Top puppy and dog names
Choosing just the right name for your new puppy can be a difficult decision. There are so many dog names to choose from … classical dog names, human names, famous people (and famous dogs), themed names (movies, food, nationality, etc)… the options are practically endless.
According to the Pet Survey Report 2019, the most popular names for pets are human names, which make up 88% of the top 25 dog names. This goes hand in hand with the way that the majority of owners view their pets as members of the family. Other common naming conventions include borrowing from popular culture, literature and even ancient mythologies, according to the survey.
Whatever name you pick, you and your new puppy will be living with it for a long time, so it deserves some careful deliberation. If you’re looking for inspiration, we’ve collected the very best puppy names, from the most popular to themed to unusual to unique. Read on to find out the do’s and don’ts of choosing a name and our top 10 lists of popular, crazy, trendy, cute and unique dog names.
Dog names – How to choose the right one
A good dog name can enhance your dog’s responsiveness and improve communication between you. Consider the following when choosing:
- Dogs have an easier time hearing hard consonants and long vowels, so a name like “Barney” (hard consonants) or “Phoebe” (long vowels) will be easier for your pup to distinguish from other sounds.
- Most dog training experts recommend a one or two-syllable name that you can say quickly.
- Avoid names that sound like commands, for example, “Kit,” which sounds like “sit,” or “Joe,” which sounds like “no.”
- You’ll be saying your puppy’s name a lot for the foreseeable future, so pick a name you like to say out loud (and that you won’t be embarrassed to yell across the park or put on a dog tag).
- You don’t have to decide on a name right away, so if you prefer, take your time and get to know your new puppy before deciding what name fits – in time, his or her personality, behaviour or appearance might point you to the perfect name.
- Read more pet naming tips to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
Use our pet name search tool to find the perfect dog name from the thousands in our database!
Human names – the most popular dog names
Just like baby names, dog names rise and fall in popularity, and lately there has been an unwavering trend to choose human names for our canine family members. At least 20 percent of dogs currently have human names like Bella or Charlie, according to Rover.com. In line with this trend, human names consistently make up the most popular puppy names that we at Bow Wow Meow process each year.
Our current top 10 dog names
Popular-culture themed puppy names
Does your dog remind you of a film or TV character, either canine or human? Or do you, your partner or your kids have a favourite actor, sports star or other hero that you would love to name your new pup after? Never fear, many dogs are named after their owner’s (or their owner’s kids’) favourite celebrity, hero or even villain. In fact, a third of pet owners have named their dog after a character from a TV show, video game, movie, or book, Rover.com found. Here are some of our current favourites:
Good dog names from pop culture
- Arya (Game of Thrones)
- Dexter (Dexter)
- Buttercup (The Princess Bride)
- Kanye (Kanye West)
- Hawkeye (Avengers)
- Frodo (Lord of the Rings)
- Harley (Harley Quinn)
- Yoda (Star Wars)
- Kobe (Kobe Bryant)
- Neo (The Matrix)
Disney dog names
Traditionally, many names from the Disney universe of characters have been popular choices for dog names, from Mickey to Moana to Perdita (101 Dalmatians) to Simba (The Lion King). Believe it or not, the number of dogs named after the “Frozen” characters Elsa and Anna rose 900 percent the year after the movie came out! Here are more popular Disney dog names, both old and new, to consider for your pup:
- Ariel (The Little Mermaid)
- Bolt (Bolt)
- Scamp (Lady and the Tramp)
- Porkchop (Doug)
- Scratchy (Lady and the Tramp II)
- Rocket (Guardians of the Galaxy)
- Freckles (101 Dalmatians)
- Shadow (Homeward Bound)
- Baloo (The Jungle Book)
- Tigger (Winnie the Pooh)
Food names for dogs
Pop-culture and famous faces don’t appeal to you? You might want to turn to your favourite food or beverage for inspiration – apparently, twelve percent of pet owners do so, according to Rover.com. Here are some of best food dog names we’ve come across recently:
- Cous Cous
Best dog names for a matching pair
Looking for a pair of cool puppy names for a pair of pups? Look no further than a famous couple from real life or fiction, or a matching set of words or items. of These sets may get your creative juices flowing:
- John & Jacky
- Bonnie & Clyde
- Dijon & Mustard
- Monty & Carlo
- Sugar & Spice
- Diego & Frida
- Taco & Belle
- Cagney & Lacey
- Grace & Frankie
- Meghan & Harry
Find more paired name suggestions here.
Tough dog names
You’ve got a big, tough dog, and want a list of big dog names to choose from? Big dogs often have big personalities, but some can be softies at heart, so you may want to consider the breed and your dog’s personality before deciding whether he’s a Hercules or a Hobbit, or she’s a Brunhilda or a Bambi. Here are some popular themes and example tough dog names to think about:
- Titles – King, Queen, Prince, Princess, Duke, Duchess, Emperor
- Military – Napoleon, Hannibal, , Major, Gunner, Tank, Rex, General, Sergeant
- Gods and Goddesses – Zeus, Athena, Valkyrie, Hercules, Atlas, Hydra, Apollo
- Superheroes – Thanos, Hulk, Thor, Wolverine, Hawkeye
- Animal kingdom – Wolf, Beast, Fang, Mammoth, Tiger, Moose, Bear
- Descriptive – Chief, Giant, Titan, Maximus, Monster, Beast
- Literature & legend – Samson, Goliath, Brutus, Banshee, Griffin, Kraken
- Movies – Rambo, Rocky, Butch, Shrek, Fiona, Spike, BFG, Rambo, Mr T, Brienne
- Sports – Tyson, Tiger, Cassius, Martina, Billie Jean, Pele, Renaldo, Serena
- Actors – Dwayne, Diesel, Arnie, Sylvester, Bronson, Bruce, Charlize
Unusual dog names
If you don’t want to follow the masses or your new puppy is a little out of the ordinary, you may be struggling to think up a more unusual dog name to fit its breed, size, looks or personality. Here are some tips on how to be a little more creative in your choice of name:
- Give your little dog a name that is typically a big dog name.
- Give your big dog one of the cute dog names that is usually reserved for the tiny tots.
- Choose one of the classic dog names that is seldom heard in dog parks and puppy school these days.
- Choose a human name that appears to have gone out of fashion (i.e. you won’t come across it in a school or playground – unless it’s grandparents’ day).
- Combine two names or words or make a change to an existing name, concept or word to create a new name, for e.g. Blinky-Belle (from Blinky Bill) or Lady-Sadie (from Sadie the Cleaning Lady).
To get you started, here are some of the more unusual dog names that we’ve come across recently (we don’t think you’ll find these names on any ‘best dog names 2021’ list!):
- Drop Bear
Unique puppy names
Somewhat ironically, there are hundreds of Google searches each day for unique dog names. To come up with a truly unique dog name, you’ll need to get your creative juices flowing and think outside of the box, rather than pick one from a list. While a name undoubtedly loses its uniqueness once it’s made it onto a “top 10 list of unique dog names”, these descriptive dog names might just suit your one-of-a-kind pup:
Cute dog names
Whether you’ve got a tiny breed and are looking for a cute and cuddly name to suit, or a large breed with a soft centre, there are loads of cute puppy names that cry out “I’m adorable!”. Here is a list of our top 10 best dog names that capture the cuteness factor:
Cute little puppy names
Looking for a name for a teacup, toy or other small breed? Or for a big dog with an even bigger heart? One of these diminutive cute puppy names might fit the bill:
- Mini Me
- Pocket Rocket
- Itsy Bitsy
- Tom Thumb
- Teeny Weeny
Funny dog names
Looking for a name that draws attention and puts a smile on faces? These are genuine dog names that other fun- and pun-loving dog owners have selected (or invented). If you think of an even better one, please let us know!
- Winnie the Poodle
- Doogie Howler
- Ally McBeagle
- Napoleon Bonapaws
- Muttley Crew
- Sir Poucealot
- Hairy Pawter
Happy puppy names
Want to break out in a smile whenever you call out your pup’s name? You’ll never feel cross with a dog with a name from this jolly list:
Best puppy names to match your dog’s colouring
Have you considered a name that matches your dog’s colouring? How about Copper or Biscuit for your brown- coated pup? Smokey or Wolf to compliment a grey coat? There are also many good puppy names for black and white dogs – you may just fall in love with one of the following:
Black dog names
White dog names
- Snow / Snowy / Snowflake
Best dog names from other languages
French dog names
Perhaps you have a French breed or a fascination for all things French? These potential puppy names will surely have you saying ‘merci’:
German dog names
Do you have a German breed or a ‘geschmack’ for all things German? Either way, these Deutsche dog names will definitely have you saying ‘danke’:
Italian dog names
Maybe you have an Italian breed or an inclination for all things Italian? These good dog names are guaranteed to have you saying ‘grazie’:
Choosing the right name for your new dog can be a bit overwhelming, but in the end, there are no rules for naming your dog and whatever you choose will most likely soon become a good fit. Pick a name, try it out, and see how you like it—as well as how your dog responds (although he or she certainly won’t be voicing any objections to it).
We hope we’ve given you some inspiration with our numerous lists of puppy names, whether you’re looking for popular or unique, cute or tough, little or big, Italian, French or German! Remember, if the name you choose seems not quite right, you can always come back to our lists and change it for another one.