Dog Names: What’s cool, what’s smart, what’s hot, what’s not

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, 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:


Luna — This moon name has been jumping since it was rumored to be the front-runner for the Beckham‘s baby girl, ultimately named Harper.

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.

Piper — Adorable Piper has been on the baby name scope since Sarah Palin‘s candidacy; it’s the name of one of her daughters.

Nala — The popularity of this Lion King name is also influenced by Halle Berry‘s daughter Nahla.

Stella — Tori Spelling has a Stella, a Top 75 choice.

Willow — Another Palin daughter name, a graceful member of the stylish nature name category.

Maya — International favorite, poetic as Maya Angelou, indie as Maya Rudolph.

Athena — Ancient mythological 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.

Ella — Poised to enter the Top 10 in the US and already there in Britain, Ireland, Sweden, and Australia.


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.

Jax — Jack–Max smoosh rising for boys as well as pups.

Ace — Singer Jessica Simpson is reportedly going to choose this for her second baby, boy or girl.

Leo — Classic international favorite glamorized by Leonardo DiCaprio.

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.

Simba — Lion King choice on the boys’ side.

Milo — Bobo favorite for boys with the trendy o ending.

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?

About the Author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry and Baby Name DNA. The coauthor of ten groundbreaking books on names, Redmond is an internationally-recognized baby name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, CNN, and the BBC. She has written about baby names for The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, and People.

Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its sequel, Older. She has three new books in the works.