Congo, 1915. Notice the dog on top. Clearly an incorrect type!
A while back I wrote a post entitled "The Business of Diamonds .... and Dogs" in which I noted that:
Almost everything the diamond industry tells us about their product is a lie.
For one thing, diamonds are not particularly rare. They are found all over the world and in such quantities that the only way the diamond cartel can keep prices up is by putting more than 70 percent of all diamond production into a vault.
I then went on to note that the same sort of fake and contrived rarity is common in the world of dogs.
When you are selling a commodity that is almost entirely devoid of all practical value, and whose price is based solely on romance, myth and misinformation, it does not take too much to generate a market collapse.
A good example of fake scarcity is the Basenji. Some Basenji breeders would like you to think they are saving a rare and endangered breed.
This is a common village dog from one end of central Africa to another, and is not a "breed" as the AKC understands it (a narrow, non-working standard, being inbred within a closed registry system), but a landrace working dog created and bred outside of a closed registry system and without a conformation standard at all.
As a paper on the web site of the Basenji Club of America puts it:
"The historic range of the Basenji is that part of Africa where tropical forest or woodland savanna exists. This would be roughly the rain forest of the western coast and eastward through what was French Equatorial Africa into the southernmost part of the Sudan and south to include the Ituri forest westward to the west coast. All but the Kivu and eastern mountains of Zaire would be included in this range."
Africa is nine times larger than the United States, so let me make it simple: Basenjis are found, to this day, from the West Coast of Africa to the East Coast -- from the Atlantic to the Indian Oceans.
Yes Basenjis are found all over the Congo, (a country as large Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy combined), but they are also found in the Cameroon and Togo, Sudan and Nigeria, Liberia, Benin and Sierra Leone and at least not so long ago as far east as Ethiopia.
Of course, the fact that Basenjis are widespread and common in central Africa is an inconvenience to the puppy peddlers and rescue ranger theorists who want to "save" a rare breed.
Ituri Forest Pygmies with Basenji of an incorrect type, 1950. Click to enlarge.
They will tell you that Basenjis only come from the Congo and a narrow part of the Sudan, and no one can get there (and never mind the fact that tours to see the Pygmies can be booked with a credit card).
The Baka at Djamba, Congo (Zaire). Can you find the Basenji?
This morning, I am told that the Baka pymies and the Bantu do not have Basenjis at all!
Well, if someone says so, it must be true! Pay no attention to the hunting dogs in the video, above or below. Remember these are just "village dogs."
Or as they say in the Lingala language of the Congo, mbwá na basɛ́nzi .... which means "village dogs."
Wait. What? You mean "Basenji" just means village dogs?
Yes, that's right. But tell no one.
The folks in the Kennel Club are trying to sell magic meat and diamonds. They are not interested in a working dog, they are interested in "a standard."
Listen to them!
The white folks in countries far away who do not hunt their own dogs are the experts in the Basenji.
Pay no attention to the savages who hunt meat every day, who live in mud or pole huts covered with leaves, who might eat a dog or two, and who will trade you the pick of the litter for a decent pocket knife and a few dollars cash.
What do they know of the Basenji? Nothing!
- Related Link:
** Basenji's: A Classic Tale of Kennel Club Defect