The Rip Van Wrinkler,
Volume XVII, Issue 1, February 2013

Pages 8 & 9 < previous page > <next page>

How and Why I started the Pedigrees on-line Database

        by Sally Wallis, Zande Basenjis.......


My electric typewriter gave up the ghost and Marvin talked me into buying an Amstrad computer. In order to amortise the cost, I decided to get as much from it as I possibly could and in the first instance learned accounting, sacked my accountant, and recovered quite a large sum from the tax-man. Enough to pay for a better computer anyway!

Elspet Ford lived about an hour away. She’d come over and together we’d print out pedigrees and try to figure out method of inheritance of some scourge or other of the day. Her arrivals were always a riot! Ziggy hated her and would not allow her access via the kitchen door so we had to leave the front door open, Elspet came around the house and in the front – to be greeted as a long lost friend by an enthusiastically tail-wagging Ziggy. Strange animal!

Marvin came home one day in about 1984 with a share-ware disc of PEDIGREE by Chuck Orange.  We loaded it forthwith and over time I committed all my records to it. PEDIGREE made manipulating data very much easier (than pieces of paper spread all over the floor!) and I’ve used it ever since. It transmogrified into PEDWIN and is still a wonderful program. Chuck has incorporated anything and everything I’ve asked him for over the years.

Someone gave me a Pedigree Book from I think, Finland, then I obtained the Pedigree Books from Australia. Another breeder came up with Book I of YOTAB and the data started to flood in. Everything went into the database.

In the early days, long before I had internet access when it meant writing letters and waiting weeks for a response, Pat Bright from USA, Dawn Clark (Clendon affix) of New Zealand, Lauris Hunt (Pukkanut) from Australia were invaluable at filling in gaps. Wilma Bauer introduced me to Jim Stromberg and we swapped data. I think in those days I had but a few thousand of the earliest Basenjis – it was enough to get Jim quite excited – and he provided me with thousands of mainly American bred Basenjis. 

Jim Cummins, owner of True (Apu Open Road Troubadour), insisted I invest in an uninterrupted power supply unit and I am eternally grateful to him for the idea. It has saved my data over and over again from power outages.

Karen and True, Cummins photo

People all over the world ‘find’ the database and send me details of their dogs, otherwise I subscribe to various official publications, KC Breed Record Supplement for example, and manage to obtain data from show catalogs, national websites and individual breeders. Pia Wright in Denmark keeps a database of Basenjis who move country and while surfing the web, she comes up with Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian, French  - websites in lots of different countries, from which she down-loads data for me.

I can’t list everyone who helps – just a heartfelt THANK YOU and a request to PLEASE keep the data coming in. And make sure all your friends do too - I spend enough time nagging as it is!

Wallis photo

The AKC refunded Marvin the balance of his subscription to AKC Awards CDs last week, which is a great blow. I can’t afford the sum they are asking these days and am not even sure if all the awards of any particular breed will be included in the sections.

I’m finding the OFA website with details of Fanconi tests very productive, especially for filling in registration numbers of Russian Basenjis’ parents! Whenever I come across a ‘new’ dog, I hunt around for siblings – the AKC website is so much more user-friendly since the HM & then HP series superceded the HDs. Nowadays, I can often find siblings once I have a registration of a single dog. But it all takes hours a week – sometimes hours a day.

Over the years, I have also experimented with generating COIs, using Wright’s, and publishing them within the pedigrees on the website. But it didn’t last long. It became unwieldy and made pedigrees look very untidy. And as more and more Avongaras were brought out of Africa and by definition the names of parents remained hidden in the Dark Continent, COIs of their descendants were very distorted. Also it took about 5 hours to generate COIs of the whole database . . . Overnight was the only time to do it. I gave it up after a comparatively short period.

Records of breeders are kept on my computer whenever possible – they never change, owners do – although I don’t include them on line. It was suggested to me very early on that some folks might object although, given that worldwide 90% (I’m guessing) of breeders have an affix and can easily be identified, it didn’t seem to me that anyone would. In UK a few breeders like to add their affix when they buy in a dog. To make the original name (and therefore the breeder) clear I put any additions in italics. As a fr’instance,  (Domewood) Sindy of Horsley was originally registered Sindy of Horsley. Domewood is the affix of the breeder who purchased her.

As soon as the Fanconi Linkage test became available, I added a coding so the results would be clearly available on a pedigree. Now the Direct Test is in use, the coding is altered so it is clear to which test it refers. At time of writing, testing is suspended but I am hoping it will have resumed by the time you read this piece. Other health data is entered on computer with the source of any information noted. It is available elsewhere so it can stay put!

When I reached 70,000 dogs in the database, Len Reddie of Australia kind of goaded me (I think that is fair comment!) into exploring the possibilities of going public and putting the d/b on-line. Jim Trethewey’s Alfirin program seemed to fit the bill and Jim was extremely helpful in getting me set up and running.

And now it’s become addictive. I love finding new sites with Basenjis in far-off places and through SKYPE making direct contact and chatting with people I can never hope to meet in person.


Fiddle says look your dog/dogs up in the Zande Basenji database.

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