Finding the Best Names for Dogs


Congratulations! You just brought home an adorable puppy or adopted your new best friend from a shelter or rescue and are ready to start thinking about names. Maybe your adopted dog had a shelter-assigned name that she’s not that familiar with and you would like to change it. Are you the type of person that can instantly come up with names for dogs or do you make lists of possible choices before finally deciding on the best name? If you’re having trouble coming up with a name for your new dog, take some time to get to know her personality before making the decision.

Often, dogs are named after their physical looks, such as the color of their coat. Some people choose traditional dog names or names of famous dogs, while others like names that are influenced by pop culture. The latest trend is to use people’s names for dogs. (Sorry, Fido!)

Here are a few tips to consider when selecting a name.

  • Consider your dog’s breed and origin.
  • Consider your dog’s gender, although many names are gender neutral.
  • Select a name that sounds unique from other names used in your household.
  • Avoid embarrassing names like ‘Butt Head’ that you might not want to use in public if you had to call your dog.
  • Don’t select a name that rhymes with ‘No’ or commands you will use to train your dog.
  • Short names with one or two syllables are best.
  • Two syllable names can be easily recognized because of the intonation change when it’s pronounced.
  • Names that end in vowel sounds (especially ‘a’ or ‘e’) are easy for dogs to recognize.
  • Avoid negative or demeaning names like ‘Killer’. Your dog may not know the difference, but people may view and treat your dog differently because of their name.

Need some inspiration?

The Pedigree Database contains over 20,000 dog names to choose from or check out Vetstreet’s infographic below for the most popular puppy names from 2013.

Most Popular Puppy Names of 2013 — Infographic
Most Popular Puppy Names of 2013 — Infographic
by Vetstreet

Good luck in choosing your new dog’s name and watch for our next post later this week on teaching your dog their name. What inspired you to choose your dog’s name?

9 Comments on “Finding the Best Names for Dogs”

    • I think you also have to consider the sensibilities of everyone in your family. We were thinking of naming Honey Stella. One reason we didn’t is because she was too gentle a girl for such a big name.

      But the other reason is because I could see my theatrical husband continually impersonating Marlon Brando by shouting, “Stellllllllllllllllaaaaaaaa” at the top of his lungs.

    • No Freighter, Storm or Thunder on the list….lol. Thunder is named after a hunting place…(AKC name SRR’s North Point Thunder Bay “Thunder”). Storm is named because we bought her home on a night with a ton of storms (AKC name Irish’s Great Lakes Nor’Easter “Storm”). Freighter’s AKC name is SRR’s Northern Gales of November. Can you guess how we came up with the call name “Freighter” from that? Some people get it right away. 🙂

      • Great names! Let me guess on Freighter…could you also have chosen the name ‘Edmund’ for him? If I’m right, I’m glad you went with Freighter instead. 🙂

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