Lady Helen Nutting

Basenjis: The Barkless Dog
by Veronica Tudor-Williams

 

 

Lady Helen Nutting arriving in England with two of her imported

"The next attempt to establish Basenjis in England was made by Lady Helen Nuing in 1923. She was in the 
Sudan at the time, and became very fascinated by the little Zande dogs which she saw during her travels. Six 
of them were later sent to her by Major L. N. Brown, who acquired them from natives west of Meridi, beyond 
the Bahr-el-Gahazal region of Nile and between the rivers Ibba and Sueh, one of the most inaccessible parts 
of Central Africa. 

Lady Helen kept these six Basenjis in Khartoum for some time and when leaving the Sudan decided to bring 
them to England with her. It was a courageous decision and thoroughly deserved to succeed. A large travelling 
crate with a covered top and wire sides was prepared, and they made the voyage to England on the top deck 
of the ship. Although it was March, and the weather typically cold and windy from Marseilles to Tilbury, the dogs 
suffered no ill-effects, and were all in perfect health when they landed in England with Lady Helen. Needless to 
say, these rare dogs created an enormous amount of interest. They were placed in quarantine and everything 
was done for their welfare, including distemper inoculations, then in the experimental stages. This pioneer effort 
ended in tragedy as all the dogs became ill and died from the aftereffects of this injection.

Lady Helen was heart-broken at losing the dogs she had brought so carefully from Africa. But she has never 
lost her interest in the breed and during the past years has done much to help and encourage those who 
succeeded where she so unfortunately failed."