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Authentic African Basenji Names

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Tags: Basenji, Origin

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Part of the fun of being a dog owner is coming up with a name for a new pet. While this task is somewhat simple for a number of pet owners, others find choosing between scores of names a little more difficult. A dog can be named for its personality, a physical trait or even after a favorite TV character. In the case of the Basenji the name can also be cultural, denoting its African roots. The name can describe the region from which it hails or it can be a word in a native tongue that beautifully describes the dog. In keeping with the Basenji's exotic look, many also opt for an exotic name.

The Basenji hails from the part of central Africa known as the Congo. The inhabitants of the area commonly referred to the Basenji as mbwa shenzi, which means wild dog. Not surprisingly, Shenzi is a common name for the Basenji. Having a unique name for the unique breed is a move that makes a lot of sense to many. Because the dog is rather small, short succinct names are always a good idea. A majority of those who choose exotic names choose common African surnames as not to end up naming their dog something that could be incriminating or embarrassing. Examples of these types of names for a Basenji can be:

  • Adoula

  • Kongo

  • Tsiba

  • Dio

  • Kafi

  • Omari

  • Seko

  • Tshombe

  • Yakoko

  • Zadi

  • African names for celestial bodies, flowers and the word for 'beautiful' are also a good idea, showing creativity and imagination:

  • Merika- moon

  • Zama- heaven

  • Mahri- evening star

  • Akila- most beautiful

  • Azima- gorgeous

  • Tisoke- a beautiful gift

  • Dakari- happiness

  • Zena- small flower

  • Zahara- flower

  • Chinu- blossom

  • Those looking to put a little pizzazz behind their pup's name can opt for strong names such as those of African kings, queens or deities. Examples can include:

  • Affonso- king

  • Hannibal- king

  • Ramses - king

  • JaJa-king

  • Amina- queen

  • Nefertiti-queen

  • Nandi- queen

  • Eshu- God of mischief

  • Buku- God of sky

  • Olokun- God of Sea

  • There are countless websites available that also give names and their meanings from other regions of the vast continent. One can find names in Swahili, Yoruba, Zulu, Ashanti and many others. One can choose from lists of African cities, jungle names, rivers and other world famous landmarks. A name can be as simple or as descriptive as one sees fit. While there are no steadfast rules for naming a dog, it is important to remember that the name says as much about the owner as it does the dog.

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