450+ African Dog Names and Meanings: The Ultimate List!

Photo of author
Written by: Celestine Gomez
Last updated:

Filled with diverse cultures, traditions and ethnicities, Africa is the 2nd largest and most populous continent in the world. Hence, it stands to reason that African dog names are distinctive, thoughtful and carry a rich cultural background. As such, they can be perfect for your doggo.

Suppose you have an African dog breed such as the Rhodesian Ridgeback which is strong, composed in Zimbabwe, your dog will certainly appreciate the ancestry for his heritage.

If you’re looking for a bold, exotic or catchy dog name, an African dog name would be an excellent choice. It is not surprising that they are extremely well-loved throughout the world, and their warm presence and charm are felt by any pet lover or animal enthusiast.

To help you in your search, we’ve compiled an extensive list of popular African dog names and their meanings.

Top African Dog Names

Let’s start with our top picks for African names and their meanings (in parentheses). These names are beloved in African culture and can serve as awesome inspiration for your new dog’s name.

  • Abari (Brave)
  • Ada (First Daughter)
  • Ade (Royal)
  • Amani (Peace)
  • Amar (Long Life)
  • Amaka (beautiful)
  • Amari (Moon)
  • Ami (Saturday’s Child)
  • Ane (Surprising)
  • Ashia (Hope)
  • Aza (Strong Or Powerful)
  • Azibo (Earth)
  • Aziza (Precious)
  • Baayo (Orphan)
  • Bahati (Fortunate)
  • Bheka (To Watch)
  • Bika (Omen)
  • Cebo (Idea)
  • Chike (God’s Strength)
  • Chipo (Gift)
  • Dakari (Happiness)
  • Dalia (Gentle)
  • Desta (Joy)
  • Dinga (Wanderer)
  • Duma (Lightning)
  • Ekon (Strong)
  • Emi (Ghost)
  • Enyi (Friend)
  • Eshe (Life)
  • Faa (Useful)
  • Fadil (Generous)
  • Goni (Promise)
  • Gugu (Precious)
  • Habiba (Sweetheart)
  • Hasina (Good)
  • Inaani (Left At Home)
  • Jabari (Brave)
  • Jafaru (Stream)
  • Jahzara (Princess)
  • Jamila ( Beautiful)
  • Jina (Named Child)
  • Kaabo ( Welcomed)
  • Kafi ( Quiet)
  • Kali (Energetic)
  • Kamikaze (Queen)
  • Kanzi (Treasure)
  • Kellan ( Powerful)
  • Khata (Home)
  • Khaya (Home)
  • Khayazaki (Refuge)
  • Kifaa (Useful)
  • Kijana (Youth)
  • Kuume (Friend)
  • Kwini (Queen)
  • Latrice (Noble Woman)
  • Lebo (Thankful)
  • Lencho (Lion)
  • Lomo (Sunshine)
  • Lulu (Pearl)
  • Malika (Queen)
  • Moja (One)
  • Moriti (Shadow)
  • Mosi (First Born)
  • Moyo (Life)
  • Mufasa (King)
  • Nandi (Sweet)
  • Nata (Faithful)
  • Neema (Prosperous)
  • Obi (Heart)
  • Ode (Born On The Road)
  • Ogbo (Friend)
  • Okaka (Blessing)
  • Okra (Soul)
  • Omari (God Is Highest)
  • Oseye (Happy)
  • Ramila (Fortune Teller)
  • Rudo (Love)
  • Rufaro (Happiness)
  • Raadi (Thunder)
  • Roho (Spirit)
  • Roro (Fierce)
  • Sade (Honor Confers A Crown)
  • Safari (Journey)
  • Salim (Peaceful)
  • Sanura (Kitten)
  • Sengo (Joy)
  • Sharifa (Distinguished)
  • Shukura (Grateful)
  • Sigele (Left)
  • Sika (Money)
  • Sisa (God’s Mercy)
  • Sisi (Born On Sunday)
  • Siti (Lady)
  • Sonto (Sunday)
  • Subira (Patience Is Rewarded)
  • Sukutai (Hug)
  • Suma (Ask)
  • Stara (Protected)
  • Sudi (Luck)
  • Tabia (Gifted)
  • Taj (Exhalted)
  • Taliba (Seeker Of Knowledge)
  • Tamala (Dark Tree)
  • Tandi (Fire)
  • Taraji (Hope)
  • Teke (Prayer)
  • Teleza (Slippery)
  • Thabisa (To Bring Joy)
  • Thandiwe (Beloved)
  • Tiifu (Loyal)
  • Titi (Flower)
  • Tsholofelo (Hope)
  • Uche (Reflection)
  • Udo (Peace)
  • Uje (Happiness)
  • Umi (Servant)
  • Worknesh (She Is Gold)
  • Xhosa (Sweet)
  • Zahur (Flower)
  • Zuri (Lovely)
  • Akwasibah (born on Sunday)
  • Alala (dreamer)
  • Biopuso (self-governing)
  • Bujune (sorrow)
  • Butannaziba (who walks before the night)
  • Buziba (night)
  • Chakide (a mongoose or weasel)
  • Chigaru (like a large dog)
  • Chitemo (aze)
  • Dubaku (eleven)
  • Dwanh (to run)
  • Marjani (red coral)
  • Masika (born during a monsoon)
  • Masozi (tears)
  • Qhikiza (full-grown girl)
  • Refilwe (we are given)
  • Remla (a predictor of the future)
  • Sheena (gift)
  • Sithembile (we have much hope)
  • Ssanyu (the happy one)
  • Abasi (stern)
  • Abeeku (one who is born on Wednesday)
  • Abera (he shines)
  • Aboderin (one who walks with the hunters)
  • Amani (harmony)
  • Bheka (look after)
  • Cebo (idea)
  • Delani (be satisfied)
  • Ibhubesi (lion)
  • Jaafan (small river)
  • Jengo (building)
  • Kamaria (moonlight)
  • Limbani (be strong)
  • Mandla (strength)
  • Menzi ( maker)
  • Mhambi (wanderer)
  • Shenzi ( savage)
  • Sipho (gift)
  • Sudi (success)
  • Thando (love)
  • Thulani (be comforted)
  • Tindo (active)
  • Wandile (you are extra)
  • Abhiret (light)
  • Amina (trustworthy)
  • Atieno (born at night)
  • Baako (the firstborn)
  • Badumedi (believe)
  • Bohlale (wisdom)
  • Eshe (life)
  • Gugu (precious)
  • Kanzi (a treasure)
  • Monifa (I am lucky)
  • Nosizwe (mother of the nation)
  • Okaka (strong and mighty)
  • Rudo (love)
  • Rufaro (happiness)
  • Sisa (God’s mercy)
  • Thabisa (to bring joy)
  • Tsholofelo (hope)
  • Ajah (the clever one)
  • Bakang (to give praise to God)
  • Bahari (ocean)
  • Bereket (gift of God)
  • Biebele (happiness)
  • Kuume (friend)
  • Lethabo (happiness)
  • Lwandle (ocean)
  • Minzi (defender)
  • Moja (one)
  • Mosa (grace)
  • Mwaminifu (loyal)
  • Nthanda (star)
  • Ode (born along a road)
  • Ogbo (friend)
  • Raza (hope)
  • Rutendo (thanksgiving)
  • Simangele (surprise)
  • Siphokazi (a gift)
  • Tezi (one who stays)
  • Tholakeke (found)
  • Tiifu (faithful)
  • Adofo (brave warrior)
  • Ajani (he who wins the struggle)
  • Aza (powerful)
  • Bomani (warrior)
  • Bour (rock)
  • Chidike (the strength of God)
  • Chisulo (steel)
  • Chuki (born in a time of strife and hatred)
  • Ekon (strong)
  • Faizah (victorious)
  • Fayola (fortunate)
  • Fenyang (conqueror)
  • Folami (respect me)
  • Fujo (born after a quarrel)
  • Jambo (Hello)
  • Kidego (small)
  • Moto (hot)
  • Nzito (heavy)
  • Shupavu (energetic)
  • Bujune (sorrow)
  • Buziba (night)
  • Masozi (tears)
  • Sheena (gift)
  • Dakorai (happiness)
  • Amrah (unique)
  • Iyapo (many trials)
  • Mhina (full of delight)
  • Hekima (Cleve)
  • Sengo (joy)
  • Kamau (quiet warrior)
  • Gahiyi (the hunter)
  • Ishaq (laughter)
  • Damisi (Cheerful personality)
  • Krikor (vigilant watchman)
  • Baako (first)
  • Bohlale (wisdom)
  • Boleh (cow’s tail)
  • Chipo (gift)
  • Dambudzo (adversity)
  • Enitan (one of story)
  • Gigu (precious)
  • Ife (love)
  • Lindiwe (I watch)
  • Mala (bitter)
  • Monica (I am luck)
  • Nakato (second born of female twins)

Finding The Perfect African Name For Your Pooch

Choosing a suitable African name that will stick with your doggo for life can be a daunting assignment especially if you have a myriad of cool names to choose from. It is often more confusing and overwhelming choosing an appropriate name for your newly adopted pet.

To enable you to make a good choice of dog name, you need to understand your dog’s appearance and personality. However, there are no hard and fast rules for choosing a perfect African name for your pup.

For example, during the reign of King Edward VII of England, he owned a dog he called Caesar (which is a title for Roman emperors). Caesar is a wire fox terrier breed. The temperament of the wire fox breed is fearless, bold, keen, and alert. Little wonder it got a befitting name like Caesar. In fact, it was said that King Edward VII gave Caesar a collar that read “I belong to the King”, and assigned him his own footman.

So, there is definitely a need to look at your dog’s appearance and personality for inspiration. Ask questions like; Is she a calm, cool, and collected girl, or is she a wild child? Is he quick and energetic, or lumbering and laid back?

Here are a few tips to consider while choosing a name:

  • Avoid names that are embarrassing if it feels off to shout your dog’s name across the park or fence, don’t use it.
  • Choose a name with one or two syllables and hard consonants. These names will be much easier for your dog to hear and understand.
  • Your dog’s name will be the first thing she hears when you call her – try to associate her name with something positive.

Unisex African Dogs Names

Dogs are fondly known for their loyal friendship towards anyone that shows them an iota of care; and in choosing names, owners tend to pick names that isolate the unique identity of their dogs and the distinct character(s) they want their dogs to exhibit.

People from diverse countries and cultures have different names they want their dogs to be identified with. In Africa, you can find dog names that appeal to both genders. Let’s explore some unisex names some dogs have been identified with together with their distinctive meanings.

  • Jambo: Hello
  • Kidego: small
  • Moto: hot
  • Nzito: heavy
  • Shupavu: energetic
  • Bujune: sorrow
  • Buziba: night
  • Masozi : tears
  • Sheena :gift
  • Dakorai: happiness
  • Amrah: unique
  • Iyapo: many trials
  • Mhina: full of delight
  • Hekima: Cleve
  • Sengo: joy
  • Kamau: quiet warrior
  • Gahiyi: the hunter
  • Ishaq: laughter
  • Damisi: Cheerful personality

Male African Dog Names

  • Abidemi: I am reborn
  • Abioye : born during coronation
  • Abrafo: executioner
  • Duna: joy arrives
  • Gazim: blood
  • Isooba: stealthy
  • Nawvlee: big devil
  • Obi: heart
  • Quinsela: persistent
  • Quanda: an egg
  • Sango: fire
  • Zuri: handsome
  • Alala: Dreamer
  • Bujane: sorrow
  • Buziba: night
  • Masozi: tears
  • Sheena: gift
  • Subrina: patience
  • Krikor: vigilant watchman.

Female African Dog Names

  • Abeha: one who wards off
  • Abena: born on Tuesday
  • Abeni: suppliant
  • Abidemi: born when father was away
  • Adaeze: princess
  • Adanna: Father’s daughter
  • Arjana: paradise
  • Atieno: born of the evening
  • Baako: first
  • Bohlale: wisdom
  • Boleh: cow’s tail
  • Chipo: gift
  • Dambudzo: adversity
  • Enitan: one of story
  • Gigu: precious
  • Adeola: a crown of high esteem
  • Ife: love
  • Lindiwe: I watch
  • Mala: bitter
  • Monica: I am luck
  • Nakato: second born of female twins

African Dog Names Inspired By African Heroes

African heroes are important figures in every history of African culture and tradition. They’re respected and idolized. Sometimes people and animals are named after them.

Below are some of them:

  • Dube
  • Fella
  • Kuti
  • Tuku
  • Jaffe
  • Akeem
  • Khumba
  • Nakia
  • Nelson
  • Nakku
  • Nala
  • Zik
  • Okoye
  • Pumba
  • Ndour
  • Sunny
  • Rafiki
  • Sarabi
  • Kwame
  • Seko
  • Shuri
  • Simba
  • Sekou
  • Keita
  • Wangari
  • Kofi
  • Aliko
  • Wole
  • T’Challa
  • W’Kabi
  • Zazu

Also Read: 350+ Best Bernese Mountain Dog Names: Cool, Classic and Unique Ideas

Nature-Inspired African Dog Names

Africa is a continent rich with abundant natural resources, mountains, falls, and lovely animals. This leaves one with an unending list of dog monikers. Some dog names that draw inspiration from nature include:

  • Maasai
  • Aye-aye
  • Baobab
  • Bongo
  • Cheetah
  • Civet
  • Hippo
  • Honey Badger
  • Impala
  • Jackal
  • Kudu
  • Mamba
  • Marula
  • Molala
  • Nyala
  • Okapi
  • Kalahari
  • Karisimbi
  • Kilimanjaro
  • Ubangi
  • Zambezi

Swahili Dog Names

For anyone unfamiliar, you may actually already know a few Swahili words, as many were introduced into American culture through the Disney movie, “The Lion King“, whose characters’ names, from Simba (lion) to Pumbaa (to be foolish), aptly embodied those they represented. Thus, giving your dog a Swahili name may be one of the easiest.

Here are a couple of Swahili dog names;

  • Isa
  • Jengo
  • Kamaria
  • Mufasa
  • Rafiki
  • Shenzi
  • Simba
  • Sudi
  • Tindo
  • Adia
  • Alika
  • Amina
  • Duma
  • Eshe
  • Kanzi
  • Mbwa
  • Titi
  • Zuri
  • Bahari

South African Dog Names

Are you a fan of South African culture? Or do you even have South African roots? You would like for your dog’s name to reflect your love for South Africa. If the name really fits your dog, this can be a nice option to go for.

Below are a few of them;

  • Akwasibah
  • Alala
  • Biopuso
  • Bujune
  • Butannaziba
  • Buziba
  • Chakide
  • Chigaru
  • Chitemo
  • Dubaku
  • Dwanh
  • Marjani
  • Masika
  • Masozi
  • Qhikiza
  • Refilwe
  • Remla
  • Sheena
  • Sithembile
  • Ssanyu

Also Read: 200+ Belgian Names For Dogs and Meanings | Male & Female

Nigerian Dog Names

In a place like Nigeria, choosing a befitting dog name is a top priority for any dog owner. With its large population and exotic sites, cities, towns, and people, Nigeria has plenty to offer, including name possibilities for your new pooch.

Below, we’ll share some of our favorite Nigerian dog names for your pooch that are bound to steal your heart.

  • Enyi
  • Ndidi
  • Oba
  • Okaka
  • Udo
  • Abayomi
  • Abiona
  • Abisade
  • Adebola
  • Biodun
  • Ada
  • Nkechi
  • Chidike
  • Fayola
  • Folami
  • Ropo
  • Monifa
  • Obi
  • Chike
  • Aboderin

Congolese Dog Names

With a population of around 93 million, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is the most populous Francophone country in the world. The Basenji dog breed was originally found in the Congo. They are fairly independent and aloof, especially around strangers.

Perhaps, it’s the chaotic and buzzing city of Kinshasa with its colorful & intense Marche des voleurs, the Nyiragongo volcano in the skyline of Lake Kivu crossing from Cyangugu to Gisenyi, or the fall of Zongo you hiked and took a cool dip below the falls. Whatever the source of inspiration, Congolese dog names are really cheesy and embedded with rich cultural heritage.

Here are a few of them;

  • Abayomi
  • Bino
  • Bitumba
  • Esengo
  • Indo
  • Koswa
  • Tosa
  • Loba
  • Bongo
  • Mowba
  • Sánzá
  • Sika
  • Yaka
  • Tani
  • Sengo
  • Boto
  • Lingo
  • Sembo
  • Moki
  • Koki

Zimbabwe Dog Names

The Rhodesian Ridgeback, also called the African lion hound, is one of the popular dog breeds in Zimbabwe. It’s a descendant of lion hunting dogs used by the Hottentot tribes in the 15th Century. This dog got its name from the Rhodesia region in Africa.

Looking for a perfect name for your pooch to keep the country of Zimbabwe in mind?

Whatever your reasons might be, there is no doubt that you will find many options to consider.

Here are a few of them;

  • Rudi
  • Rufaro
  • Rutendo
  • Roro
  • Sango
  • Bulawayo
  • Gweru
  • Kwekwe
  • Mutoko
  • Zave
  • Masvingo
  • Chegutu
  • Rusape
  • Makwiro
  • Tokwe
  • Limpopo
  • Joram
  • Harare
  • Kadoma

Teaching Your Fido Its African Name

When you’re bringing home a new dog or puppy, not only do you have to shop for all the right gear like a safe, sturdy harness and leash, and a comfortable bed, but you have to be ready to teach your pooch his name.

Just like in humans, to get your dog’s attention, you call their names. Your dog needs to learn that when you say his name, it means that he should pay attention to you. And the best way to do this is to teach him to is by positive reinforcement.

Choose a serene environment with little or no distraction for the exercise. Take with you some high-value treats to reward your dog well he responds to his name.

First, move out of your dog’s sight so when you call his name, the dog will turn his head toward you. Say the name in a lively tone. Immediately the dog looks at you, mark his response with a word like “good” to let the dog know this is the right reaction & then immediately give your dog a treat.

With the right consistency, teaching your dog its name should take about 3 to 4 days. You’ll have to reinforce this behavior as many times as you can.

Endeavor to always reward your pooch for his good behavior either by offering him treats or showering him with praises.

Ultimately, your African pup will be proud to bear a rich African name. Happy and thankful to be accepted as an esteemed member of the family.

Photo of author

Celestine Gomez

I'm Celestine Gomez, worked for 5 years in an animal shelter in Los Angeles, California. Having noticed the inherent passion and zeal in me to care for pets, I took a step further to create a team of I and like-minded individuals to provide an informative resource in order to broaden the knowledge base of a regular pet owners.