What is your Definition of a Line?

I often see people use the word line but sometimes wonder if we all mean the same thing when we use it.

I have been lucky to have several very long time breeders as friends and mentors. In talking with them, most have expressed a sadness in the loss of true lines. Not breeders getting out of the breed but the loss of distinct look that lines used to have in the breed. In years past, they could sit ringside and didn't need a catalog to know where a dog came from, you could identify a dog's line by its look. Sitting ringside now, it is not so easy to that. There are some that have maintained a true line but many dogs have what I call a "Generic Pedigree" different mixes of the same popular sires and dams.

I have based my breeding program primarily on the Kenset line, through my Sherwood foundation and have mixed in the Tamsala line and the Brushy Run Avongara line. I don't know that I will ever have a distinct line of my own it, I just don't see that I will ever breed enough to get to that point but plan to make the best of other breeder's hard work. When I look at a picture pedigree of a Kenset dog, Tamsala dog, or a Brushy Run Avongara, I see strong family resemblance, they produce consistently which I think are important characteristics of a line.

What does everyone else think? What do you think the characteristics of a line are versus just having a breeding program?

When I look at the 'line' I look at the characteristics familiar in each breeding. The head, squareness, eyes, ears, etc. For example, if I look at the Kenset line, there are consistencies in the head shape, ear set, body type, stop, etc. and these have been carried down. I'm also trying to breed what I see now, with what I have seen in the past. This is a bit harder, since we have few pictures. I would like to see some pictures of the Prune, but I don't know if that's possible.

There are a couple of pictures of Prune on Mary Lou's website, http://kensetbasenjis.homestead.com/InTheBeginning.html

I am pretty sure in old issues of The Basenji Magazine there are more pics of him.

Okay, got it Lisa, so you see the head? Ear set? Stop? Eye contour? Muzzle? Squareness? The tuck up? The tail curl? The appearance of the leg length? His colour if fabulous. This is what I see in the Kenset line. What I want to continue because I see this in almost every Kenset dog. Nicky has the same structure, so does Shadow. They are the same for the male head. This is what I the line means to me. Continuity.

The other part is what we are losing as the line comes down. Side wrinkles, we see very little of them anymore. Sugar has the side wrinkles. We're seeing different feet as well.

Unfortunately I only have a few older mags. I'll have to see if someone up here has any, I'm pretty sure I know one that does.

I can't add to this topic, but I sure do enjoy reading what you all are writing.

Ahh, but Sharron, you have seen a lot of Basenji's, you probably have noticed characteristics familiar to you when you are looking at them. Maybe a pointier face, rounder eyes, nose colour, coat colour, etc. You probably just never thought about it until it was pointed out!

Yes, and I think they all are beautiful! laugh…
I do apprecaite the PNW breeders who can help me find out if a stray basenji belongs to any special line or breeder.
Some can look at a dog and say, "oh, that looks like the XYZ line!"
Its very helpful.

I love Prune. I think he was an awesome dog. He is behind three of my dogs.

When you start looking at dogs, you'll know what you like, and invariably find that the dog you like went back to a certain line.

And, Andrea, do you find similarities?

Just out of curiosity….is temperament figured into a "line"? Or is that not something that is genetically handed down?

I've found it can be progress down through the 'line'. I've seen some nasty dogs from the same lines in different parts of the countries.

I think temperament is one of the traits that can make a line distinct from others. There is definitely an inherited component to temperament but it will also be influenced by environment especially early socialization.

This year, I leased TC who is primarily a blend of Kenset and Tamsala lines. I see in her many behavior traits that she has in common with my own dogs who all have Kenset lines behind them. Such as, TC and Nicky both love to open cabinets and go exploring. They also rub their faces on their beds the same way after eating certain meals.

Oh, that's funny Lisa! Shadow opens cupboards and doors and Sugar is the rubber on beds! So again, Kenset lines.

To me, a "line" is created through multiple generations of linebreeding and inbreeding which is generally accompanied by a distinct "type" that is discernable by experienced eyes.

For many years, in my area, it was easy to tell who the breeder of a dog was just by looking at that animal. Kenset, Serengeti, Candu, and UnderCover each has their own unique look that set them apart from everyone else. Today, it is not so easy to tell.

I had my first litter 16 years ago and my 6th generation is currently "in the oven". My dogs are closely linebred yet I do get a range of overall type. Do I fit my own criteria for a "line"? I am not sure I would say yes at this point but I plan to continue to work towards it.

However, you need to keep in mind when you are tightly breeding a line you can keep developing poor conformation faults, just line temperament. One of the biggest problems I see in Basenjis today is poor fronts and in particular, straight fronts, with poor movement.

Has there been loss of "body since the late 70's?

@Kebasmom:

Has there been loss of "body since the late 70's?

What do you mean by loss of body?

Thanks so much! It is really interesting to read the opinion and thought that goes in to all of your breeding plans.

@nomrbddgs:

And, Andrea, do you find similarities?

Yes, particularly with Querk…great ear shape and set, nice shaped head, lots and lots of wrinkle. There is a lot of other lines mixed in there with him...but I aways thought I could see a lot of the Prune in him.

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