Choosing a Name for Your New Dog

While picking a name for a dog might seem like an easy task, in reality, it can be pretty tough. From traditional names (like Lily, Bruce, Molly, or Jack) to cute and quirky names that only a canine could be called (Fido, Chomps, Taco, or Princess), the options are limitless. In fact, selecting a name for a dog can be just as challenging as picking a name for a baby – if not moreso.

So, how do you choose the best possible name for your four-legged pal? Here are a few tips that can help guide you through the endless array of potential options and narrow it down to something that you – and the newest (and furriest) member of your family will love.

The Dos and Don’ts

First, let’s take a look at some things that you should and shouldn’t do when you are trying to select a moniker for your four-legged family member.


  • Pick a name that really appeals to you. You’ll be saying the name several times a day for years to come, so you definitely want to make sure that you like the way it sounds. The last thing you want to do is pick a name that you’re going to end up hating.
  • Stick to something short and sweet. Anything that’s longer than two syllables will probably be hard for your pooch to understand; not to mention the fact that it will be tedious for you to say on a constant basis.
  • Give names a test-run. You don’t have to stick to the first name you choose. Try one for a few days and see how your furry friend reacts to it. If it isn’t catching his attention, or you just don’t like it, then you can give something else a try.


  • Avoid using a name that sounds very similar to a command. For example, it would be pretty tough to teach your dog to stay if his name is “Ray” or heel if his name is “Neil.”
  • Never name your pooch something that other people would offend or embarrass other people. For instance, you should never, under any circumstances, choose something that sounds like a racial slur, an insult, or a vulgar word. Would you really want to have people hear you say “heel, Toiletface” while you’re taking a walk? Not only are these types of names offensive and embarrassing for humans; they’re not very fair to your dog.
  • If you’re bringing an adolescent or senior dog into your family, unless it’s an absolute necessity (he has a really offensive name, for example), don’t change his name. Doing so could confuse him. How would you react if you were called Steve for 31 years, and suddenly, people started calling you Warren?

Things to Consider

Now that you know what you should and shouldn’t do when picking a name for your furry pal, here are some factors other than breed, to keep in mind when you’re debating this all-important task:

  • Try to stay away from really popular names; Max, Duke, Jack, Bella, Lola, or Sadie, for example (these are some of the most popular dog names). If you pick one of these names, there’s a chance that a bunch of dogs will come running to you when you call out for your pup at the dog park.
  • Use his demeanor or traits as an inspiration. For instance, if you have a Greyhound, you might call him “Slim,” or if your pooch is super playful and friendly, “Sunny” might be a good name for her.
  • The origin of the breed can provide inspiration. For example, West Highland White Terriers hail from Scotland, so Bruce (after Robert the Bruce, the King of Scots), would be a very befitting moniker.