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 breedDifferent 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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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    I got a boston terrier puppy almost 5 days ago and you guessed it still no name…. I’m stumped!! She has a very quirky funny personality…. Any ideas??

  2. Jheun says

    Have 1 puppy (shepherd and bulldog) left from a litter. She is more shepherd appearance of a golden brown w black masking. Her mother that was two ( black German shepherd) years old became suddenly ill and devastatingly passed away last night. We will keep the puppy now, but she was never named or taken out of the litter. She shared and outdoor kennel with her mother so she is being left behind and probably somewhat experiencing the loss and trauma of a sick mother. Her mom’s name was Jordan. I need some help with an inspiring name befitting to this baby under these circumstances. Thank you. Jennifer

  3. New Shiba says

    Hello!

    I’ve been a fan of your blog for quite some time now. I feel like everything you post is incredibly helpful and will one day be useful if not already! I’m getting a Shiba Inu in less than 2 months! I’m incredibly excited as I am a huge dog lover, and haven’t had a dog in years!! While I’ve had a German Shepherd, Pomeranian, and Akita before, it’s been almost 10 years…so reading your blog has been getting me excited to meet my future pup!

    I’m trying to prepare for his/her arrival, though, and have been looking around for the best items to get. While this may be different from dog to dog, I’d love to hear your suggestions as to what you think the most essential items I should get are, what brand, and what you have. I’m looking for:
    - crate
    - play pen
    - bed
    - chew toys
    - food and water dispensers
    - collar
    - leash
    - anything else?

    If you have an email address that you’re willing to share, I’d love to correspond further with you!

  4. Emma says

    Im getting a siberian husky pup next friday (14th march) I’ve got the name Nala in my head for her. It seems like it would suit her. Just wondered what people thought on the name ..

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming puppy!

      I think that Nala is a wonderful name. She is one of my favorite characters in Lion King. I later found out that the word means “beloved”, which is so appropriate for our best friend. :D

  5. Jane mckinnon says

    I have two shibas my boy is called syris and my baby girl is carla I am getting a new baby boy and I am looking for a Japanese name for him.

  6. Iris Almond says

    We got our female Dachshund and she was already named Pippin. Our next Dachshund came with the name Freckles. Pippin’s son, Sammy, was named by me. He was the smallest in his litter, but the oldest, so I named him after Sampson, a very strong man in the Bible. He has grown into his name nicely, and is a very strong little Dachshund.

  7. Ken says

    Were going to have a new 5 month old black and white male Brittany spaniel/Australian shepherd mix tomorrow and I can’t quite figure out what to name him. Any thoughts?
    Ken

    • shibashake says

      I always liked the name Bandit for a black and white.

      I also like Caleb and Stark.

      Big hugs to your puppy!

    • Len says

      I just got a precious little shiba inu boy and I’m hitting a blank on names! I was thinking something two syllable. He’s a black shiba with white markings and is a total wild love bug! Any suggestions?

  8. Anonymous says

    I am getting a light brindle Staffordshire bull terrier next month, do you think Rocco would be a good name? It is the only name me and my partner have agreed on so far and think my 2 year old will be able to say it!? We only decided last night so haven’t had time to see if she will yet! :) we also have a Rottie called Blu (originally Baloo)

  9. CassidyAnn says

    I am getting 2 german shepherd puppys in 1 week. I was told they responded better to names that start with a strong “K” sound. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated :)

    • Lenore says

      Kato is a great name for German Shepard..I had a German Shepard named “Kato”…He lived to 14 years…great, obedient..super intelligent dogs!

  10. Elizabeth says

    We might get a almost pure white female pitbull from the humane society. She’s one year and four months old and has lived by the name Paige all her life but does not really respond to it. I don’t think Paige fits her so I was thinking Luna, Evangeline, and Opal. But none of them are perfect. Any ideas?

    • shibashake says

      Haha, yeah, she is a very affectionate and energetic dog. She likes being next to people, and will often help me with computer tasks and mouse control. I can’t be very sad around her, because she is always fun, playful, and her energy is infectious. :D

  11. Jesse says

    Love the website; a great all-around resource!

    On topic, my pit bull was picked up by animal control and brought to our shelter on Easter morning, torn to bits by another dog but still as friendly as one can imagine given his circumstances, so we named him Easton in honor of his “rescue day.”

    The rest of our critters were mostly named after fictional characters (except for the kitties Neptune, Mercury and Jupiter…whose names need little explanation).

  12. Rochelle says

    Weve had our pup 5 days now and still havent named him, hes a bedlington cross whippet and is black and white with bits of grey and we have been told he will go blue, but just incase he doesng we dont want to risk it, helpppppppppp:/

  13. Adorabelle says

    I actually just put a deposit in a shiba(: She’s four weeks old. I get her on April 26th, but I can’t think of a good name. I was thinking Tango, but people are telling me it sounds too much like a male name. And the other name I had in mind was Anushka.
    I’m so excited to get her soon though(:

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your upcoming bundle of fur!

      I looked up Anushka, and it certainly is a very unique, beautiful, and interesting name. I think ‘Favored One’ and ‘Beauty with Grace’ both suit the Shiba very well. :D

  14. Sallie says

    I’m getting a pit bull / bull dog but every one says OMG that’s dangorous!!!!! But I don’t think it is. Need advice please

  15. Gm says

    I just got a new puppy and I named him Theo short for Theodore from the movie ALvin and the chipmunks. He is pretty shy, cute and playful and def is living upto his name lol.

    • shibashake says

      Congratulations on your new puppy! He sounds adorable.

      Make sure to take lots of pictures and share some picture links with us when you have the time. :D

  16. Daenah says

    For starters, your website is smashing and dashing! quite entertaining and informative at the same time. Your dogs are soooooooo adorable!!!!!
    Anyways, i think a great name for a shiba would be Sesshi, short for Sesshomaru, because the only way one could describe his personality is ‘holier-than-thou’ even though he’s a demon! I also majorly approve of Poink, Nazca, Indoki and … PIKACHU!!!!!!! That’s what i wanna name my future shiba inu.

    • shibashake says

      Oh Sesshōmaru – I love that.

      “The Killing Perfection” definitely appropriate and very cool. :cool: And a looker too, just like a Shiba!

  17. Haley says

    I want to get a shiba inu and name him/her Kitsune, which is Japanese for “fox”. Since Kitsune is hard to say, I’m going to shorten it to Kit… although that does break the two-syllable rule.

  18. Rod Payne says

    My Shiba Inu is a wonderful companion. I got him as a rescue in Fresno, CA. He was already 7 years old. A striking black and tan with a wonderfully friendly personality. He loves everyone he meets, including all big and little dogs. He doesn’t tolerate other dogs who are pestering however. I’ve given him a Japaneese name,SUKOSHI, “SKOSH” for short…..Definition:{skoh-shee}–A little bit.

  19. careers4 says

    We have almost always had the name before the dog, and as breeder/exhibitors we’ve had well over fifty dogs. Somehow they just live to their names.

    • shibashake says

      “We have almost always had the name before the dog”

      Yeah, I usually start looking at names before I get the dog as well. Difficult not to. :) We pick several that we like and then decide on one after we have lived with puppy for a bit.
      Still, as you say, dogs are very adaptable and can fit in well to their role within the family, and grow into their names.

  20. jaybos says

    I have been looking into getting a dog, but I couldn’t think of a good way to come up with a name. This article really helped, I have a place to start now. I guess I better go get a dog soon! :) Thanks for the article!

  21. Dawn Ellen says

    I think you should first get to really know your new pet before giving them a name. I’ve seen a lot of pets named something that does’nt fit their personality at all. My dog is named Kramer because he reminds me of the guy who plays Kramer on the old Seinfeld show. He’s a 64 pound Bordeaux Mastiff. Just be sure to give naming some thought

  22. Katie says

    We couldn’t decide on a name for a while! We liked theo (arsenal player lol) we liked Bruce from finding nemo the shark as our pup randomly starts snapping his mouth! In the end we choose Levi and it suits him to the T!! Take the L to the end and add a D! He’s such a devil! Haha x

    • shibashake says

      “we liked Bruce from finding nemo the shark as our pup randomly starts snapping his mouth!”

      LOL! Bruce the shark is such a funny character. Would be a great name for a pup.

      “In the end we choose Levi and it suits him to the T!! Take the L to the end and add a D! He’s such a devil!”

      Hahaha, that is awesome. We need a cheerleading squad!

  23. Magicgumball says

    I am trying to think of a cool gir dog name for a fiction story i am making. The dog likes the color black, peace, and singing birds. Got any suggestions?

  24. Val says

    We got our dog through the Syracuse Humaine Society, the owners and a lot of other Am. Staff./Am. Pit. owners didn’t want to put their dogs in the pound. So, there was a group advertisement through the Humaine Society. Rubie already had her name and she was used to it, so it stayed that way.

    • shibashake says

      Rubie is a great name. It is unique, beautiful, and clever. I have always loved rubies :D
      It is also very awesome that you adopted a dog in need. Big hugs to Rubie.

  25. Maria says

    For some reason I like names that are associated with drinks (no, I’m not alcoholic :P) I just recently bought a chihuahua pup, and he is a beautiful creamy white, and I named him Bailey, after Baileys Irish cream. I also love the names Bacardi and Malibu!

    • shibashake says

      Hey Jess!
      Always good to see you. How are things? Is Zeus sleeping in bed again?
      Sephy is named after Sephiroth, a bad-ass villain from Final Fantasy 7 (Playstation RPG). Sephiroth is super handsome, powerful, thinks greatly of himself, and wants to take over the World. Sound familiar? :D

    • Jess says

      LOL!!! :) Yep – sounds perfect for that pup of yours! I have always loved Sephy’s name!
      Zeus is doing great – he is at camp with his friends right now. He actually has been sleeping in the bed here and there, but usually jumps down in the middle of the night for a new problem that I’ll send you an e-mail about – HAIRBALLS. Ugh, I hate shiba shedding season :( But even when he jumps down, he stays next to the bed on his pillows so there has been improvement!

  26. Veek says

    I’d call a female Sura (a name I liked in the spartacus series)
    And Odin or some other some other name from norse mythology for a male.
    I personally dont like these snobbish registered names, but if I had to come up with one, I’d give: *’s Getting away with murder *

    • careers4 says

      The “fancy registered names” are necessary to differentiate among dogs that are in the American Kennel Club Stud Book. Can you imagine how many dogs of the Scandinavian breeds are called Odin? They’d end up with Odin XXXIV, Odin XXXV, Odin XXXVI . . .

  27. careers4 says

    Great article! (And I see so many bad ones about dogs.) We had Siberians for almost 40 years — lost out last one in June. Her registered name was Kitsuna’s Look Who’s Stalking; call name Hunter. We also had Woofman Jack (DJ), and Finnish Spitz Ch. Kitsuna’s Ella Spitzgerald. How about Helena Handbasket, Tarantula Downpour (“Spider”), Amelia Airhead, Curl Up ‘N’ Dye (named in honor of my hairdresser)? And the list goes on . . .

  28. Nature by Dawn says

    Naming pets is fun! You are not restricted by what your dog’s peers will think like you are with your children.
    My dog Sephi is short for Persephone (pronounced per-se-fony) and is named from Greek Mythology because I love history and mythology. I shortened her name to two syllables so it would be easier for me to say and easier for her to hear. My dog Maya is named from Mahamaya or Mayadevi in Hindu mythology. My parents had a dog named Killer but he was a Lhasa Apso so it was meant more as a joke than as a way to inhibit fear in others.

    • shibashake says

      Your dogs have awesome names! :D

      I am a big fan of Greek Mythology as well and very much enjoy all the stories about Persephone.

      My Shiba Inu, Sephy, is named after Sephiroth who is this bad-ass anime-type character in the Final Fantasy game world.

      Since Shiba Inus are originally from Japan, it fits with the anime character and world. Sephiroth is also extremely powerful, confident, bad-ass and good looking which makes him a perfect match for a Shiba!

  29. TattooKitty says

    Great resource for dog owners! Choosing the right name for your dog is important (esp. since you’ll be using it constantly)! Voted up and useful ;)
    By the way, Shania is gorgeous!!!!

    • shibashake says

      Thanks for your wonderful comment. Shania is a silly little love-bug and she likes getting affection from everyone that she sees.
      She is also very good at getting people to give her food. :D
      Thanks for stopping by!

  30. Tyler says

    Hi, I’m going to be getting a Shiba in a few weeks and have found your blog to be an extremely valuable resource and has given me plenty to read.

    I just have one simple question.

    Is your dog, Sephy, by any chance named after Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII?

    • shibashake says

      Is your dog, Sephy, by any chance named after Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII?

      Absolutely! I am a big fan of the FF series. :D

      Congratulations on your upcoming Shiba puppy. Share some puppy pictures with us when you get him.

    • Alice says

      Ahahahahaaa, that is great. Not Red XIII though? Haha.

      Pretty much read your entire website and I am obsessed with it. Looking forward to more updates!! :)

    • shibashake says

      Not Red XIII though?

      LOL! I decided to name him based on temperament rather than based on looks. :D

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