//The Most Popular Pet Names of Today and the Past

The Most Popular Pet Names of Today and the Past

The Most Popular Pet Names of Today and the Past

Our pets are our best friends and naming them is almost as important as naming our babies. Traditionally, pet owners tended to choose names that described either the personality or the appearance of the pet, with names such as Spot, Fluffy, Scruffy or Joker, Buddy, Cuddles, Princess, etc emerging as typical ‘pet names’.

But these cute, popular pet names of the past are slowly being replaced by names that are more familiar and typically given to people, not pets. As society and people change, so too do the names they give their pets. With more human names being given to our fluffy friends, the idea is emerging that pets are becoming an even more integral part of modern families, and are accepted on a more personal level.

So what are the most popular pet names at the moment, how do they compare to the past, and what can we expect in the future?

Dogs are a man’s best friend, and naming them in a way that reflects this mateship is part of the fun! It seems our male dogs tend to be given masculine, fun and adventurous names that are traditionally recognised as ‘dog’ names, while female dogs tend to have more elegant, ‘classic’ names traditionally reserved for humans.

Male dog names tend to be more traditional and matey, signifying the friendly relationship between an owner and their pet dog. Many of the names on the list are ‘typical’ dog names, such as Ace, Bailey, Max, Buddy, and Milo.

These names have been given to dogs for years throughout literature, comics and film, and have carried on to leave their mark as typically ‘dog’ and not human names. For example, Ace is a popular dog’s name inspired by Batman and Robin’s canine crime fighting partner, Ace the Bat-Hound. Buddy is the name of the much-loved dog from 90s family film, Air Bud.


But despite the popularity of playful, masculine dog names such as these, old-fashioned classic boy names are now dominating the top 10 popular names. Traditional names such as Jack, Charlie, Sam, Toby, and Max are popular with dogs, suggesting that people like to give their pets names that are comforting in their familiarity. Old-fashioned names like these evoke feelings of friendliness, timelessness and boyhood, signifying the importance of owners seeing their male dogs as a buddy or ‘pal’.

As mentioned before, female dogs tend to be given classically feminine names, with less of a focus on mateship and friendliness. Of the names given to female dogs, while more human, they are also more reminiscent of old-fashioned names given to women born in the first half of the century.

Names like Daisy, Maggie, Lucy, Molly, Penny, and Zoey all evoke feelings of a trusty, comforting, reliable woman – and perhaps that’s how we feel about our female dogs!

While many are happy to give our dogs non-human names that describe their attributes as a friend and buddy, it seems that the majority of pet owners prefer to give female dogs names that can also be found on people.


It’s also interesting to note that some of the popular names are being inspired by popular culture, with the only difference between male and female dogs being that we name our female dogs after famous female humans instead of canines in films! Bella is the popular main character from the Twilight series, and Coco is after legendary designer Coco Chanel.

While the names given to female dogs tend to be human, there are some names that have decreased in popularity over time and are rarely heard of anymore. Perhaps these once popular names, such as Penny and Zoey, don’t carry positive associations that pet owners want to transfer on to their pets.

Just like dogs, it seems we enjoy giving our male cats names that evoke feelings of masculinity, adventurousness, and mateship. Female cats, again, tend to have more traditionally human names that are quite old-fashioned ones, just as with dogs.

Male cats, like male dogs, tend to be given names that describe their appearance or their being a cat, as well as names that signify friendship and matehood.

Names like Simba, Tiger, and Leo are all traditionally ‘cat’ names that refer back to the cat’s ancestry. For example, Simba is (of course!) the popular main character from The Lion King.

Names like Jasper and Oscar evoke feelings of a cheeky, playful cat, similar to the popular dog names of Buddy and Milo. Male cats are just as likely as male dogs to be given human names, with 7 of the 10 most popular names given to humans as well as animals. Interestingly, Max and Charlie are popular male names for both cats and dogs.


Names like Jasper and Oscar evoke feelings of a cheeky, playful cat, similar to the popular dog names of Buddy and Milo. Male cats are just as likely as male dogs to be given human names, with 7 of the 10 most popular names given to humans as well as animals. Interestingly, Max and Charlie are popular male names for both cats and dogs.

And unsurprisingly, Bella topped the list for both female cats and dogs last year. It’s no coincidence considering the tremendous success the Twilight series has had over the past few years in pop culture.

Just like with female dogs, female cats are given more traditionally human female names. None of the top 10 female names refer to the cat’s stripes or tiger-like nature, rather they evoke feelings of old-fashioned, feminine, classy women.


4 of the 10 female cat names reference flowers – Rosie, Lily, Daisy, and Poppy – perhaps suggesting that we associate female cats with womanhood and traditionally feminine characteristics. Female cat names also tend to be more like nicknames, with 7 of the 10 names ending in an -ie or -y sound. These are ‘cute’ names often used as nicknames for human females, and have the added benefit of giving a strong consonant sound at the beginning and middle of a name for when calling your pet.

If you look back at some of the dogs’ names that were popular 10 years ago, many remain popular today. For example, Max, Bailey, Buddy, Molly, Bella and Daisy all appear on both lists. Could it be that not much has changed in 10 years when it comes to naming our dogs?

Cats on the other hand, while showing some consistency over the last 10 years with names such as Max, Tiger and Simba, seem to have progressed a lot more than their canine counterparts’ names.

According to these lists, a decade ago we were more fond of naming our cats after characters or descriptive elements, like Smokey, Tigger, Shadow, and Angel. While some of these names have remained on the top 10, the most popular names are now more human than fiction. This could hint at a growing trend in pet owners seeing a more human element in their pets, and wanting to integrate them into the family more by giving them a person’s name.

But no matter how human our pet names are becoming, there are always some downright strange names that emerge, and that’s half the fun of naming a pet! These bizarre names are more likely a reflection of the pet owner’s personality than the pet themselves, showing that there is plenty of room for the imagination when it comes to naming your pet.

Names such as these are modelled around what would typically be a human name, but with the owner then taking out all the normal elements and replacing them with the absurd and wacky. Otto Von Longdog, for example, could almost be the name of a foreign royal were it not so ridiculous. Count Flufferton also evokes images of an outrageously elite and royal cat, demonstrating that some pet owners like to give enormous personalities and background stories to their furry friends.

Check out some other common pet trends that we found:

So what will the next 10 years hold for pet names? Will our female pets continue to embrace the long forgotten names of the past? Will dogs start to lose their fun-loving nicknames to more popular human names? Or will we see technology-based names begin to emerge? Only time will tell.


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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals
2017-10-01T12:41:04+10:00By |0 Comments

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