Dad’s Favorite Baby Name is Taken … by the Dog!
They’ve already used their favorite name – for the dog! She’s working on finding some fresh ideas, but he’s still stuck on Olivia. What might satisfy them both?
My husband and I are expecting our first baby in early August – a girl!
We are trying to decide on the perfect name. My husband has fallen in love with Olivia.
The problem? We already used the perfect name. For our dog, Olivia.
Could you please give us some suggestions for this baby so she doesn’t end up being named after the dog?
The Name Sage replies:
It’s no tragedy if names repeat in the same extended family, four-legged members included. Let’s say your brother had a dog in college named Olivia, or maybe your cousin just adopted a kitten with the name. These are good examples of times it’s perfectly fine for a creature and a kiddo to share the same name.
But it sounds like this is your dog, in the present moment, and that changes everything. If you wouldn’t name your daughters Olivia and Olivia, the same should be true for your daughter and the dog. Olivia is taken, and it’s not an option for this baby.
Getting your husband to agree might be tough, but I suspect he’ll come around. Most parents would never insist on a name their partner actively dislikes, though sometimes it comes right down to the delivery room before that’s resolved.
For now, let’s focus on finding a name that could be a good compromise between your two lists. One name leaps out at me: Lyla. The related name Leyla is Turkish, which could make it a perfect, culture-spanning pick. It could also allow you to move the English Olivia to the middle spot: Leyla Olivia.
If you prefer to stick with English firsts, I think you might need to forgo Linden and Marlow. They’re both great names, but they’re the farthest from long, romantic Olivia. From your list, Sienna seems much more like a substitute for Olivia.
Or maybe you’d consider one of these names:
My favorite for you is Linnea. Like Olivia, it’s related to the natural world without being an obvious nature name. It sounds like so many names you both love, and it works well with several of your possible middles.
Readers, what would you suggest to Megan? And would you ever consider using the dog’s name for a child? Please vote in the poll!
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on June 6th, 2017 at 11:06 pm
You could start calling the dog by a nickname, and the dog won’t live as long as the girl, anyway. I say call her Olivia, if you love that.
on June 6th, 2017 at 11:32 pm
I love Abby’s suggestion of moving Olivia to the middle. Or you could use a nickname for either the dog or the baby. I hate to completely give up a name you love. Some alternatives just in case:
on June 6th, 2017 at 11:39 pm
I don’t know if this option appeals to you and your husband, but I have friends who encountered a similar dilemma when naming their daughter, and choose to rename their pet (in this case it was a cat), and give the name to their child. I think naming your daughter Olivia would be difficult if the dogs named remained Olivia.
on June 6th, 2017 at 11:43 pm
What about Viola? It has many of the same sounds as Olivia.
on June 7th, 2017 at 12:17 am
I wouldn’t name my baby the same name as my dog, personally, but if you don’t mind and it’s the only name you and your husband can agree on then why not I guess!
Maybe he would like Olive instead? Or something similar to Olivia like Alyssa, Avida, Elena, Lydia, Ophelia, Odelia, Lilia, Alexa, Lilla, Elysia? I hope you find something you can both agree on! xx
on June 7th, 2017 at 12:52 am
Lyla or Lila will be my choice. Btw none of the Turkish names of your list isn’t Turkish and Kaya is a male in in Turkey sigh..
on June 7th, 2017 at 2:40 am
I think Abby’s made some good suggestions, and I like the idea of Viola, too.
Here are a few more names that remind me of Olivia:
Sylvia / Silvia
Sylvania / Sylvana
Good luck with the decision, and congratulations!
on June 7th, 2017 at 3:14 am
Maybe Lydia would work? Or Olive?
on June 7th, 2017 at 4:50 am
I like Mina. Mina Olivia.
on June 7th, 2017 at 4:53 am
I wouldn’t in general be a fan of this, but I do actually know parents who went with the dogs name and started calling the dog “puppy.” Always a danger to using names you love on pets before having children!
on June 7th, 2017 at 7:22 am
Genevie, Silvia and Aviva or variations of these names have a similar feeling tone as compared to Olivia. Good luck!
on June 7th, 2017 at 8:02 am
Steve Erwin named his daughter, Bindi Sue after the dog and alligator. So, if you can’t sway him from Olivia (beautiful name, BTW), then, just know it’s been done before. My suggestion: Alydia.
on June 7th, 2017 at 8:21 am
Like a few others have said, if you can’t agree on anything else you can always change the dogs name. My husband and I had considered this already, before we were pregnant, the only boy-name we agreed on was Thor, which is our cat. Now that we are pregnant we’ve decided it wouldn’t work for our baby anyway so it became irrelevant…luckily.
on June 7th, 2017 at 8:55 am
My suggestions are Liviana and Vivia.
on June 7th, 2017 at 9:02 am
Really good suggestions of names in the same vein. Though I have to say after reading “Olivia is taken” I was waiting for additional John Mayer lyrics. “I’m thinking something like Olivia is what I need to find” … anyone?
on June 7th, 2017 at 9:24 am
If Olivia is such a favorite I would suggest renaming the dog or calling it by a nickname. Perhaps Olly? Then the baby could be Olivia, called either that or Liv/Livvy/Lia if you wanted a nickname.
on June 7th, 2017 at 10:35 am
Just change the dog’s name! Or have it go by a nickname like Libby
on June 7th, 2017 at 10:55 am
Please do not change the dog’s name! That is confusing for the dog and will be especially so once you start calling a baby by the dog’s former name. Your dog will have enough adjustments to make without having her name changed.
Abby’s suggestion to move Olivia to the middle name spot is right on.
on June 7th, 2017 at 10:58 am
While Olivia is lovely, I quite agree that you shouldn’t use it if your current dog has the name.
From the suggestions of Abby I think that Lilia or Miranda are beautiful and have the same feel as Olivia.
I second a previous berry’s suggestion of Livia. I personally suggest the name Audrey.
on June 7th, 2017 at 11:18 am
Ok so my phone has stopped letting me vote in nameberry polls recently, but I agree with many previous posters: try finding another name you love just as much as Olivia and if you can’t, then start calling the dog by a different name or nickname now, so she has time to adjust before the baby comes! Our dogs always had lots of nicknames and didn’t seem to have any trouble when we added a new one.
Most people have their children around for the rest of their lives, but the dog, sadly, will not be around for nearly as long. Give the name you love most to the one who will use it longest!
on June 7th, 2017 at 12:04 pm
I seem to be in the minority here… but I think changing the dog’s name is a bad idea. As Abby herself said, dogs are like our furry children so that would be like parents naming their daughters Olivia and Olivia. Since the baby is due in August and it’s June, I don’t think the dog has time to learn a new name and learn to stop answering to her old name. Also, I have no idea how old this dog is but an older dog would have a more difficult time adjusting to a new name than a puppy. Either way, as @Freya_1983 said, this dog will have a lot of changes and her name shouldn’t be one.
I think Olivia would make a great middle name though. I also think Lydia or Lilia could make a perfect substitute. Both have similar sounds to Olivia but aren’t similar enough that the dog might get confused.
on June 7th, 2017 at 5:13 pm
There are so many names out there, I’m certain you can find something else you love as much as Olivia.
on June 7th, 2017 at 6:22 pm
Change the dog’s name or shorten it to Olive, Livie, something like that. Olivia and her dog Olive has a charming quality to it.
on June 7th, 2017 at 8:37 pm
How about this: change the dog’s name to Bolivia, and name your daughter Olivia?
on June 8th, 2017 at 2:01 pm
Sylvia has already been listed but I want to say I really like that. It shares similar sounds but still musical and feminine just like Olivia. Also Sylvie is a cute nickname or just another great choice. Another name that came to mind was Vivika. Not English but a common enough spelling of Viveca which means alive. Really sweet and meaning plus it has similar sounds.
on June 8th, 2017 at 5:33 pm
Can I throw these beautiful although not English names in the pot?
I feel that changing the dog’s name will be confusing for everyone. Have you thought of naming the baby Olivia and calling her Liv or another nickname until the original Olivia has passed? At that time you can give your daughter the choice if she wants to go by her full name or not.
One more thought:
I do know of two cousins who both spell their name Olivia. One pronounces it like Ah-Livia and the other with a more exaggerated O sound….
on June 9th, 2017 at 1:09 am
I don’t know why everyone thinks changing the dog’s name is so easy or desirable. My dogs KNOW their names, and I can’t imagine how terribly confusing it would be for them if I started calling them something else, and then started calling a new baby by its former name! Why should the poor dog be such an after-thought? This was the risk in giving the dog apparently the *only* name that this dad likes.
And what about the child, when she finds out one day that Puppy used to be called Olivia, which is now the child’s name?
on June 9th, 2017 at 1:05 pm
I know I already commented above but I thought of another name that might be a good recommendation. What about Zena. Originally spelled Xena, like the warrior princess. But it is a soft name with a unique soft and lettering while being easy enough to spell since it sounds as its spelt. Still feminine and melodic, but short and sweet all in one. Also I’ve met a few who also spell it as Zina and Xina. Though I recommend Zena because as I pointed out before it is as it sounds and I think it just works.
on June 10th, 2017 at 5:55 am
I vote for Leyla Olivia.
on June 10th, 2017 at 7:19 pm
I would definitely consider changing the dog’s name, or switching to a nickname you know you won’t want to use on your baby girl (like Ollie for instance). While pets are like children to some people, they aren’t actually children – it’s incomparable – anyone with a child would know this. Olivia is a classic: if you spend your whole pregnancy finding a replacement for it, you’ll never find something that lives up to it. Some other nice suggestions, but if your husband vetoes them all (as husbands tend to do) then you have that as an option!
on June 11th, 2017 at 3:35 am
For Olivia: Liv, Livia, Viola, Vera, Ava, Octavia, Ariana, Cassia, Gemma, Mara, Maeve, Maeva, Neve, Evelyn, Eve, Eva, Eleni, Rosalie, Rosalind, Cordelia, Celeste, Fiona, Phoebe, Maisie, Lilia, Lila, Ginevra, Geneva, Josey, Willow, Wren,
Turkish: Leyla is a great suggestion, Alara, Ayda, Ayla (pronounced like Isla, so you could spell it either way), Artemis (actually counts as both), Adile (close to Adele), Aliye, Selen (close to Selene), Peri (my daughter’s middle… I think it has a bit of spunk), Mira (also an English name… what about Mirabella), Aylin (similar to Eileen), Jeyda (I wouldn’t spell it with a C, but quite trendy in the US), Jeylin, Melisa, Melodi/ Melody, Meryem (I adore Miriam, and think it has a similar, classic feel to Olivia),
on June 11th, 2017 at 10:16 pm
I suggest Seren/a or Sabine/a for a first name-Seren and Sabine have the same calm, elegant quality that Linden and Marlow have, but Serena and Sabina add the romance that Olivia has. You could do the sparer version for the formal name but your husband could elaborate on it for a nickname-you say Sabine, he says Sabina. The dog stays Olivia.
on June 12th, 2017 at 7:47 pm
I agree with the Name Sage’s suggestion of Linnea. Linnea Azize sounds pretty, doesn’t it? Or is that just me?
on June 14th, 2017 at 12:05 am
Your dog is Olivia, period. Changing it would be heartless.
The right name for your daughter will appear.
on June 14th, 2017 at 6:39 pm
To all the people saying it’s wrong to change the dog’s name.
I foster dogs, most of them either don’t know their names or it’s all in the tone. I can get them to the point where they’re off lead, all I say is their name but it can mean ‘go this way’, ‘come’, ‘leave’ etc etc (sometimes I still end up with the wrong dog). And then they go off to a home where the people change their name anyway. The dogs adapt, especially if there is already upheaval going on (transitioning to a new home, new baby arriving).
Not to mention if other people’s dogs are anything like mine, half the time I’m not calling them by name but by a variety of nicknames or endearments. And occasionally ‘you utter moron’, said lovingly.
on June 19th, 2017 at 11:48 am
Well!! there are so many names in the world. No one needs to stick with the similar names. However, its independent choice to name whatever we want.
To get the access to the huge database of baby names scroll through the below website.
on June 25th, 2017 at 4:58 pm
I love her suggestion of Leyla Olivia, or perhaps Lela Olivia?
She suggested Linnea, what about Lavinia? Like the ‘L’ names you seem drawn, with the V in it from Olivia. I wouldn’t personally use Olivia as a middle then, but I’ve heard worse ?.
Best of Luck!
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