Dog Name Ideas

Stumped on naming your new family member? Here are some creative ways to come up with that perfect dog name.

Posted: February 5, 2012, 6 a.m. EST

dog names

When choosing a dog name it is recommended that you choose a short name, or a name that can be shortened, since you will be saying your dog's name a lot. Many trainers also say that a short, one or two-syllable name is easier for a dog to learn.

1. Looks. Many people name their new puppy or dog based on how it looks. Thus, there are a lot of dogs named “Bear,” as many puppies look like fuzzy bear cubs.

2. Personality. It can be a good idea to wait until you get your new family member home to name him or her. That’s because once you see their personality, a name might come to you. For example, there are a lot of dogs named “Diva,” “Princess,” “Happy,” and the like, based on their behavior.

3. Famous People. Elvis, Napoleon, Tolkien, and Tillman are just a few dogs named after celebrities. Naming your pet after someone you admire or like is a fun way to pay homage to them. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter at the dog park!

4. Literary, TV, & Movie Characters. These names cycle in and out of popularity, depending on what’s hot. Right now, shelters are full of dogs that have been dubbed “Harry Potter” by shelter staff in the hopes it will make a dog more appealing to potential adopters.

5. Flowers. For whatever reason, flower names are always popular. “Daisy” is consistently in the list for most common dog names. “Lily” and “Rose” are also very popular.

6. Favorite things. More dogs are named after their owner’s interests than can even be imagined. Dogs named after brand names, such as “Budweiser,” “Harley,” and “Roxy,” are very common.

7. Breed. It can be fun to give your dog a name that relates to where the breed originated or is named from. For example, many English Bulldogs in America are named Winston. Great Danes could be named “Hamlet,” and Poodles “Pierre.”

Regardless of how you choose your dog's name, remember it will be something you will call out to your dog regularly, so make sure it’s easy to say.

Don’t be afraid to think out of the box and come up with something that expresses your personality as well as your dogs.

See the top male and female dog names, dog names by size and dog names by breed in our Dog Names Center>>

See celebrity dog names>> 


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Eileen - 249708   Port Perry, ON

2/11/2016 3:54:55 AM

I think give a dog a name is important to fit the dog and I like the things to consider put forth in this article.

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3/30/2012 6:51:53 PM

I have just rescued Simba, a Shar Pei from the streets of the town where I work. He is the loviest dog ever, and looks like a little lion. Named him after the Lion King from the movies.

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l.Lee   Salem, MO

3/24/2012 2:14:11 PM

why can't you just put a name in and find out what it means?

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Amy   Junction City, OR

3/19/2012 2:25:08 PM

My service dog is a Pug named Dexter. Although he was named by the dog program, I couldn't have done better! It reflects a dog who's devoted, intelligent,hard-working and still kind of goofy! His name fits him perfectly! He's absolutely no "Pugsly", a name used a lot for Pugs around here...

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