One of the most exciting things about welcoming a new puppy into your home is that you get to choose your new furry friend’s name!
But where do you start? Well, to help you out, we’ve put together this fun dog naming guide that’s chockfull of great tips on how to pick a name for your pup.
When you’re picking a name for your puppy, always go for something short and not too complex. If the name takes forever to say, your puppy isn’t likely to remember it. And it will make training your pup to come to you a challenging task!
If you do find a long name that you absolutely love, you can still choose it; just shorten it to a nickname that your dog can learn and remember.
Why We Name Dogs
People have been naming dogs since at least the days of Ancient Greece. We name dogs for many reasons. Names represent the animal, but also the person who gave it to them. A name is a tool to control, train, and manage a dog, as well as represent who they are. A dog’s moniker also represents an emotion for its owner.
Owners should remember that a pet’s name matters more to an owner than to a dog. For example, no dog has ever struck up a conversation about the 80s movie that inspired their name. Nor have they explained that Mr. Paddington Pup was their owner’s first dog’s name, and they just love the idea of naming another dog that same, nostalgic moniker.
Why A Dog’s Name Matters
Dogs do not recognize their name because they know what it means. What it means is far less important to them than what a name represents. For canines, this word is one of the most important sounds they will ever learn. A name represents that something is going to happen. Owners call out dogs’ names for meal times when it is time to go for a walk, when they want a cuddle, and sometimes when they have been naughty.
It is okay not to have a perfect name picked out right away. While this works for some owners, it is certainly not expected, nor is something wrong if it takes a while to pick a perfect name. Many dogs start out with the nickname “Baby”, or “Puppy.” Sometimes these first nicknames end up sticking long-term.
Try out a few names before picking one. Experiment with a few nicknames. Just like we do for our favorite humans we come up with lots of nicknames for pets. Try out a few before making a final decision.
It can take two weeks or a little longer for dogs to learn their names, especially young puppies. Keep this in mind, and do not get discouraged if a pup does not respond to a name right away. Owners can offer a lot of positive reinforcement like treats or cuddles when a dog responds to their name to encourage them to keep responding.
Do not be afraid to change a puppy’s name if it is not working out. Sometimes owners may feel like a failure if this happens. However, it is not a failure or anything out of normal circumstances. Sometimes a name just does not work. Dogs are not as attached to things as we are, and they will pick up on a new name if needed.
Owners often feel like they are facing judgment from others for what they name a dog. As long as a pet’s name is not offensive, or wildly inappropriate, then owners should not feel too much pressure from others. After all, it is not their pet, nor their choice or process to pick a name. Try not to judge other owners on their dog’s names, remember how hard of a process this was for you?
In addition to our suggestions, there are lots of other sources of inspiration for dog names.
- You might have a best friend or favorite family member that you’d like to name your puppy after.
- Think about breed-specific names. Dog names for a German Shepherd or naming a Siberian Husky will likely have different criteria than what you’d name a Yorkie due to their size, stature, and personalities.
- Maybe you took a vacation to a country or state you really loved – why not name your puppy after that?
- Rock stars, trendy bands, movie stars, and TV personalities can also have names that would look great on a puppy. However, remember that your dog could live until well into his teens, and someone that’s currently hot news might be long forgotten in a few years’ time.
- If your dog comes from a particular country, you might like to choose a name from that region for him. For example, if you have a French bulldog, you may want to call him Paris or Eiffel!
- An extremely handy resource for finding dog names are baby name books that you can buy online or in bookstores. These books contain an alphabetical list of names for both boys and girls, and some books also include the meaning of each name too, so you can pick something that fits your pup perfectly.
Top Five Male & Female Names
The top five male and female dog names in the U.S. are:
So, if you want your dog to stand out from the crowd in the dog park, avoid choosing one of these names! This is especially true if you are naming a Labrador, which is the most popular breed in the United States!
Disney-Inspired Dog Names
If you’re a Disney movie fan, you might want to pick a Disney-inspired name for your new puppy.
There are lots of Disney animals that you can choose from, including quite a few dogs! We’ve included names for boy and girl dogs, and there are plenty of options that would suit either sex.
Check out this list to see if anything takes your fancy:
|Disney Names 1||Disney Names 2||Disney Names 3|
|Anna||Gobstopper (one of the 101 Dalmatians!)||Ollie|
|Aurora||Hades||Pascal (from Tangled)|
|Berlioz||Kristoff||Rajah (Jasmine’s tiger in Aladdin)|
|Boots||Li Shang||Robin (Hood)|
|Bruno (the dog in Cinderella)||Little John||Scar|
|Chief||Marie||Splatter (another one of the 101 Dalmatians!)|
|Elsa (the lion)||Muffin||Tramp|
|Fergus (king from Brave)||Nala||Wendy|
Classic & Unusual Male/Female Dog Names
If you’re planning on welcoming a female puppy into your household, you’ll need a female dog name for her.
Here’s a selection of great, classic names for both male and female dogs. We’ve included some exotic, unusual, and hipster names, as well as the more commonly-seen monikers. We’ve also included a nice list of unusual dog names you may not have seen before.
|Classic Female Names||Classic Male Names||Unusual Dog Names||Unusual Dog Names|
Cute Dog Names For Small Dogs
Some dogs are just plain cute! If you have a tiny fuzzball puppy that’s going to grow into the cutest little pup you ever saw, you’ll need a cute name that will suit him perfectly.
Here are some of the most adorable dog names we could find:
|Small Dog Names 1||Small Dog Names 2|
|Lily / Lillie||Ziggy|
Funny Dog Names
Our canine companions can be comedians as well as our best friends! And if you have a good sense of humor too, you might want to find a funny name for your dog, maybe inspired by your favorite food.
Sources of inspiration for funny dog names can come from a film character or comedian who made you giggle or maybe from your best buddy who’s hilarious without even trying to be!
If you do pick a funny name for your puppy, remember that today’s in-joke might not be so amusing tomorrow, and your poor pup will have to carry that name for the rest of his life!
Here’s a small selection of amusing dog names that you might like to consider for your funny furball:
|Funny Names 1||Funny Names 2|
|Jones (Bridget Jones’ Diary)||Trump|
Rugged Dog Names
Some dogs look just plain tough, even if they’re really great big softies at heart! And a tough dog needs a tough dog name to reflect his looks, if not his personality.
When choosing a tough-sounding name, avoid picking something that could be viewed as offensive by other dog owners at the dog park. In particular, it’s best to steer clear of naming your dog after evil historical figures.
Here’s a few tough dog names that won’t cause offense!
|Rugged Names 1||Rugged Names 2||Rugged Names 3|
Inspired By Movies
If you love movies, or TV shows like Paw Patrol, you might find inspiration for your dog’s name among the following movie-inspired selections:
|Movie Names 1||Movie Names 2|
|Ambrosius (Labyrinth)||Milo (The Mask)|
|Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird)||Morpheus (The Matrix)|
|Batman||Napoleon (Napoleon Dynamite)|
|Baxter (Anchorman)||Neo (The Matrix)|
|Boba Fett (Star Wars)||Robin|
|Brick (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy)||Simba (Lion King)|
|Chance (Homeward Bound)||Snake (Escape from NY, Escape from LA)|
|Clarice (Silence of the Lambs)||Stich (Lilo & Stitch)|
|Jack (The Shining)||Toto (Wizard of Oz)|
|Juno||Trinity (The Matrix)|
|Kane (Citizen Kane)||Uggie (The Artist)|
|Kip (Napoleon Dynamite)||Winnie (Winnie the Pooh)|
|Marv (Sin City)|
For Hogwarts and Galactic Republic fans, we have entire articles dedicated to Harry Potter and Star Wars dog names.
More Names From A-Z
Finally, here are some more dog names, from A through Z.
Abbey, Abby, Abagail, Ace, Alamo, Alec, Alen, Alex, Alexis, Ali, Algie, Allie, Althea, Amanda, Amber, Amelia, Amigo, Amos, Anastasia, Andie, Angel, Angelica, Anne, Arcanine, Archer, Arica, Ariel, Arizona, Asha, Ashtan, Aspen, Atlas, Aura, Axel, Ayala, Ayana Ashley, Astro
Baby, Bailey, Balto, Bambi, Bandit, Barklay, Barky, Barney, Basil, Beanie, Bear, Beatrice, Becca, Beckie, Beetle, Bejour, Bell, Bella, Belle, Ben, Benni, Bennie, Benny, Bentley, Bessie, Beta, Billie, Biscuit, B.J., Blackie, Blaster, Blaze, Blinx, Blitz, Blondie, Blooper, Blossom, Blue, Bogie, Boinkers, Bonkers, Bonnie, Bono, Bonzo, Boo, Booboo, Boogie, Boomer, Boots, Bootsie, Bootsy, Boxer, Boy, Brad, Brandi, Brandon, Brandy, Brock, Bruno, Breaker, Brechin, Bree, Brenner, Bridget, Brindle, Brink, Briz, Bronx, Bryce, Brittany, Bubba, Bubbles, Bucky, Bud, Buddy, Buffy, Bullet, Busta, Buster, Butch, Buttercup, Buzz
Caesar, Caitlyn, Calli, Calypso, Camby, Cami, Candi, Candy, Cappuccino, Cargo, Carl, Carly, Carmel, Casey, Cash, Cassie, Cassey, Cassidy, Cat, Caymus, Cedar, Chaos, Chance, Chapanga, Chappy, Charlie, Chase, Chasity, Chaz, Checkers, Cheeky, Cherry, Chelsea, Cher, Chester, Chewy, Chica, Chico, China, Ching, Chintzy, Chiquita, Chloe, Chocolate, Chunky, Cinnamon, Clarice, Cleo, Clifford, Cloe, Cloud, Clover, Cobie, Coby, Cocoa, Cody, Comet, Contessa, Cooper, Copper, Corky, Cornell, Cosmo, Cowboy, Cream, Cruiser, Crumpet, Crystal, Cuddles, Cupcake, Custard, Cutie
Daffy, Dafny, Daisy, Daisy Mae, Dakota, Dallas, Damien, Dancer, Danny, Dante, Darling, David, Dawson, DeDe, Derral, Diamond, Dicer, Digger, DJ, Diane, Dinah, Dinger, Dingo, Dinky, Dino, Dixie, Doby, Dog, Dogberry, Dogzilla, Dolly, Donte, Dossie, Dottie, Dotty, Dozer, Drummond, Dude, Duke, Duncan, Dutchess, Dusty, Dudley, Dogberry, Dude, Dutchess
Echo, Ed, Eevee, Eli, Elmer, Elmo, Emma, Else, Elvis, Elway, Ember, Emily, Erin, Eros, Eternity
Fairy, Fancy, Fanny, Farley, Favian, Feefee, Fido, Fiona, Finnegan, Fletcher, Flint, Fluffy, Flossie, Fonzie, Foster, Foxy, Fran, Franko, Fred, Friday, Frisky, Fritz, Freckles, Furry
Gabbie, Gabby, Galaxy, Gamble, Garth, GeGe’, Gena, Geneve, George, Gidget, Gina, Ginger, Ginny, Gizmo, Goldy, Goliath, Gomez, Goofball, Goose, Grace, Gracie, Graveler (a mean dog), Grouch, Grover, Growlithe, Gus, Guy, Gwenivive, Gypsy
Haley, Halley, Hannah, Hans, Harley, Harrie, Harvey, Hazel, Hattie, Harry, Henry, Hercules, Henry, Hero, Hershey, Hogan, Holly, Homer, Homey, Honey, Honey Bear, Hoover, Hot Dog, Hot Shot, Houston, Hunter
Impi, Iris, Ivan, Ivy, Indira, Iona, Isis, Ivory, Izzy
Jack, Jackie, Jackson, Jacqueline, Jade, Jake, James Bond, Jamie, Jammin, Janice, Jar, Jaraspo, Java, Jarrah (Dark Wood), Jasmine, Jasper, Jay, Jazzy, Jazz, Jemmi, Jefferson, Jenny, Jerry, Jersey, Jet, Jethro, Jetta, Jessi, Jester, Jetson, Jibber, Jimmy, Jimny, Juno, Joy, Jumper, Jono, Joe, Joey, JoJo, Jolene, Jolteon, Jonny, Josey, Julie, Juliet, Jumbo Jim, Jumboli, Juno
Kahuna, Karma, Kashanta, Katie, Kayla, Keemo, Kelly, Kenny, Kenya, Koda, Kobe, Kobie, Kona, Kera, Kelsey, Keesha, Keeshu, Kenimo, Kiara, King, Kirby, Kojak, Kramer, Kristen, Krystal, Koko
Lacey, Laddie, Lady, Lady Luck, Laura, Lazy, Lee, Leo, Leon, Leopold (thanks to our visitor who suggested this name), Lexa, Lightning, Lilly, Lindsey Girl, Lira, Lisa, Lizzie, Loki, Loretta, Lori, Lucky, Lucy, Luke
Mabel, Mac, Machoke (a strong dog), Mackensie, Madam, Madeline, Madison, Maggie Mae, Magic, Maha, Mairin, Maggie, Maka, Malibu, Mandy, Maria, Mariah, Matilda, Maverick, Max, Maxie, Maya, McCoy, Meghan, Meggie, Meika, Merlin, Mesha, Mickey, Midget, Midnight, Miko, Mila, Milly, Milo, MiMi, Mindy, Minnie, Misty, Misty Bleu, M&M, Moby, Mocha, Mojoe, Mollsyn, Molly, Mooch, Mobster, MoJo, Monee, Montague, Monty, Mookie, Muffin, Moses, Mocha, Morgan, Mouse, Moxie, Muffin, Muffy, Muscleman, Mutt, Muttley, Myra, Mystic
Nalie, Nalpo, Naya, Nicole, Nikki, Niña, Ninja, Nick, Nala, Napoleon, Nellie, Neptune, Nocko, Nookie, Nanook, Nikko, Ninetails, Nugget
Oakie, Oddie, Oliver Twist, Olivia, Ollie, Onyx, Oprah, Oreo, Oscar, Otis,
Pacey, Paco, Paddy, Pagan, Pal, Panda, Patch, Patches, Patti, Patty, Pawprint, Paws, Peewee, Pelar, PePe’La Pu, Pepper, Peppermint Patty, Peppy, Penny, Persephone, Pete, Peyton, Phoebe, Phoenix, Pilgrim, Pippi, Piper, Pixie, Polly, Pongo, Poppy, Polvo, Poncho, Pooper, Popper, Poppy, Porsha, Posy, Pouch, Prissy, Prince, Printz, Princess, Psycho, Puddles, Puff, Pugsly, Pumpkin, Pup-Pup, Pups, Putter
Queenie, Queeny, Quigley, Queisha, Quincey
Radar, Raffles, Rainbow, Rajah (Indian for King), Ralphie, Rambo, Ramone, Ranger, Ranni (Indian For Queen), Rapidash (a fast dog), Rascal, Ravindra, Rayo (Spanish for Lighting), Reagan, Reana, Reasoner, Reeba, Rena, Rene, Reese, Reeses, Rex, Rhea, Ricky, Riggs, Riley, Ringo, Rinty, Rita the Red, Robbie, Robbin, Robo, Rocket, Rockie, Rocky, Rolly, Rolly Polly, Roly, Romeo, Rontu, Roscoe, Rosie, Rover, Rudy, Ruler, Runner, Rush, Rusty, Ryder
Sabra, Sable, Sabrina, Sadie, Saffron, Salam, Sam, Sammy, Sampson, Sandie, Sandy, Santana, Sara, Sasha, Sassy, Savvy, Scooby, Scooter, Scott, Scottie, Scruffy, Sebastian, Shadow, Shaggy, Shaleigh, Shania, Shannon, Sharo (means spotty in Croatian), Shasta, Sheila, Shelby, Sherlock, Shredder, Shreddie, Sid, Simba, Simon, Sinatra, Sissy, Skeeter, Skittles, Skoshi, Skye, Skylar, Slowbro, Slowpoke, Sly, Sneakers, Snickers, Snoopy, Snow, Snowflake, Snowy, Snuggles, Sophie, Sorrel, Soya, Spaz, Spencer, Sparkle, Sparkles, Sparky, Spazzy, Spike, Spook, Spooky, Spotty, Spunky, Star, Starbuck, Star-sweeper, Stoney, Stormy, Stripes, Sugar, Sunflash, Sunny, Sunray, Sunshine, Superman, Susie, Sylvie, Synergy, Smokey, Squeak, Sydney, Sylvia
Tabby, Taco, Tadpole, Taffy, Tahoe, Tameeka, Tanner, Tank, Tanzi, Tapanga, Tara, Tasha, Taz, Teakwood, Teddy, Terry, Tess, Thunder, Tiea, Tiger, Thor, Tigger, Tiggy, Timber, Timmy, Tiny, Tippy, Toby, Toffee, Toga, Tonka, Topper, Tori, Tory, Toto, Trapper, Trigger, Trouper, Trooper, Trotter, Tramp, Trixie, Trixy, Trusty, Tucker, Tuesday, Tye, Tyke, Tygar, Tyler
Val, Venus, Vihra, Violet, Viva, Vulpix
Waldo, Walker, Wally, Wambo, Watson, Warrior, Webster, WeePaws, Weeps, Wes, Wheeler, Whit, White Sox, Whitney, Wiggles, Willie, Winston, Woko, Wolf, Wolly, Wonderwoman, Wrinkles
Xena, Xenia, Xera
Y2K-9, Yanni, Yankee, Yapper, Yoda, Yoharn, Yorki, Yoshi, Yuki, Yukon
Zac, Zachary, Zaggy, Zahria, Zander, Zappy, Zara, Zeena, Zelda, Zephyr, Zero, Zeus, Ziggles, Ziggy, Zinnia, Zip, Zippy, Zippers, Zoe, Zoey, Zora, Zosh, Zuri
Things To Remember
Before you finally settle on a name for your new puppy, here are a few important things that you need to remember:
- The name that you choose for your puppy should have a maximum of two syllables. That will make it easy for your puppy to remember his name, which is crucial for successful, hassle-free training. However, if you really love a longer name, pick that by all means, but shorten the moniker to a snappy nickname that your pup can easily learn.
- If you have a multi-pet household, avoid choosing a name for your new puppy that sounds a lot like that of one of his new housemates. After all, you only want one of your pets to come to you when you call him, not the whole tribe! The same principle applies to the names of members of your human family!
- Don’t pick a name that could be easily confused with one of the training commands you’re planning on using for your puppy. For example, “Jay” would be a great name for a dog, but it also sounds a lot like, “Stay!” Now, that’s going to be frustrating when you call your pup in the dog park and he remains sitting obediently on the spot!
- If possible, try to come up with a unique or very unusual name for your dog. After all, there must be dozens of dogs living across the U.S. that are called, “Toby” or “Cleo.” Now just imagine the chaos that could ensue at the park if there are several dogs there who all have the same name!
- It’s always fun to name your dog after the way they look. If your pup looks like a wolf, name them after their wolfy features.
- If all else fails, name your pup after the color of their coat. It’s fairly easy to name an all-white dog or an all-black dog.
There’s no doubt that naming your new puppy is a brilliant, fun experience. However, choosing a name for your pup also carries lots of responsibility too.
Remember to pick a name that’s short and snappy or could be abbreviated so that your puppy can easily learn his new name. Make the name you choose something unusual and not a run-of-the-mill tag that lots of other dogs will have.
If you choose a funny name, make sure that you won’t get tired of the joke when it goes out of style. Changing your dog’s name once he’s learned it simply because you don’t like the moniker anymore is not fair on your pup!
So, have fun picking a name for your new puppy, but choose wisely. Remember that your dog’s name, like your dog, is for life!