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.
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)
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