Tips to find the perfect name for your puppy

tips to name your dog
You will use the dog's name over 35,000 times in its lifetime. Choose wisely or you may come to regret that decision.

You will use the dog’s name over 35,000 times in its lifetime so choose wisely. Remember that dogs understand brief commands. Pick something easy : two syllables max. It shouldn’t sound like the rest of the commands. For example, do not call your dog “Stacy”. It’s too close with the command “stay”. Having a name like that will only confuse the dog.

Do Not Name Your Dog Like a 5 Year Old

Remember that you will be using the dog’s name in public. “Boner” might be funny for your drinking buddies, but you will get a different reaction at the vet’s office, the park, and other public places. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include your kids in on the fun. Ask your kids what they want to name the dog. Let them participate in the process but reserve funky names when you are not out in public. One of my colleagues got stuck with “truck” as a name for his female cat because he couldn’t say no to his 4 year old son. Don’t be like that unless you are ready for a lifetime of jokes. Our neighbors’ cat is named “Boobs”. The mom is over it but the name stuck.

No Human Baby Names

You may somehow think that it would be an honor for your Uncle Bob or best friend Mike if the dog is named after them. Maybe naming your baby after them might honor them, but naming your puppy after them won’t.

Help! I hate my dog’s name

If you decided to bring home a dog from the shelter, you may be stuck with a name you don’t like. If your dog is older, it would be probably better to stick with its old name. If the dog has the name of an ex or something you refuse to say in public? Here’s a tip: pick something that sounds similar to it. Try it out and see if that does the trick.

Pick Something Creative

Originality is key. The American Kennel Club (AKC) doesn’t allow duplicate dog names, and will ask you to choose another name if your pick is already taken. Once you’ve chosen a name, try it out for a day or so. You’ll know right away whether it’s a keeper. If not, there’s always more puppy names on your list!

be creative when you choose your dog's name

Pick a Name Based on Your Dog

try to choose a name that matches your dog's personnality

Given a couple of days, your new dog’s personality will really shine through. Try “Cuddles” for the sweet little guy who loves to get cozy or “Puddles” for the pooch who can’t seem to find the doggie door.


Think about what your dog looks like: color, size, habits are all inspirations. “Stubbs” would be a great name for a dachshund pup. Or you may call a cream colored cock-a-poo “Buffy.”

Solid Dog Name Ideas to Brainstorm

Celebrity puppy names

Today, pooches have more celebrity following than their famous owners. Chew on “Lola,” a name used by both Hilary Duff and the Osbournes.

TV dogs

“Scooby” and “Astro” come to mind if you want to honor a famous TV pup.

Movie dogs

Cool movies and cool dog names seem to go hand in hand. Cool Hand Luke’s “Blue” would be a fitting label for a variety of dogs. <li>Comic dogs. “Snoopy” will always be a favorite, but also consider “Daisy” or “Odie.”

German dog names

For starters, try out “Fritz” or “Kaiser.”

Irish dog names

“Finn” fits well for any pup, as does “Murphy,” which just happens to mean “hound of the sea.”

French puppy names

“Pierre” and “Gigi” are top contenders for any dog, especially those with a little oo-la-la in their genes.

Name Ideas for a Black Dog

tips to name a black dog

Don’t be such a drag. Do not allow your pet to wallow in shame every time you call them by their silly name. It’s embarrassing! Growing up, every black lab in my neighborhood was named Blackey. Is this you? Inane names abound when it comes to dogs. I am more on the “insane” bandwagon. Make it memorable, show some creativity, don’t let my faith in humanity dwindle! Let’s banish uninspiring monikers. Dogs can last half a generation. That name is going to stick around for a while. Here are some ideas to get you started if you own a black dog:

  1. Dirty Stuff: soot, coal, etc.
  2. Dark references
  3. Clothing: tuxedo, velvet, etc.
  4. Food references: gumbo, meatball, molasses, do not go for the obvious pepper
  5. Coffee Derivatives: Chicory, Latte, Mocha
  6. Dark Beers: Guinness, Porter, Stout, Xingu
  7. Small Black Dogs: (Also cute for very large dogs.)  Scrap, Smudge, Smidgeon, Speck, Splotch, Wisp
  8. Black as Evil: Cujo, Darth, Jezebel, Lilith, Mordor, Reaper, Snitch, Vader, Vice
  9. African Geography: Congo, Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda

Recapping Everything to Help You Get Started

choose a dog's name
  • Dogs understand short commands. Easy names with two or fewer syllables work well. 
  • Your puppy’s name shouldn’t sound like any commands. “Stacy” and “stay” are too close for comfort. 
  • Remember, you’ll be using your pup’s name in public. “Stinky” is not a wise choice.
  • Make your kids part of the decision process. Kids like it simple, too, so if calling your Champion Cavalier King Spaniel “Bootsie” works for them, consider keeping the hoity toity name strictly for dog shows and paperwork. 
  • You may think it’s an honor to name your pup after you’re favorite Uncle Norbert. Naming your baby after him may keep you in the will, but naming your puppy after him may not. 
  • If you’re bringing home an older dog, ideally, stick with the name it already owns. Can’t stand it? Then stick with similar sounds when choosing a new dog name. “Barney” morphs into “Marley” easily.

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