Baby Name Spike: People vs pet names

Baby Name Spike: People vs pet names

When Mike Myers named his son Spike recently, there were several comments on our Nameberry Facebook page along the lines of: “Did his wife have a puppy?” and “Bit doggy for me.”  Not very kind, perhaps, but it does raise the subject of the blurring of the line between human and dog names, when babies are being named Buster and Buddy, and pups are commonly called Chloe and Mia.

So little Spike won’t be alone in his name zone.  Other celebs have provided him with a number of comparably-named prospective (if older) playmates.  There’s Michelle Hicks and Jonny Lee Miller’s Buster, Rosanne Barr’s Buck, Jamie Oliver’s Buddy Bear and Alicia Silverstone’s Bear, Justine Bateman’s Duke, Damon Dash’s Lucky, Gerard Way’s Bandit and Robert Rodriguez’s Rocket, as well as the poodle-ready Coco (Courteney Cox & David Arquette), Gigi (Cynthia Rowley), Fifi (Bob Geldof) and Zuzu (Tania Peterson).

But are these still the kinds of names that are actually given to dogs today, when pups are considered more family members than pets?  The answer is a resounding no!  Traditional canine monikers like Fido and Rover, Spot, and Champ have virtually disappeared, having been replaced by popular people names.  In fact, looking at the most recent list of top names for dogs might make you do a doubte-take as it’s so similar to the top babies’ names lists.

Evidence: Here are some of the leading canine names, with their comparative dog and human popularity rankings (puppy numbers on the left, kids on the right)– so maybe you won’t be too surprised if a Cocker Spaniel comes running next time you call out your child’s name in the park:


Canine            Human

1.  Bella 48

2. Molly 87

3. Lucy 75

6.  Sophie 59

7. Sadie 118

8.  Chloe 9

9.  Bailey 78

11. Zoe 31

18. Lily 17

21. Emma 3

28. Mia 10

30. Zoey 47

31.  Madison 8

32. Stella 85

36. Samantha 15


1.   Max—98

4.   Jake—116

6.   Charlie–244

7.  Jack—-44

9.  Cody—158

12. Cooper—76

13. Riley—105 (40 for girls)

19. Oliver—88

21. Oscar—-147

30. Jackson—25

35. Milo—422

38. Hunter—59

47. Romeo—358

49. Luke—41

50. Henry—67

And here, for an added bit of trivial pursuit, a comparison of some celebrities’ naming styles for their human and pet names:

Adam Sandler: Sadie, Sunny for his daughters vs. Meatball for his Bulldog

Alicia Silverstone: baby Bear Blu vs.dogs  Samson, Scottie, Cale, Jeffrey, Lacey

Ashlee Simpson: Bronx vs. Blondie

Brad Garrett: Hope vs. Gus

Courteney Cox: Coco vs. Ella, Harley, Hopper

Drea De Matteo: Alabama, Waylon (called Blackjack) vs. Cyrus

Elton John: Zachary vs. Marilyn

Ethan Hawke: Maya, Levon, Clementine, Indiana vs. Nina

Geri Halliwell: Bluebell Madonna vs. Daddie

Gillian Anderson: Piper, Felix, Oscar vs. Cleo, Pasha

Gwyneth Paltrow: Apple, Moses vs. Holden

Halle Berry: Nahla vs. Bubba, Polly

Helen Hunt: MaKena’Lei vs. Johnny

Jenna Elfman: Story, Easton vs. Guinevere

Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck : Violet, Seraphina vs. Martha Stewart

Jessica Alba: Honor, Haven vs. Nancy

Kate Hudson: Ryder, Bingham vs. Clara Bo

Liv Tyler: Milo vs. Neal

Minnie Driver: Henry vs. Bubba

Nicole Richie: Harlow, Sparrow vs. Foxy Cleopatra, Honeychild

Pete Wentz: Bronx vs. Rigby, Hemingway

Reese Witherspoon: Ava, Deacon vs. Chi Chi Rodriguez, Coco Chanel, Frank Sinatra

Sarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick: James, Tabitha, Marion vs Sally

Tori Spelling: Liam, Stella vs. Mimi La Rue

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.