How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your Puppy

by | Aug 2020

Golden retriever dog puppy playing with toy while lying on den


Say goodbye to Fido and Spot—in name only.

Finding the perfect name for your puppy can be tough. Mary R. Burch, Ph.D., a certified animal behaviorist and family dog director at the American Kennel Club (an organization advancing the study, breeding and maintenance of purebred dogs) 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 pet names, dogs often have a variety of shorter “call names” or nicknames that the owners refer to as a term of endearment or to help with obedience. Typically, less than two syllables, the shortness of the name makes it easier for owners say and for animals to hear, understand and respond to.

Though the names should be something easy to say, they should not be easily mistaken for another command. Burch uses the example of how the name “Brown” 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
  • Bailey

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


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