Best Dog Names – How to Pick the Best Name for Your Dog

Congratulations on getting a new dog!

Now comes the fun part of picking the best name, for your new furry best friend.

Names are important.

When I chat with the people around my neighborhood, one of the first things that they ask, is the name of my dog. My Siberian Husky, Shania, is the main focus of attention and crowd-pleaser, so most people in our daily travels know her name but not mine.

Names are used during introductions, and they color what others think of our dog. A dog named Killer, will invite a very different type of reaction, than a dog named SweetiePie.

Therefore, take your time in naming your dog. Observe his energy level, most loved activities, and wait until his true personality comes through. When it does, you will know what is the right name for him.

Where Do the Best Dog Names Come From?

When looking for dog names, there are several places to get good ideas –

  • Fictional characters – We can find some great names from our favorite movies, books, or games. Pick the best fictional hero or villain, depending on the personality and/or look of our dog.
  • Famous people – Another interesting set of names are from famous and inspirational people, or historical figures. We can pick rulers such as Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, or Napoleon Bonaparte. We can pick innovators such as Edison or daVinci. We can pick poets, writers, musicians, movie stars, or sports heroes.
  • Country of dog breed – Different dog breeds emerge from different locations. We can select a favorite name or word from our dog’s country of origin.
  • Stars and heavenly bodies – Finally, a great source of dog names come from stars and other heavenly bodies. For example, if our dog loves to hunt, we may name him Rigel, which is the brightest star in The Hunter constellation.

Popular Dog Names

To help you on your way, here are the most popular 5 male and female dog names. There are a variety of lists, but these names appear at the top of almost all of them.

Most popular male dog names

  1. Max
  2. Buddy
  3. Jake
  4. Charlie
  5. Bailey

Most popular female dog names

  1. Bella
  2. Daisy
  3. Molly
  4. Lucy
  5. Maggie

How to Pick the Best Dog Name

Other things to keep in mind while looking for the best dog name –

1. Short and simple.

Pick a short and simple name that is easy to say. Likely, you will spend a lot of time with your furry best friend in the coming years. You will be saying his name a lot, in a variety of situations. Sometimes, you may even need to get his attention quickly, before he runs off after birds and squirrels.

If we look at show dogs, they usually have 2 names – a show name and an every-day name. The show name is long, unique, and indicates pedigree. The every-day name is much shorter, and easy to say.

If we want to pick a longer name for our dog, find one that still sounds cool, and is easy to say when it is shortened.

2. Try to pick a name with 2 syllables.

According to the experts, it is best to pick a dog name with 2 syllables.

Most dog training commands are only one syllable, e.g. Sit, Stand, Down, Shake, Come. In this way, a dog can easily differentiate between his name and a command.

In addition, consider picking a name that starts with a hard/stop consonant. Dogs recognize hard consonants more easily. Therefore, we can grab our dog’s attention faster with a name that starts with a stop consonant.

3. Pick a name that is unique.

Try to pick a dog name that is unique and not similar to the names of family members, close relatives, or close friends. If our dog has a name that is identical, or similar to somebody else in the family, he may get confused and think that we are calling him, when the common name is used.

If a dog keeps getting ignored when he thinks his name is being called, he will no longer respond to that name.

4. Name choosing should be a fun family affair.

It is best, when the whole family gets involved in choosing the name of our family dog. In this way, everyone feels invested in the dog, and will be more willing to accept him into the pack.

In addition, this ensures that everyone will consistently call the dog by his chosen name. Consistency is very important when communicating with our dog. If we are not consistent with how we use his name, there will be confusion as to what we mean, and what we want. It is the same way with people and language. When I say ‘dog’, you understand what I am referring to, because we all use it consistently to mean the same thing.

5. Use the primary dog name in a positive context.

Only use our dog’s primary name in a positive context. In this way, he will learn to associate his name with rewards and positive outcomes.

Some people use their dog’s name while scolding or punishing him. If a dog consistently gets punished when his name is called, he will start to associate ‘his name’ with something negative. Once this occurs, he may run away or hide when he hears his name, in anticipation of the coming punishment.

If we want to use names in both a positive and negative context, then it is important to establish both a good dog name and a bad dog name.

The good dog name (primary name), should only be associated with rewards and positive experiences.

Best Dog Names

Do not be in too much of a hurry to name your dog. Spend some time bonding with him, and wait until you start seeing all the different aspects of his personality –

  • His good side,
  • His goofy side,
  • His quirks,
  • His fears,
  • His motivations,
  • His most loved activities, and
  • His most hated activities.

Once we observe all this and start to understand our new furry friend, the best dog name will also become clear to us.

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  1. Kittyhawk says

    Our family with 4 kids just adopted out second dog. She is 2 months, part black lab, part golden retriever. No one can settle in a good name. We are trying to go with two syllables and easy to say.
    Playful and long legged. 2 white paws and a white blaze on her chest. Sweet and cuddly.
    Inca and Lila are possibilities.
    Piper and Maya are controversial because we know other dogs with those names….

  2. Susan says

    Help please!
    I just picked out my 2 German shepherds, a boy and a girl and I’m really having trouble naming them. I want something short but unique.

    • Barbara Smith says

      Alazay is more UNIQUE…
      You will most likely NOT call your dog by 3 syllables (as in the name above) you, without helping yourself will shorten it to a nick-name consisting of 2 syllables…

  3. morgan says

    i named my dog onya because it is unique not alot of people think about a human name not a dog name.and my other moose it is a nother animals name a nobody thought about switching the two.

  4. yara says

    we named our puppy “Morrison” as in “Jim Morrison / The Doors” everybody said,,ouuuuufff too much of a name! but he’s just as crazy as his name 🙂

  5. Yvonne says

    We are getting a sesame shiba male. We were thinking of naming him Bao which means bun or dumpling in Chinese or Mochi which means sticky rice cake. Thoughts?

    • Barbara Smith says

      IF your dog is a SIBERIAN Husky, then it seems to me to find RUSSIAN names, like OKSANA, NA-KITA, Or, MI-SHka, Or COLD names like, ASPEN, or SHASTA,

    • Barbara Smith says

      Sorry… MISH-ka (You can spell this a number of ways…means Little bear or little mouse depending on what part of the country you are in.
      (Miesh-ka, Meshka, Meish-ka)

  6. Tonya says

    I have just rescued a 6-8 month old male Chihuahua. He is brown and white, with a little black around his face. He has been through a lot, had terrible living conditions before he was rescued. He has never really known love. I need a name for him. The name he was given was Skip, but that doesn’t fit. Right now he is still a little sick, so his little personality hasn’t shown all the way. Any suggestions?

  7. Mattie says

    When I got my miniature poodle from the shelter her name was Peggy the Poodle. Ugh! All of her brothers and their mom had silly P names too. I knew unimaginative alliteration was not for us, so I had to change it. Well, she was very stressed out from the move and slept almost constantly for the first few days. So much so that people would tease I had gotten a dead dog! From then on her name was Zombie, and I love my little voodoo princess 😉

  8. Yea i says

    I’m getting a pomchi this week and it’s a male. I need help naming jom7. I have a 2 yrs old pugsu named Zeus
    I was thinking Zorro for the puppy
    Any comments on that ?

  9. lynda says

    Hello, am getting a recused dog, a male year plus Shiba, any suggestions names? Thinking of kenji, akihiko, shiro,koji

  10. Lucy says

    We are getting a jackapoo cross chihuahua puppy. She is really cute and 3 weeks old right now. Her name, at the moment, is Boo but we can’t think of another short and cute name to suit her. She is black with white paws and has long hair. Any ideas?

  11. Stan says

    I’m picking up a rescue dog tomorrow. A lab mix, 40 lbs, and white – somewhat albino (his black nose is mottled with white spots). From what the rescue family says he is quite docile and friendly. Any ideas for a name?

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