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Japanese Dog Names: 150+ Naming Ideas


Last Updated: November 7, 2023 | 8 min read | Leave a Comment

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Picking out a name for a new puppy is one of the most exciting parts of pet ownership. This task is fun and yet of great importance. A dog’s name is the primary way owners communicate with them throughout their lives, so it is crucial to pick a good one. People look to many diverse places to find inspiration for dogs and other pet names. Sometimes we are inspired by a place or a culture, for example, Japan. This inspiration can come from a love of Japan’s language, food, culture, and landscape. Or perhaps your new pup has some Japanese origins. Either way, there are plenty of ideas for Japanese dog names to choose from.

Japan is known for many things, including the massive Mount Fuji, gorgeous cherry blossoms, tea ceremonies, sumo wrestling, video games, and so much more. All this culture and beauty offer delightful ideas for pet names. When it comes to finding the perfect Japanese dog name for your pup, there are a variety of options to choose from. From traditional ideas inspired by the country’s history to modern ideas inspired by Japan’s culture, there is sure to be a picture-perfect name for your pup.

Finding the right moniker for a new puppy takes some time, and it is important that owners give themselves room to try out a few different options. You do not have to have something picked out immediately. It is even okay to change your choice if it doesn’t work out after the first few weeks. Choosing something that fits your pet perfectly is a big task, but we are here to help. We know there are many inspiring Japanese dog name ideas and have come up with a list of over 150 to help get you started.

Japanese Dog Breeds

Many of our favorite canine breeds have roots and origins in Japan. While some are familiar, others may be extremely rare. Some of these breeds are popular pets all over the world. You may notice that many Japanese dog breeds include the word, Inu. Inu is the most common way to say dog in Japan. Inu is both singular and plural and can mean one dog or several. Japanese dog breeds include:

  1. Akita Inu
  2. Hokkaido Inu
  3. Japanese Chin
  4. Japanese Spitz
  5. Japanese Terrier
  6. Kai Ken
  7. Kishu
  8. Ryukyu Inu
  9. Sakhalin Husky
  10. Shiba Inu
  11. Shikoku
  12. Tosa Inu

Meanings Of Japanese Names

Shiba Inu Puppy Dog with cute Traditional Japanese dress
Naming a pup is a very personal decision, and some owners like to pick something that has a special meaning.

In Japan’s naming practices, given names that end in -hei, -hiko, or -suke are male. Male monikers also often end with -o or -shi. Female given names usually end in -e, -yo, -mi, -na, -ko, or -ka. Given names are generally used in more informal settings.

There are several classic Japanese names with beautiful meanings to consider.

  1. Ai is a name for a female, meaning love.
  2. Akari means bright, vermillion red, or jasmine. This is a feminine word but is also often used as masculine.
  3. Annya signifies peace and sustenance and is a female name.
  4. Ashai can be for boys or girls and means the morning sun.
  5. Chika is a feminine word meaning near.
  6. Chiyo is a female name meaning a thousand generations or a thousand worlds.
  7. Fumiko is a female name, meaning child of treasured beauty.
  8. Haruto is a male moniker, meaning light and soaring.
  9. Hiro is masculine and translates to abundant, tolerant, and generous.
  10. Hiroshi is a boy’s name meaning generous.
  11. Jiro is masculine and means the second male.
  12. Keiko, which is feminine, translates to a lucky or respectful child.
  13. Kenzo, a male name, means wise or three.
  14. Nao is feminine and means honest.
  15. Nemu can be male or female and means dream.
  16. Ren is masculine and means lotus.
  17. Sora can be both feminine and masculine and refers to the sky.
  18. Yoshi is male and means lucky.
  19. Yoshiko is a female title that signifies a beautiful, virtuous, or joyous child.
  20. Yuki is another masculine moniker and means happiness, value, and snow.

Japanese Names For Male Dogs


There is a long list to consider for Japanese naming suggestions for male dogs. Some popular ideas include “Haru” which means “spring,” “Ryo” which means “dragon,” and “Katsu” which means “victory.” Ren, Haruto, Minato, and Yūma are popular among boys in Japan over the last few years. Try out some of these other ideas for your precocious boy pup.

Japenese Names For Female Dogs


A beautiful lady should have a beautiful title. Some popular ideas for female dogs include “Hime” which means “princess,” “Miki” which means “beauty,” and “Kame” which means “turtle.” These gorgeous Japanese feminine monikers will make any pretty pup proud.

Japanese Food-Inspired Dog Names


Japan’s food is tasty and luxurious. There are many delectable puppy call signs that come from this country’s cuisine. These food-inspired words allow us to pay homage to the cuisine we love but also offer creative suggestions for what to call our pets. These food naming ideas can be for male or female pups.

Anime Dog Names


Anime is an extremely popular style of cartooning, animation, and art inspired by Japanese animation. Some very popular anime include Pokémon, Demon Slayer, Bungo Stray Dogs, and Sailor Moon. Anime has a very distinct artistic style. Characters have an exaggerated look to their features, including larger eyes, long limbs, wild-looking hair, and very colorful clothing. Some anime is for kids, and other stories are for an older crowd. There are several creative pet call sign ideas in the anime world.

Animal-Inspired Dog Names

Ahiru – duckRaion – lion
Andori – roosterSakana – fish
Ebi – shrimpSaru – monkey
Gachō– gooseShika – deer
Hebi – snakeTaka – hawk
Kuma – bearTora – tiger
Neko – catTori – brid
Nomi – fleaTsuru – Crane
Okami – wolfUma – horse
Oushi – bullUshi – cow
Pig – butaWashi – eagle

Many pet owners love naming their dogs after other animals. Picking a word that means another animal from the Japanese language opens up some very intriguing ideas for a pet’s new moniker. Perhaps one of these animal-inspired ideas might be the right fit.

Folklore-Inspired Names


Another fashionable way to christen your pup is to use something that comes from folklore. Japan’s folklore is full of legends, myths, and stories. These wonderful tales and legends offer a wealth of naming inspiration.

Japanese Place Names


Japan is full of gorgeous and unforgettable places. These locations make fantastic ideas for a pet moniker. Naming a pet after a beloved place is a wonderful way to honor that place and give your fur baby a unique call sign.

Dog Naming Trends

chihuahua in a ninja suit
Entertainment, culture, and current events all influence some exciting name trends.

There are often trends and fads that happen in our culture and society that can inspire what we call our pets. These can include big franchises like Harry Potter, Marvel, and Disney, things like hipster naming ideas, or even ideas from other places like Italy, Ireland, Germany or Spain. Some trends will stick around for a long time, while others will fade as quickly as they flare up.

Remember that while naming a new puppy after a trend or fad is fun, fads fade. Your pup will need to learn this word and use it throughout their lives, so be very careful about naming them after something that may not be as popular down the road. Viral dances and videos are here today and gone tomorrow. Make sure what you pick to call your pet is something you both are happy with for more than just a little while. You also do not want to call them anything that will be made fun of or seem inappropriate later.

Trends can fluctuate and change from place to place. Personal interests can also impact what an owner finds trendy. Even if you do not want a trendy idea, looking at what is popular is a clever way to see what other people are picking and what to stay away from. It can also help get your creative ideas flowing if you find yourself stuck.

Dog Naming Tips

When picking a call sign for your new pup, there are a few things to contemplate. First, you should think about what kind of meaning or message you want your pup’s title to express. Are you after something that sounds impressive and unique or something that means something special to you? Let yourself get creative and consider many different options. Remember, this word will be the most important way you communicate with your pup during their life.

  1. Take a little time to explore Japan’s history, culture, and language. This will help you understand what your pick might mean and more about where the idea comes from. When picking a word or title from a different language, it is wise to research what it means and the different interpretations. You do not want to unknowingly pick a word that might insult someone or come across as offensive or disrespectful to the culture.
  2. When looking at ideas, consider your puppy’s breed, size, color, and appearance. Sometimes coat color, breed, or even size can inspire you.
  3. Finding the right title for a new puppy is not an easy job. It is perfectly fine to take some time and pick the best fit. If you have an idea picked out, that is wonderful. But if not, do not stress about it. Puppies will respond to your tone of voice, and “Baby” is a pretty adorable nickname for any breed.
  4. Spending time with a new puppy before deciding what to call them is a good idea. Even if you are attached to a specific thing, getting to know your dog before settling on anything is advisable.
  5. Your dog will not understand their name’s meaning, nor will they grasp the meaning or connection it has for you. Keep this in mind when picking a name. For you, this may be a nod to a special place or culture. For your pup, this word is their link to you. Canines associate this phrase with mealtime, snuggles, time for a walk, etc. They will understand that they need to pay attention to this word but not what it means.
  6. Stay away from words that sound like common commands. This will simply confuse your pup and can make training hard. The same goes for ideas that sound like family members or resemble the names of people who visit often.
  7. Try to stick with ideas that are appropriate and tasteful. You can be humorous, but remember that other individuals like veterinarians, groomers, and trainers will use this name, and you do not need to humiliate them or your pet.
  8. Canines respond better to shorter words, about one or two syllables. If you pick a longer signature, make sure to come up with some nicknames and abbreviated ideas that are easier for a new puppy to learn.
  9. Nicknames are particularly important. In many cases, dogs and cats end up being called a nickname that is a variation of theirs or, in some cases, has absolutely no connection to that at all. Finding some nicknames that work with your dog’s title and trying them out is good practice. You can hear how the word sounds and get a feel for it. Try to come up with a few nicknames for every idea you are seriously considering.
  10. Owners must understand that a puppy needs time and training to get used to a new name. Have patience, use positive reinforcement, and continue to encourage them to learn that this word is special. Stay consistent, offer lots of cuddles and positive rewards, and eventually, your pup will understand that this word has special meaning.
  11. Make sure to take some time to consider and try out a few options when selecting a title for your new fur baby. You do not have to have the perfect handle picked out right away. This process is different for everyone. Some owners like to have something readily picked out, and others like to let nature take its course and just see what fits. It will even be fine if you have to change your dog’s name. A name can wait as long as they receive plenty of love, top-quality nutrition, and medical care. After all, it will follow your pup and you for many years to come. It’s normal to take some time to make a perfect choice.

Final Thoughts

Picking out a name for a new puppy is a fun yet sometimes stressful experience. The excitement of welcoming your new fur baby home should be a happy time full of smiles, laughter, cuddles, and great memories. Part of that process is picking a name. It is important to remember that this doesn’t always happen right away. Owners need to take some time, do their research, try a few out, and then make a decision.

Inspiration for the perfect pet moniker can come from many different places, in some cases a beautiful country and culture like Japan. Japanese dog names hold so many beautiful possibilities, and it is a wonderful opportunity to learn about a culture outside of your own. Hopefully, after checking out our list, you are excited and ready to brainstorm the perfect name for your new furry family member.

Shiba Inu in Tree

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