Cats | Dogs | October 12, 2017

Choosing a Pet’s Name

Val Culpin
By: Val Culpin
small dog playing

It must be a sign of the times. When I was a child growing up we always had pets, and dog names then were so different from what we find today. In those days some of the most popular names were Fido, Rover, King, Sport and Rex, or Spot, Patches or Bandit, Lady or Princess, Duke or Champ. Rough collies were always named Lassie or Laddie after the beloved dog of television fame. Beagles were often Snoopy and Dalmatians were Pongo. In the 70’s the Benji movies and TV series came along and every little brown ragamuffin pup was named after him. The trend to name our canine companions after famous dogs continues to this day with names like Hooch, Beethoven, Marley, Bailey and Eddie among many others.

Cat names have followed a similar trend. When I was young and learning to read the ‘Dick and Jane’ series, a popular name for cats was ‘Puff’, after the cat in those books. Then the Disney movie, ‘The Three Lives of Thomasina’ came out and another naming fad was born. Felix, Fritz and Garfield were popular names after the cartoon characters, and Morris became popular for orange cats after the discerning and sardonic cat in the 9 Lives commercials.

Mixed in with all the names above are the timeless classics like Buddy, Bella, Max and Charlie for dogs and Tiger, Fluffy and Shadow for cats. In fact, there is quite a species crossover as well with Bella, Max and Buddy being popular for both cats and dogs.

Recently the naming trend has moved to more ‘human’ names; names you might give to a child for instance. This isn’t surprising considering the acceptance of pets as members of the family nowadays. The humanization of our pets extends to their names as well as how we treat them. Here are the current top ten names for dogs and cats according to Iheartdogs.com and Iheartcats.com.

  • Female Dogs: Bella, Lucy, Luna, Daisy, Lola, Sadie, Molly, Stella, Chloe and Maggie
  • Male Dogs: Charlie, Cooper, Max, Oliver, Buddy, Rocky, Teddy, Milo, Tucker and Bentley
  • Female Cats: Luna, Bella, Lucy, Chloe, Lily, Mia, Sophie, Lola, Nala, Daisy
  • Male Cats: Oliver, Max, Milo, Simba, Leo, Charlie, Jack, Loki, Smokey, Jasper

If you are considering adding a dog or cat to your household, the choosing of a name is very important. A name can reflect your personality or that of your pet, e.g. Sparky. It can reflect how you feel about your pet, like Cuddles or Huggy Bear. Or, like many pet lovers, you can name your pet after movie or TV characters, literary figures or politicians.

I once knew a hard working family who had a farm. It was how they made their living and it was serious work. They had a scruffy old brown farm dog who, like many farm dogs then, lived out on the front porch as their sentinel and watchdog. He was a friendly old guy to those who knew him and the family treated him with affection, but in those days dogs were dogs, not family members. That was reflected when I first met this dog and asked his name. It was, simply, ‘Brown Dog’. My, how times have changed!