Wondering what to name your new pupper? Check out these fur-proof tips for discovering the best names for your dog.
You’re stocked up on kibble. You’ve rolled out the dog bed. Now, you need to decide what the heck to engrave on his shiny new collar. Dog naming is both an art and a science. If you’re feeling stumped, these guidelines will help you choose a name that’s easy for your dog to learn while perfectly suiting his personality.
Keep It Short & Sweet
Dogs respond better to shorter names. One to two syllables is a good rule of thumb. Feel free to give your dog a longer, fancy “official” name like “Sir Mugglesworth,” but make sure it shortens into something cute like “Muggy” or “Mugs.”
Pick Sharp Sounds
Dogs are great at picking up higher frequency sounds. To help your pup separate their name from ambient noise, pick a name that starts with sharp consonant sounds like “s,” “sh,” “k,” or “ch.” Names like Simba, Charlie, or Sushi are great examples.
Avoid Names that Sound Like Commands
Names that sound too much like commands can be confusing for your pup. “Kit” sounds a lot like “sit,” and “Faye” could be mistaken for “stay.”
Don’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
If you’re renaming an older dog, try to find a name that sounds very similar to their original name. Vowel sounds are more important than the consonant sounds, since that’s what the dog will be listening for. So you could change “Lucy” to “Goosey” but not “Lacy.”
See Whats Popular
Sometimes there’s wisdom in the crowd. Check out the most popular dog names of 2016 in the U.S. to see what the top dogs are diggin’.
Work in a Little Wordplay
Sometimes, the best dog names are also hilarious dog puns. Who wouldn’t want to introduce their friends to Oprah Woof-rey or Ben Arf-fleck? You can name your precious Bilbo Waggins, or call your well-heeled pup Jimmy Chew. The force will always be with Chew Barka and Luke Skybarker. And if your dog loves to...ahem...roam around the backyard, you can always dub him Droolius Caesar.
Look to Pop Culture
Sometimes your dog’s name is waiting for you in your favorite book, movie, TV show or sports team! Diane P. told us on Facebook that her dog Sully was name after basketball star Jared Sullinger, “because they both have formidable backsides!” Slam dunk!
A favorite fictional character might sum up your pup perfectly, like Lexi W. found for her dog, Luna. Luna was named after Luna Lovegood, from the Harry Potter series. “Luna goes through a ton in her life, and still comes out this resilient, eccentric girl; just like mine.”
Play With Personality
At the end of the day, your dog’s name should be a reflection of your pup. Take a few days to observe your new doggo and get a sense for their true nature. “If I'm patient for a few days and pay attention, they tell me their names. That's why I have a Mathilda and a Penelope,” said Lori M. on our Facebook community.
You could name a chocolate lab “Hershey,” a water-loving dog “Poseidon,” or a cuddly dog “Snuggles.” Sandra H. named her tiny chihuahua puppy Joey because he “was so small that I carried him around in my blouse. Just like a kangaroo's baby in their mamas pouch.”
You could also choose a name based on the activities you love to do together. Kim S. named her pupper Trek because “we love to hike, bike, walk, run and camp.”
If you think you’ve found the perfect name, try it out for a day or so. Consider how you feel saying the name out loud. You’ll be hollering that name countless times over the course of your dog’s life, so choose a name that truly feels right.
Don’t forget to help your pup fall in love with his new name, too. If he responds to his name, rewards of treats, love, and tons of hugs will make sure he come running next time you call.
Explore a few names and trust that the perfect one will find you. With a bit of creativity and a whole lot of love, you and your dog can stumble upon the perfect name together.