Where Are Basenjis From?
The Basenji has been around as long as the Egyptian Pyramids, and their image has been captured by artists for over 4,000 years. The earliest Basenjis were gifted to the Pharaohs and the breed’s resourcefulness has sustained them over centuries. After the fall of Ancient Egypt, these sight- and scenthounds remained in central Africa as successful hunting dogs for tribesman, but were unknown to the rest of the world.
There is mention of a pair of Basenjis in England that were brought from the African bush by an explorer in 1895. They were called the African Bush Dog, but succumbed to distemper soon after their arrival. In 1937, a pair of Basenjis were brought to New York City by Mrs. Byron Rogers, whose only surviving male dog was successfully bred a few years later. Subsequently, the Basenji Club of America was founded in 1942, and the breed became registered in the AKC Stud Book in 1943. To sustain the breed in the States, American breeders ventured to Zaire in 1987 to import more Basenjis in hopes of widening the gene pool.
A Basenji received Best in Show at the Crufts international dog show in 2001.