Dog Names: What’s cool, what’s smart, what’s hot, what’s not
Dog names have become indistinguishable from baby names, with virtually all the most stylish and popular dog names coming from the human lexicon.
Cities like New York and Seattle as well as smaller towns such as Wellesley, Massachusetts and several dog-oriented websites publish yearly tallies of most popular dog names. Top choices these days include Bella and Max, Molly and Jack, Sadie and Cooper.
One detailed rundown of the most popular dog names in New York City includes a really cool map of the top dog names in different neighborhoods. Residents of the tony Upper East Side, for instance, prefer Lucy, while denizens of the bohemian East Village like Lulu and dog-owners in a tough section of Queens favor Rocky.
Noted dog expert Stanley Coren has even written for Psychology Today about the art and science of naming dogs. A dog’s name is vitally important, Coren says, since it’s one of the few words he understands.
What about the human psychology of choosing dog names? You don’t have to be Freud to surmise that the current taste for human names is evidence that our dogs have become our babies, deserving of the same consideration and treatment as little boys and girls.
Dog name trends mirror human naming trends, according to from the website vetstreet.com, which analyzed the dog names that had risen the most over the past decade. There’s evidence that celebrities and pop culture influence dog naming style and that the same names are jumping up and sliding down the charts for pups as they are for humans.
Vetstreet’s trendiest dog names, and our analysis of why they’re hot:
Layla — Double L names are hot for girls; this one is #33 on the Social Security list, having climbed more than 800 places over the past decade.
Athena — Ancient mythology names are hot, for people as well as dogs.
Charlie — This gender-crossover favorite has leapt an astonishing 600 places for girls over the past five years.
Dexter — TV’s cutest serial killer is having a huge influence on dog names as well as boy names.
Thor — Powerful mythology names, a booming group for boys thanks to The Hunger Games.
Gunner — Badass names dominate for dogs as well as boys.
Bentley — The fastest rising baby boy name last year thanks to a Teen Mom.
King — The only one of the group that’s traditionally been used for dogs, though it’s jumped 500 places in the past five years for boys.
The Huffington Post analyzed Vetstreet’s data to come up with the list of fastest-falling dog names. Their list, for the most part, is made up of names also sliding down the popularity scale for people:
What dog names do you hear most where you live?
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on March 20th, 2013 at 11:34 pm
I’ve got a chocolate and tan mini daxi named Buttercup.
on March 20th, 2013 at 11:39 pm
My parents just named named their new dog Milo. They also have a Lucy. I hear the name Ace and Bella a lot where I live.
on March 20th, 2013 at 11:54 pm
My personal favourite is Pepper, which is the name of my beautiful black Labrador! I’ve met a few dogs named Nala. The other dogs Pepper plays with regularly are named: Bear, Colby, Ellie, Harry, Hartley, Jackson, Pele, Rusty, Sam, Scruffy, Tiri and Yandi.
on March 20th, 2013 at 11:59 pm
I’m an Aussie, I’ve heard of dogs named:
Cindy, Lucy, Sonja, Wally, Suzie, Roxy, Wilma, Missy, Sam, Monty and Ninja.
My married name is Jones, so I want to call our future dogs names I like that I couldn’t use on my kids (Bridgette, Tom, David, Indiana…) 🙂
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:03 am
We have a Golden Retriever named Heidi. I loved that name for a little girl, but our last name starts with Ho and I couldn’t name a daughter Heidi Ho, but it’s super cute for a dog! I’m very surprised to see Heidi on one of the lists above! There are lots of dogs named Bella in our area.
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:11 am
We have two, Edna and Seymour. Names that would NEVER be good on humans (See the entry on Seymour on here!) but they go well together. When we named them the characters on The Simpsons were dating as well…
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:12 am
I’m almost 110% sure that no one else has a dog named McNuggie! (although Hallmark has just marketed an interactive storybook about a dog named Nugget – that doesn’t count!! We named first!) Over the last few years, my husband has been known by one and all as Big Mac. Our surname begins with Mc, plus he’s a big fan of Apple/Mac computers. Of course, this also distinguishes him between all the bazillion Mike/Michaels in the world… We had just been married a few months when his students asked how long it would be before we had children they could call McNuggets – thus our inspiration 🙂 And in 3 years, I’ve never met another!! McNuggie’s mini schnauzer playmate a couple doors down is on the above list – Rudy; and one of my childhood pets (Maltese) – Misty.
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:34 am
Actually, truth be told, my husband fell in love with the name Nadia because of a sweet Russian Wolfhound who frequents our local park. I’ve never seen him so enthusiastic or happy about a name ~ that is his absolute first on our girls list!
on March 21st, 2013 at 1:10 am
My yellow lab is a Dodger. My cousins dog is Tommy. Other dogs names of my friends are…
I’m just meh about human names on dogs, but when they’re more risky to use on kids, why not use it on the dog? Example: I love Teddy, but for my son? Meh. But for a puppy? I think yes.
on March 21st, 2013 at 1:41 am
It’s hard to give your dog a name that’s NOT extremely youthful and happy. Lots of Mollys, Lucys, Charlies, etc. I’d have to adopt an extremely senior dog before I could name it Beulah or Maynard (although I would enjoy that very much … two rescue greyhounds in twill jackets with those fusty names).
on March 21st, 2013 at 1:55 am
I have a black lab named Missy. 🙂
The names of some other dogs that I know:
I also know two cats named Tigger and Midnight.
on March 21st, 2013 at 2:16 am
I’d suggest that Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series of books is at least as responsible as The Hunger Games for the popularity of mythological names for dogs, especially since children generally have a greater say in naming a new pooch than a sibling. I have several four-legged acquaintances named by tweens after gods and demigods, including a Percy!
on March 21st, 2013 at 3:37 am
I have a Shihtzu-poo named Princess Penelope who we call Penny. My Black Pomeranian took us a whole month to name, but his name suits him perfectly! His full name is Giorgio Armani Theodorable, but we call him Giorgi. My daughter’s Black Lab is Emerson “Emma”, my son has two Pit-Bulls Evie and Zoie, my younger daughter has two Hounds named Marley and Lucy. Other friends have Mr.Fluffy, Leo, Brooklyn, Buffy, Sandy, Ginger, Heidi, Buddy, and Tootsie.
on March 21st, 2013 at 3:47 am
And my cousin’s two schnauzers are Biscuit and Gravy.
on March 21st, 2013 at 4:57 am
These are a few of the dogs in my area:
Capt. Jack Sparrow “Jack”
on March 21st, 2013 at 4:57 am
Nacho, not No.
on March 21st, 2013 at 5:09 am
We know a ton of dogs named Zoe. Our yellow lab is Seamus.
on March 21st, 2013 at 5:28 am
I know dogs named Delilah, Rosie, Bella, Mocha, Coconut, Kona, Pokey, Nikki, Libby, Kara, Molly, Duchess, Max, Bear, Allie, Carter, Oscar, Oliver (Ollie), Leonard, Bacon, Murphy, Chance and Bean. Personally, I’ve always wanted an Alaskan Malamute named Juneau or a Dalmatian named Dorothy (Dottie).
on March 21st, 2013 at 5:31 am
Or a Scottish terrier named Duncan.
on March 21st, 2013 at 6:32 am
If I get another dog, his name would be Bocephus. I’d call him Bo or sometimes Bowie. I also like Tux and Pancho.
on March 21st, 2013 at 7:13 am
A Dalmatian named Dorothy nn Dottie! I see what you did there 😉
on March 21st, 2013 at 7:15 am
Also, I love an earlier suggestion of Heidi. When I was naming my dog, I found it harder to find good girl dog names that weren’t too popular. Heidi is a good one!
on March 21st, 2013 at 7:30 am
My dog’s name is Gilda Gray and my Cate’s name (given by my then six year old stepdaughter) is Nala. I used to have a cat named Rupert. Other dogs I know are Sadie, Zoe, Roxie, Layla, Kali, and Indy (originally named Indigo, but now known as Indiana Jones).
on March 21st, 2013 at 7:32 am
My cat’s name is Nala – sorry, autocorrect on the iphone.
on March 21st, 2013 at 7:45 am
My dog’s is a rescue whippet cross staffordshire bull terrier. Basically she looks like a fat whippet ; ) and her name is Chloe.
Names commonly used:
on March 21st, 2013 at 8:07 am
Coco and Daisy
on March 21st, 2013 at 8:18 am
I still love my dog’s name the best! His name is Todd, which is fitting. He looks like a white fox (jack russell parson).
on March 21st, 2013 at 8:19 am
My lovely canine creature is a Sammy! I actually like that his name is falling out of favour; makes it more unique to me. He is a 12.5 year old Maltese and we chose Sammy after the Humphrey Bogart character, Sam Spade from “The Maltese Falcon”. (We thought it was witty and it’s a great litmus test for film buffs like us!)
on March 21st, 2013 at 8:25 am
I have a kennel, so I have used many of these names.
My favorites are a customer that named the two dachshunds they picked up. They named them Bob and Apples
on March 21st, 2013 at 8:26 am
I think every dog in my neck of the woods is called Maggie, Abby, Bella or Bo. There are so many Maggies that I actually feel sorry for the human Maggies I meet; that must be really awkward at the dog park.
I’ve never given my animals people names; it’s more fun to name them things like Bingo, Patches, Tippy and so forth.
on March 21st, 2013 at 8:31 am
My favorite dog name is Clover. I thought it was so unique, but I’ve met 2 people with dogs named Clover in the last few weeks. Oh well, I will still use it one day!
on March 21st, 2013 at 8:33 am
Also, my boyfriend has a boxer mix named Maisie. When he adopted her she was named Daisy, but that was just too feminine for him. So, he just adjusted her name slightly because she already knew. She is very sweet, and it fits her well.
on March 21st, 2013 at 9:35 am
My aunt had a dog named Bella in the 90s, ahead of the time with that one I think. Other dogs I know are Poppy, Trixie, Prince, Storm, Cooper and Lucy. If I ever got one I’d name it something I could never use for a real baby, either because it doesn’t go with the surname or it’s just too out-there.
on March 21st, 2013 at 9:43 am
I hope we get to share our cats names, sometime soon. Growing up my parents had a dog named Samuel (Sam) he ranaway. I find myself more of a cat lover, just because I am superbusy and a cat is pretty self sufficient.
on March 21st, 2013 at 9:44 am
Weave a Maggie and have met several other Maggies (human & canine), in the neighborhood. Other pups living nearby include:
Taquila (x2) -one is a chihuahua & the other is a German shepherd!
… And more !
on March 21st, 2013 at 10:07 am
I named my Boston Terrier Roxy because I knew my husband wouldn’t go for that as a baby name. Other dog names in my circle…
Mostly people names with a few wild cards thrown in.
on March 21st, 2013 at 10:10 am
My nephew wanted to name his black lab pup either Maggie, Aly or Lucy. We nixed them all, reminding him he has human cousins with those names. So she’s Ellie.
Other dogs among friend and family include Nellie,Doc,Olive,Merlin,Harvey,Tilly,Simmons,Norman,Barney,Sugar,Honey and Blitz.
on March 21st, 2013 at 11:51 am
I have two labs, named Sam (Samson) & Titan. Sam came to us with the name Sambo, but we weren’t fond of it so we called him Sam and decided his ‘full name’ would be Samson. That way Sam wouldn’t have to really learn a new name. We recently adopted Titan and since everyone seems to have a Sam/Sammy in their 4-legged family we wanted something more unique. My brother wanted to name him Petey after the running back in the movie ‘Remember The Titans’ but I wasn’t crazy about it and suggested Titan. We picked it because it seemed strong. Almost everyone I know with pets has named their animal a ‘human name’, I know of dogs named Sarah, Cindy, AJ, Mac, Tyson, Molly, Shelby, Jenny, Emma, etc.
on March 21st, 2013 at 11:58 am
We named our dog Piper seven years ago! I always loved the name but it’s a little more out there than my taste in baby names. This way we get to enjoy the name on our dog.
If you are considering the name for a baby or a dog, FYI people at the park often mistake it for Hyper or Paper! That cracks me up. I suppose it wouldn’t happen as often if the name became more popular and people got used to it.
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:17 pm
I have a seven year old brown and white springer spaniel called Findlay (Finley) and a three year old black and white sprocker
(springer and a cocker) called Bella
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:30 pm
My husband named our dog Ezra b.c we got him at the Pound. He thinks this is hilarious. I wanted to name the dog Mr. Teeth and save Ezra for a human, but he won.
Some of the dogs we know are:
And too many Maggie’s to count.
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:42 pm
We have a black lab named Doris. Love the name, couldn’t imagine giving it to a child, so it went to the dog.
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:43 pm
My only dog was a standard poodle named Aspen (following a vacation in Colorado). My Aunt has four dogs: Maggie, Gus, Teddy, and Lady, all of which I think are great names. My favorite is perhaps a friend’s Golden Retriever who they beautifully named Maple. It’s tough to name a pet before you have them, I think, but I love:
on March 21st, 2013 at 12:47 pm
I know a Lilly, a JoJo, a Babe, and an Ace. I myself don’t have any dogs, but I do have a cat named Connor.
on March 21st, 2013 at 2:26 pm
We have 3 dogs, Oscar, Oliver & Matilda “Tilly” and a cat, Stella : )
on March 21st, 2013 at 3:08 pm
I know german shepherd named Jasmine and a mix cocker spaniel named Bella.
on March 21st, 2013 at 3:44 pm
My dogs are named Macy and Rogue…my friend named her dog Riley and then regreted not saving it for her son…I sometimes wish I had saved Macy for a daughter…there have also been names I like but they are the names of friends’ pets… So they are not usable to me anymore…
on March 21st, 2013 at 3:48 pm
I usually name my pets something that has meaning but I don’t think would work well on humans. So basically guilty pleasures. I have a cat named Retzi (boy) and a rabbit named Natsu. When I get another pet, if it’s a girl it will be Malala if it’s a girl or Orion for a boy.
I like to choose unique names for my pets, though I hate my cats’ name. I got him when I was in third grade and since Retzi was originally my brother’s cat, he named him Retz, which I changed to Retzi.
on March 21st, 2013 at 4:04 pm
The most common dog names around my little town? Max and Ace.
I have a 2 year old boxer/bulldog named Hudson and he’s the only dog named Hudson that I’ve met.
Some other names of dogs I know:
on March 21st, 2013 at 4:09 pm
I like word dognames. My aunt gave a person name to dog, but then we made a close family friend who had the same name as the dog. When the dog died, we were told “the name died>” and both my sister and I assumed the person and not the dog died. It can get confusing.
on March 21st, 2013 at 4:15 pm
Our dog is Helo, after a character from Battlestar Gallactica. In our last neighborhood, the dogs were:
Kinda ridiculous when they’d all play together in somebody’s backyard!
on March 21st, 2013 at 4:40 pm
I think Luna and Riley are so adorable for a puppy! My neighbor has a dog less than a year old and they called it Gay. Not sure if it is a boy or a girl?
on March 21st, 2013 at 7:04 pm
We have two dogs – Maxwell and Annabelle (We call her Annie) and a cat named Olivia, all of which are popular human names where we live. Now we have a baby boy named Milo, a popular dog name!
on March 21st, 2013 at 9:22 pm
My mom and dad have a dog named Piper and one named Harlow.
My dog is named Pippin – partially named after the Lord of the Rings, partially for the musical “Pippin.” Although her two namesakes are male, our Pippin is a girl 🙂
on March 21st, 2013 at 9:25 pm
I love this post!
on March 21st, 2013 at 9:26 pm
We have a Scottie mix named Stewie. Now I have doggie name regret–Stuart would make a great baby name!
on March 21st, 2013 at 10:36 pm
My first dog was named Sugar Doggie (I was four)
Next came Devonshire named after a color of paint the same as her coat.
Deuce (a jack russell mix) had two big spots on his back
I now have two chihuahuas Señorita Dulcinea after Don Quijote’s most beautiful woman and Colby Queso. Colby was adopted with the name Cole so I had to give it a little flair.
on March 21st, 2013 at 11:20 pm
I have a female black and tan mini ‘daxi’ named Pepper and a female ‘daxi’/corgi/basset mix named Ginger!
on March 21st, 2013 at 11:30 pm
I have a male pug named Bindi Timmetrius Daniel. His name when I got him was Timmy, but he was all Bindi to me. I turned Timmy into Timmetrius as his first middle name and Daniel as his second middle name because I love the name. He has two middle names because my future children will have two middles as well 🙂
on March 21st, 2013 at 11:34 pm
My sweet golden retriever fur baby is Prince Caspian aka Kitty. I know several Charlie’s, a Freya, Max, a few Abby’s, Chloe’s…
on March 22nd, 2013 at 12:20 am
We have quite a few fur babies in my house…
My cavaliers are Abbott and Brinkley, then the two babies who are more than likely going to be Sophie and Penny. My boyfriend’s black and tan coonhound is Rex, plain and simple 🙂
on March 23rd, 2013 at 5:12 pm
My Maltese boy is: Uno
My maltipoo girl is: Hola
Chi girl: Charo
4 Scotties: Sydney, Barclay, Brody, Monte
on March 24th, 2013 at 11:46 am
tarynkay i LOVE Ezra cos he came from the pound!! genius.
i would steal it but i had a pair of canaries for years called Ezra and Jackson so probably wouldn’t reuse it.
If my husband and i were to get a dog we like Pharoah as my husband grew up with a Caesar so we want to continue that theme.
i think Pharoah would be awesome on a tiny dog or a dog that looked a bit like those Egyptian dog statues 🙂
My friend Bonnie has met A LOT of dog Bonnie’s over the years.
on March 24th, 2013 at 5:29 pm
My dogs are named Fenway(after the Red Sox stadium), Shadow(because I got her in first grade and she is gray like the color of a shadow) and Max(he looks like the dog in the Grinch).
Basically, all the female dogs I know end in an “eee” sound.(Maci, Holly, Maggie, Jersey, Annie…) Most of the male dogs have traditionally nickname names(Mickey, Charlie, Buddy, Hank…)
on March 25th, 2013 at 11:32 am
My Weimaraner’s name is Wilhelmina. I call her Mina 🙂 It fits her perfectly.
Other dogs I know:
on March 28th, 2013 at 4:21 pm
We’ve “wasted” some of my favorite kid names on dogs- but I have no regrets. 🙂 Past pups of ours have included:
Shania and Quayla (both named by previous owners)
Other dogs I know:
on June 28th, 2013 at 5:50 am
I would like a Labrador/Golden Retriever in about a decade (not allowed a dog in my parents’ house, hahaa) and I’ve been thinking of calling him Leo or Levi (didn’t want a girl for some reason).
If I got a beagle I’d probably call him Scout.
It would depend on if the name fitted them when I got them, but those are my preferences:)
on June 24th, 2018 at 3:41 pm
I had a dog who recently passed named Chelsea. (Female)
The dogs we had before were
Tobias Tyler nn Toby Tyler aka Toby (boy)
Clovis nn Clover (boy)
Annabelle nn annie
All dogs were owned between 1996-2018
My aunt has a dog named Maya
There a dog across the street named Oscar
Next door is Frannie (Francesca)
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