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The most popular pet names and how to name yours

BY John Smith

28th Feb 2023 Animals & Pets

The most popular pet names and how to name yours

When choosing a name for your pet, there's a lot more to think about than meets the eye. Use these practical tips and get inspiration for unique names for pets

Pet names go in and out of style, but whether you opt for traditional, cool or quirky, you really are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing one that suits your pup or kitten’s vibe perfectly.

To help guide you through the name maize, John Smith, founder of personalised pet gifting brand yappy.com, shares the top names that owners are choosing for their pets along with ideas for finding one that works perfectly for your new best furry friend.

Name to train…

Man training dog with short pet nameShort pet names are best for commanding your dog's attention when training

As much as you may love a particular name for your dog, consider how it can affect their training and behaviour. Picking a name with one or two syllables and keeping it short and sweet will ensure that you command your dog’s attention instantly.

There’s a reason why herding breeds such as Border Collies are given short names such as Finn, Floss, Tess or Blue. Short snappy names allow your dog to quickly recognise that they are being spoken to and listen to what they’re being asked to do next.

Words that end in a vowel such as Coco, Arlo, Kai, Willow, Polly, Charlie, Heidi, Nyla, Leo and Otto are more distinctive to puppy ears.

Similarly, avoid names that sound similar to commands such as "sit", "stay", "leave", "no" and "go," as these may confuse your puppy when learning basic commands.

"Picking a name with one or two syllables will ensure that you command your dog’s attention instantly"

Choosing a name that you can say in a happy voice will help differentiate greeting your dog versus stating an instruction that they need to follow. The last thing that you want to do is to make your dog fearful of you every time you say their name.

Naming your cat is somewhat easier—cats generally do what they want whether we like it or not!

Choosing a short and uncomplicated name will help your kitty recognise that you are talking to them, but feel free to simply choose one that you love and that they respond well to.

If in doubt, try a name out for a couple of weeks and make sure it feels in sync with their personality.

Traditional pet names

Naming your dog is very personal and you’ll be saying it many times over the years, so it needs to be something that will stand the test of time.

Classic names such as Bella, Teddy, Poppy, Lola, Buddy, Bailey, Milo, Olive, Finn, Molly, Daisy, Oliver/Ollie, Max and Rosie are still very popular and will always be a safe choice for owners looking for a warm and familiar title that’s easy to shout across the park.

If your pooch runs off chasing a squirrel, you may feel a bit self-conscious shouting, "Jimmy Chew, get back here!"

Top traditional names for cats that are consistently popular include Oscar, Alfie, Willow, Daisy, George, Milly, Maisy and Lily.

Pawfectly matched pet names

If you’re struggling to decide on a name, go back to basics and name your pet after their favourite pastime or cheeky habit. Most pets have a distinctive personality trait that stands out from being a kitten or puppy and this is a great place to start for inspiration.

If they love speeding around, Zoomie might be a fitting moniker. If they’re a serial show chewer, naming your dog Chewie might be appropriate.

Astronomical names for pets

Dog and cat owners are increasingly choosing celestial-themed names, with Luna being one of the most popular name choices.

Meaning "moon" in Latin, Luna is a popular choice for female dogs and is inspired by Roman mythology, where Luna the moon goddess is said to be the divine personification of the moon.

Harry Potter fans will remember the popular fictional character Luna Lovegood. Given the huge global popularity of the fantastical film and book series, it’s easy to see why this name has risen in popularity amongst pet lovers in recent years.

Other similar star-inspired and mythical names with powerful meanings include Aurora, alluding to the awe-inspiring Northern Lights, Nova, a newly formed bright star, and Lyla or Lilah which translates to "dark beauty" in Hebrew.

Lupo, Lupa, Astra, Comet, Cosmo, Apollo, Hercules and Zeus are also popular choices. If you’re looking for a name with deeper significance, then these names are sure to give your dog or cat a touch of star quality.

Go regal

A dog wearing a crown and royal cloakWith the Coronation happening this year, a trend towards royal pet names is likely

If your dog is a regal-looking breed such as a Doberman, Afghan Hound, Maltese or Dalmatian, consider a regal dog name that’s fitting of their pampered appearance.

Prince, Queenie, Duke and Duchess are classic royal-inspired names, but you could choose to name your dog after TV royalty, with Game of Thrones characters inspiring choices, such as Daenerys, Cersei, Khalisi and Baratheon.

In this Coronation year, it’s likely that we’ll see more dogs crowned Charles, Charlie or Charlotte, or Elizabeth, Liz and Lillibet after Queen Elizabeth II.

"In this Coronation year, it’s likely that we’ll see more dogs crowned Charles, Charlie or Charlotte"

When it comes to our feline friends, exquisite breeds such as the Russian Blue, Persian, Siamese, Burmese and Maine Coone befit regal names such as Jasmine, Kaiser, Majesty, Zusa, Belle, Leia, Simba, Nala, Ariel and Caspian.

Both Simba and Nala, from Disney’s The Lion King, inspired two of the top 20 cat names last year and continue to be popular choices year on year.

The most popular breed names

Your dog’s breed and appearance is a simple place to start for name inspiration.

The most popular choices for Border Collies are short and single-syllable words such as Fizz, Finn, Fern, Pip, Jess, Meg, Tess and Blue. These snappy names are ideal for agility training and working dogs who are natural herders.

The most used Dachshund name amongst owners shopping for dog gifts at yappy.com is Rolo, inspired by the famous caramel chocolates.

Other top names of choice for these short-legged pooches include Frank (furter), Slinky, Snoop, Coco, Minnie, Fudge and Sizzle.

Star-studded names

Black cat sits in grassMany pet owners are optiing to name their cats "Loki" after the Marvel films

In 2022, film-inspired names, such as Thor villain Loki, stormed into the top 50 most popular cat names list for the first time, influenced perhaps by the success of the TV show and film released that year.

The popularity of Top Gun: Maverick, one of 2022’s biggest and highly anticipated movies, is expected to influence pet names in 2023, with Maverick (Mav), Goose and Charlie posed to take off with new dog and cat owners.

"Thor villain Loki stormed into the top 50 most popular cat names list for the first time"

If you’re a classic film fan, take inspiration from some of the most popular cinematically inspired names being given to new pets in celebration of favourite characters.

Rocky, Yoda, Chewy (Chewbacca), Clark (Kent), Bond and musically-influenced names such as Freddie, Bowie, Drake, Dolly (Parton), Prince, Cobain and Bono are firm favourites.

Unique names for pets

A fun way to play with name ideas if you’re a foodie is to name your pet after your favourite thing to eat or drink.

Fizz, Cocoa, Twirl, Truffle, Muffin, Wispa, Sushi, Mocha, Noodle, Waffles, Costa, Guinness, Nero, Nugget, Pickles, Jamón, Snickers, Biscuit, Nutella, Nero, Pancakes, Coconut and Cookie are all fun choices.

Some of the most unusual names that we’ve noticed being used to create personalised gifts on yappy.com include Dobby, Vader, Batman, Twinkie Wrinkles McMeow, Cocoa Puff and Bruiser—the Chihuahua!

Many pet names get shortened into nicknames over time. The only downside to this is that your dog may get confused, so ideally be consistent when calling their name.

Anything too long and tongue twisting will just end up being shortened in time—stay short, simple and sharp and you can’t go wrong.

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