Dog Names

The Greyhound is a breed of dog that likely originated in Africa

Dog names come in many different forms and from places around the world.  In the U.S., where I live, the most popular dog names tend to be names like Spot, Buddy, Lucky, Daisy, Coco, Angel, Spike or Rocky.  Other common canine names include Bandit, Princess, Zeus, Duke and Ginger.

Somewhat surprisingly, in the last few years, I have had quite a few persons contact me looking for an African name for a dog.  Fortunately, African cultures offer us suitable choices for dog names.

For instance, instead of naming a dog Buddy, you can choose a name that will let the world know your dog is your “non-human” friend by naming the dog KUUME (koo-OO-meh) or OGBO (oh-boh) meaning friend.  Instead of Princess, Queenie, or King, you could name your dog, KWINI (KWEE-nee) (queen), or ADE (ah-DEH) (royal).

Looking for the perfect dog name? Each of the names below is accompanied by its meaning, pronunciation and place of origin.  Which names are your favorites?  If you have a suggestion or a dog with an African name, please share the name and a picture of the dog with us.  Hopefully, here you will find a name to fit the size, color, or personality of your pooch.

AMAR (ah-MAH)Long life. East Africa (Kiswahili) (M)
ANE (AH-neh)Keep them guessing. Nigeria (Ishan)
AZA (AH-zah)Powerful, strong. Kiswahili
BAAYO (BAH-yoh)Orphan. Gambia (Wolof)
BIKA (BEE-kah)Announcement, omen. Kiswahili
CHAGA (CHAH-gah)To do vigorously. Kiswahili (M)
CHEBE (CHEH-beh)Chance, luck, fortune. Azania (Xhosa)
DINGA(DEHN-gah)To wander, to be without a home. Azania (Zulu)
DOMME (DOHM-meh)I have been blessed. Ghana (Akan)
DUMA (DOO-mah)Lightning, thunder. Zulu
EMI (EH-mee)Ghost. West Africa (Yoruba)
ENYI (ahn-yee)Friend, friendship. Nigeria (Igbo) (F)
FAA (FAAH)Be useful. Kiswahili
GONI (GOH-nee)A promise. Azania (Xhosa)
INAANI (ee-NAHN-nee)Who is left at home? Southern Africa
KAABO (kah-AH-boh)Welcome. West Africa (Yoruba)
KAFI (kah-fee)Quiet, serene. Central Africa (F)
KAMIKAZI (kah-mee-kaah-zee)Queen. Rwanda, Burundi(F)
KANZI (KAHN-zee)Treasure; valuable. East Africa (Kiswahili) (F)
KHATA (KHAH-tah)Home. Azania (Zulu)
KHAYA (KAH-yah)Home. Azania (Xhosa) (M)
KHAYAKAZI (kah-yah-KAH-zee)The great home; she will be refuge to many. Azania (Xhosa) (F)
KIFAA (kee-FAAH)Useful. Kenya, Tanzania (Kiswahili) (F)
KUUME (koo-OO-meh)Friend. Namibia (Ovambo)
KWINI (KWEE-nee)Queen. (Kiswahili) (F)
LOMO (LOH-moh)Sunshine. Nigeria
MINZI (MEEN-zee)Defender; protector. East Africa (M)
MOJA (MOH-jah)One; single. Kiswahili
MORITI (moh-REE-tee)Shadow, messenger. North Sotho
MOYO (MOH-yoh)Life, well-being, good health. Malawi (M)
NATA (NAH-tah)To be faithful. Kiswahili (F)
OBI (OH-bee)Heart. Nigeria (Igbo)
ODE (oh-DEH)Born along the road. Benin
OGBO (oh-boh)Friend, mate, twin. West Africa
OKAKA (oh-KAH-kah)Blessing. Nigeria (Eleme)
OKRA (OHK-rah)Soul. Ghana (M)
OLEE (oh-lee)Happy moment. Nigeria
RAADI (rah-AH-dee)Thunder. (Kiswahili)
ROHO (ROH-hoh)Spirit; soul. (Kiswahili) (M)
RORO (ROH-roh)Fierce. West Africa (Yoruba)
SAFARI (sah-FAH-ree)Journey, trip. Kiswahili
SISA (SEE-sah)Benevolent; fondness. Azania (M)
SITI (SEE-tee)Lady. East Africa (Kiswahili) (F)
STARA(s-TAH-rah)Protected. East Africa (Kiswahili) (F)
SUDI (SOO-dee)Luck. East Africa (Kiswahili) (M)
TEKE (TEH-keh)Prayer. Nigeria
TEZI (TEH-zee)One who stays. Azania (Zulu)
TIIFU (tee-ee-FOO)Loyal, faithful. East Africa (Kiswahili) (M)
TINDO (TEEN-doh)Active. Kiswahili (M)
TITA (tee-tah)Prince. Cameroon (Mubako) (M)
TITI (tee-tee)Flower. Nigeria
UCHE (OO-cheh)Deep thought, reflection. Nigeria (F)
UJE (oo-jeh)Happiness. Nigeria (Igarra)

What are your favorite DOG names?  Do you have DOG names to share?  If so, please share these names in the comments section.



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  1. Aster and Nahara (Nah arah

  2. SHUMBA – a Shona(Zimbabwe) name meaning Lion
    MAMBO – a Shona(Zimbabwe) name meaning King

  3. We named our dog Madiba after Nelson Mandela.

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