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Bringing home a new member of the family is always a fun and exciting time. Many families already have a name picked out for their new dog when it arrives but some prefer to wait to see what characteristics the dog has before picking that perfect name.
There are a number of ways to pick the perfect name for a dog. From favorite literary characters to more predictable dog names.
For some dogs and dog owners only the cute names appeal (and there are certainly plenty of these to choose from). Cute dog names can originate from a wide variety of places and depending upon the dog’s origin you may find that the originating country has as much to do with selecting a name as the meaning of the name itself!
Source: Wisdom Panel Survey of 13,000 pet parents
- Puck – The name Puck has American origins and can be used to refer to a dog that bounces similar to a hockey puck or a dog that is mischievous like the character Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare.
- Shep – The name Shep comes from the word shepherd and is generally used for dogs that show sheep herding traits. This name is English in origin.
- Happy – This name is American in origin and is obviously used for dogs who appear to be smiling or who have happy and joyful dispositions.
- Fidelity – The name Fidelity is American in origin and is perhaps best known for being the name of one of Theodore Roosevelt’s horses. Just as the English word “fidelity” relates to loyalty and faithfulness so too does the name when used for a dog.
- Jet – Jet is an American name, and while it has a number of meanings it is most commonly used to describe dogs that are both jet black in color or who are constantly speeding or jetting around. This name can also be used by fans of the NFL team the New York Jets or by those with a love for aircraft. Rutherford B Hayes had a dog named Jet.
- General – General is an American name in origin and is best used for a dog who is commanding and a leader by nature. The term general is used to refer to an army general whose responsibility it is to command his army.
- Killer – American in origin, this name is fairly self-explanatory. The name Killer has been used both as a name for a dog who shows aggressive tendencies as well as for a dog that shows not an ounce of aggression.
- Bo – The name Bo is Slavic in origin and the definition of the name is “living.” Alternate spellings of this name include “Beau.”
- Liberty – Liberty is a name that is American in origin and naturally means “freedom” by definition. Liberty is a name that is particularly patriotic in meaning and is a good choice for a breed of dog that flourishes in the Americas.
- Rex – The origin of the name Rex is Latin and by definition it means King. Rex is a traditional dog name like “Spot” or “Fido.” This name suits a large or a dominant dog but can also be used ironically for small and timid dogs.
- Sonny – The name Sonny is American in origin and it translates to mean “our son.” This is a good name for a male dog or with spelling and redefining “Sunny” can be used for a female dog. When a male dog is the only “child” of the household this is a good name choice.
- Wolf – English by origin the name wolf refers to the wild creature. This name is a good choice for any dog breed that resembles a wolf either in characteristics or behavior. Wolf is also a favored name for Irish wolfhounds or any of the sled dog breeds.
- Moses – The name Moses is Egyptian in origin and by definition, it translates to mean “born of a God.” Moses is known for leading his people out of Egypt and as such, it is a good name choice for a born leader or a father of the pack.
- Eve – The name Eve is Hebrew in origin, it means life. Eve is a good choice of name for a female dog who was the first female of her litter or a female dog that can’t help but disobey the rules of the household. This name was also made popular by the Pixar animation film “Wall-E.”
- Delilah – Delilah is Hebrew in origin and by definition it means “one who weakened.” Delilah is most known for being the Biblical figure that cut off the hair and source of strength of Samson. Most commonly the name Delilah is used in conjunction with the name Samson to name a male and female pair of dogs. Delilah is a good name for a bossy female who takes command of the males in the home whether canine or human.
- Samson – Samson is Hebrew in origin and translates to mean sun or service. Samson is recognized as being the Biblical figure that drew his strength from his hair which Delilah cut off. Samson is a name well used for a male dog that is easily manipulated by a female dog of the household (his Delilah) or a strong male dog breed with long hair.
- Goliath – Goliath by definition means huge and while it cannot be confirmed it is believed to be Hebrew in origin. Goliath is known as being the giant who was slain by David in the Biblical story. This name is most commonly used for male dogs of the giant breed classes such as mastiffs and Great Dane’s.
- Queenie – The name Queenie is English in origin and by definition it means queen. This name is used for female dogs that have dominant traits or is the center of attention of her human owners.
- Prince– The name Prince is Latin in origin and by definition it means “royal son.” Most commonly the name Prince refers to a male dog who is the only “son” in the house and that has his owner’s attention at all hours of the day.
- Duke – The name Duke is English in origin and is a title used to refer to nobility. More commonly these days when the name Duke is used it is used to refer to a love for Clint Eastwood. Dogs that are named Duke are strong and likeable dogs that possess leadership qualities.
- Cleopatra – The name Cleopatra or Cleo for short is Greek in origin and defined it means the “glory of the father.” This name is most commonly used for female dogs that have their male owners wrapped around their little finger – or paw.
- Kobe – Hebrew in origin, the name Kobe translates to mean “supplanter.” The name Kobe is most commonly associated with the legendary basketball player Kobe Bryant.
- Colt – The name Colt is American in origin and means “young horse” by definition. This name is greatly favored by fans of the NFL team the Indianapolis Colts. (Or Colt McCoy, who played quarterback at the University of Texas).
- Boomer – American in origin the meaning of the name Boomer is somewhat unclear. Most commonly this name is associated with fans of the NFL great Boomer Esiason.
- Dodger – The name Dodger is American in origin and while the definition of this name is unknown it is most commonly associated with the LA Dodgers. With that said, this name is also frequently used by fans of the Disney movie Oliver & Company.
- Bonnie – English in origin, the meaning of this name is “pretty girl” and perfect for the female counterpart of Clyde in a troublemaking duo.
- Clyde – Scottish in origin, the meaning of this name is the Scottish river from which it comes. This name is usually paired with Bonnie to make a terrible twosome of trouble making dogs.
- Laverne – The name Laverne is American in origin and means “the alder tree” by definition. This name is usually paired with the name Shirley to make a twosome of fun loving girls like the American television series Laverne and Shirley.
- Shirley – The name Shirley is English in origin and means “bright meadow”. This name is usually paired with Laverne when owning two female dogs that are always up to mischief.
- Eleanor – The name Eleanor is French in origin; however, its meaning is unknown. The name Eleanor is usually paired with the name Franklin as a tribute to the United States President and his first lady.
- Franklin– The name Franklin is English in origin and by definition it means “free man.” Franklin is often paired with the name Eleanor to create a male and female pair.
- Romeo – The name Romeo is Italian in origin and its meaning is “from Rome.” The name Romeo is most commonly recognized as one half of the Shakespearean love tragedy Romeo and Juliet and as such these names are often paired together.
- Juliet – The name Juliet is English in origin and its meaning is “youthful.” The name Juliet is often paired with Romeo to name a male and female pair of dogs.
- Bandit – The origin of the name Bandit is unknown; however, by meaning it is most commonly associated with the definition of “thief.” This name is frequently given to dogs that have the habit of stealing and or hiding things or a dog that has markings similar to a mask over the face. Bandit is also known for being the dog from the cartoon Johnny Quest.
- Fido – The origin of the name Fido is Latin and it means “faithful” or “loyal.” While this may seem like a particularly boring name it is still a very popular one for dogs of all breeds. Abraham Lincoln had a retriever mix called Fido.
- Dixie – The name Dixie is French in origin and by definition, it means “from the south in the United States.” The name Dixie is a popular name for female dogs in the southern United States and seems best suited to dogs that have rather graceful and ladylike demeanors.
- Dutch – The name Dutch is English in origin and means “from the Netherlands.” This name is commonly used for larger male dogs, particularly those of German shepherd related breeds. The name Dutch is also connected with the nickname of President Ronald Reagan and gangster Dutch Schultz.
- Barkley – The name Barkley is English in origin; however, the meaning is unknown. Barkley is a commonly used name in England where the name Barkley is also connected with Barclays Bank. Most commonly the name Barkley is used for old English sheepdogs.
- Lucky – The name Lucky is American in origin and means “fortunate” by definition. Again, while this name may seem overly used it is still one of the more popular pet names, particularly for male dogs who have escaped some type of unfortunate situation such as living in an animal shelter or a car accident or amputation.
- Rover – The name Rover is English in origin and means “wanderer.” An old-fashioned name, this name is still used a lot today especially for male dogs who once lived as strays or seem to have wandered into the lives of their owners mysteriously.
- Sparky – The name Sparky is American in origin and while the official meaning is unknown it is thought to be related to the act of throwing off sparks. When used as a dog name, Sparky is most often used to refer to male dogs that are spunky in nature. This name is also connected to the nickname of the character Clark Griswold in the National Lampoon Vacation movie series.
- Spot – The origin of the name Spot is unknown; however, the meaning relates to the presence of a spot of some sort. As such, this name is often used for dogs that have spots on their coat or a single marking that is in the shape of a spot. The name Spot was also made popular by the English “Spot the Dog” storybooks as well as the series of “Dick and Jane” books.
- Beowulf – Beowulf is a name of Scandinavian or Old English origin and relates to an old tale that is still frequently read in schools today. Beowulf is commonly used for large dogs that tend to have shaggy coats and a type of warrior quality about them.
- Marley – The name Marley is English in origin and means “from the boundary field.” Most commonly the name Marley is used as a reference to the popular book and film “Marley and Me” or as a reference to singer Bob Marley.
- Lago – The name Iago is Spanish in origin and means “supplanter.” This name is commonly used as a reference to Shakespeare’s novel Othello. This name has also been made popular by the Disney movie series Aladdin. In either case, Iago was a villain and this name can be used to describe a trouble maker or a dog that appears to have come through their own series of scuffles and scrapes.
- Tiny Tim – The name Tiny Tim is American in origin and the meaning is believed to be the same as that of the name Tim which means “to honor God.” The name Tiny Tim is often used as a reference to the novel “A Christmas Carol” and best describes a dog that was the runt of the litter or a dog who wasn’t expected to survive an incident but did so. President Calvin Coolidge had a Chow named Tiny Tim.
- Nanook – The name Nanook is Inuit in origin and translates to mean “polar bear.” The name Nanook is commonly used as a reference to Nanook of the North, a character from a feature-length documentary which followed an Inuit man and his life in the Arctic. The name Nanook is most often used to refer to sled dog breeds or breeds of dog that are pure white and resemble polar bears in some way.
- Boo or Boo Radley – The name Boo is Irish in nationality and translates to mean “star.” The name Boo Radley or Boo for short is used as a reference to the book “To Kill a Mocking Bird.” The name Boo can also be used as a bastardization of the French word “beau” which means handsome or beautiful. Boo is also commonly used as a slang term to refer to someone who is loved.
- Scout – The name Scout is American in origin and means “first explorer.” The name Scout is most appropriate for a dog who always likes to be the leader of the pack or the investigator of the group. Scout is also commonly used as a reference to the book “To Kill a Mocking Bird.”
- Astro – Astro is most popularly recognized as the lovable yet goofy dog from the cartoon the Jetsons. If you have a dog that is large, goofy, and always trying to get in your lap then Astro could be the right name for you!
- Bambino – If your male dog is your sole companion and your only child then you may want to consider Bambino as a name choice. Italian for “little boy” this name lets everyone know just how much you think of your cute and cuddly bundle of fur!
- Bonsai – Is your dog as little and cute as a bonsai tree? Do you have a dog of Japanese origin like a Japanese Chin? Then Bonsai is the perfect name for your dog. Ideal for the peaceful and Zen-like miniature breed this is generally considered to be a male-gendered name.
- Cupcake – Are you a baker or do you simply have a small sweet dog that you could eat up because they are just so adorable? Why not try cupcake as a name choice? Keep in mind however that while some of our name suggestions are gender-neutral this one is most commonly recognized as a female name.
- Fivel – Have you seen the animated movie An American Tail? The story focuses on a small male mouse that turns from a small fearful creature to a brave hero. If you have a dog that has been given a second chance at life or a dog that has come out of his shell then Fivel might be a good name choice for you!
- Frodo – Are you a fan of the Lord of the Rings books? Do you have your own little hobbit in furry form? If you have then Frodo is a great masculine name choice to consider!
- Gromitt – A cute but brainy name this is the perfect name choice for a dog who has far too much intelligence for their own good! Taken from the claymation series “Wallace and Gromitt” Gromitt is a dog behind all the great ideas who frequently has to save his dim master from himself!
- Jiminy – Does your small furry friend act as your conscience and keep you in line most days? Well if your dog is your own personal Jiminy Cricket why not go with Jiminy as the perfect name choice?
- Pez – Are you a Pez candy collector or maybe you just have a small pup who is always popping up and getting under your feet? Pez is a small classic name for a dog with far too much energy and can be used for a male or a female dog.
- Roo – Any Winnie the Pooh fan would suggest this name for a small male dog that likes to stay by your side but occasionally ventures out. Roo can be a bouncy dog or an insecure dog but regardless of where this one goes he will always end up by your side at the end of the day!
- Blossom – Blossom is the perfect name for a female dog who loves to be pampered and adorned with frills. Blossom can be a small, medium or large dog but she is definitely a prissy girl who likes to strut her stuff for the camera!
- Gucci – If you are a Gucci guru or if you have a small female dog that is something of a diva then this could be the right name for your small dog! Gucci’s are likely to do whatever it takes to get attention even in a large room and they are definitely not wallflowers!
- Jelly Bean – Do you have a small dog that is just about as sweet and colorful as they get? Jelly Bean might be the name for your furry friend! Jelly Beans are energetic and lovable but they might also have a little pep in them!
- Lulu – Lulu is most commonly known for being the name of cartoon character Little Lulu and the name is fitting for many female dogs. Lulu’s are usually sweet girly dogs who have their owners wrapped around their little paw!
- Mojo – Mojo is usually used as a masculine dog name for male dogs that have a lot of “up and at ‘em.” Mojo’s don’t back down easily and always know just how to charm the ladies!
- Pebbles – Pebbles is most commonly recognized as Fred and Wilma’s daughter on the Flintstones. A female dog named Pebbles is most likely to be a girly girl who has a special bond with her male owner but she’s not afraid to go after what she wants at the same time! Many people who have a male and female dog use the names “Pebbles” and “Bam Bam.”
- Pixie – If you have a tiny pup who is fast on their feet and almost seems to fly or a flighty dog with a little bit of an attitude then Pixie could be the right name for your pup! Pixie’s can have the personality of Tinkerbell or simply bring a little bit of magic to your life.
- Shortcake – Shortcake is better known as a type of cookie but if you have a little pup that is the sweetest dog you have ever met then this may be the cute dog name you’re looking for! Shortcakes are generally the head of the household and know just how to bat those eyes to get what they want!
- Sugar – If you have another sweet dog in mind then why not get straight to the point by calling your furry friend “Sugar.” Sugar’s have sweet dispositions and they always get what they want without so much as trying!
- Yoda – Have a little old man who is starting his life anew? Or maybe you have a small pup that is just too smart for their own good. If this describes you and your dog why not try Yoda!
- Lola – If you have a female dog that is just a little too prissy for her own good then Lola is the perfect name! Regardless of the size of your puppy, Lola’s never fail to show their girly side and even enjoy wearing frilly dresses once in a while!
- Stella – Stella is the perfect name for any Tennessee Williams lover but it’s also the perfect name for a loving dog that also has an independent side. This is also a great name for the younger sister of the household or the more level headed of canine siblings.
- Nala – Any lover of Disney’s “Lion King” will recognize this name as the intelligent yet somewhat bossy love interest of Simba and the future queen of “Pride Rock.” If your pup is destined to be the queen of your family then Nala could be the right name for you. Nala is also a popular name among owners of light tan colored puppies.
- Piper – Piper is a name recognized by lovers of the television show “Charmed.” As a leading character on the show, Piper is a strong female lead and is quite talented in gymnastics. If your puppy just can’t keep still and likes to lead the pack then Piper might be the right pick!
- Ellie – Ellie is most popularly known as the wife of Carl in Disney Pixar’s movie “Up.” Ellie and Carl are the epitome of the perfect romance and any breeding pair of dogs would do well with the monikers “Carl and Ellie.” As a single female, Ellie would be a calm, level headed, and caring dog who is adventurous but always returns to your lap at the end of the day.
- Teddy – Teddy is a great name for a male dog that is prone to cuddling. If you have a fluffy cuddler on your hands then Teddy might be a good name choice. Teddy can also be equated with United States president Theodore Roosevelt, a man known for his energy and his masculinity. If your male pup is a macho man with more energy than he knows what to do with you should consider the name Teddy. Football fans often equate the name to having something to do with Teddy Bruschi, a strong and athletic man with the skills it takes to be a good leader.
- Ruby – Are you a fan of The Wizard of Oz? If so, then you will likely equate this name with the ruby red slippers of Dorothy. An adventurous and strong-willed female puppy will most likely remind you of Dorothy and likely be well suited to the name “Ruby.”
- Winston – Winston is a strong male name that more often than not brings to mind historical figure Winston Churchill. Churchill was known for being a great leader particularly in times of war, in addition to being an all-around memorable character. If your pup is a strong-willed but composed boy then he would make a good Winston. Also clever if you live in our hometown of Winston-Salem, NC!
- Rosie – Rosie is a cute female name; however, ironically enough it commonly brings to mind the image of Rosie the Riveter. Rosie would make the perfect name for a single female pup in a litter of males. Rosie would also be a great name for any hardheaded female pup who likes to do things her way or no way!
- Bambi – Do you have a doe-eyed pup that just has to blink at you and you melt in their gaze? Bambi is the perfect name for any heart-melting pup that is just too cute for their own good!
- Buzz – Buzz has been a popular dog name since the release of Pixar’s Toy Story animation but it is also a name recognized by space exploration fans in recognition of Buzz Aldrin. Whichever way you see it, Buzz is a strong male figure with a love for exploration, a pup who doesn’t know limits.
- Stitch – Stitch is a name that brings to mind the cute animated character Stitch from Disney’s animated film Lilo and Stitch. Stitch might be cute but he’s also a mischief-maker and if you’re looking for a name to match a “Loki” in your household, then Stitch could be a great match!
- Cubby – If you’re a Cubs fan then there is no doubt that this name will find a place in your heart for your athletic pup that has the energy to keep on playing. Cubby also makes a great name for teddy bear-like pups however and if you are looking at one of the fluffiest dogs you’ve ever seen, then Cubby might be a good fit for you!
- Daphne – This one is for all the Scooby Doo fans out there! If you have a girly girl of a dog who likes to lead the pack but also loves to socialize with littermates and other dogs in the family, then Daphne could be a great pick for your dog.
- Dobby – If you have a little pup that is willing to do anything to serve you as his master then Dobby could make a great name choice for you! Any Harry Potter fan will recognize this name as being reminiscent of Dobby the house elf who serves his master completely.
- Fifi – A name most commonly reserved for Poodle like breeds, Fifi is a female name that brings to mind the ultimate in femininity. Fifi’s are generally dogs that like to be catered after and not dogs that would do anything for their masters. These dogs are more often like cats in temperament than they are dogs.
- Grace – Grace is a top name pick for the quiet female pup in a litter. Dogs named Grace are seldom rambunctious and are more often than not the runt of the litter that has had to overcome a number of obstacles in her life.
When it comes to naming your dog there are so many names out there to choose from that the process of naming can be made increasingly difficult. What can make this naming process even more difficult is when there are numerous members of the family who want input on the final name of the newest family member.
While this process can be difficult, it can be made easier in a number of ways.
- One of the best ways to do the naming process is to have the individual who will be doing the bulk of the care-taking, do the naming process. This may not seem fair but dogs tend to bond to one family member more so than others and usually it is the family member who is responsible for the majority of their care.
- Another way to decide upon a name for your dog is to have everyone submit their favorite names and put all of the names in to a hat, drawing out one and deciding upon it as the final choice.
- Lastly, many families prefer to wait to let the dog name itself in a way. When new dogs come to their home they often exhibit particular traits or characteristics that dominate their personality and in this case they decide upon their own name!
Regardless of how you and your family decide to choose your dog’s name, just remember that whatever you decide upon will be your dog’s name for the remainder of its life which could be as long as 18 years! While it may seem cute to have the toddler of the house name your new dog “salt and pepper” or “mashed potatoes” keep in mind that your dog is going to have to endure years of that name and should they ever go missing it will be you that stands outside shouting their toddler given name!
Congrats on the start of your new journey with your new addition. We highly recommend checking out our new dog checklist to make sure you have everything you need to start your new life together. In addition, you should consider getting pet insurance for your new pup (especially while they’re young and it’s more affordable).
Have any tips for (or need help) picking a dog name?
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