52 African Dog Names

Give your dog a unique name with rich meaning

Basenji Portrait; African dog names

Madjuszka / Getty Images

Rich in diverse cultures and languages, Africa is a great source of inspiration for dog names. If you’re bringing home a new puppy or rescue dog with African roots—like the Rhodesian ridgeback, basenji, or Chinese crested (yes, this powder puff is rumored to have origins in Africa), an African dog name might seem like an obvious choice. But if you’re just looking for a unique name with rich meaning, you’ll certainly appreciate these dog names. 

Many of the most unique African names for dogs come from various languages spoken around the continent. Words and expressions from the most common African language, Swahili, are frequently top options. However, Africa is home to a wide array of languages, and words from Zulu, Afrikaans, and other languages are commonly used as dog names.

Check out this list for the top African dog name or look for names based on their meaning in various African languages. If you’re searching for dog names for male or female dogs, we have those covered too. With names including desirable qualities like bravery, beauty, and strength, you’re sure to find the right African dog name from this list of great options. 

Top African Dog Names 

  • Safari (Journey)
  • Aza (Strong or powerful)
  • Jambo (A greeting)
  • Bheka (To watch)
  • Duma (Lightning)
  • Enyi (Friend)
  • Obi (Heart)
  • Tandi (Fire)
  • Sengo (Joy)
  • Oseye (Happy)
  • Nandi (Sweet)
  • Zuri (Lovely)

Tips for Naming Your Dog

As you bring your new dog home, you’ll be starting a new chapter in your pet’s life as well as your own. It only makes sense that you start things off with a proper introduction—that means finding the right name for your dog! Many people research name ideas long before they bring their pooch home, while others wait to get to know their dog’s appearance or personality.

Whatever you decide, it’s important to remember that the name should be meaningful but also memorable. If it’s too long or hard to pronounce, it will be difficult for you to repeat it correctly and your dog to catch on. In addition, friends, family, the vet, and more may struggle with learning your dog’s name.

This can be especially true when selecting a dog name from another language, as is the case with many African dog names. Keep it simple and be ready to spell the name for others if you choose something that is unfamiliar. At the same time, it can be a great, unique way to showcase your dog’s looks, heritage, or personality.  

Popular Dog Names from African Words

Africa is home to the most languages on Earth, so there are more than enough words to choose from when naming your dog. Some names may be easier to pronounce than others, so choose one that you feel confident in. It might help to spell your dog’s name phonetically when introducing your pet to new people.

Top options for African dog names come from many different languages. To make your task of selecting the perfect name for your pooch easier, we've included the general definition of each name on our list.

  • Addae (Morning sun)
  • Mhambi (Traveler)
  • Minzi (Protector)
  • Moriti (Shadow)
  • Raadi (Thunder)
  • Jabari (Brave or fearless)
  • Zibu (Water lily)
  • Mosi (Firstborn)
  • Cebo (Plan)
  • Ata (Increase)
  • Lebo (Thankful)
  • Sonto (Sunday)
Rhodesian Ridgeback in grass; African dog names
Leo Dzialoszynski / EyeEm / Getty Images

Male African Dog Names

There are plenty of great African names for male dogs. While some are sweet or silly, others convey the strength and courage of the dog.

  • Ayo (Full of joy)
  • Amar (Long life)
  • Kuume (Friend)
  • Tindo (Active)
  • Yafeu (Bold)
  • Akeen (Brave)
  • Rufaro (Joy)
  • Leki (Little brother)
  • Olee (Happy moment)
  • Meshindi (Victor)
  • Djembe (West African drum)
  • Jengo (Building)
  • Simba (Lion) 

Female African Dog Names

For a female dog, many African names emphasize beauty and joy. Others are just right for a spunky girl dog with attitude—like Kwini or Kali.

  • Asha (Lively)
  • Addia (Being a gift)
  • Kamikazi (Queen)
  • Kianga (Sunshine)
  • Siti (Lady)
  • Monna (Unique)
  • Amina (Peaceful, safe)
  • Kwini (Queen)
  • Titi (Flower)
  • Mhina (Full of delight)
  • Moseka (Young girl)
  • Kanzi (Treasure)
  • Kali (Energetic)
  • Aaliyah (Noble)
  • Nala (Beloved)

Other Dog Name Ideas

Which of these African dog names suits your pup the best? If you're interested in exploring more options, check out these other great lists of dog names: