How to Find the Perfect Name for Your Puppy

by | Jul 2020

A friendly yellow lab puppy with a red collar


Say goodbye to Fido and Spot—in name only.

Finding the perfect name for your puppy can be tough. Mary R. Burch, Ph. D., certified animal behaviorist and family dog director at the American Kennel Club, shares what to consider when choosing a name for your new canine friend.

An Ode to Your Culture

Find something that you like and speaks to you in a way that makes it unforgettable, just like our relationships with our pups. As a way of incorporating something dear to the heart, people look to what inspires them through movies, entertainment, beliefs, hobbies or even close acquaintances, like mentors, family members or friends.

What They Bring to the Table

The size, breed and specific characteristics of the dog can influence the way the animal might be perceived to the owner. When choosing what to call your dog, be mindful of how a more aggressive- or negatively-connotated name (i.e. Killer or Terminator for larger breeds, such as rottweilers, great Danes or mastiffs) could alter the way humans interact with the dog.

Short and Sweet

In addition to some longer registered names, dogs often have a variety of shorter “call names” or nicknames, used as terms of endearment or to help with obedience. The shortness of the name makes it easier for owners say and for animals to hear, understand and respond to.

The names should be easy to say, yet not easily mistaken for another command. Burch notes that the name “Bown” could be easily be confused with the command “down.”

Top Dog Names of the Year (2019)

Straying away from descriptive, character-like names, Burch says that pet owners are veering toward monikers that could be transferrable as human names.


  • Max
  • Charlie
  • Cooper
  • Buddy
  • Rocky
  • Milo
  • Jack
  • Bear
  • Duke
  • Teddy


  • Bella
  • Luna
  • Lucy
  • Daisy
  • Lily
  • Zoe
  • Lola
  • Molly
  • Sadie
  • Baile

American Kennel Club
Facebook: American Kennel Club
Instagram: @americankennelclub
Twitter: @akcdoglovers


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