Best Central African Lingala Dog Names for a Basenji

Updated on July 25, 2019
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.

Got a lap? You need a Basenji.
Got a lap? You need a Basenji. | Source

If the Basenji is not the oldest dog breed, he is certainly in the top five. Based on the available DNA evidence, the dog is descended from Asian wolves, so since there was some migration there somewhere, a few of the breeds that started out in Asia might be a little older.

The Basenji has been around for thousands of years, however, and has been doing his job effectively all of that time. The dog is a hunter and is intelligent enough to drive game into nets.

Europeans discovered the Basenji in the late 1800s, and since the dogs did not fit the standards of European intelligence, they were considered one of the least intelligent dogs. The Europeans considered a dog intelligent when he would respond quickly to commands; the Basenji does what is best, not just what he is ordered to do.

The Basenji is still found among the villagers of the Congo, especially in the area where Lingala is spoken.

French is an official language spoken across most of the Congo Free State, but if you want to give your dog an authentic name, go with a Lingala word.

Since you will probably not be able to name your dog for an ancestor or relative, like many of those in a Lingala village, here are a few authentic names you can use.

Lingala Words That Are Also Used for People's Names

What to call your dog
a surname
a male name
a male name
young girl
a surname
a female name
a female name
Basenji sleeping on a bean bag.
Basenji sleeping on a bean bag. | Source

One great myth that the Central African people have about their Basenjis is his relationship to God. The Basenji, being God´s companion, was constantly sent out on chores and given instructions on what to tell the people on Earth. Being smart, he figured out that if he could not talk, God would no longer send him on chores.

Since that day, the Basenji has no longer spoken.

Other Lingala Words That Work Great for Dog Names

What to call your dog
you all
a fighter
a biter
to be respectful
to die
little brother (or sister)
money or expensive
(also means number one)
the moon

The Basenji is a great dog. It's definitely not a member of “the bottom ten” for intelligence.

Any dog able to figure out what is expected of him during the hunt is intelligent. Is he the best dog to follow commands given during obedience training? Probably not. If that is really important to you, there are other breeds to choose from.

Since you are reading this, though, you have probably made your choice, and now need a special name. I hope you have found an authentic Lingala name for your new puppy. If you did not find what you were looking for on this list, keep in mind a few things:

  • Only choose names that are short and easy to pronounce. You can try to find a native Lingala speaker to help you with pronunciation, but most of these words on this list are not hard to pronounce. Just do your best.
  • If you find a long name that you really HAVE to use then decide on a nickname that you will use to call your dog, and start using it right away during training.
  • Here is an example. If you want to use a name like “Bolingo” (Love or Sweetie) that is not appropriate for your dog, shorten it and call your dog “Boli” or “Lingo”. You can decide which is best for your dog, but try the new name out and let him decide too.
  • Do not choose an overused name from the top 10 or top 25 lists of dog names.
  • Do not give your dog a silly name that he will grow out of.
  • Take plenty of pictures. Basenjis are cute and photogenic, but puppies grow up fast.

Basenjis are perfect lap dogs!
Basenjis are perfect lap dogs! | Source

Be sure to get a name tag for your new puppy as soon as you have picked out a name. The tag should include your name, the puppy´s name, and your cell phone number.

Also be sure to get a microchip for your puppy on his next visit to the vet.

His life may depend on it!

© 2014 Dr Mark

If You Are a Lingala Speaker, Please Leave a Comment and a Suggestion for More Names! Thanks.

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    • profile image


      19 months ago

      We rescued our little African girl 8 years ago when she was 4 years old. She is the only breed to which I am not allergic. I wanted her to have a Congolese name. When we rescued her, her name was 'Pretty Girl'. CBR from where we rescued her told me she was one of the most beautiful female Basenji she had ever seen. The Priest who married is is from the DRC - Democratic Republic of the Congo. I asked him to translate her name into his dialect. It is: Muwana wa Bakagi Mulenga (quite a mouthful - isn't it?). We tried each word (minus the 'wa') with her. The only one she responded to was Bakagi. We also call her Kagi or my husband calls her 'the Kaj'. Cannot imagine our lives without this amazing little creature. She trots like a horse, steps like a deer, terms like a gazelle (they are FAST! Father Meals said they use them to hunt Lion in the Congo.), can climb trees & even open doors. She does something EVERY day which makes us smile & say 'bad Basenji'. This time of year, we say: 'Feliz naughty dog!'

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Dr. Mark, I have always loved the Basenji dogs, even when I did not know that they were Basenji. I have an Australian Terrier and I am happy with him (Chipper) but, the Basenji still have a place in my heart.

      Wonderful hub, thank you for the information.

    • DrMark1961 profile imageAUTHOR

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Thanks Bob, I am really glad you like them. I am fond of Moki myself, and am probably going to name my next small dog that, even though she will not be a Basenji (they are not available where I live).

      It would be a cute name for a giant GSD too, don't you think? No one could tease her about it, even if she was hanging around eating cow lips and passing gas.

    • profile image

      Bob Bamberg 

      5 years ago

      Of your entire "Best Names For" series, I think these names are collectively the best. Many just roll off the tongue. Their meanings make the name a little more interesting, but the way they sound is almost musical.

      If there's such a thing as reincarnation, and I come back as one of your dogs, please name me Sembo, even though I'll probably be a German Shepherd. Oh, and I'll pass on the cow lips, thanks. Just give me one of those nice bones to work on. Voted up, useful and interesting.


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