If you search the internet for “best dog names,” you’ll find a bunch of sites that give the most popular dog names. When I do this, I always want to turn to Google and say “that’s not what I asked.” Since Google, unfortunately, is not very responsive to imaginary queries (though I think they said that was coming out in 2017), I’ve had to deal with the problem myself.
What’s in The Best Dog Name?
What is it that makes a dog name the best as opposed to just the most popular? You could argue, fairly convincingly, that the two are one and the same, but I’d beg to differ! I think there are four distinct factors that go into making the best dog names. On an individual basis, of course.
#1. Does it Fit You?
The first question you need to ask yourself is, does this dog name fit you? It should be a match with your personality, you should make sure that you know its meaning and find it inspirational or moving or some such, and you should like the sound of it as it rolls off the tongue. Then try it out in different tones of voice. How is it when you’re awake? When you’re groggy? Happy? Angry?
You’re going to be saying this name a lot, so you have to make sure that you’re comfortable with it. The best dog names will become pleasantly engrained rather, than forcibly imprinted, into your mind and skull.
#2. Does it Fit the Dog?
Now, you need to ask similar questions about the dog in question. Obviously, you can’t really convey what the name means, or tell how the dog feels hearing it, and they can’t really say it, so it’s a different, much more limited process than what you did with yourself.
Mostly, you just want to look at how your dog acts. Don’t name a dog that is constantly running behind the couch “Spike.” Not only is it a weird mismatch, but it can actually be harmful if people misjudge how your dog is likely to act around them. Even with the best dog names, it’s crucial to think about this.
If it passes the “acting-like” test, though, you’re through this stage.
#3. Is it Short or Abbreviate-able?
You’d think this was unimportant, but it’s actually something that will come in handy! Really, twos syllables is ideal, and three is pretty much the limit. As I said before, you’re going to be saying this name a lot. At a certain point, you’re going to end up cutting it down for convenience’s sake. And possibly adding an “y” at the end. So after a couple of months, “Spartacus” might become “Spart” or “Sparty.”
Usually this is fine, but you should check in with yourself to make sure. If you were choosing Spartacus to be badass, Spart or Sparty might not quite fit the bill.
#4. Does it Work Well With Your Other Pets’ Names?
Yes, if you have other pets, then I’m sure you’ve already taken into consideration things like how to introduce your new pet, and how well they will get along with your house’s current residents in the longterm. That needs to be done way before you starting trying to pick the best dog name.
But once you’re done with that, think about how you want the new pet to fit in, name-wise. Often, this has more to do with you, anyone living with you, and friends than anything else. So think — do you want something that goes together? Fluffy and Snuggles might meet this criterion. If you want some contrast that people will find amusing, maybe pair up Wiggles with Savage. Your call.
I guess I can’t blame the Google search too much. After all, if you’re trying to choose what the best dog names are for hundreds or thousands of people at once, the most popular is probably a pretty good indicator. But for you, personally, you now know how to pick a good one. Can you think of any of the best dog names that aren’t on the popular name lists?