Naming your pet can feel like a big responsibility, one that’s even more challenging if there’s more than one pet parent involved!
Your personal style might mean you favour a classic or quirky name and great names for dogs often reflect the dog’s personality. Whether you go for a classic ‘Rover’ or quirky ‘Dave’ your furry friend is not going to care, but there are some points to bear in mind when making your choice that will make training and bonding with your dog quicker and easier.
Choosing a good dog name that they can easily recognise will help your dog to know when you are calling them and here are our top tips for getting it right:
- Keep it short and sweet. Choose a dog name that has two syllables or less, so that your dog finds it easier to learn. It helps your dog to recognise their own name, if it ends with a vowel sound. When we make a vowel sound it tends to change the tone of our voice making names stand out from the rest of the words we are saying.
- Avoid dog names that sound like commands. When training your dog, it will be much easier if your pet can distinguish their name from what you are asking them to do. For example, if you name your dog ‘Sid’ it might sound a bit too much like ‘sit’ - causing confusion and frustration all round when you’re trying to get your dog to come to you.
- Does your dog’s name stand out? Make sure the name of your dog is not too similar to anyone else living in your household – including other pets – or things could soon get very confusing! While you might be able to tell the subtle differences between two similar sounding names like Billy and Lily, your dog is unlikely to!
- Are you happy for your dog's name to be heard in public? If you’re tempted to give your dog a silly, inappropriate or potentially offensive name, consider how you would feel calling it out in the garden or in the park when you want your pet to return to you. Don’t forget you will need to register the name of your dog with your vet too!
- Use your dog’s personality. Highlighting something that makes you smile and captures your dog’s personality is a great approach and helps give friends and family an insight into your dog’s character. For example, Bouncer is a popular choice for lively Labradors, while Hunter suits those dogs with a high prey drive.
- Name your dog based on their appearance. This is an easy way of choosing a name if you’re stuck. Red, Spot, Patch, Shadow, and Honey are all popular dog names that are based on coat colour or markings. If your dog has any unusual distinguishing features or resemblances, this can provide inspiration too.
- Look around you! If you’re still stuck, think of your favourite characters from books, films and TV, sports stars, musicians, historical figures – or take a look at the natural world for ideas.
If you adopt a dog from a rescue shelter, they will already have a name. They may have been named by staff if they came in as a stray or may have lived with the same name since they were a puppy.
If your dog is already familiar with their name, it is probably wise to keep it unless it is something you really can’t bear to speak in public. In which case, try choosing something with a similar sound so that your dog is more likely to respond to it.
A dog that has recently been named by shelter staff could easily cope with a change of moniker if it is something simple and used frequently to address them.
Most common dog names
If you’re looking for something a little unusual, you might want to steer clear of these. According to the UK Kennel Club, the current top dog names are:
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