Choosing a name for your dog is an important decision

Choosing a dog name is an important decision and should not be rushed. After all, you do not want to have to change your dog’s name in a couple of months because you are not happy with the name anymore or because it appears that the name might not be convenient for everyday use. Of course, you can teach the dog a new name, but that can be difficult and means hard work. A name is something very personal and belongs to one’s identity, this means that not giving a name is very impersonal. The same is true for your dog!

The name makes your dog part of your family

As soon as you give something a name, you distinguish it from everything and everyone else. Giving something a name means you have put thought into it, giving a name means loving something. When parents choose a name for their child, the name is the first non-biological attribute of individuality. This also applies to animals. From the moment that animals get names, they become pets.

Giving a name shows that we have feelings towards it

Your dog is not just any dog, he is your dog and he has a carefully chosen name that has a meaning to you. We do not just have dogs at home, we all have a Max, Bella or Bailey at home. Giving something a name shows that we have feelings towards it. We choose a name out of love and use it to make a strange something without a meaning into something meaningful and dear. So make sure to be careful when choosing your dog’s name, because it is an integral part of his identity.

The dog is the first animal tamed and kept as a pet

There is a long history of dogs being man’s best friend and dogs have been kept as pets for a long time. The dog is the first animal that was tamed and kept as a pet. Nowadays, a dog is often considered part of the family. So until this day, there is no other animal that is as close to humans as the dog. The relationship between dogs and humans is coined by a strong emotional bond. This emotional bond is also the reason that we begun to give our dogs names a long time ago.

The first famous dogs lived in Ancient Egypt

The first famous examples of history come from the Etruscans in Ancient Egypt. The oldest domesticated dog according to recorded history, the Tesem, is a good example from Ancient Egypt. The dog, and especially the hunting dog, plays an important role in the everyday life of kings and noblemen of that time. Some dogs where even considered status symbols. The first famous dog names stem from that time.

The oldest dog burial

In 1935 the Harvard-Boston Expedition led by George Reisner found an inscription in the great cemetery west of the Pyramid of Cheops at Giza that indicates the burial of a dog named Abuwtiyuw. This is noteworthy because, at the command of the Egyptian king, the dog was buried with all honors. Usually, only Egyptian noblemen are buried this way. The dog accompanied the king everywhere and when the dog died, he gave the dog his own grave out of respect and gratefulness.

Life saver pug Pompey

Another famous dog name from history stems from the 17th century, the time of William of Orange. He had a pug dog called Pompey. Pompey even saved his life once when he barked and jumped on his bed to warn him of Spanish assassins that tried to kill him in his sleep.

Other famous dog names from history

Other famous dog names from history that you probably already know or have heard of:

  • Guinefort of Burgundy was a dog from Burgundy that was venerated as a saint and is said to have lived in the 13th century near Lyon. According to legend, Guinefort protected a child in a cot from a snake. The father of the child came home, saw the cot overturned and the dog with blood on his jaws. He concluded that the dog attacked the child and killed Guinefort. After he found his crying, but unharmed child and the dead snake, he realized that Guinefort protected the child and buried the dog. Quickly, rumors started to spread that miraculous healings took place near the grave.
  • Diamond is the name of Sir Isaac Newton’s favorite dog. However, the dog caused some trouble for Sir Isaac when he knocked over a lamp that caused some of his documents to burn. The documents included 20 years worth of data of Newton’s studies and experiments.
  • Barry der Menschenretter (also known as Barry) (1800 – 1814) was a famous St. Bernard that worked as a mountain rescue dog. He lived in a monastery near the Great St Bernard Pass close to the Swiss-Italian border. He saved the lives of more than 40 people.
  • Greyfriars Bobby was a Skye Terrier from Edinburgh from the 19th century. He became famous because according to history he watched over his owner’s grave in Greyfriars Kirkyard for 14 years. Bobby himself died on January 14, 1872.
  • Hachiko (Odate, November 10, 1923 – March 8, 1935), in Japanese also known as chūken Hachikō (“loyal dog Hachiko”), was an Akita that became famous in Japan because after the death of his owner he waited for him for 9 years at Shibuya train station in Tokyo. After his death, a statue of him was erected in front of the station.
  • Balto (1919 – March 14, 1933) was a sled dog that transported aid supplies in Alaska. He played an important role in the 1925 serum run; a mission where 20 men and 150 sled dogs transported diphtheria medicine from Nenana to Nome in a record time of 5 days to combat an outbreak of the disease.
  • Blondi (died on April 29 or 30 in 1945) was the German shepherd of Adolf Hitler. In 1941 Hitler got her as a present from Martin Bormann.
  • Barry Railton lend his German shepherd Khan to the British army. He was trained in Scotland to search mines and received the Dickin Medal for his involvement in the Allied forces invasion of German-held western Europe. When trying to cross a river in the night from November 3 to 4 in 1944, he bravely saved the life of his handler by dragging him to shore.
  • Ricky is a Dutch dog that acted heroically during the second World War. Ricky was involved in searching for mines in kanals. In spite of being injured during an explosion, he stayed calm in order to not endanger anyone else. In 1947 he received the Dickin Medal, the highest British distinction an animal can receive.
  • Laika was a Russian dog and the first living being to orbit the earth. There were other animals that have been sent to space by the US and the Soviet-Union, but they did not fully orbit the earth.
  • Belka (“Squirrel”) en Strelka (“Arrow”) were two Soviet-Russian dogs that spent a day in space on August 19, 1960 on board of a Korabl-Sputnik-2. They were the second and third dog, after Laika, to orbit the earth and the first living beings to safely land back on earth.
  • Red Dog (1971 – November 21, 1979) was an Australian dog (a mix between a kelpie and a cattle dog) that was famous for his travels through Western Australia’s Pilbara region. A statue was erected in his memory in the city of Dampier, a city he often travelled to.
  • Bosco Ramos was a dog that was elected honorary mayor of the community Sunol in California. He was a black labrador and rottweiler mix and generally known as “Bosco”. Bosco beat two humans in the election for honorary mayor in 1981 and kept his rank until he died.
There are many reasons to keep a dog as a pet

Keeping a dog as a pet and giving him a name has a long history, and that is not as crazy as it might seem. Different researchers were able to prove that dogs can experience and sense emotion, which has not been done with any other animal, yet. Dogs can feel the emotions that you as their owner feel. Furthermore, the dog is the smartest pet. Dogs are not only loyal friends that would never leave you behind, there are many more reasons to keep a dog as a pet. The dog has been adding value to our life for years, even decades. People do not only get dogs to have a loyal friend for life, some people get a dog to guard their house. In the past, dogs were commonly used as working dogs.

For example, to pull the cart of a dairy farmer. Nowadays and in our society, this is not common anymore. Western culture sees a dog as a companion and part of the family. Non-western cultures see dogs in a completely different way. Here, dogs are used as hunting dogs, to defend the property or as a guard dog. Sadly they also often live on the street as stray dogs or in some cultures dogs are also seen as food. In these regions, the dog is perceived as a burden, as dangerous, unreliable and dirty. For us, this is unimaginable because these kind of things do not happen here. In our western culture, it is more common to put clothes on your dog than to treat dogs like food.

The types of dog names are changing fast

When you look at the numbers it becomes painfully clear that the way we treat dogs is not necessarily common everywhere in the world. It is estimated that there are around 1 billion dogs on earth. Only 170 million of them are kept as pets (17%) and 830 million dogs live without humans, often as stray dogs on the street, and without a name (83%). Luckily, there are lots of dogs that did get their own name, and this has been common for quite some time now. The names that are given to dogs have been changing throughout the years. Just ask your parents and grandparents what names they used to give their dogs, or what their neighborhood dogs were called. You will quickly find out that lots of dogs had the same names. Back in the days, there were not that many different dog names to choose from. There were also just not as many tools and aids to help you find a dog name or get inspiration.

Dog names get more creative

Besides, the dog names that were popular are quite different from the dog names that are popular today. That made the choice for a dog name much easier than it is today. The same applies to human names. There were just not as many different names to choose from and there were a few conventions around choosing names for your children. At a certain point in time it was common to have certain family names. These names were given in each generation, the father named his son the same name that he was called and in some families there was a John or a Mary in each generation. This is not as common anymore, but some people still name their children after other members of their family. Several names that are traditionally names for humans have also become popular for dogs. There are lots of dogs called Max, Jack, Bella or Lucy, for example. Just like children, dogs are also getting more and more creative names. Nowadays, there are dogs called Google, Hummer, Pepsi, Bubbles or Duchess.

An important choice

Choosing the perfect name for your dog is an important choice. This decision is not only important for you, but for your dog, as well. His name is the most important command that the dog will learn. Of course, you also want your dog to like the name that you give him. Lots of research has been done about the types of words and sentences that dogs can recognize so that you can find the best name for your dog. Believe it or not, some dog names are better than others. But no matter how much you would want it to be true, dogs cannot understand what their names mean to us. For dogs, their name is only a command. Dogs do not understand their ‘name’ as their real name.

The dog needs a positive association with the his name

To a dog, their name is more like a sound that gets a meaning after lots of training. It is therefore your task, as the owner of the dog, to make sure that the dog associates the sound of his name with something positive. The bottom line is that the dog can perceive every sound as his name if it is constantly used, at least for some time. Using a dog’s name too much could lead to the dog ignoring his name and not reacting to it at all. There is a fine line between using the name enough so that the dog will learn it and using the name too much, causing the dog to ignore it. Past research also found that it is important to say your dog’s name before giving a command. “Max, sit” instead of “Sit, Max”. Saying the dog’s name first helps the dog to understand that the command that follows is meant for him and not for anyone else.

The name is actually the first command

Dogs are smart enough to realize that a command will usually follow after they hear their own name. In other words: saying the dog’s name will let him know that a command will follow. When you decide to get a puppy, you have to pick a name. If you think about the first command you want to teach your dog, you will quickly realize that it is not ‘sit’, ‘lie down’ or ‘wait’. Because who has to sit? Who has to lie down? Who has to wait? Yes, your puppy! The puppy that you chose such a nice name for. But you have to teach your puppy that name before you can use it. So it only makes sense to start with teaching your dog his name, you can also use this as an exercise to get your dog’s attention. This way your dog will learn: hey, when I hear my name, I have to pay attention!

Several things to take into account

Choosing a name for your dog can be a lot of fun, but it is not always easy. There are several things that you need to take into account. Some examples of what you need to think about when choosing a name for your dog are:

The gender of your dog

A name that fits your dog’s gender is an obvious choice. There are names that are a good fit for female dogs and other names that are suitable for male dogs. Of course, there are also names that fit both, these names are also called unisex names.

Does the name fit the dog’s breed or type?

When you have a certain breed or type of dog you should take that into account when choosing a name as well. If you have a St Bernard you would probably not choose a name like Mini (or maybe you would, of course). However, for a Chihuahua this would be a good name. The breed of your dog plays a big role when you are looking for a dog name. After all, your dog is not just any dog and every dog is unique. There are lots of physical features that make up the distinct look of a dog, but dogs also have different characters. Of course  you also want a name that fits your dog’s character. During the years, different types of dogs were bred to fulfill the needs of man.

Dog’s have been bred for the following functions
  • To hunt
  • To trail game
  • To alert the hunter for game
  • To drive out game
  • To guard
  • As company
  • To drive out pests (squirrels, for example)

After the 19th century breeding for just the looks of the dog became more common, which led to a bigger variety of dog breeds. Nowadays, all dog breeds are subdivided into 10 groups. Every breed can be categorized according to their purpose, function, size and looks. This helps you to find out what you can expect and you can use this information when choosing a dog name.

Popularity of the name

The popularity of the name can also influence the choice that you make. Would you like a dog name from the top 10 dog names and therefore a name that you will probably come across quite a lot? Or do you want a dog name that you will probably not encounter on your walks or in the dog park? If you choose a popular name, there is the chance that you will come across another dog with the same name. This is definitely something you should think about.

Names in your family

Make sure to choose a name that is not too similar to the names of your family members. If you use the name at home it could be quite confusing for both of them and they might not know who you are talking to. Also if you are angry at that family member or have a serious discussion, the dog might be wondering what he did wrong.

Human name or dog name

You could give your dog a human name, like Jim or Sally. You can also choose a proper dog name like Rex or Spot. You are the one that has to make this decision.

The sound of the letters

Research shows that dogs can hear the sound of the ‘s’ more intensely than humans and that dogs react best to words with two syllables and hard consonants. Researchers also found that these hard consonants produce sounds that transmit more energy via sound frequencies. This works better to get the dog’s attention. Hard sounds activate more sound receptors in a dog’s brain than soft consonants. It is important for dogs that their name is clear. You should preferably choose a word with one or two syllables. When giving commandos, dogs react better to short names than to long names. Dogs can learn and recognize shorter names much easier than long names. Words or names with more than two syllables are harder to remember. Different research has been done with puppies. Their owners tried to teach them a new name using treats and trying to get them to react to it. Results showed that the more time there was between the beginning of the name and giving the treat, the longer it took for the puppy to recognize his name.

Several dogs at home

Do you have more than one dog? Then make sure that you do not choose names that are too similar. This will make it difficult for both dogs to recognize the different sounds of the names and they might both react to both names or not react at all because they think that you are calling the other dog. If you have two dogs, you can also choose two names that go very well together, like Salt and Pepper, Adam and Eve or Bonnie and Clyde.

Pedigree names

Dogs whose pedigree is recognized by the American Kennel Club sometimes have a special name. This means that they already have a name when you get them, this is their official name. Most people give their dog another name to call them by, and that is not a problem. The dog will keep his official name as part of the pedigree and you can teach the dog another name to call him by.

32 tips for choosing a dog name

You want the name of your dog to be perfect but maybe do not exactly know how to choose a name for your dog. By following our 32 best tips for choosing a dog name you will exactly learn how to find a perfect name for your dog.

1. Start with thinking about the type of dog that you want:
This will help you to narrow down the options which you can later choose from. Deciding on the type of dog name that you want gives you a smaller group of dog names that you can choose from. Examples for different types of dog names are human names, dog names with a special meaning, a name that is a good fit for the way your dog looks or a name that suits your dog’s character.

2. Maintain a list:
Write down every name that you initially like. You would not be the first person to come across a nice name and not being able to remember it later on.

3. Start by gathering as many names as possbile:
Do not limit your list to a certain amount of dog names. Once you have found enough names, you can try to narrow down the list to about 10 names.

4. Rate the different names:
Evaluate your top 10 according to the criteria you think are important. If you think that it is important to be comfortable pronouncing the name, rate every single name on that aspect, try to give them a number between 1 and 10. Try to gather at least 5 criteria to rate the names on and you will quickly figure out which names are a good fit and which names you should not choose.

5. Keep the top 3:
These are all names that you like and that are still in the race to be picked as your dog’s name. If you do not have a clear preference it might be smart to keep all top 3 names until you make your final choice. Once you go and pick up your puppy, when you hold him for the first time, it will be clear which of the three names is the best fit.

6. Make sure to always look up the meaning of the name:
Google the definition and look for the translations in other languages. It is a small effort but can prevent a big disappointment.

7. Take the sound of the name into account:
Dogs respond better to hard sounds and sharp noises, like s and k-sounds. Dog names that end in a vowel work better, as well. Names like Kaya, Charlie, Luna, Sonya, for example

8. Beside the sound you should also take the length of the name into account:
Dogs seem to respond better to short names. Names with 1 or 2 syllables work best.

9. Stretch the name:
In case you would like to choose a dog name consisting of 1 syllable, you should take into account that the name will be stretched out often. Calling a name consisting of 1 syllable just does not sound good. This is the reason why we tend to stretch the name and make 2 syllables of it.

10. Use your dog’s breed:
Delving into original characteristics of your dog’s breed could be very helpful in your search for a suitable name. This could lead to a name which will fit the character of your dog perfectly.

11. Choose a name around your dog’s character:
It could also be nice to come up with a name around specific physical characteristics of your dog. Like black dogs that are called Blacky or Dalmatians that are called Spot.

12. Make sure the name is not confused with any command:
When choosing a name, make sure that the name is not to be confused with a command that you want to teach the dog. The name of your dog already is a command, so it could be confusing if you call your dog Zip and then try to teach him the command ‘Sit’.

13. Prevent confusion with frequently used words:
You should prevent confusion with frequently used words or other names that you say a lot. Your dog will think that he hears his own name all the time when you say words or names similar to his name. The power of the name will decrease over time and the dog will no longer think that his name is special. If the similar name or word is often used in a negative way, your dog could think that you are angry.

14. Consider that the name will often be called in public:
It is also important to consider that the name will often be called in public. You might initially find a name funny, but will it still be funny when you have to repeatedly call your dog in the dog park?

15. Search in alphabetical order:
It could be difficult to keep an overview on your search for a dog name because of the endless possibilities. It might be helpful to search in alphabetical order. By writing down 5 options for each letter you will create a list of  about 130 names or less. This will make your final choice much easier.

16. Think twice about long names:
If you find a long dog name that you really like, also think about how you would use it in everyday life. Long names are not always practical. You will probably end up using a shortened version of the name. Think about if you would be okay with this.

17. Make sure that the name is not too similair to other names in the house:
Do you already have a dog? Or maybe even more than one? Make sure that their names are not too similar. At least if you want to be able to call each dog separately. Names with only one different letter could still sound the same to your dog. This could be very confusing.

18. Don’t give up!:
Do not just give up. Maybe you have to deal with your partner and it is difficult to find a name you both really like. Do not agree with a name that you have doubts about. You will have to use the name for the rest of your dog’s life, and that can be a few years. So only choose a dog name if both of you like it. Just keep looking and sooner or later you will come across the perfect name, that both of you really like.

19. Think twice about recycling a name:
Did you use to have a dog? Then you might want to use that name as a way to remember him. It can also be a bad choice, because it would constantly remind you of losing the old dog. Would you like to do something with this name? Then you could also try to look for a variation of the name.

20. Consider a funny name:
A funny dog name could be a great fit for you and your dog. If you choose a name like Google, it could be quite funny to tell him to search. Sarcastic dog names can also be funny, like calling a huge dog Mini or a tiny dog Tank.

21. Use the dog name generator:
The dog name generator at 123Tinki.com is an easy tool for finding the perfect dog name. Based on some filters that ask for your personal preferences, you will get closer to finding the perfect name for your dog.

22. Use books:
In addition to the internet, there are many books that you can use as inspiration for dog names. It might be worth a try to sit down with your favorite books and look for a dog name there.

23. Do not use a puppy-only name:
Keep in mind that every puppy is small and cute, but not every puppy will stay like this. You should find a name which is not only perfect for a puppy, but will also suit a full-grown dog.

24. Shout a possible name:
If you are looking for a specific type of dog name, a dog name with a specific meaning, for example, it might be wise to practice saying the name out loud a few times. Just say it out loud and let it sink in for a moment. You will quickly find out if you like the sound of the name.

25. Practice the pronunciation:
It is also important to already practice the pronunciation. Saying or calling a name can give you a different feeling from seeing the name written down. Make sure that the name is easy to pronounce and goes well with the words that you are going to use as commands. If you are getting the puppy together with your partner, you can try to say the name out loud to each other.

26. Use the pedigree:
Some dogs have a pedigree. Then his papers are most likely to show a different name than the one that you choose. You can use this pedigree name as inspiration for the name that you will be calling the dog by.

27. Use your puppy’s mother’s or father’s name for inspiration:
Maybe you like the names of the puppy’s mother and father. Then you could use them as inspiration for your puppy’s name.

28. Check a name’s popularity:
The choice for a dog name is often influenced by the newest fashion and trends, so the reason for liking a particular name could be that you have heard it a lot. Always check if a name is popular so you can decide if you really want that type of name for your dog.

29. Watch out for too crazy names:
When you definitely do not want a popular name for your dog, be careful not to overthink original or unique dog names. Do not overdo it here, because you could end up with a dog name that is too crazy.

30. Puppy already has a name?:
In case your puppy or dog already has a name and you would like to change it, it is important to keep the sound of the name similar. This will make the transition to the new name easier and the dog will have an easier time learning it.

31. The perfect name can be found in your daily life:
Be aware that you can find the perfect dog name everywhere around you in your daily life. For example while practicing your hobby, reading a good book, eating your favorite snack or watching your favorite show.

32. Use the internet for baby names:
Try to visit a website where you can order birth announcement cards. You will find the nicest baby names on these example cards, they could be a perfect fit for your dog.

Common names versus unique names

You might not like it if you take your dog Mara for a walk and come across a group of people that are walking another 3 Maras, a Lara, a Fara and a Yara. If you choose a common name, you will often meet other dogs with the same name. Do you want to avoid choosing a too popular name for your dog? Do you prefer a unique name? Use the 38 best lists with dog names and get inspired.

  1. The top 10 most popular dog names with a meaning
    1. Nero
    2. Bizou
    3. Kito
    4. Mirai
    5. Akira
    6. Kynai
    7. Chico
    8. Dolce
    9. Fajah
    10. Goia
  2. The 10 most popular dog names in a foreign language
    1. Mavi
    2. Loco
    3. Guzzi
    4. Amore
    5. Shaia
    6. Belle
    7. Zizou
    8. Beau
    9. Gulay
    10. Amigo
  3. The 10 most popular dog names of gods and goddesses
    1. Phoebe
    2. Typhon
    3. Eros
    4. Gaia
    5. Zeus
    6. Hera
    7. Apollo
    8. Helios
    9. Athena
    10. Pontos
  4. The 10 most popular Disney dog names
    1. Nala
    2. Zazoo
    3. Woody
    4. Mulan
    5. Olaf
    6. Elsa
    7. Aurora
    8. Pluto
    9. Bolivar
    10. Lady
  5. The 10 most popular dog names famous from TV
    1. Hachiko
    2. Marley
    3. Lassie
    4. Beethoven
    5. Hooch
    6. Benji
    7. Snoopy
    8. Apollo
    9. Rin Tin Tin
    10. Buddy
  6. The 10 most popular names from famous fictional dogs
    1. Brian
    2. Barkley
    3. Andrew
    4. Pluto
    5. Buster
    6. Clifford
    7. Ginger
    8. Snoopy
    9. Toto
    10. Odie
  7. The 10 most popular names for two dogs
    1. Homer and Marge
    2. Adam and Eve
    3. Chili and Pepper
    4. Bert and Ernie
    5. Tom and Jerry
    6. Buzz and Woody
    7. Romeo and Juliet
    8. Timon and Pumba
    9. Ben and Jerry
    10. Simba and Nala
  8. The 10 most popular dog names for female dogs in the 90s
    1. Spice
    2. Terry
    3. Lady
    4. Sita
    5. Furby
    6. Bella
    7. Faya
    8. Teddy
    9. Laika
    10. Sammy
  9. The 10 most popular dog names for male dogs in the 90s
    1. Nero
    2. Rex
    3. Max
    4. Bob/Bobby
    5. Zelda
    6. Harley
    7. Wishbone
    8. Hector
    9. Bandit
    10. Casper
  10. The top 10 most popular dog names according to the visitors of 123Tinki.com
    1. Bobby
    2. Bear
    3. Hailey
    4. Bandit
    5. Buzz
    6. Moby
    7. Buddy
    8. Sparkey
    9. Simba
    10. Pepper
  11. The 10 most popular English dog names
    1. Charlie
    2. Levi
    3. Ash
    4. Brave
    5. Jacky
    6. Dj
    7. Abby
    8. Bacon
    9. Angel
    10. James
  12. The 10 most popular long dog names for female dogs
    1. Celeste
    2. Florence
    3. Roseanne
    4. Isabella
    5. Chardonnay
    6. Charlotte
    7. Phileine
    8. Savannah
    9. Natalia
    10. Madeline
  13. The 10 most popular long dog names for male dogs
    1. Dexter
    2. Benjamin
    3. Jackson
    4. Finnley
    5. Silvester
    6. Tobias
    7. Nathan
    8. Laurens
    9. Quinten
    10. Theodore
  14. The 10 most popular dog names for female dogs
    1. Bella
    2. Roxie
    3. Hazel
    4. Liv
    5. Yindi
    6. Zoe
    7. Ellie
    8. Sandy
    9. Rylie
    10. Macy
  15. The 10 most popular dog names for male dogs
    1. Adam
    2. Finn
    3. Tobin
    4. Wolf
    5. Mace
    6. Jake
    7. Logan
    8. Kyan
    9. Milo
    10. Rebel
  16. The 10 least popular dog names that are actually quite nice
    1. Tiago
    2. Esmé
    3. Minte
    4. Lotus
    5. Bowie
    6. Emmy
    7. Yenthe
    8. Maddie
    9. Sienna
    10. Livy
  17. The 10 most popular dog names derived from nature
    1. Bear
    2. Basil
    3. Copper
    4. Wolf
    5. Forest
    6. Rye
    7. River
    8. Savanne
    9. Pearl
    10. Holly
  18. The 10 most popular dog names derived from flowers
    1. Dalia
    2. Daisy
    3. Violet
    4. Blossom
    5. Lotus
    6. Rosa
    7. Lily
    8. Tulip
    9. Jasmin
    10. Camelia
  19. The 10 most popular royal dog names
    1. George
    2. Elizabeth
    3. Prince
    4. King
    5. Royal
    6. Gentle
    7. Lady
    8. William
    9. Princess
    10. Duke
  20. The 10 most popular athlete names for dogs
    1. Diego
    2. Serena
    3. Tyson
    4. Messi
    5. Kobe
    6. Roger
    7. Jordan
    8. Tiger
    9. Pele
    10. Bolt
  21. The 10 most popular candy names for dogs
    1. Twix
    2. Bounty
    3. Lays
    4. Twizzler
    5. Jolly
    6. Reese
    7. Oreo
    8. Cheeto
    9. Skittle
    10. Hershey
  22. The 10 most popular brand dog names
    1. Apple
    2. Hummer
    3. Ebay
    4. Gucci
    5. Nike
    6. Sony
    7. Google
    8. Gucci
    9. Tide
    10. Visa
  23. The 10 most popular names of drinks for dogs
    1. Pepsi
    2. Whiskey
    3. Champi
    4. Baileys
    5. Bubbles
    6. Guinness
    7. Bacardi
    8. Tequila
    9. Pepsi
    10. Vino
  24. The 10 most popular music names for dogs
    1. Elvis
    2. Techno
    3. Woodstock
    4. Jazz
    5. Violin
    6. Melodie
    7. Queen
    8. Country
    9. Bass
    10. Solo
  25. The 10 most popular frequently used dog names
    1. Max
    2. Woof
    3. Olly
    4. Angel
    5. Ginger
    6. Balou
    7. Molly
    8. Coco
    9. Bubbles
    10. Beauty
  26. The 10 most popular winter dog names
    1. Crystal
    2. Frost
    3. Ice
    4. Snowy
    5. Flake
    6. Polar
    7. Tundra
    8. Spark
    9. Alaska
    10. Boots
  27. The 10 most popular gemstone dog names
    1. Crystal
    2. Agate
    3. Amiant
    4. Pearl
    5. Roby
    6. Saffire
    7. Emerald
    8. Jewel
    9. Jade
    10. Tiffany
  28. The 10 most popular bird dog names
    1. Sparrow
    2. Manu
    3. Raven
    4. Ava
    5. Robin
    6. Phoenix
    7. Falco
    8. Wren
    9. Jaylee
    10. Thrush
  29. The 10 most popular African dog names
    1. Bahati
    2. Amina
    3. Lulu
    4. Jamila
    5. Zola
    6. Nala
    7. Keisha
    8. Zuri
    9. Malika
    10. Imani
  30. The 10 most popular Dutch dog names
    1. Bas
    2. Amber
    3. Roos
    4. Sanne
    5. Bram
    6. Jan
    7. Kees
    8. Sjors
    9. Joost
    10. Boris
  31. The 10 most popular dog names with 2 letters
    1. Bo
    2. Du
    3. Zi
    4. Co
    5. Al
    6. Po
    7. Fi
    8. Do
    9. Q-T
    10. An
  32. The 10 most popular dog names with 3 letters
    1. Sam
    2. Gus
    3. Evi
    4. Eva
    5. Max
    6. Zoe
    7. Yip
    8. Pam
    9. Liv
    10. Pip
  33. The 10 most popular dog names that cannot be shortened
    1. Quinn
    2. Chloe
    3. Aida
    4. Mya
    5. Levi
    6. Jill
    7. Brynn
    8. Ace
    9. Nao
    10. Max
  34. The 10 most popular classic dog names
    1. Sparky
    2. Charlie
    3. Socks
    4. Ginger
    5. Bandit
    6. Hunter
    7. Angel
    8. Lady
    9. Max
    10. Spot
  35. The 10 most popular dog names for brown dogs
    1. Rolo
    2. Brownie
    3. Choco
    4. Coffee
    5. Caramel
    6. Fawn
    7. Chestnut
    8. Sienna
    9. Cocoa
    10. Fudge
  36. The 10 most popular dog names for black and white dogs
    1. Blackie
    2. Onyx
    3. Coal
    4. Ebony
    5. Sable
    6. Inky
    7. Noir
    8. Snowy
    9. Sugar
    10. Ivory
  37. The 10 most popular dog names derived from food
    1. Pizza
    2. Apple
    3. T-Bone
    4. Peanut
    5. Bacon
    6. Fish
    7. Bagel
    8. Lemon
    9. Biscuit
    10. Peach
  38. The 10 most popular dog names from celebrities
    1. Michael
    2. Budha
    3. Prince
    4. Charlie
    5. Madonna
    6. Elvis
    7. Oprah
    8. Miley
    9. Zidane
    10. Justin
  39. The 10 most popular unisex dog names
    1. Bobby
    2. Toto
    3. Moose
    4. Cruiser
    5. Ronnie
    6. Charlie
    7. Rocky
    8. Woody
    9. Xavi
    10. Shane
Tips for the perfect dog name

Looking for a dog name can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. You can make the decision easier by asking yourself some important questions first. This will narrow your search down to fewer names and you will get closer to finding the perfect name for your puppy. It is your puppy, so you will have to choose his name. There are some things you should take into account, though. For example, you should not choose a name that is too similar to other names in your household or words that you use a lot. This could be very confusing for your puppy. You should also take the sound of the name and the number of syllables into account. It is difficult to cheerfully call 1 syllable dog names, that is usually easier with dog names with 2 syllables. The name Ben would quickly turn into “Beee-heeen” while the name Marley would just stay “Maaaaaar-ley”. To make your quest for a dog name easier, we wrote down the most important things you have to think about beforehand. Follow the step-by-step guide below and you will get closer to finding the perfect dog name.

Step 1
Do you want the name to fit your dog’s sex or would you also be okay with a unisex name?

Step 2
Do you want a name that specifically fits the type or breed of your dog? Try to think about why your dog’s breed was developed in the first place.

Step 3
Do you want a popular name for your dog or a name that is not popular, at all?

Step 4
Are you looking for a long or short dog name? A short name consists of less than 6 letters. Long names consist of 6 letters or more.

Step 5
Do you have a preference for a nationality? If so, does it have to be an English name? Would you like it to be a European name? Or would you also like a name with a different nationality?

Step 6
Do you prefer a theme? Does it have to be a cute name, a hip name, a tough, funny, sweet or original name?

Step 7
Do want the name to start with a certain letter? Which letter from the alphabet do you prefer?

Why do you have to teach your puppy his own name?

Often the dog name is already picked before the puppy arrives at home. You proudly share your new family member’s name with everyone. And that is as it should be, really! But it does not mean anything to your puppy yet. Maybe your puppy got a nickname from the breeder or thinks that he is called “puppy”, but he probably does not know the name you chose for him yet. You want your puppy to react when you call him. Why else would you give him a name, right? However, this does not come without effort and you will have to teach your puppy his name. Actually, you could regard your puppy’s name as a command, because when you call your puppy by his name, you want to get his attention.

Before that works, however, your puppy will need to get used to hearing his name and learn to recognize it. For this to happen, it is important to link your puppy’s name to a positive and nice event and to never use his name when you are angry. Make sure that all the members of your household are on the same page and that everybody uses the same name. Also be careful with names or words that sound similar to your puppy’s name. When your puppy is called Sam for example, it sounds similar to saying ‘damn’ or ‘could you give me the jam’.

Start practicing his name in a quiet environment, preferably in your own home. Avoid too many distractions and do not make it too difficult for you and the puppy. Do not call him more than 2 or 3 times. Do not give him a treat if he does not look at you and try again a little later. Some puppies will understand this faster than others. Try not to practice too much, saying the name too much in the first couple of days might cause the puppy to lose interest. So you should definitely take your time for teaching your puppy his name. You will be surprised how fast your puppy will understand if you just stay patient.

Teaching your puppy his name

You have found the perfect name for your dog but you still need to teach your puppy his name. By following our 9 steps approach you will be enabled to teach your puppy his name. In the end your puppy will listen to his name perfectly.

Teaching your puppy his name in 9 steps

1. Make sure the name is linked to something pleasant
The most important thing when teaching a dog his name is that hearing the name will get the dog something nice in return. In the beginning, it is fine to confirm this with treats, but naturally you can also reward your puppy by using your voice, a pat or a game. What matters is that the puppy will link the name with something ‘great’. Therefore, never ever use the name when you are angry.

2. Make sure your puppy is paying attention
To teach your puppy to react to his name, it is important to have the dog paying attention to you first. It is often easier to accomplish this using a treat or a nice toy. To make yourself interesting enough, have the puppy watch you and have him wonder what else there is to get. Give your puppy a small treat as a reward. At this point, say the dog name and immediately give him another reward. When your puppy turns his head to look elsewhere, use the name again and immediately give another treat when he looks your way again, because of you saying his name. Do not repeat this too often. Your puppy will learn more quickly through successful tries, than he will through many tries.

3. Use your puppy’s curiosity
Puppies are always still delightfully curious. To teach your puppy to react to his own name, you can use that curiosity to your advantage. Try standing next to your puppy when he went to lie down somewhere in your home, where he is playing or chewing a bone. Now, with a cheery, happy voice, say your puppy’s name. If your puppy does not react, do nothing and try again some other time. Does your puppy look up when he hears the name? Then immediately reward your dog with a treat, your voice or a pat. You can repeat it a few more times, before going back to what you were doing.

4. Teaching your puppy to make contact
You can now slowly make sure, your dog is going to really make contact with you upon hearing his name and that he is not only interested in the reward he will get. To accomplish that, when you say your puppy’s name and he looks up, hold the treat near your face, a little closer to yourself than to the puppy. This way, your puppy learns to look in your direction when he hears his name being called.

5. Teaching your puppy to make contact
You can now slowly make sure, your dog is going to really make contact with you upon hearing his name and that he is not only interested in the reward he will get. To accomplish that, when you say your puppy’s name and he looks up, hold the treat near your face, a little closer to yourself than to the puppy. This way, your puppy learns to look in your direction when he hears his name being called.

6. Make eye contact
As soon as your puppy starts to understand that hearing his name means making contact with you, it is time to slowly direct his attention towards your eyes. Instead of holding the treat away from you a bit, you now move the treat nearer to your eyes. To do this, it is fine to hold the treat between your thumb and index finger, holding it between your eyes from above. To be able to see the treat, your puppy will now have to look straight into your eyes, which actually establishes eye contact between you. Keep this exercise fun and relaxed and immediately reward your puppy, the moment he looks into your eyes.

7. Step things up a little
As soon as you notice your puppy reacting positively to hearing his own name, you can step things up a little. Try doing it when your puppy is looking in another direction. Do make sure that there are not too many distractions around, and do not forget to immediately reward your puppy when he looks up after hearing his own name.

8. Gradually increase the distance
When the previous steps work well every time, you may want to try out calling your puppy by his name from another room, or when he is roaming around the house, to find out how he will react. When practicing the name command, please make sure that you have a positive attitude towards your puppy and that you immediately reward any wanted positive reaction. Gradually expand this to moments when your puppy is playing, sniffing around or when you are a bit further away.

9. Try other locations
Now that your puppy is starting to figure out what his own name is, and reacts to it by making contact with you, you could try this at other locations as well. Outside his own environment there often are many things to distract your puppy, but in the end this is the place where you want your puppy to react well to hearing his name. This really does not have to happen right away, the first few days when you try it. Give your puppy, but also yourself, some time to learn this and remember: one successful training is more useful than training too many times.

Several things to take into account

Choosing a name for your dog can be a lot of fun, but it is not always easy. There are several things that you need to take into account. Some examples of what you need to think about when choosing a name for your dog are:

The gender of your dog

A name that fits your dog’s gender is an obvious choice. There are names that are a good fit for female dogs and other names that are suitable for male dogs. Of course, there are also names that fit both, these names are also called unisex names.

Does the name fit the dog’s breed or type?

When you have a certain breed or type of dog you should take that into account when choosing a name as well. If you have a St Bernard you would probably not choose a name like Mini (or maybe you would, of course). However, for a Chihuahua this would be a good name. The breed of your dog plays a big role when you are looking for a dog name. After all, your dog is not just any dog and every dog is unique. There are lots of physical features that make up the distinct look of a dog, but dogs also have different characters. Of course  you also want a name that fits your dog’s character. During the years, different types of dogs were bred to fulfill the needs of man.

Dog’s have been bred for the following functions
  • To hunt
  • To trail game
  • To alert the hunter for game
  • To drive out game
  • To guard
  • As company
  • To drive out pests (squirrels, for example)

After the 19th century breeding for just the looks of the dog became more common, which led to a bigger variety of dog breeds. Nowadays, all dog breeds are subdivided into 10 groups. Every breed can be categorized according to their purpose, function, size and looks. This helps you to find out what you can expect and you can use this information when choosing a dog name.

Popularity of the name

The popularity of the name can also influence the choice that you make. Would you like a dog name from the top 10 dog names and therefore a name that you will probably come across quite a lot? Or do you want a dog name that you will probably not encounter on your walks or in the dog park? If you choose a popular name, there is the chance that you will come across another dog with the same name. This is definitely something you should think about.

Names in your family

Make sure to choose a name that is not too similar to the names of your family members. If you use the name at home it could be quite confusing for both of them and they might not know who you are talking to. Also if you are angry at that family member or have a serious discussion, the dog might be wondering what he did wrong.

Human name or dog name

You could give your dog a human name, like Jim or Sally. You can also choose a proper dog name like Rex or Spot. You are the one that has to make this decision.

The sound of the letters

Research shows that dogs can hear the sound of the ‘s’ more intensely than humans and that dogs react best to words with two syllables and hard consonants. Researchers also found that these hard consonants produce sounds that transmit more energy via sound frequencies. This works better to get the dog’s attention. Hard sounds activate more sound receptors in a dog’s brain than soft consonants. It is important for dogs that their name is clear. You should preferably choose a word with one or two syllables. When giving commandos, dogs react better to short names than to long names. Dogs can learn and recognize shorter names much easier than long names. Words or names with more than two syllables are harder to remember. Different research has been done with puppies. Their owners tried to teach them a new name using treats and trying to get them to react to it. Results showed that the more time there was between the beginning of the name and giving the treat, the longer it took for the puppy to recognize his name.

Several dogs at home

Do you have more than one dog? Then make sure that you do not choose names that are too similar. This will make it difficult for both dogs to recognize the different sounds of the names and they might both react to both names or not react at all because they think that you are calling the other dog. If you have two dogs, you can also choose two names that go very well together, like Salt and Pepper, Adam and Eve or Bonnie and Clyde.

Pedigree names

Dogs whose pedigree is recognized by the American Kennel Club sometimes have a special name. This means that they already have a name when you get them, this is their official name. Most people give their dog another name to call them by, and that is not a problem. The dog will keep his official name as part of the pedigree and you can teach the dog another name to call him by.