporated into the procedure. IMO again, that would be a good thing.

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