Most Popular Pet Names

Tips for Choosing the Perfect Pet Name

Puppy and kitten

What you name your pet says a lot about you as an individual, and with hundreds of thousands of names from which to choose, finding the ideal name for your new fuzzy friend can be overwhelming.

“Max” Is Tops For Dogs and Cats

The good news is there are many popular pet names to choose from. A recent analysis of Veterinary Pet Insurance’s (VPI) 450,000 insured pets revealed that “Max” is the most popular name for both cats and dogs. Molly, Buddy, Bella and Lucy rounded out the top five most popular names for dogs, and Chloe, Lucy, Tigger and Tiger rounded out the top five most popular names for cats.

The majority of these names are a far cry from once traditional pet names such as Rover and Fluffy. Pet naming trends are reflecting the humanization of pets as the emotional connection between owners and their animals continues to grow.

“When people consider their pet an integral part of the family, they are more inclined to pick a human name for it,” says Dr. Carol McConnell, vice president and chief veterinary officer for VPI. “The prevalence of pets with human names clearly reflects the growing human-animal bond.”

Keep it simple. Pick a name that your pet will easily recognize, the shorter the better.

Pet Naming Tips

Regardless of what name you choose, consider the following when selecting a name for your new pet:

Golden retriever puppy
  • Wait a few days. It might be a good idea to observe your new four-legged friend’s behavior to find the name best suited for her personality. You may not want to name your new puppy “Jumper” if she doesn’t jump, or a new kitten “Meow” if she’s not very vocal.
  • Keep it simple. Pick a name that your pet will easily recognize, the shorter the better. For example, it may be easier to get your dog’s attention with a name like “Spot” versus “Princess Dandelion III.”
  • Make it appropriate. Your pet is going to go through her life with her new name, and as a pet owner, you’ll be saying this name hundreds—if not thousands of times throughout her lifetime. Choose a name you’ll feel comfortable using in public.

Some Names Come Easily

Jeff Miller, a VPI policyholder in Shallotte, N.C., says naming his Peekapoo (a cross between a Pekingese and a Poodle) was as simple as looking at him. “He just looked like a ‘Joey’,” he says. “He was almost a ‘Ralph’, but Joey was a better fit.”

Some people even look to popular athletes and pop icons for inspiration. Laura DeFelice, a marketing graphic designer in Irvine, Calif., named her Lhasa Apso after former Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagen. “I originally wanted to name a blonde-colored dog Duff, to match the singer’s hair,” she says. “But I liked the name so much that I gave the name to my black dog.”

Resources for Pet Names

For new pet owners still struggling to find the perfect name for their new pet, online sites such as Australia-based Bow Wow Meow offers visitors a pet name database where they can find the meaning and popularity of pet names. New baby name books can give you ideas as well.

Remember that the name you choose lets others know how you feel about your pet. Keep it simple and fun.

Return to the VPI Pet HealthZone

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