Adding a puppy to your family is one of life’s happiest moments right alongside marriage (probably) and the first time you ride a jetski. But there’s a dilemma one faces after every puppy adoption: How do you go about choosing a name?
Seriously, distilling your precious bundle of joy down to a single word isn’t an easy task. You want to capture their spirit with a name. You want to capture their essence. But how?
Well, fortunately, I’m here to help. My team and I have compiled a list of 80 popular dog names as well as some dog naming tips that should make your puppy naming adventure really easy and a whole lot of fun.
Let’s get right to it!
Most Popular Male And Female Dog Names
More and more, people are coming up with exciting ways to name their pets, including adopting unisex names. However, for those who are more traditional here are a few of the most popular feminine names that you can use to name your female pup.
- Luna: Italian word for the moon
- Bella: Italian word for gorgeous
- Lola: For a wise and enigmatic pup
- Molly: Hebrew name meaning star of the sea or God’s gift
- Lucy: Latin name meaning bringer of light
- Kira: Greek name meaning sun, light, or ruler
- Daisy: For a carefree dog, referring to a beautiful flower
- Mia: A Spanish name meaning ‘this is mine’
- Nala: South African name meaning abundance or prosperity
- Nina: Russian word for a beautiful and strong girl
And here are the ten most popular male puppy names:
- Max: Latin name for greatest
- Charlie: After the British comedian Charlie Chaplin
- Buddy: A friend
- Rocky: Strong, honest, or fun-loving (Note: I happen to think this one is just okay.)
- Jack: Hebrew name meaning gift of God
- Milo: An Irish name, warrior or soldier
- Toby: Hebrew name meaning God is good
- Leo: Another word for lion in Spanish
- Bruno: Protection
- Rex: Latin, meaning King
Most Popular Dog Names According to Size
Giving your dog a popular dog name appropriate for their size is a fantastic idea, since so much personality can be gleamed from size and breed. Keep in mind, because so many big-sounding names are masculine, this may be more challenging for parents of a large female furbaby. Nonetheless, we march onward!
Here are the most popular dog names for big dogs:
- Adonis: Greek, meaning handsome
- Cujo: This name became famous when Stephen King’s best-selling horror novel ‘Cujo’ was released
- Jack: Hebrew name meaning gift of God (also just feels like a “big dog” name)
- Kali: A Swahili word meaning fierce
- Leo: Spanish, meaning lion
- Simba: Swahili, meaning lion
- Quin: Gift of God
- Sage: Latin term for a wise old man
- Taka: A Japanese and Swahili name meaning wanted, or rather ‘to want’
- Ziggy: German, meaning peace or luck
Sometimes it can be fun to use contradictions when naming your puppy, especially when it comes to little dogs. For example, instead of naming your chihuahua something generic like Coco, pick a name from the big dog list.
Regardless, here are a few popular dog names for your little pup that are a little bit more on the nose.
- Bo: An American name meaning competitive
- Coco: Sweet, graceful, or gentle
- Rafiki: Swahili name for a friend
- Honey: Sweet
- Jojo: God will increase or dance of joy
- Lila: Arabic word for night
- Oreo: Means gold in French, or sweet like sugar, after the Oreo cookie
- Roxy: A beautiful dawn
- Snuggles: Cuddly
- Teeny: Tiny, or beautiful strong heart
Related: Learn how Maple, a severely injured pit bull, (and another great name for a tiny dog) was able to restore her personality through love and compassion.
Popular Dog Names According to Color
One of the easiest ways to choose a popular dog name is to name them after their appearance. Let’s say you get a Spitz, such as a Samoyed, a double-coated dog that sheds a lot. It’s possible that the name Flurry or Fluffy or Floofy might come to mind when stroking his thick, fluffy coat that sheds galore.
If not, here are some other options for you to consider. Keep in mind your dog’s primary color.
For white pups:
- Blondie: A loyal white pup
- Chalky: Means white
- Dazzle: Intensely bright
- Flakey: Covered with snowflakes
- Grizzly: A Turkish name meaning loved one
- Icy: Resembling ice
- Snowy: White as snow
For black dogs:
- Blake: Means dark-haired
- Keira: An Irish name meaning dark
- Noir: A French name meaning black or dark
- Oreo: It means dark, just like the original Oreo cookie
- Pepper: Priceless, or refers to black pepper
- Blackie: Black
- Sparky: A Hebrew name meaning high-spirited
For a brown pooch, or if you just fancy a name associated with the color:
- Aruna: Means reddish-brown in Arabic
- Toffee: A sweet brown pooch
- Cola: Refers to a sweet, dark carbonated beverage with bubbles
- Honey: Sweet and brown
- Java: Delicious coffee
- Maui: A Hawaiian name meaning Demigod
- Toto: A Swahili name for a child, baby, or babe
For spotted pups with more than one color—whether that be spotted, patchy, or just two colors:
- Blemish (or Blem): Spotted or flawed
- Blotch: A spot with an unusual form
- Cookie: Sweet and spotted like a chocolate chip cookie
- Cru: Also Cruella, for a black and white playful pooch
- Dot: Small spot
- Polka: Several tiny, circular dots in a regular pattern
- Sprinkles: Refers to the candy topping or to small droplets
Dogs Are Loyal, so Cherish Them With a Name
Dogs are considered man’s best friend and are innately loyal, especially when well-catered to. In fact, history has records of dogs that showed extreme loyalty to their masters.
“Over the years I have felt the truest, purest love—the love of God, really, I imagine that’s what God’s love feels like—is the love that comes from your dog.”
– Oprah Winfrey
Bill Wynne, an American soldier, owned Smoky, a 4-pound Yorkshire terrier. During World War II, she accompanied him for two years, entertaining troops and, at one point, saving Wynne’s life by warning him of approaching fire aboard a transport ship.
Naming a puppy may be a lot of fun, especially if you think about their personality. By just interacting with your pup, you can note whether they love to play, are talkative, or are laid back.
For example, if you plan to own, or already own a goofy pup, with a lot of energy, who enjoys being outside, you’ll find several of the names listed below suitable.
|Funny||Crusher||A very funny dog that will make you crush your ribs laughing|
|Dopey||A hilarious, clumsy pup that makes you smile a lot|
|Xena||A popular dog name in Mexico that means powerful|
|Fluffy||A dog with a lot of soft, puffy fur|
|Zuri||Swahili name meaning beautiful|
More popular options based on your pup’s personality.
|Playful||Barkie||A pup that barks a lot|
|Loki||A God in Norse mythology (and also a popular Marvel character)|
|Simba||A Swahili name that means lion like Simba from the Disney film “The Lion King”|
|Talkative||Chirp||Small, birdlike sounds|
|Howie||A dog that is constantly barking|
|Siron||Like that of an emergency vehicle, good for a clever, cocky, and very noisy pup|
How Do You Know if Your Pup Loves Its Name?
You can tell if your dog likes his or her name by watching how they react when you call them. Is your dog wagging its tail? Is your puppy displaying signs of contentment, a desire to be active, or affection?
If you realize that your fur baby is showing no signs of loving or even recognizing their name, consider shortening or changing it. On the fun side, here’s a creative video of pups picking their own names.
I’ve used a spinning wheel and baked treats to make dog bones and cookies. The treats were decorated with a multicolored frosting to spell out various dog names. Pups in twos were then let loose, and the treat they picked was the name they got.
For example, if a pup picked a treat with the name Max on it, this became the pup’s new name. We also gave the dogs a variety of meal options, such as chicken and salmon, and recorded which one each dog chose on a card to make it easier for the owners.
Using this approach, you too can let your puppy choose their name, especially if you’re stumped for ideas or can’t decide.
Short & Significant
When naming a dog, keep in mind that the shorter the moniker or the more significant it is to you, the more you’ll use it. Dogs are well-known for being fascinated by human behavior and body language!
A name like Marimekko is amazing for a spotted dog, but it may be too long. Consider shortening it to something like Mari or Mekko. This way, it’ll be easier for your dog to recognize it.
Also, you might name your pup after just anything that makes sense to you. If you love RnB and your pup happens to be brown, use the name Brown (after Chris Brown). If you love basketball, Kobe just might be the perfect fit. (that’s why I named my foster fail Kobe)
You now have a list of popular dog names to choose from.
When deciding on a popular dog name, think about how it will sound when you’re calling out to your pup at the park or a friend’s birthday party.
Why not pick a name from something you like, say art, music, or “Musk” after the richest man on Earth, perhaps?
So, what’s my secret to naming a furbaby? A puppy’s name should be memorable and may depend on a variety of factors, including personality, color, and size.
A memorable name is simple to recall. For context, imagine naming a dog after Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin. This name is pretty long, and some people may have difficulty remembering it. It might be catchier if you shorten it to Toshi, Naka, or Moto.
If you want to see a list of female dog names specifically, check this out 64 Unusual Female Dog Names and What They Mean or if you want to see a list of male dogs name, we have that too. 75 Unusual Boy Dog Names to Match His Personality
About Rocky Kanaka
I am a pet rescue advocate, Emmy-nominated host and creator of my own show. I tell the world about pet adoption, fostering, and volunteering through the beautiful stories I share.
I’m a dog dad to a rescued boxer named Flip, a blind Cane Corso called Kobe, and a senior terrier-mix named Zoey, along with the many foster dogs I rehabilitate on their way to their forever home.