For a lot of pet parents, naming their new puppy is a big deal. After all, you don't want to change your dog's name too many times or too late in their life. This could confuse your dog and make it a little trickier for them to understand what you want them to do.
When it comes to popular dog names, you have the classics like Rover, Rex, and Scout. But maybe you're looking for something more unique like Willow or Tank. If you’re looking for a great dog name for your new pet, you’ve come to the right place.
Below, we’ll break down the top dog names of 2021. Let’s get started.
Top Names for Female Dogs
Have a female pup who needs a great and charming name? Here are some of the most popular female dog names in 2021. Some may even be popular into 2022 and beyond.
This classic name is derived from several English names. It means “bright and shining one,” which could be a great choice for a pup with a sparkling personality. Or you might choose this name for a brightly colored dog with light fur, such as a Labrador Retriever.
Looking to pair this name with male dog names? Consider Ollie or Alfie.
Chloe is a name of Greek origin meaning “fertility” or “blooming.” Technically, it's another name for the Greek goddess Demeter, who was responsible for fertility and harvest. Chloe also sounds incredibly sweet, making it a great match for a dog with a nice personality.
Piper is plucky, charming, and perfect for a puppy who loves to jump in your lap. It comes from the English and Romanian regions, and it means “pipe or flute player.” While your dog won’t be able to play the instruments, this name could still be a good fit regardless.
Here’s another great girl dog’s name. It comes from the Greek Jewish translation of Eve, which was the name of the first woman according to that religion. It means “life,” so it has a nice core meaning as well. An easy nickname for this one is a shortened "Zoe."
Try Gracie if you like the name Grace but want something a little softer for your pup. Grace was actually a Scottish surname back in the day. It came from an Anglicization of “greusaich,” a Scottish Gaelic word meaning “embroiderer.”
Try this classic German and English name which means “gentle strength.” As a result, it’s a perfect choice for a big girl dog with a huge heart. Or you could try it for a Pitbull or any other type of gentle giant.
Love Millie but want something a little more masculine? Try Milo (perfect for fans of the Milo and Otis movie).
Bailey is a common name for new human girls, so it might be a good fit for your puppy as well. Interestingly, Bailey was originally a male given name. That’s because it came from the old English word “bailiff.” Bailiff, as you probably know, is still used today in courtroom contexts.
Coming from the Latin word “oliva” or olive tree, Olive is a fantastic name for a girl dog. Not only is it sweet, but it’s also recognizable for the cartoon character of Olive Oil. It’s doubly perfect if you and your dog live in the Mediterranean or you like to visit Italy.
Love food-inspired names? How about Coco or Oreo?
This Hebrew name is technically a shorter version of Sarah. It means “princess,” making it perfect for your future princess pup. It also has a nice “y” sound at the end, making it softer than its progenitor name.
A Latin and Italian name meaning “star,” Stella is ideal for reserved, dignified dogs. It could be a good choice if you are adopting an adult dog who needs a forever home. But it’s also a great pick for new puppies with the right personality or look.
Molly is a classic female dog name. It's derived from Mary, which itself is a Hebrew feminine name. It can mean a lot of things, ranging from “rebellion” to “sea of bitterness” to “star of the sea.” Maybe you'll just like it because it's a cute name and fits your puppy's wiggly personality.
Ruby is the name of a beloved gemstone and could be the name of your next copy. It comes from the Latin word “ruber,” which means “red.” If your dog has a little red in her fur, Ruby could be the perfect name to represent this and her sparkling personality.
While most people consider Winnie to be associated with the titular stuffed bear, it could also be a great name for your dog. After all, she's soft and cuddly, too. Winnie can work for both male and female dogs and means things like “soft,” “happiness,” and more.
Try Maggie if you like the classic English name, Margaret. Maggie is a softer version of the same name and means “pearl.” If your dog has white or off-white fur, it might be the perfect match for a moniker like Maggie.
The perfect name for a cute canine companion, Daisy is naturally associated with the flower that shares the name. It comes from an old English word: “daegeseage,” which means “eye of the day” or “day’s eye.” Either way, it could be the perfect match for a female dog who loves to spend time frolicking in the flowers.
Love floral-inspired names? Maybe you'd also like Rosie or Lily.
This Spanish language female given name is actually a shorter version of Dolores, which means “sorrows.” But you could give your dog this name if she has a happy, bubbly personality, and sorrow is the farthest thing from her mind! Or you might choose it if your puppy chases away your own sorrows all the time.
The feminine form of Lucius, Lucy means “light.” It’s perfect for pups who bring radiant energy to their families. Lucy is also a good name for a mature female dog. So consider this if you want a name that will fit your pup both at the beginning and prime of her life.
Bella comes from all kinds of languages, ranging from Greek to Italian to Spanish to Portuguese. But it means the same thing everywhere: “beautiful.” Choose this if your pup is truly one-of-a-kind. It might also be a good choice if you plan for your dog to enter some puppy shows sometime in the future.
This popular girl dog name means “moon.” As such, it’s ideal if your dog is a breed that likes to howl at the moon. Or you could choose it if your pup has silvery or off-white fur that reminds you of our world’s natural satellite.
A short version of Penelope, this Greek name means “to peel.” It’s a cute and cuddly name that could be perfect for your little girl, especially if she peels back your hard outer shell to a gooey inside.
Top Names for Male Dogs
What if you have a boy dog instead of a female? In that case, 2021 has still provided us with plenty of great names to choose from.
Here are some of the best we’ve seen:
Some pet parents get a kick out of naming their dogs after other animals. After all, your canine bud won’t mind! Moose is good for a big dog who loves to clod around outdoors. Or you could use it for a male dog who has fur of the same color as this northern beast.
Bentley has recently increased in popularity for human children. You might consider it for your boy dog as well. It comes from the old English word “beonet” that means “woodland with bent grass." Consider whether the sound of the word fits your dog rather than the meaning in this case.
Meaning “famous warrior,” Louis is a classic masculine name. Hailing from England, it could be a great choice for a strong, stocky Boxer. Or it could be a good pick for any boy dog with a loyal, steadfast personality. Those who have hunting dogs may also appreciate this name for its uniqueness to common command words.
If your dog has the heart of a lion, you may wish to name him Leo. Leo means exactly that. In this way, you can technically name your dog after another animal without it being so obvious. Plus, Leo is a classic name that has been used for centuries, so it gets bonus points.
This is perhaps the most All-American male dog name you could pick. It’s the Americanized version of Henry, and it’s ideal for a farm dog, cattle dog, or just a country companion. Rocky
Want to name your dog after Rocky Balboa? Here’s your pick. Or you could name your dog after St. Roch, an Anglican patron saint of the sick. Therefore, this could be a good name for a dog that comforts you when you are feeling down or are recovering after a long day of work.
The male counterpart to the female Olive mentioned above, Oliver is a classic name. It means “ancestor’s descendants” and comes from the Old Norse language. If you love classic lit fic, you can name your dog this to make a clever reference to Oliver Twist.
The trend of naming masculine dogs after other animals continues on. Bear is a perfect match for a big, bulky dog or one with dark brown fur. If you have an ironic sense of humor, take this name for your tiny male dog with a big personality.
Who could go wrong with naming their dog Buddy? It’s a classic pooch name pick and shows just how much you love your canine companion. If you are a fan of the classics, this one's for you.
Duke is yet another excellent name for a masculine dog with plenty of muscle and presence. After all, it means “leader” and is even the name of an official title for landowners in England. Duke could also be a good pick if your dog has a deep, commanding bark.
Pick this name if you want something short, sweet, and to the point for your male dog. As a classic masculine name, it’s ideal for a loyal companion of middling size. It’s also technically short for names like Augustine or Augustus. So there’s a little extra history there for pet parents who want a sophisticated name for their dog.
Meaning "white" or "fair," Finn is an Old Norse name. It might be perfect for your dog if he's friendly and social. It's also a name with enough oomph but enough cuteness to fit a male dog of any size or breed.
Murphy means “sea warrior” and has an Irish origin. While it’s a common family name in Ireland, you can also shorten it to just “Murph” if you like. Regardless, it’s a great name for a boy dog with a warrior’s spirit or personality.
Max is another very common dog name for males. Maybe you want to go with a classic choice that’s never failed before. Max is technically short for “Maximilian,” an ancient Latin name. It means “greatest.” This is a great way to show the world what you think of your furry friend!
The exact origin of Tucker as a first name isn’t known. But it is a common surname in Europe and can be found as a given name here in America. It might be a great choice for a dog that likes to ride in your truck. Or you could use it for a pup that seems to have a steady, old-fashioned personality.
Go old school and name your dog Winston after the former British Prime Minister. Or choose it just because it sounds very sophisticated. It means “wine’s town,” but most who hear the name will simply expect your dog to be smart and politically savvy!
Teddy is the short name for Theodore. You could name your dog Teddy after the American president or choose Teddy because of its progenitor name's sophistication. Teddy, of course, is a little cuter than Theodore. So it might be perfect for a boy puppy whose name can grow as he does.
Cooper rose dramatically in popularity in 2021. It’s an old English name that means “barrel maker.” Perhaps because of its sound, it fits both country dogs and metropolitan pups in equal measure.
Last but not least, Charlie is as classic a dog name as you can get. It's a little softer and cuter than Charles and means "free man." Your dog may not be a man, but it could be free. Pick this if your pup has a free spirit and loves spending time outdoors.
What Makes a Good Dog Name?
Ultimately, the above dog names are just our favorite suggestions. The ideal name for your furry friend depends on your preferences, their personality, and even your culture.
Ideally, your dog’s name should be:
- Something you personally love the sound of. You’ll be saying their name over and over again, so don’t give your dog a name that you don’t like.
- Something that sounds distinct from common command words like “come” or “sit.” Why? You don’t want your dog to confuse a command word with their name. That could make training a little more complicated than you’ll prefer.
- Small enough to fit on a good tag. A customizable dog tag can help someone know who to call if your dog ever runs away.
For example, the name "Sid," while adorable, could prove tricky. They could become confused every time you want them to sit down.
Other than that, pick something that fits your dog’s personality. It’s more important than a name with a meaning that doesn’t quite fit. When you get a new puppy, you won’t have a full grasp of their personality until you spend a couple of months with them. A name could fit your puppy initially. But their personality could develop to become something totally that mismatches their name later.
The Best Name Is One You Love
As you can see, there are as many names as there are unique canine companions to adopt. Choosing the right name for your dog can seem overwhelming. But remember that your dog will love whatever you choose. So pick whatever seems best to you and stick with it.
Your new puppy won't just need a name to live a full and happy life, of course. You'll want to make sure you have all the puppy essentials ready to go before your furry friend arrives home. Wild One's store has everything you need, ranging from treats to tags to collars. The best stuff for your best friend!
Is it OK to change a dog's name? | CNN
The Art of Naming a Dog | NY Times
People are naming their dogs Fauci and Pfizer. Here's the most popular pet names of 2021 | USA Today