Let’s Talk Dog Names and How to Choose Your Dog’s Name

A happy dog running with a Frisbee.
A happy dog running with a Frisbee. Photography by GoodPhoto/Thinkstock.

Two of the top male dog names of 2017, according to Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Rover.com, were Max and Charlie. These are two tried-and-true classic dog names and also popular with those who are huge fans of the twin actors that played Preston and Porter Scavo on ABC’s Desperate Housewives.

On the female side, Bella was the top dog name in 14 states based on research from Embrace Pet Insurance even though Twilight first debuted in theaters a decade ago. Are you looking to be unique and move away from these more popular names? Take notice that the search for uniqueness can also have its pitfalls when it comes to dog names. Screaming “come here, Licky Minaj!” at the dog park might not end particularly well. Here are a few tips and tricks for making sure you hit the sweet spot with the perfect moniker for your four-legged friend.

1. DON’T Play Into Passing Trends and Pop Culture

A happy puppy lying in the grass.
Stumped on dog names? Check out our do’s and don’ts. Photography ©Aimes Element | Thinkstock.

There may have been a time when you couldn’t get enough of Logan Paul. How unfortunate if you went as far as naming your dog after him, given the current controversy surrounding the YouTube star. Like eating Tide Pods, riding the wave of pop culture can be fun for about 17 seconds until you realize Alkyl Ethoxy Sulfate was never part of Michelle Obama’s food pyramid overhaul.

If your legacy doesn’t include being the owner of a dog named Bhad Bhabie after watching the “cash me outside” episode of Dr. Phil, steering clear of fast-dying memes is a solid dog-naming strategy. However, it’s clear that Star Wars will likely stand the test of time, so feel free to name your furry fella R2D2.

2. DON’T Be Too Clever

North West, Blue Ivy Carter and Apple Martin are some of the most famous children in the world. Uma Thurman named her daughter Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson. The thirst for being avant-garde and edgy can have appeal among creative elites, but your dog just wants to know which direction to run for a treat. Do yourself (and your doggie!) a favor and pick a two-syllable name that won’t get your pup made fun of at the dog park.

3. DON’T Forget to Consider Non-Human Dog Names

The idea of naming your dog Bill or Frank like he’s the superintendent at your apartment building is mildly amusing, but part of being a dog owner is saying your dog’s name out loud several times per day on walks and when socializing among other canines. Perhaps if Grandma Clarese was your hero and you’re paying homage by naming your dog after her, that’ll work. Otherwise, be prepared to receive several strange looks from unknown men or women wondering why a stranger is yelling at them.

4. DON’T Name Your Dog After Interests You’ll Outgrow

When you’re 25, it might be fun to imagine naming your dog Bud or Weiser. After all, day drinking with your friends on weekends is an activity everyone can get behind. But with a living organism whose life expectancy can last 15-18 years, being a 40-year-old with an animal named Alizé might not be a good look.

5. DO Pick Something Timeless

Famous authors, historical figures, characters from Shakespearean plays — these are all names you can get behind. Here are some ideas you can take to the vet without getting side-eyed during the first round of booster shots:

  1. Film/TV-Inspired Names: Rosebud, Lucy, Forrest, Mulder, Scully, Rocky, Carrie, Marty (McFly), Juno, Izzie (Stevens), Neo, Woody, Olivia (Benson), Xena, Stormy
  2. Literary Characters: Atticus, Gatsby, Scarlett, Phoebe, Neddy, Seymour, Gonzo, Kerouac, Snowball, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. Political Figures: HARD PASS
  4. Sports Legends: Cassius, Yogi, Martina, Usain, Mia, Jackie, Garvey, Billie Jean King, Gretzky, Serena
  5. International Cities: Sydney, Porto, Florence, Bali, Sebastian, Wellington, Rio, Malta, Tulum, Cleveland
  6. Foods: Ginger, Clementine, Nori, Kobe, Olive, Maple, Colby, Basil, Coco, Jasmine, Challah, Coppa, Cronut
  7. Plants/Flowers: Posie, Daisy, Poppy, Lily, Rose, Aster, Clover, Hazel, Peanut, Petunia, Sorrel, Indica

Thumbnail: Photography by GoodPhoto/Thinkstock.

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5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Dog Names and How to Choose Your Dog’s Name”

  1. My toy poodleโ€™s name is WINSTON & I got him @ the local shelterโ€ฆthought he needed a stoic name (Churchill) because he had been abused & he seems to live up to his name & seems to like it!

  2. Well, my dog’s Larry, and that’s that. I really don’t care what people think about my dog’s name.

  3. Pingback: Tips on Naming Your Pet Dog ·

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