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How to name your new dog

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Choosing your new dog’s name can be an intimidating task, but these tips on naming conventions, names to avoid, and sources of inspiration can help make the task easier.

Your new dog’s name may be the most important word your dog will ever learn. You’re going to be calling it in parks and in your home and garden for years to come, so choosing your dog’s name is a crucial decision. Here are a few things to consider. 

A small dog sitting in the grass cocking its head to the side

Why should I consider a unique name for my dog?

Selecting a unique or less popular name for your dog can have benefits. For instance, choosing a less common name for your dog helps them stand out from a crowd, and can help with recall in crowded places where many other dogs are present, such as dog parks. Choosing a less common name can also minimise the danger of them being mixed up with other dogs by groomers, at kennels and in vet surgeries. 

As of 2017, according to an extensive study of pet insurers and communities, these are the 10 most popular dog names in the English-speaking world.1 Consider avoiding these names when choosing one for your dog: 

Top Male Dog Names:

  1. Max
  2. Charlie
  3. Cooper
  4. Buddy 
  5. Jack 
  6. Rocky 
  7. Duke
  8. Bear
  9. Tucker
  10. Oliver

Top Female Dog Names:

  1. Bella
  2. Lucy
  3. Luna
  4. Daisy
  5. Lola
  6. Sadie
  7. Molly
  8. Bailey
  9. Maggie
  10. Stella
  • 1Thirty-three percent of owners – and three-quarters of millennial owners – have named a dog after a movie, celebrity, TV or book character. Instead, try to find a name that fits your dog’s personality. Get to know them for a while before making the big decision, and trust your gut. Ultimately, whichever name you choose will end up being the perfect name for your new dog.

Can a name affect dog behaviour? 

Some dog behaviour experts agree that puppies are better at distinguishing their name if it starts with a hard consonant, such as C, K, T or B, and ends with a long vowel sound, such as an E or O.  

It’s also advisable to keep your dog’s name to one or two syllables to help them recognise it among other words. Lastly, avoid names that sound similar to a command, such as Kit (‘sit’), Jo (‘no’) or Ray (‘stay’). 

What are the best sources of inspiration for dog names?

Many people allow young children to name a family dog, but if you go down this route, avoid naming them after characters from popular TV shows or singers that will seem dated in a few years.  

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