As dogs have become vital family members, it shouldn’t be a surprise that roughly 50 percent of all pets have human names or nicknames.
Before you choose a name, it helps to get to know your dog so you can choose a name that fits your dog’s personality.
Some pet owners name their dogs based on their appearance, for example, Blacky, Midnight, or Spot. And a few dog owners opt for irony — one of my former neighbors had a miniature gray poodle named Bear.
Choose a simple name
Don’t get too complicated. Keep it simple. A one- or two-syllable name is best.
I also recommend saying it aloud a few times to see how it sounds. Does it roll off your tongue? Would you be embarrassed to have your friends or neighbors hear it?
When I adopted my first dog – Browning – I briefly considered naming him Pulitzer.
As a journalist, I thought it was a fun name. But it had too many syllables and didn’t sound that great when I shouted it off the deck.
Instead, my sister, Amy, suggested a literary name since both of us and our other two siblings had been English majors in college.
I pondered other names – Shakespeare and Hemingway – but opted for Browning (for the poet Robert Browning) when I saw the adorable beagle/Labrador mix puppy I adopted from the humane society.
A few months later, Finley came to join our home. Friends had found him abandoned near the Finley River in southwest Missouri.
Although I briefly considered changing Finley’s name for a literary one, ultimately, I decided against it. Finley suited him, and I worried he’d be confused by a name change.
Avoid the most popular names
When I got Sydney in 2008, I considered several names – Aspen (because I now live in Colorado), Bella, and Cinco (the paper collar she wore only had the number 5 on it when I adopted her).
I finally settled on Sydney because she’s an Australian Shepherd-Corgi mix.
The name suited her, and I’m glad I decided against Bella, my second choice.
Three of the eight dogs in her puppy kindergarten class were named Bella. If I’d chosen that name for my girl, 50 percent would have had the same name. It was confusing enough having three Bellas.
And I like it that none of my dogs’ names have ever been on any popular lists. Each dog is original, and I love that each has a unique name.
Boy dog names
If you have a male puppy or a male dog, you might want to consider:
Girl dog names
If you have a female puppy or female dog, choose among popular female dog names, including:
Cute dog names
Other dog owners opt for cute names. When I got my Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy Nutmeg, I researched names and quickly learned Corgi owners opt for clever or cute names.
Some names are playful:
Others choose to name their dogs after spices:
Some choose flower names:
And some get creative and give their dogs titles, most likely in honor of Queen Elizabeth’s long fondness for corgis. Options include:
- Sir Winston Wigglebottom
- Lady Summer Wigglebutt
- Sir Darcy
- Lady Penny Peachbottom
- Sir Shrimpy
- Lady Peaches of Liliput
- Sir Remington Von Barkwaffle
- Lady Summer Corgdashian
- Sir Lancelot
- Lady Coconut
According to Veterinary Pet Insurance, the most popular names are Max, Molly, Buddy, Bella, and Lucy, based on a survey of more than 450,000 policyholders.
Dogster has several lists that offer options ranging from wacky names to holiday-related names and Star Wars names.
If you need more help choosing a great dog name for your pup, visit dognameguide.com. Still need inspiration? Check out BlogofTom for more great name ideas.
Sara B. Hansen has spent 20-plus years as a professional editor and writer. She’s also the author of The Complete Guide to Cocker Spaniels. She decided to create her dream job by launching DogsBestLife.com in 2011. Sara grew up with family dogs, and since she bought her first house, she’s had a furry companion or two to help make it a home. She shares her heart and home with Nutmeg, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. Her previous dogs: Sydney (September 2008-April 2020), Finley (November 1993-January 2008), and Browning (May 1993-November 2007). You can reach Sara @ email@example.com.