How do Basenjis Show Affection? [Do Basenji Cuddle?]

How do Basenjis show affection? Are you a first time Basenji owner and wondering how exactly they show affection? Basenjis have a reputation of being independent free thinkers who can be aloof at times and if you go by that, you may be led to believe that they are affectionless animals.

Though some of these characteristics are true of the Basenji, they are also dogs that show a lot of affection. They like to be in the presence of humans or other dogs that they consider to be part of their pack. One of their noted traits is that of being cuddlers.

Basenjis like to cuddle with humans and other dogs. This is due, in part, to how they acted during their hunting ancestry when they would lie down back to back when they slept at night. They will cuddle at your feet, jump onto the couch and curl up beside you or jump into bed with you.

It’s a common trait that a lot of Basenji owners love about them and it this has added to the appeal that they have and is a major reason why new Basenji owners to want one.

Are Basenjis Friendly?

basenji playing

Basenjis are very friendly dogs, especially with their family members. They are bundles of energy and love to run around the yard and at parks. They are also very playful and love to hang out with kids. Many Basenji owners report that their B will follow them all over the house because they have that strong urge to be where you are.

Basenjis, much like people, possess different personalities from dog to dog. In the preceding paragraphs, I have talked about traits that you’ll find in most Basenjis. That being said, there are outliers who will not strongly match these traits.

Some will not be as cuddly or as friendly as others but it’s generally accepted that the majority of Basenjis are friendly towards their family. It is when they encounter outsiders that they tend to act aloof.

They don’t immediately warm up to someone and it takes a bit of time and effort before they can trust someone.

an owner kisses a tiny Basenji puppy
Kissing an incredibly small Basenji puppy!

Just as they have that soft side to their nature, they will also tend to exhibit some aggressive traits, especially towards other pets like cats and other dogs. This behavior needs to be addressed as quickly as possible if your Basenji shows it.

Obedience training is what usually works. You can do this alone if you have the knowledge of how to do it or you can engage the services of a professional trainer.

Do Basenjis Like to Cuddle?

When they feel comfortable around you, Basenjis tend to be very cuddly. Some are more cuddly than others but it’s a common trait even among the more aggressive ones. When Basenjis sleep on the plains of Africa, they tend to do so in packs and lie back to back.

An owner sits with her larger red and white Basenji. Not so small!
An owner sits with her larger red and white Basenji. Not so small!

Your B will do this with you as well. It is their way of showing affection towards you. They have a strong pack mentality and enjoy being in close proximity with the ones they hold dear. They generally tend to curl up at your feet or beside you.

Whichever position they choose, one thing for sure is that they will be in physical contact with you. They may be hyperactive during the course of the day but once you settle down at the end of a day, they also tend to do the same.

If you have another dog or cat in the house that they are friendly with, they also tend to cuddle with them as well.

Can Basenjis Be Left Alone?

Because of their pack nature, Basenjis tend to be happier when they are with someone or another dog that they are friendly with. They aren’t very good at staying by themselves but will get used to it after some time.

A tri color Basenji gazes lovingly at its owner.
A tri color Basenji gazes lovingly at its owner. The feeling is mutual!

If you live in a situation where you have to go out to work for the whole day, for example, your Basenji will not enjoy you leaving each morning but will get used to being left alone if you train them to accept this reality.

A great way to do this is to do the usual routine that you do just before leaving the house but instead of going out for the day, go out for five minutes then come back. Do this over and over again but extend the time you are out each time.

When your Basenji is allowed to experience this behaviour gradually, they will stop associating your morning routine with you leaving for a long time thereby curing them of their separation anxiety.

How do Basenjis Show Affection


Basenjis are very emotional dogs and will exhibit a wide spectrum of behavioural traits but at their core, they are affectionate creatures and use all available opportunities to express this to you.