Choosing the Right Dog Names

Dog names come in many flavors, just as dogs come in many sizes, colors, breeds and habits. But not all names fit all dogs, so how to choose the perfect name for your great dog? Here are some important tips for choosing puppy names, as well as a short list of some of most popular dog names and some ideas for interesting and unique dog names.

10 Tips for Choosing a Dog Name

  1. Keep it short and simple. A great dog name has only a few syllables, is easy to call out and has a catchy, unusual sound such as "x" in Beatrix. A long name will inevitably get shortened anyway, and you might end up with a shortened version you don't like.
  2. Look at your dog to find the name that fits. Choose a name that reflects what your dog's size, color, breed or habits. A name like Shadow would fit a black dog, but wouldn't work for a dog with lighter fur. Chaos or Dizzy might be perfect fits for a very active dog, but not for a dog that spends most of its time sitting in the sun.
  3. Avoid dog names that sound like commands. Dogs perceive the sound of words, not their meaning. Thus, a name that sounds like a command is only confusing for the dog and it can make things frustrating for you. A dog by the name of Noah will think that when you say "no," you just mean to call it, so you'll have a hard time teaching it acceptable behavior. Same thing if you try to teach Syd to sit, or Fletch to fetch. Save yourself some time and choose a name that has a different sound.
  4. Your puppy grows, but its name remains the same. Choose a name that will still fit once your dog has grown up. Little or Honeybee sound fine for a puppy, but they can sound unintentionally hilarious for a 140-pound Great Dane.
  5. Avoid embarrassing dog names. Choose something that you can call out loud in front of family or strangers without getting funny looks. Regardless of what its name means, your dog will come to you just as happily, but it's you who will feel uncomfortable when calling out, "Here, Farty!" or something similarly embarrassing. So choose wisely.
  6. Avoid trendy names. Your dog will be with you for many years, but trends come and go much faster than that. Do you really want everybody to know by your dog's name that once you were a fan of the Jonas Brothers?
  7. Avoid naming your dog after a family member. Not everybody will feel just as honored to have a dog named after him or her. Chances are some might actually feel offended. Better to keep the good relationships and find some other name for your dog.
  8. Ask your dog. Make a list with your favorite five to eight names and try calling them out to see how your dog reacts to them and how natural it feels to call them. You will notice that your dog simply ignores some and shows interest when hearing others.
  9. Ask your kids. They will love to search for the perfect name. Perhaps Paw or Fluffy is not exactly what you had in mind for your cool dog, but kids will love a dog name of their choosing. They are also more likely to accept more responsibility for the puppy they named.
  10. Old name or new name? If your dog had a previous owner and you know them well, you can stick with the old name of the dog. However, if you are unsure about how the previous owner treated that dog, it's safer to change it to something new. Give your dog a new name to make it clear that this is a new start, in a new home, with new rules.

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Most Popular Dog Names

Depending on where you live, the puppy names you hear most often might be different. However, there seem to be some favorite boy dog names and girl dog names that make it on the top lists in many areas. The most popular male dog names are Max, Rocky, Buddy, Lucky, Bear and Jake. The most popular female dog names are Lucy, Molly, Sadie, Maggie, Princess and Daisy. To find out the most popular dog names in your area, you can search reports from dog tagging businesses or from a veterinary pet insurance company. Just remember that all these reports only take into consideration officially registered dogs.

Ideas for Unique Dog Names

Your dog is unique, so why not have a unique name to suit it? Here are some suggestions:

    1. Think of known brands. From perfumes to cars, you can find some inspiration in brand names loved around the world. Bijan, Aramis, Beetle, Bug or Chevy: these are all good names.
    2. Think of food or drink. It can be something you like, something the dog likes or something that simply sounds right or funny. Pretzel, Salsa, Honey, Muffin or Budweiser might be the perfect fit.
    3. Think of nature. Does your dog come in like a Storm or the Thunder, or does it light up the room like a Sunbeam? Or perhaps you simply like Ivy, Clover or Azalea. You could also name your dog after a precious stone, such as Sapphire or Ruby.
    4. Think of towns and geographical locations. You don't have to invent a name for it to sound unique. Get a map and look in some distant areas. Chances are you will find some town that isn't very well known, like about Aalborg, Vilpian or Gargazon. You can also go the other way and choose a very famous city, like Paris, or a holiday location Nevada, Dakota or Alaska.
    5. Think of famous historical names. There are plenty to choose from. How about Napoleon, Alexander, or Cleopatra?
    6. Think of combinations. This is especially easy to do if you have two dogs, so you can give them pair names like Adam and Eve or Abbra and Kadabra.

And remember, no matter whether you go for a classic name, a cool name, a funny name or a famous name, you can still be sure that your dog will love you just the same and you will have a great and true friend!