The Basenji Club of Great Britain was formed on the 9th February 1939 and is the oldest established club for the breed in the world.
The first committee included Lady Helen Nutting, Mrs Olivia Burn and Major Richards MC. each of whom had known the Basenji in it’s native environment and were the early importers of the breed into the United Kingdom. They, together with Mr K C. Smith who had also known the breed in Africa and Miss Veronica Tudor-Williams, formulated the first Standard for the breed and, although expanded and updated, this still forms the basis of the present day Standard. Thus, the early history of Basenjis in Britain is closely connected to the Club.
The second world war (1939 - 1945) disrupted the activities of the newly formed Club and it was 1946 before the application for the registration of title was made to the Kennel Club. The application form carried the following statement made by the then Secretary, Mr Norman Cutler: "the Club was formed in 1939 to look after the interests of Basenjis. Application for registration has not been made before because during the war years members were inactive through National Service duties but the Club was kept in existence by a number of breeders. No other Society does or has used the title nor does any other Basenji society exist in this country". The original object of the Club including "to look after the interests of Basenjis" are still retained as Item 1 of the rules of the Club.
The first Annual General Meeting of the Basenji Club of Great Britain to be held after the war took place at the Goring Hotel, London SW1 with 15 members attending. According to the minutes, this number was 60% of the membership. The Committee elected at that time consisted of:
The first Championship Show held by the Basenji Club of Great Britain took place on Saturday 27 July 1946 at Trinity Hall, Portland Place, London W1 and the judge was Mr T Scott. Two Club Championship Shows were held in 1947 and at the Annual General Meeting on 27 April 1947 a proposal was passed that: -
"The Basenji Club should hold no further championship shows in 1947 after the July Championship Show aand that in future we should join all-breed championship shows whenevder we could obtain CCs."
It was decided that the Basenji Club Championship Show should be held annually as near July 26th as possible. Thus, from 1949 - 1953 inclusive, the Club shows were held as part of Richmond Championship Show. In 1954 Richmond changed the date of their show to September so the Basenji Club moved to be part of Leicester Championship Show from 1954 - 1957 inclusive. Windsor Championship Show was the ‘parent’ show in 1958 and 1959. In 1960 which was the 21st anniversary of the Basenji Club, it once again held it’s own Championship Show and has done so annually ever since.
The first Basenji Club of Great Britain Open Show not held in conjunction with any other society show was in 1978. The show was held in Hemel Hempstead with Miss Margaret Christy-Davies (Azenda) making her debut as a judge. There were 115 entries from 55 dogs.
The 50th Anniversary of the Basenji Club in 1989 fell on the same day that Basenjis were being exhibited at Crufts Dog Show. This enables the Club to start celebrating the special year on the exact date of it’s formation, 9th February. Unhappily, on the eve of the Club’s Championship Show held on 5 August 1989, Miss Veronica Tudor-Williams died. She had served on the Committee in various capacities from the inaugural meeting and was elected President of the Club in 1960.
In 1999 The Basenji Club of Great Britain celebrated it’s 60 years. Still holding to the original objectives of the founder members, the Club continues to flourish and hopefully, with the goodwill of the present members and those of the future, it will long continue to do so.