How to choose a dog name

What’s in a name?

There are infinite possible names that you can choose for your dog. It can be very difficult to pick the perfect name for your pooch. We’ve come up with a few ideas to help you decide what name to choose for your dog. There are no hard and fast rules about what you can and can’t name your dog, so feel free to pick and choose from our advice to find a name that’s just right for your dog.

The Classics

According to Rover.com, the most popular dog names of 2018 included Bella, Maggie, Max, Charlie, Jack, Molly, and Lola. A lot of these are old favourites: ask any vet and they will tell you how many tens or hundreds of dogs they’ve met called Max. If you want to pick an even more classical name, you could pick Fido (from the Latin word “Fidelius”, meaning faithful) or Rover. These names have remained popular because they are timeless, rather than being based on passing trends or crazes.

Keep it short

A reason why names like Bella and Max are classic dog names is probably because they are short and sweet. Animals find it much easier to recognise shorter words of only one or two syllable. You may have your heart set on calling your dog Chattanooga, Huckleberry, or Shenandoah, but that’s quite a mouthful to call across the dog park. Dogs also tend to respond better to shorter, choppier sounds, as these will get their attention. Names containing hard consonants, such as the letter “k”, are also good because the hard sound of the letter is easier for a dog to distinguish; one reason why names like Jake and Jack have always been so popular.

Too similar?

When picking a name, try to avoid one that sounds like a standard command word (sit, stay, heel, and so on). Your dog will get very confused if they are named Joe but expected to respond to the command “No”: the words are just too similar for your average dog to differentiate.

Embarrassing epithets?

Consider this before you set your heart on a particular name: would you be embarrassed to shout it across the dog park? “Oopsie Poopsie” or “Squidgums” may sound very cute or funny to you, but would you really want to write that on the paperwork at the vet?

What fits your dog?

When you first bring your dog home, you might not see their real personality until they’ve had a few days to settle in. “Sleepy” may be a good name for a dog that starts out as quiet, but if they turn out to be loud and lively, you may wish you’d gone with “Storm” or “Xena”. Have a few names lined up, and try them out to see which one fits.

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