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A Guide for Finding the Perfect Dog Name

A Guide for Finding the Perfect Dog Name

Can’t find the perfect name for your dog? Read our guide for tips, tools, ideas, and inspiration for identifying the perfect dog name.

11/03/2022 | Sniff & Bark

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

Shakespeare may be the most prolific playwright in history but dog lovers like us are obsessed with finding the perfect dog names for our pets. After all, we’ll be using the names we choose countless times and may even have them printed on their personal items like dog collars.

We’ll be calling them out to get their attention and when issuing commands. Dog names thus need to be as special as our dogs. However, the perfect dog name is highly subjective. It’s based on individual tastes, experiences, and preferences. 

So, while we can’t tell you what to name your pet, we can certainly help you with some tips, ideas, and tools.

What’s in a name? For us dog lovers — everything. Without further ado, let’s dive in!

 

8 Practical Tips for Dog Naming

Whether you prefer cute dog names, unique dog names, or common dog names, there are a few practical tips for naming your dog. Of course, you don’t have to follow all of them to a T but it’s good to keep them in mind when you’re searching for what to call your pet.

1. Avoid Overly Long Names

If you’re a Mary Poppins fan, calling your dog “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” may seem like a cool and even funny idea, but imagine saying all that every time you need to call your dog. Inconvenient, right?

For practicality’s sake, you’ll probably end up shortening it anyway. Do yourself and your dog a favor by choosing a name that’s no more than three syllables. If you can come up with a name that only has two syllables, even better.

Interesting facts: One of the longest dog names that have been documented online is Theodore James Franco Gatsby, a French bulldog from New York. He was named after the Hollywood actor James Franco and Jay Gatsby, a character in F. Scott Fitzerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. Unsurprisingly, his owner calls him “Theo” for short. Other cheekily long names we’ve found online are McHill's His Royal Highness Prince Gizmo House of Gremlin and Easthill Broxden Woodland Lettuce Entertain You. 

While they’re certainly funny and creative, they’re a mouthful. So, pick a name that you can repeat without a problem and will like hearing again and again.

2. Use a Vowel at the End of Your Dog’s Name

Do you notice how your dog becomes more interested when you say something in varying pitches? This is because dogs are very astute at distinguishing different frequencies. When you alter the tone of your voice, it piques their interest and grabs their attention.

When we use a vowel at the end of our dogs’ names, it’s natural for our voices to change pitch which is easier for our dogs to pick up. Give it a try and say a word like “Jenni,” then say “Rover.” See the difference?

In addition to dog names that end with a, e, i, o, and u, you can also explore names that end with y. 

Here are a few dog names that follow this tip:

Girl Dog Names

    • Nikki
    • Millie
    • Lady
    • Bella
    • Sophie

    Male Dog Names

      • Leo
      • Marley
      • Luca
      • Benji
      • Tedd

    3. Don’t Have Pets With the Same Name

    This may be a super obvious tip but it’s a good reminder, especially for owners who have several pets. To avoid confusion, pick a name that’s exclusively assigned to your dog.

    4. See if You Can Have Some Fun With It

    Our love for dogs will lead us to do many zany things that we wouldn’t have thought of. One of those things is creating nicknames that are as cute and cuddly as our canine family members. 

    You’re naming your dog anyway so why not allow yourself to have some fun with it? For example, you may name your dog Chewbacca if you’re a Star Wars fan, then end up with cute nicknames like Chewie, Chew Barca, etc.

    To check out which dog names have promising iterations, try saying names you’re considering out loud. Give them a whirl by calling your dog, seeing how they respond, and how you feel about the names.

    5. Stay Away From Potentially Offensive Names

    The sky’s the limit when it comes to picking dog names but it’s always best to stay away from potentially offensive names no matter how cute or funny they sound. They may not seem rude or derogatory to us but your neighbor, dog walker, groomer, and friends may not feel the same way, especially when they hear you calling your pet.

    Potentially offensive dog names are those that are culturally, racially, historically, and politically loaded with negative connotations.

    Some dog names that may be considered inappropriate are:

      • Al Coholic
      • Chairman Mao or Mao Ze Dog
      • Stupid
      • Jeffrey Dahmer
      • Cancer
      • Road Kill

    While it’s okay to have fun, we should be careful that it doesn’t happen at the expense of others.

    6. Avoid Names that Sound like Commands

    As you and your four-pawed companion settle in together, you’ll want to teach it some commands. To make training easier, avoid names that sound like commands. 

    “Rover” might sound like “roll over,” “Kay” can sound like “stay,” and “Kit” can easily be confused with “sit.”

    7. Consider What You Like and Your Dog’s Personality

    The best way to arrive at a dog name you’ll love is to consider what you like and your dog’s personality. 

    If the dog is for your kid, you may want to look at Paw Patrol dog names like Skye, Chase, Everest, and Marshall. Or, if you’re of Scottish ancestry, think of classic Scottish dog names such as Nessie, Tartan, Lassie, Aggie, and Douglas. If you like movies, list down dog names from movies or even western dog names if western films are more your speed. Old lady names like Ida, Agatha, Charlotte, Hazel, and Maude are also charming.

    Another approach is to consider your dog and its personality. If you have a large dog, some creative names include Goliath, Tank, and Clifford (after Clifford the Big Red Dog). For funny dog names, you can name your pooch in a completely contradictory way like calling your Chihuahua “Goliath.” 

    You could also name your dog based on its breed. For example, look for wiener dog names for your dachshund like Banger, Bratwurst, Oscar, Weenie, Frankie, Smokey, and Sausage.

    If you own a breed with black and white spots like a Dalmation, search for black and white dog names. Some examples are Spot, Patches, Marble, Oreo, Swirl, Sprinkles, and Snoopy.

    By considering your dog and things you like, you can find a dog name that perfectly fits you both.

    8. Use Dog Naming Tools

    There are tools for naming your baby so why not one for your fur baby? Yes, they exist. A dog naming tool or a dog names generator can help you get automatic, customized lists of names so you don’t have to scour page after page on the internet.

    The Dog Name Generator offers personalized results with a click of a button. You can choose a favorite letter, a variety of themes, cute boy dog names and girl dog names. You can even ask it to look for popular or unique names.

    Available dog names generator themes include:

      • Movies and TV
      • Music
      • Art
      • History
      • Literature
      • Scriptures
      • Sports
      • Science and technology
      • Nature
      • Animation
      • Comics and games

    Once you have a shortlist of names you like from the dog names generator, you can run them through the Dog Name Meaning Tool. It will show you all the popular contexts of a certain name such as notable figures in literature, sports, scriptures, movies, television, nature, science, and more. 

    Click on the dropdown arrow for more details, then “read more” to see an article page with more comprehensive information.

    These are two of the handiest resources for making an informed decision about your dog’s name. When people ask you about it, you’ll be able to tell them all about the name you’ve chosen!

     

    10 Most Popular Dog Names in 2022

    Sometimes, it’s good to take inspiration from what other people are doing. Even if you don’t copy the names exactly, you can get ideas from them. 

    Based on a survey of 800,000 pets, here are the 10 most popular dog names from least to most popular:

    10. Max
    9. Teddy
    8. Bailey
    7. Cooper
    6. Lucy
    5. Milo
    4. Daisy
    3. Bella
    2. Charlie

        And the most popular dog name for 2022 is…

        Luna.

        Did the answer surprise you?

        It’s interesting to note that Luna and Bella are favorites not just in the US but across 30 countries. Both Italian and Spanish words, Bella and Luna translate to beautiful and moon, respectively. Even non-Latin American countries have shown a preference for these two girl dog names.

         

        How To Teach Your Dog To Recognize Its Name

        Teaching your dog to recognize its name is one of the first things you’ll train it to do. This is a crucial step because it can help you control your canine and keep it away from dangerous situations, especially when you’re outside.

        Most dogs will learn this skill on their own as you use their name daily. But if you want to be more intentional about it, here are a few ways to get them to respond more quickly!

        Step 1: Find a quiet place where you’re both comfortable.

        Step 2: Place a treat about a meter away from you.

        Step 3: After gobbling up the treat, your dog will look at you hoping for more. When it does this, provide positive reinforcement with a clicker and give it another treat.

        Step 4: When your dog starts turning to look at you consistently, say your dog’s name before they turn towards you then reward it with a treat.

        As you progress, make training more challenging by gradually increasing the distance between you after calling out to your pet. When it approaches you, treat it with rewards and lots of praise. You can also move to locations with more distractions. Just make sure to provide more rewards when you do. 

         

        Frequently Asked Questions

        Can I change my dog’s name after adopting it?

        After adopting, many people want to change their dog’s name to something they feel suits both of them better. The good news is it’s okay to change your dog’s name. You can start using it regularly to familiarize it with its new name and train it with treats for positive reinforcement.

        If you want it to recognize the new name faster, try going with a name that sounds like its old one.

        Can my dog have more than one name?

        Absolutely. Dogs can be taught to respond to more than one name. Many dog owners attest that they use different nicknames for their dogs (including their “real” name) and dogs respond to them all the same. The trick is to use its names consistently so your canine can build recall and familiarity.

        What types of names do dogs respond best to?

        Dogs respond best to words with as few syllables as possible, even monosyllabic names. Try to not go beyond three syllables. Names that use hard consonants like “k” or “c” and end with a vowel are also easier for them to distinguish. 

         

        Putting It All Together

        There are so many possible dog names that it can be difficult to choose just one. However, we hope that our guide has made your journey easier. Remember to choose a name that’s short, ends with a vowel, and is unique in your household. 

        While you’re at it, see how it rolls off your tongue, how your dog responds to it, and if you enjoy saying it. Stay away from potentially offensive names and consider your likes as well as your dog’s appearance and personality. 

        Tools like the Dog Name Generator can help you quickly come up with a shortlist. The Dog Name Meaning Tool, on the other hand, can be used to check out how your chosen names have been used across different spheres of interest.

        Finding the perfect dog name can be challenging but have fun with it. It’s an exercise you’ll only go through once so it’s important to find a great name. Once you find a name that brings you joy and that your dog responds to eagerly, then it’s mission accomplished.


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