Dog-Naming: Where’s The Creativity? Where’s The Originality?

The lists below are the top names people give to their dogs around the world. Like naming children, they appear to be susceptible to popularity rather than people thinking them through. In our local dog park alone, there are a minimum of 10 Baileys. 10. In the same neighborhood.

Where is the creativity? Where is the originality?

Top male dog names: Top female dog names:
1. Bailey (2*) 1. Bella (1*)
2. Max (3*) 2. Lucy (4*)
3. Charlie (6*) 3. Molly (5*)
4. Buddy (8*) 4. Daisy (7*)
5. Rocky 5. Maggie (9*)
6. Jake 6. Sophie (10*)
7. Jack 7. Sadie
8. Toby 8. Chloe
9. Cody 9. Bailey
10. Buster 10. Lola
11. Duke 11. Zoe
12. Cooper 12. Abby
13. Riley 13. Ginger
14. Harley 14. Roxy
15. Bear 15. Gracie
16. Tucker 16. Coco
17. Murphy 17. Sasha
18. Lucky 18. Lily
19. Oliver 19. Angel
20. Sam 20. Princess
21. Oscar 21. Emma
22. Teddy 22. Annie
23. Winston 23. Rosie
24. Sammy 24. Ruby
25. Rusty 25. Lady
26. Shadow 26. Missy
27. Gizmo 27. Lilly
28. Bentley 28. Mia
29. Zeus 29. Katie
30. Jackson 30. Zoey
31. Baxter 31. Madison
32. Bandit 32. Stella
33. Gus 33. Penny
34. Samson 34. Belle
35. Milo 35. Casey
36. Rudy 36. Samantha
37. Louie 37. Holly
38. Hunter 38. Lexi
39. Casey 39. Lulu
40. Rocco 40. Brandy
41. Sparky 41. Jasmine
42. Joey 42. Shelby
43. Bruno 43. Sandy
44. Beau 44. Roxie
45. Dakota 45. Pepper
46. Maximus 46. Heidi
47. Romeo 47. Luna
48. Boomer 48. Dixie
49. Luke 49. Honey
50. Henry 50. Dakota

* Ranking in VPI’s Top 10 Pet Names in 2014

In the spirit of giving us allegedly creative humans other options, I propose that, when choosing a name for your beloved dog, avoid the names on this list if at all possible.  We go out of our way to pick a house that’s unique, a car or truck that defines us, and clothes that make us stand out.  Why aren’t we using the same energy to name the animal that is going to potentially spend 10-14 years living with us?  With the expansion of the worldwide web, we have access to hundreds of names you could give your pet other than the ones above.  Understandably, some pets — rescue dogs for example — often come with names they’ve already grown used to.   Also, some adults allow their children to name their pup.  These are definitely exceptions.

Sometimes we can change them to something that sounds similar.  For instance, my Great Dane mix rescue came with the name “Jasmine.”


She was large, ungainly, and anything but a Disney princess.  So, since her shortened name was Jaz, I thought of naming her after one of my favorite 80’s electronica groups, who, in turn, were named after an old blues label out of Chicago in the early part of the twentieth century:  Yaz.  (no relation to the feminine contraceptive)  It completely suits her. Otis came from his first family with that name, and it fits him perfectly.  Arya was a suggestion from a Wiccan friend, who actually suggested something else from “Game of Thrones,” but while looking at that name, I found the character Arya, and the name stuck.

Creative names are awesome, and typically much more memorable than these more commonplace names.  Put some thought into naming your pets.  Please!  


One thought on “Dog-Naming: Where’s The Creativity? Where’s The Originality?

  1. Funny how people still gravitate toward the same names even though there (presumably) isn’t a dog-naming book or tradition to follow. How did so many people around the world randomly think of Bella? I don’t get it either.

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