Choosing the best name for your new dog will depend on who and what you like. Naming your dog or puppy gives you a chance to express some of your passions. You can look for something fun, quirky, classic, political, or something based on pop culture like movie or TV characters, or something out of your favorite book. Some people like to name their dogs after celebrities and some will choose a name that reflects their taste in food. No matter where your heart lies, here are a couple of useful tips to choose the best name for your dog.
- Choose a name that is either one or two syllables long, dogs tend to respond better to them. It is much more likely that your dog will respond to “Dar-cy” or “Blue” than a name like “Co-per-ni-cus” or “Au-ro-ra”. These are all fabulous names that say a lot about you, but dogs learn sounds rather than words so the longer names might be lost on your dog.
- Don’t try to name the puppy before you’ve met the puppy. And once you have the dog, give yourself time to get a feel for your dog’s personality, quirks, likes and dislikes. Because unless you are going for a sarcastic name, you don’t want to end up calling a very laid back, calm dog “Buzz”, “Flash” or “Riot”. Or naming a lactose intolerant dog “Cheese”.
- Think of a name that you will be able to say loudly when you call your dog in the park. It is much easier to call out “Aaaaaaa-nnie” than say “Go-ver-nor”.
- It is also important to think about the meaning and connotation of the name. It is no wonder that a dog called “Gator” would be a nipper, a dog called “Rascal” would be mischievous, or a dog called “Rebel” would ignore his owners. Though all of those are really popular names for dogs.
- Avoid names that sound like cues. Naming your dog “Kit” will often be confused with the cue to sit.
- Pick a name that your dog can be proud of at any age. Calling a Great Pyrenees puppy “Fluffy” might be cute for an eight pound dog, but a full grown dog over one hundred pounds might be better suited to a name such as “Yukon”, “Zeus”, “Bertha”,”Gaia” or “Willow”.
- Keep in mind that dogs will respond better to names that end with vowel sounds, especially those ending with long “e” sound. Like “Eddie” or “Millie”.
- If you are naming more than one dog at a time, make sure you like the individual names on their own, “Bonnie” and “Clyde” sound fine on their own, as do “Bert” and “Ernie”, but “Bacon” and “Eggs”?? or “Back” and “Forth”???
According to the AKC, the most popular names for dogs in 2016 were: Max, Charlie, Buddy, Cooper, Jack, Rocky, Bear, Duke, Toby and Tucker for male dogs. Bella, Lucy, Daisy, Lola, Luna, Molly, Sadie, Sophie, Bailey and Maggie for female dogs.
There are also many people who decide to name their pups after favorite foods and drinks like: Taffy, Twix, Pie, Mocha, Latte, Sugar, Ginger, Peaches, Tofu, Espresso, Taro and Kale.
You can also find inspiration through mythology (Athena, Apollo, Calypso, Orion, etc.), history (Lincoln, Franklin, Gandhi, Rosa, etc.) the arts (Turner, Pollock, Warhol, Monet, Dali, etc.), science (Darwin, Curie, Newton, Tesla), pop culture (Bowie, Beyonce, Snow, etc.), where your dog’s breed originated or where you got the dog (India, Sydney, Siena, Cairo, Boston, Georgia, Denver, Austin) etc. And if all else fails to suit your dog you can make up your own name.
No matter what name you choose, use it for a couple of days and see if it takes. Take into account your dog will have that name for an entire lifetime and you will say that name hundreds or thousands of times, so don’t force it. If you try it out and your dog doesn’t respond or you find yourself using a nickname instead then perhaps you should rethink the name.
Best of luck and we hope you can find inspiration for your new dog’s name or your next dog’s name.