What’s in a Dog Name?

So you’ve brought home your new puppy. Now comes the hard part: What to name this new member of the family? Even if your dog came from a breeder or shelter that already assigned it a name, does it match your style?

While you may be inspired to give your dog a long, descriptive name, it’s best to keep it short and simple. You won’t want a name that you’ll have a hard time saying or pronouncing, and your dog will have a hard time learning and remembering something difficult. Experts say hard consonants, like Jack or Coco, will make a good impression. One or two syllables will suffice, and are best for training. Remember, you will call your dog’s name thousands of times, so make it a name that you enjoy saying, and won’t be embarrassed yelling in public.

Also, while your dog may have a large capacity for spoken vocabulary, it’s best to make commands and keywords distinct. Don’t name your dog Sit, Stay, Fetch, Dinner, or Outside, for instance. Also, watch for soundalike names, like Kit or Ray. As much as you may like a certain family name, using it for the dog may cause confusion if there’s a human around with the same one.

That doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Sometimes the dog’s appearance or breed will inspire you. Spike and Rocky work for English Bulldogs as well as a Chihuahuas. Daisy or Princess may not match a German Shepherd, or maybe they might. We’ve known Rottweilers named Tiny, and a Basset Hound named Moose.

Gender doesn’t have to play a role, either. Harley is popular among motorcycle buffs, while Bailey has an Irish connotation. Any dog can be a Pepper, Peanut, or Pumpkin. Names from popular films, TV shows, and books surface year after year, which explains why there are so many Yodas, Frodos, Diesels, and Marleys out there.

Inspiration can come from anywhere. If you still need ideas, here’s a list of the most popular male and female dog names from 2017.

dog with bowtie

Boy Dog Names

  1. Max
  2. Charlie
  3. Cooper
  4. Buddy
  5. Jack
  6. Rocky
  7. Bear
  8. Tucker
  9. Oliver
  10. Duke
dog with flower crown

Girl Dog Names

  1. Bella
  2. Lucy
  3. Daisy
  4. Luna
  5. Lola
  6. Sadie
  7. Molly
  8. Bailey
  9. Maggie
  10. Sophie
  • Published:
  • Updated: 3/26/2018: 1:48:13 PM ET