Pet Names: Bye-bye Bella!

and hello Della!!

by Sophie Kihm

Naming a dog and naming a baby, while similar in some respects, are two totally different tasks. We have different requirements for our pet names and our baby names. Children need names that can serve them in multiple contexts over the many stages of life. Dogs don’t.

This is why we can call our dog Oreo, but our daughter has to be Oriana.

People just have more fun with dog names. They tend to be snappier and nickname-ier than the names we choose for our children. People are also more willing to give dogs names that are on the edge of style. Chester might seem too dusty for a baby boy, but on a Boston Terrier? Adorable.

So there’s more freedom when it comes to the cutesiness and casualness of a dog’s name, but there are also restrictions. According to experts, dog names should ideally be two syllables—long enough that they can hear the inflection in your voice, but short enough that they easily learn to respond to it. Now, you don’t have to follow that advice (there are plenty of well-adjusted pugs and poodles out there named Pearl and Penelope), but for the sake of this list, I’ve only suggested double-syllable names.

Below are less popular alternatives to the 100 most common female dog names. Because even though there’s less pressure when naming a dog, we know you name-nerds still aren’t going to settle for something in the Top 100.

Popular Dog Name Uncommon Dog Name
Bella Della
Lucy Clara
Daisy Poppy
Lola Lula
Luna Lumi
Molly Mamie
Sadie Zadie
Sophie Sylvie
Bailey Lainey
Maggie Greta
Chloe Effie
Lily Violet
Stella Zella
Zoey Sosie
Penny Polly
Roxy Romy
Coco Kiki
Gracie Dolly
Ruby Gemma
Mia Pia
Zoe Zara
Ellie Nellie
Nala Kahlo
Rosie Ruthie
Ginger Clover
Abby Agnes
Lilly Libby
Piper Pippa
Sasha Zosia
Riley Skyler
Pepper Saffron
Lulu Zuzu
Emma Immy
Lady Lottie
Layla Freya
Lexi Kenzie
Olive Ivy
Annie Anya
Izzy Esmé
Maya Gaia
Maddie Marnie
Dixie Dottie
Princess Queenie
Cali Cami
Millie Tilly
Belle Estelle
Ella Elsie
Harley Hadley
Honey Blossom
Kona Cora
Charlie Darcy
Willow Willa
Marley Marlowe
Roxie Nixie
Cookie Dulcie
Scout Sloane
Holly Lolly
Minnie Minna
Winnie Edie
Angel Dream
Dakota Bristol
Callie Hallie
Missy Lissy
Phoebe Daphne
Hazel Haven
Athena Sage
Shelby Ashby
Peanut Jelly
Sugar Plum
Jasmine Lilac
Ava Evie
Penelope Portia
Sandy Blondie
Trixie Scarlett
Gigi Vivi
Fiona Flora
Sydney Aubrey
Josie Posy
Cleo Clea
Mocha Sable
Leia Lena
Delilah Dinah
Baby Darling
Harper Harbor
Shadow Evening
Macy Kelsey
Pearl Opal
Allie Birdie
Mila Mika
Heidi Ida
Bonnie Lindy
Nina Mina
Grace Audrey
Katie Kitty
Lacey Chelsea
Gypsy Genie
Cocoa Winter
Nova Lyra
Charlotte Alice
Xena Xanthe

And tomorrow–suggestion on how not to name your boy dog Duke.

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9 Responses to “Pet Names: Bye-bye Bella!”

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IslandMoon Says:

April 15th, 2019 at 2:47 am

Obviously there is a difference in dog names trends in the UK than the US. I’ve only met one of two dogs with any of the names you’ve listed as popular, but I must’ve met at least 15 Poppys, 6 Freyas and a few with the other names in the uncommon list too. Flora is my own dog’s name.

lalala__lauren Says:

April 15th, 2019 at 9:22 am

Roxy is on the popular list twice and some of the names are not two syllables as is stated. I like Lainey, Clover, Queenie, Kitty, and Birdie (I’ve always enjoyed the idea of naming one animal after another, like a dog named Cat, or in this case Birdie or Kitty!).

babymagic Says:

April 15th, 2019 at 9:58 am

Here are a few dog names I’ve heard that I loved and remembered: Judy, Walter (“Wally”) and Pushkin

Babies123456 Says:

April 15th, 2019 at 1:06 pm

Many of the “popular” names seem uncommon to me, for dogs. There’s typical Lily, Roxy, and Chloe, but I’ve only met one Millie and one Kona. I’ve never met a dog named Charlotte, Delilah, Phoebe etc… though I would love to!

SarahKathryn Says:

April 15th, 2019 at 1:21 pm

We specifically named our two dogs names that would bring our adopted kitty’s name away from the oh so VERY popular pet name it is. Our cat is called Molly and I wanted our dogs to reflect the ‘old lady’ charm Molly has rather than the ‘oh my dogs called Molly too!’.

So, along came Florence, mostly called Flo, and Ottilie, sometimes called Ottie, sometimes Lottie, sometimes Dottie (as in Dottie Ottie😆).

Molly, Florence and Ottilie. I think we got a bit more eccentric as time went on haha.

SparkleNinja18 Says:

April 15th, 2019 at 4:38 pm

Much like names for my real children, I wanted to avoid giving my dogs popular names, lol. My family liked the idea of Daisy for one of my dogs but I thought it was too common (among other negative associations I have with Daisy) so I suggested Maisie. Everyone loved it even more, and our sweet (almost 3 year old) “puppy” is Maisie. Our other dog is named Beckham, another suggestion of mine, but we really didn’t have many ideas for him so I suggested some of the first B names that came to mind (he needed to have a B name for reasons that would take a long time to explain lmao) and Beckham was the first on the list that everyone agreed on.

beynotce Says:

April 16th, 2019 at 7:28 am

Our dog is a Libby, short for Liberty Bell. Our kittens (11 and 8 months) are Hammy (Alexander Hamilton) and Laffy (Marquis de Lafayette). We previously had a feline Theodosia, called Theo. Obviously, we like a theme.

calliewalker718 Says:

April 17th, 2019 at 9:46 am

I personally met dogs named Shadow, Bella and Charlie.

mommytomany Says:

April 18th, 2019 at 6:14 pm

Seeing Ginger and Pepper on the popular list made me chuckle. Our old cat is named Pepper Mint. Our other two cats are my oldest two sons so they named them. Oldest named his Rosie and 2nd kept the name his came with but gave her two middle names, Nala Tala Ginger. He *almost* named his cat Tapu Koko, lol.

Eventually we plan to get a dog and my second son has picked the name Buttercup.

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