Showsight Presents The Basenji

BASENJI THE

1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. How many years in Basenjis? Showing? Judging? Breeding? 3. What, in your opinion, is the secret to a successful breeding program? 4. Advice to a new Basenji judge? 5. Known as the barkless dog, the Basenji has extremely loyal owners. What is it about the breed that makes them irreplace- able in your life? 6. “Wash and Wear” dogs appear to need little grooming for the show ring. But is that true? How much time do you spend per week preparing these coatless beauties for exhibition? 7. What is the breed’s most endearing quality? 8. Is the breed’s temperament ideal for indoor life or is the breed mostly an outdoors dog? 9. How do you place your puppies? 10. At what age do you choose a show prospect? 11. What is your favorite dog show memory? 12. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. DAMARA BOLTE

I’ve had Basenjis for 65 years. Upon graduation I discovered the job world was not clamoring for a female animal husbandry gradu- ate! I did find a job with Bettina Belmont Ward as she envisioned a small kennel in Middleburg, Virginia. She introduced me to Basenjis and she gave me my foundation bitch, CH Bettina’s Fedha aka “Chipmunk”. She finished her championship at the Garden in 1947. She was bred to the sire of my choice, Black Clarion of the Congo. So 65 years later I am once again excited about the prospect of another litter. Actually by comparison to some breeders, I have limited numbers. Bettina Ward had exhibited Pekingese for many years so exhib- iting her Basenjis was part of my Kennel Manager job. I was hooked on the breed so that 60 years later I’m still hooked. It was a learning experience and actually still is! Any successful breeder needs to be objective, open minded, cau- tious to know one’s limits, careful especially with health matters and must be dedicated to the successes and sorrows involved. My advice to a new Basenji judge, look at as many Basenjis as you can. Talk to all the knowledgeable breeders you can. Become familiar with the Standard and develop a mental picture of your ideal. Understand their purpose and bear in mind the movement and condition of this athlete. What is it about the breed that makes them irreplaceable in your life? They are charming and unique critters. Generally quiet, clean of body and limb and a pleasure to look at. How much time do I spend per week preparing for exhibition? The care and training of a “Wash and Wear” Basenji still takes time and effort! You must keep dog(s) in optimum condition at all times. They need regular and consistent supervised/quality exercise, con- sistent care, high quality food and lots of TLC with a great/exten- sive sense of humor! The actual coat requires very little ie. cleanli- ness, some brushing, quality food and no fleas/ticks. What is the breed’s most endearing quality? They are interest- ing, cute, playful, convenient size, shape to please. Definitely not a ho-hum breed! Is a Basenji’s temperament ideal for indoor life or is he mostly an outdoors dog? Indoors to be supervised and socialized. Must have adequate exercise. Basenjis must be tired when left alone so your house remains intact! They love to be warm and cozy. They can enjoy a place to run free in cold weather and then come inside to curl up next to the wood stove. How do I place my puppies? Carefully! The main reason we breed a litter so seldom is that many folks don’t need a Basenji. You must be willing to put the time an effort into making yours and the Basenji’s experience a successful one! If it works for all then you most likely will always have a Basenji in your life! At what age do I choose a show prospect? We usually evaluate our litters at eight to ten weeks. We have had many weeks to observe and evaluate. We like to have at least two sets of shots done before the pups leave Reveille for new homes. Then hope and pray every- thing holds together. My favorite dog show memory? Winning the Hound Group at Westminster in 1972 with CH Reveille Re-Up. My mother said I had been a “BEAR” for weeks before the 1972 WKC show. No mat- ter what the outcome I had decided that it was to be Uppity’s last show. Naturally I hoped it would be a good one! Expect to spend a lot of time and care in order for your Basenji to fulfill its potential. Definitely they are an interesting breed with many unique antics. Somewhat of a challenge, but well worth

I have been immersed in Basenjis since 1955 when I worked for Bet- tina Belmont Ward and was given Bettina’s Fedha who became the Foundation of Reveille Basenjis. The emphasis has always been on quality not quantity with a litter bred maybe once a year or two or three. I have handled a good many Basenjis over the years including nine Best In Show

winners. I was a BCOA Board member and wrote the breed column of the AKC Gazette for over three decades. My avocation has been professional handling, my career was as an Animal Husbandman for the National Institutes of Health. I studied animal sculpture in Paris and have pursued this consuming interest in free moments. I accompanied Jon Curby and Stan Carter on the ‘88 Basenji search in Zaire. Hopefully with honesty, objectivity, perseverance, dedi- cation and teamwork, fanciers; with the aid of research and tech- nology, will realize definitive tests and thereby solutions to Basenji health problems, fortunately much has been accomplished in this field. The Basenji Club of America is a cohesive and driving force in preserving the Basenji! I live in the country seven miles north of Leesburg, Virginia. My property is a 24 acre wooded lot with a house and kennel. I have a small kennel for when I was handling and now for my retirees and including two intact bitches. The dogs have always been a primary consideration as my Purdue degree was in animal husbandry and my profession was managing closed colonies of laboratory animals (mice, rats, etc.) at NIH. Over the years I have done some limited traveling and also have an interest in art sculpture. I studied sculpture one winter in Paris and continued this interest on a moderate scale upon my return home and enjoyed the time spent that gave me a sense of satisfac- tion. I have done many limited edition bronzes and commissioned works for personal art collections and Memorial trophies.

318 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , S EPTEMBER 2019

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