So, you’ve got a new puppy or a dog in your life? The moment when you meet your new furry soulmate is one of the most precious times in each pet parent’s life.
Well, what is the one thing, besides preparing a majestic welcome for the pooch in question, that you should probably do first? Choose a perfect name, obviously!
If you’re not sure how to name a dog you’ve just adopted, or if you just lack the inspiration, don’t worry.
Here you’ll find everything you need to pick one of the best dog names ever.
Stop Googling - Ask a Real Vet
- How To Choose A Good Name For A Dog
- Using A Generator To Name A Dog
- How To Choose An AKC Name For Dogs
- Can You Rename A Dog?
Dog name ideas:
- Old Fashioned Dog Names
- Girly Dog Names
- Cute Boy Dog Names
- Big Dog Names
- Personality Dog Names
- Patriotic Puppy Names
- Dog Names Inspired By Looks
- Unique Dog Names
- Scientific Dog Names
- Nerdy Dog Names
How to Choose a Good Name for a Dog
There are no strict rules when it comes to dog names. You can use a dog name generator, seek inspiration in mythology or your pooch’s looks, or go with the timeless classics. Whichever dog name you end up choosing, the only thing important is that you and your furball like it. Granted, your dog will like and respond to any name when you call them for cuddles or treats, but that’s another issue.
Using a Dog Name Generator
If you don’t have an idea for any good puppy names and your dog naming muse has left you struggling with dog name meanings, a name generator might be the answer to your prayers. The process is very simple: depending on the generator, you’ll just need to choose the sex of your dog, maybe check a box with a some of their traits, and a list of potential perfect names for puppies will load.
Some dog name generators offer the possibility to choose if the list of dog names will be inspired by a book or a TV show, or even by your favorite meal. Dog name generators like MyDogsName allow you to choose name styles and themes, which makes the, usually impersonal, process of using a dog name generator more individualized and meaningful.
How to Choose an AKC Name for Dogs
Wondering what does AKC mean for dogs, at least in terms of choosing a name? Well, purebred dogs that have a pedigree and need to be officially registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC for short), also need an official name. AKC dog names can be a product of your own ideas and inspiration, but the kennel your pooch originates from might have a set of naming rules for you to follow.
What do you need to know when choosing an AKC dog name?
- It can be 36 to 50 characters long
- It can’t contain show terms or titles
- No gender or breed specific names
- No offensive terms in the name
Now that you know your pooch can’t have a name like Daenerys Stormborn of the House Poochgaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Pawleesi of the Great Grass Park, Breaker of Leashes, and Mother of Dragons, what kind of names are a good choice?
- Incorporate the kennel name
- Add a name that doesn’t break AKC naming rules
- Include your last name
Sometimes, litters have a theme, so all the puppies from one litter will have to have a name that starts with the same letter, or, for example, name from the same book or a movie. No matter if you’re looking for boy or girl puppy names, if your breeder has set a theme, you’ll have to go along with it.
Of course, AKC dog names are usually just used for show and official purposes. The pet name is always different, whether it’s a variation of the dog’s AKC name or something completely unrelated. So don’t worry if you were obliged to register your pooch as Sunflower Hills Aurora Duchess: their pet name can be something they’ll actually recognize when they’re called for.
Can You Rename A Dog?
They do say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but anyone who has a dog knows that it’s just a silly saying. (If they said you can’t teach a lazy dog new tricks, they might have been onto something...)
Dogs learn their pet names quickly, especially when they are positively reinforced to do so. Even dogs rescued from shelters tend to catch up with their new pet name reasonably fast.
So, don’t stress over choosing the wrong name for your dog. For example, your Princess Cordelia grows up to be a little monster, feel free to change their name into Gremlin. She’ll get used to the new title in no time!
Old Fashioned Dog Names
You can’t go wrong with these timeless classics, especially if your pooch brings out your nostalgic side. Rex, Spot, Fido or King have been popular boy dog names for decades and with good reason. In case you’re looking for vintage female dog names, Lady, Daisy, Bella or Missy are great picks for any good girl!
More old fashioned dog names: Felix, Archie, Buddy, Lincoln, Milo, Otis, Parker, Quincy and Tucker for males, and Sue, Roxy, Ruby, Gladys, Hazel, Fanny, Dot, Cleo, Cora, or Bonnie for females.
Girly Dog Names
If your dog acts and looks like a lady, it’s only natural to have the urge to give her a cute, feminine name. Consider female dog names like Angel, Baby, Rosie or Princess for your pretty pooch. Just make sure to get her a pink dog name tag to go with her image!
More girly dog names: Sugar, Lulu, Jasmine, Pebbles, Mimi, Allie, Gracie, Dakota, Sophie, Lucy
Cute Boy Dog Names
You don’t have to choose only tough dog names in fear of hurting your pooch’s masculinity. Some of the great male dog names your puppy would be proud to have include gems like Buddy, Sammy, Oreo or Peanut. Who said boy names can’t be adorable?
More cute boy dog names: Beau, Lucky, Moose, Romeo, Benji, Gizmo, Leo, Jax, Simba, Elvis
Big Dog Names
Personally, I love when I see a Newfoundlander or Saint Bernard with funny puppy names like Tiny, Hobbit or Mini. It makes those big doofuses look even more adorable than they are! But, if you like strong dog names that go perfectly with gentle giants, consider naming them Khan, Hodor, Atlas or Bear. For those large ladies, pick girl dog names that will suit their size, like Athena, Duchess or Valkyrie.
More big dog names: Lord, King, Butch, Hulk, Major, Thor, Ctzar, Beowulf, Balu, or Smokey for males and Sheba, Duchess, Xena, Harley, Voodoo, Alaska, Gypsy, Nera, Tessa or Shiva for females.
Personality-Based Dog Names
When it comes to cute dog names inspired by different canine personalities, the sky is the limit. If your pooch has a distinct persona, what better way to honor it by giving them a matching name? Dog names like Gryff (short for Gryffindor), Spark, or Buzz, are great choices for energetic, friendly dogs. Looking for dog names for girls that are incredibly smart? Try Sophie, Genie or Prudence.
More personality-based dog names: Goofy, Whiz, Cuddles, Fighter, Barkley, Meanie, Smiley, Shadow, Wonder, or Napster.
Patriotic Puppy Names
Southern and proud? Choose one of the charming western dog names like Boomer, Missy, Pistol or Croc. Want to honor your Éireannach heritage? Irish dog names as Fergus, Aengus, Murphy, Patty or Molly are perfect choices.
Each country and culture have rich history that could serve as inspiration for naming your dog. Explore your roots and you might find perfect puppy names!
More patriotic dog names: Hero, Yankee, Dandy, Patriot, Kennedy, Franklin, Eisenhower, Jefferson, Monroe, or Revere for males, and America, Justice, Victory, Glory, Liberty, Betsy, Martha, Eleanor, or Reagan for females.
Dog Names Inspired By Looks
Sometimes you’ll get an idea for a puppy name just by looking at your furry friend. Let their gorgeous looks be the inspiration for their new name! For example, popular white dog names include Snowflake, Coco, Misty, or Alaska for girls, and male dog names such as Albus, Shiro or Snow. For those lovely pups with silky, dark coats, pick one of the more interesting names for black dogs, such as Nero or Noir, Onyx or Nox.
More dog names inspired by looks: Grey, Fluffy, Shaggy, Woolie, Sleek, Ebony, Jet, Charcoal, Freckles, or Spotty.
Unique Dog Names
Although names that are one in a kind can end up being bad dog names in the end, it doesn’t mean you have to choose an unoriginal name for your pooch. Try to come up with an interesting variation of the name you already like, or pick something unexpected. Some unique dog names include Pepsi, Stag, Plum, Zephyr or Eleven. Just hurry before someone snatches the name before you do!
More unique dog names: Popcorn, Eclipse, Bitcoin, Fiddlesticks, Vagabond, Jamboree, Blizzard, Tequila, Highway, or Avo (short for Avocado, of course).
Scientific Dog Names
No, I don’t mean naming your dog after a scientist, although I wouldn’t mind having a shaggy pooch called Einstein. I mean using science to name your dog! Behavioral experts have come to the conclusion that short, one syllable dog names make dog training a lot easier, as dogs respond well to shorter sounds. When it comes to the science of dog names, avoiding names that sound similar to commands you’re teaching your dog is a must. Considering all that scientific data, names like Fen, Dash, Eve or Fleur are a perfect fit!
More scientific dog names: Ben, Ash, Lou, Sam, Zeb, Moe, Max, Ned, Poe, or Ray for males, or Joy, Gia, Sky, Zoe, Di, May, Quinn, Gem, Flo, or Elle for females.
Nerdy Dog Names
I couldn’t mention science without adding sci-fi, and for geeky pet parents, fantasy books and TV shows are a gold mine for puppy names. Some of my personal favorites include Hobbit, Hagrid, Yoda, Peeta and Shadow as dog name ideas for boys, and Leia, Arya, Ripley or Buffy for girls. Let your imagination roam free when you’re wondering how to name a dog that warms your geeky heart!
More nerdy dog names: Beetlejuice, Moony, Padfoot, Legolas, Chewy, Errol, Anakin, Dumbledore, Drogon (Viserion and Rhaegal too!), or Draco for males, and Arwen, Zelda, Katniss, Hermione, Data, Buttercup, Mononoke, Luna, Weasley, or Lydia for females.
Choosing a name for your dog should be a fun and interesting process. It’s not about stressing over bad or good dog names and worrying that your pooch will have a boring name. Trust me, whichever name you choose for your dog, it will be the most memorable one to you.
Was this article helpful?
Help us make our articles even better