I thought one of the attributes of the Basenji was how close they were to their roots. I understand in certain breeds that were "created" like pugs, bulldogs etc; they would have to breed closely to get that look because their is no way those dogs would survive in the wild. And also with the African projects the thought was to keep the Basenjis diverse in the genetics so they don't become like the other breeds. One of the major issues with the close breeding is a huge problem in other breeds. Am I totally on the wrong page here?
No, you aren't on the wrong page Breeding, and maintining a breed is always a balance between two main things; a) maintaining a diverse enough gene pool that will sustain healthy reproduction and b) trying to breed for desirable traits… usually those traits are physical or "type", sometimes they are less concrete like temperament, working ability, and sometimes health.
If you go exclusively in one direction, where you are breeding for maximum genetic diversity, you most likely will be unable to predict what your puppies will look, or act like. For some people that isn't a problem. Some breeders in our breed are ONLY breeding for genetic diversity..and they are mainly dealing with the new Africans.
If you go exclusively in the other direction where you are only breeding to fix type (or be able to predict that your puppy will have certain attributes that you desire) you will lose genetic diversity, and you may run into one of two possible health issues related to that, one is reduced fecundity of your breeding stock, and the other is obviously having genetic recessively inherited disease expressed, and carried throughout your line. There are breeders in our breed who almost exclusively line breed. You can usually tell their dogs because they are VERY similar in type. This type of linebreeding is common, but kind of a lottery, because if you aren't screening your dogs, or there are diseases in the breed that are late onset or you don't know how they are inherited, you may not know exactly what genes you are doubling up on. If you start with genetically clean dogs, you may win the lottery, because you won't be breeding into lines with problems. But it is rare that you can exclusively line breed for long periods of time before you find yourself wishing to cross out to another line for some reason.
So most breeders do a bit of both, and everybody falls somewhere in the spectrum. Close breeding isn't really a huge problem for any breed per se. Poor breeding decisions, lack of knowledge about how disease is inherited, lack of adequate screening techniques, people breeding with disregard to health...those are the things that have put some breeds in a bad place.
You mentioned Pugs and Bulldogs as an example...but they aren't really poster children for inbreeding. Their issues are different, in that humans shaped the breed into something that isn't consistant with health...I really don't get that...but it isn't the fault of in- or line breeding.
Thanks to anybody who made their way thru my essay