Now that you've finally found the perfect pooch, it's time to pick a name. See 5 essential tips to help make the naming process easier!

How to Pick The Perfect Dog Name For Your New Pooch

So, you’re expanding your family and welcoming a new dog into your home. Congratulations! Now that you’ve finally found the perfect pooch, it’s time to pick a name. Just like choosing a baby name, deciding what to call your dog is a big deal. It’s something you need to love and your entire family needs to agree on. In this post, John Woods — the senior editor at All Things Dogs — and I team up to share some essential tips that will make the process easier!

For some puppy parents, the process of naming their new furry family member is a cinch. But, for others, it can become a long and daunting task. While some factors are totally preference (should you choose a common human name or something cutesier?), there are certain guidelines you should consider: 

1. Keep It Short and Snappy 

One of the first things to consider when choosing your dog’s name is the length. Opt for a name that’s either one or two syllables. Short names are easier for you to say and they’re short enough to get your dog’s attention quickly. This comes in handy during training sessions and emergency situations (Like if you need to call out their name followed by the “come” or “leave it” command).

Here are a few examples of short and snappy names:

  • Max
  • Bella
  • Charlie
  • Blue
  • Betty
  • Ozzy
  • Maya

2. Avoid Names That Sound Like Common Commands

Stay clear of names that rhyme with common commands so your dog doesn’t get confused. For example, if you name your dog Beau, he may think you’re saying “no!” If you name your dog “Kit”, she may always think you’re telling her to sit. “Jay” may think you’re telling him to “stay.”

3. Think About Your Other Family Members 

Consider the other kids and pets in your household. Just like you want to avoid names that rhyme with common commands, you’ll also want to stay clear of names that sound too similar to the other family members in the house. For example, if you have a daughter named Abby then your dog may get confused if you name her Gabby. Who knows who will come running when you call!

4. Consider Names With Hard Consonants

Animal behaviorists say, in general, dogs appear to respond better to names with hard, sharp-sounding consonants. For example, if you’re looking at names that start with the letter C, “Cali” or “Chloe” may be better than “Cindy”. Experts say these sounds stimulate receptors in your dog’s brain, pack more energy, and are more attention-grabbing.

5. Be Careful with Super Trendy Names

A lot of people find name inspo through their favorite movies, television shows, and book characters. And, sure, you may find a great name that way! But, make sure it’s not something too trendy where you’ll get sick of it after a few years.  

Popular Dog Names

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), here are the top 100 girl dog names and top 100 boy dog names of 2019!

Top 100 Girl Dog Names

  1. Abby
  2. Allie
  3. Angel
  4. Annie
  5. Athena
  6. Baby
  7. Bailey
  8. Bella
  9. Belle
  10. Bonnie
  11. Brandy
  12. Cali
  13. Callie
  14. Casey
  15. Charlie
  16. Chloe
  17. Cleo
  18. Coco
  19. Cocoa
  20. Cookie
  21. Daisy
  22. Dakota
  23. Dixie
  24. Ella
  25. Ellie
  26. Emma
  27. Gigi
  28. Ginger
  29. Grace
  30. Gracie
  31. Hannah
  32. Harley
  33. Hazel
  34. Heidi
  35. Holly
  36. Honey
  37. Izzy
  38. Jasmine
  39. Josie
  40. Katie
  41. Kona
  42. Lacey
  43. Lady
  44. Layla
  45. Lexi
  46. Lexie
  47. Lilly
  48. Lily
  49. Lola
  50. Lucky
  51. Lucy
  52. Lulu
  53. Luna
  54. Macy
  55. Maddie
  56. Madison
  57. Maggie
  58. Marley
  59. Maya
  60. Mia
  61. Millie
  62. Mimi
  63. Minnie
  64. Missy
  65. Misty
  66. Mocha
  67. Molly
  68. Nala
  69. Nikki
  70. Olive
  71. Peanut
  72. Pebbles
  73. Penny
  74. Pepper
  75. Phoebe
  76. Piper
  77. Princess
  78. Riley
  79. Rosie
  80. Roxie
  81. Roxy
  82. Ruby
  83. Sadie
  84. Sally
  85. Sandy
  86. Sasha
  87. Sassy
  88. Scout
  89. Shadow
  90. Shelby
  91. Sierra
  92. Sophie
  93. Stella
  94. Sugar
  95. Sydney
  96. Trixie
  97. Willow
  98. Winnie
  99. Zoe
  100. Zoey

Top 100 Boy Dog Names

  1. Ace
  2. Apollo
  3. Bailey
  4. Bandit
  5. Baxter
  6. Bear
  7. Beau
  8. Benji
  9. Benny
  10. Bentley
  11. Blue
  12. Bo
  13. Boomer
  14. Brady
  15. Brody
  16. Bruno
  17. Brutus
  18. Bubba
  19. Buddy
  20. Buster
  21. Cash
  22. Champ
  23. Chance
  24. Charlie
  25. Chase
  26. Chester
  27. Chico
  28. Coco
  29. Cody
  30. Cooper
  31. Copper
  32. Dexter
  33. Diesel
  34. Duke
  35. Elvis
  36. Finn
  37. Frankie
  38. George
  39. Gizmo
  40. Gunner
  41. Gus
  42. Hank
  43. Harley
  44. Henry
  45. Hunter
  46. Jack
  47. Jackson
  48. Jake
  49. Jasper
  50. Jax
  51. Joey
  52. Kobe
  53. Leo
  54. Loki
  55. Louie
  56. Lucky
  57. Luke
  58. Mac
  59. Marley
  60. Max
  61. Mickey
  62. Milo
  63. Moose
  64. Murphy
  65. Oliver
  66. Ollie
  67. Oreo
  68. Oscar
  69. Otis
  70. Peanut
  71. Prince
  72. Rex
  73. Riley
  74. Rocco
  75. Rocky
  76. Romeo
  77. Roscoe
  78. Rudy
  79. Rufus
  80. Rusty
  81. Sam
  82. Sammy
  83. Samson
  84. Scooter
  85. Scout
  86. Shadow
  87. Simba
  88. Sparky
  89. Spike
  90. Tank
  91. Teddy
  92. Thor
  93. Toby
  94. Tucker
  95. Tyson
  96. Vader
  97. Winston
  98. Yoda
  99. Zeus
  100. Ziggy

Teaching Tips 

Now that we’ve covered 5 important tips for picking out a great dog name, and you’ve skimmed through the AKC’s list of most popular puppy names, let’s talk training! 

When you first bring your pup home, you’ll want to say his/her name a lot! 

  • Start by taking your dog to a quiet area of your home. 
  • Looking at your dog, say his new name in a positive tone.
  • As you do this, reward him with a treat and praise. 
  • Repeat this process several times.
  • Keep training sessions short – just a few minutes. 
  • Scatter training sessions throughout the day. 

After a few name training sessionsstart calling your dog by his new name when he isn’t focused on you. Again, use an excited voice! If your pooch responds to the name, immediately give him a treat and praise. If your pup does not pay attention when you call his new name, you can try this step with his leash on. Just wait until he is looking away, call his name, and if he doesn’t respond then lightly tug his leash. Once he responds, give him a treat and praise! 

Until you’re sure your dog knows his name, don’t combine it with any training commands. So, if you want to work on commands, simply use the label: sit, down, stay, etc. As he progresses, that’s when you can use his name as a precursor to getting his attention.

Good luck!

About John

John is a full-time dog trainer and part-time writer. He is a member of the Dog Writers Association of America and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. He also has two degrees and is a graduate in Animal Behavior and Welfare.