Dog names: Choosing the right dog name – Part 1

Unlike some other pets, dogs respond enthusiastically to the sound of their name. If you speak the name in a conversation their ears perk up; they know you are talking about them. Since the name becomes an important part of your dog’s identity it is worth the effort to generate a good one.


Popular dog names often describe the way a dog looks: Spot, Shadow and Fluffy, or how he acts: Mouse, Squeaky and King. Many of these dog names are gender neutral but if you would like to specifically have a male dog name try using people names like Max, Buddy or Jake. For female dog names try Samantha, Daisy or Chloe. The people name you choose could honor a friend, relative or your favorite film star.

These names are fine and dogs have been answering to them for many years. However, if you would like something a little different then it is time to put on your thinking cap and get the creativity flowing.


A method for creating unique dog names is to choose a theme that has significance to you, then choose words from that theme. This is especially fun if you plan to have several dogs and can name them all within the theme. Your theme could be a country or ethnicity. This can be based on one you like or on the breed origin of the dog.

If your heart lies in Scotland, or you own a Collie, Scottie, or West Highland Terrier you could consider people, place and object names specific to Scotland:

*Paisley, MacDougal, Fraser, Nessie

If you have a German Shepherd, Dachshund or Schnauzer, or just like Germany itself, consider German words:

*Strudel, Schatzie, Lieben, Hansel & Gretel

Maybe you have a mutt of unknown lineage and would prefer a different theme:

*Characters from your favorite book

*Objects or concepts from your profession or field of study

*Names from nature- flowers and gems for girl dog names, stars and insects for boy dog names


The possibilities for themes is endless, yet can be completely personalized. You can expand on this idea by giving your dog an “official” name. Show dogs often carry long names that indicate parentage or the name of the kennel from which they were bred. So your dog isn’t a show champion-that doesn’t mean he can’t sport an official sounding long name. Just make up a spectacular one by combining several names in your theme list.

A Scottish dog now becomes “Fraser MacDougal of Drumnadrochit,” but to close friends he is still just Fraser!

Choosing puppy names gives you a chance to be creative and to include the whole family in brainstorming. A clever name will create curiosity and elicit questions from others who want to hear the story behind your pup’s unique name. As you explain, your dog will love to sit and hear you talk about him yet once again.

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