Unique dog name ideas

Are you looking for a name for your new pup that’s a little bit different?

I’ve been making personalised greeting cards for dog lovers since 2014 which often feature a dog's name and I see a lot of names ending with a ‘y’ or ‘ie’ which generally sound pretty cute and have a happy ring to them. Names such as Archie, Alfie, Buddy and Charlie are popular choices for male dogs, while some favourite names for female dogs include Poppy, Molly, Millie, Ruby and Rosie. But it might be advisable to avoid the most popular dog names if you don't want confusion at the dog park.

In this video for the New York Times "Dog Cognition Expert", Alexandra Horowitz talks to dog owners about how they came up with names for their pets.

There's a growing trend in Britain to give our dogs human names and, according to an article by Country Living, 9 out of the top 10 popular dog names also appear in the top 100 baby names. According to their findings, Bella was the most popular choice for for a girl dog and 50th in the baby name list. Buddy was the only dog's name in the top 10 that didn't feature as a common name for newborns.

I've started making a note of the names that catch my eye and used them as inspiration to create some themed lists that I hope will help you find the perfect name for your own dog.

Food Inspired Dog Names

UK dog owners are also clearly massive foodies as I see lots of dog names inspired by foods including sauces, spices, fruits, vegetables and legumes. They can be a quirky choice and often make me smile when they pop up.

There are tons of possibilities in this category and here are 20 of my personal favourites.

  1. Chutney
  2. Pesto
  3. Peanut
  4. Pickle
  5. Dumpling
  6. Crumpet
  7. Waffle
  8. Nugget
  9. Sprout
  10. Pumpkin
  11. Chilli
  12. Fig
  13. Bean
  14. Nutmeg
  15. Oatcake
  16. Sage
  17. Mustard
  18. Raisin
  19. Chorizo
  20. Churro

Check out Burrito on Instagram, it's a great name for a Corgi which suits his fun and outgoing nature. 

Character names

A popular choice for 2 or more dogs is to name them after famous duos or favourite characters from works of literature, TV and films. Here are some recent ones I liked.

  1. Otis & Eric (Sex Education)
  2. Spike & Cordelia (Buffy)
  3. Obi & Jabba (Star Wars)
  4. Jeeves & Wooster (popular choices for boy dogs)
  5. Maverick & Goose (Top Gun)
  6. Storm & Rogue (X-Men)
  7. Harry & Newt (ex Hogwarts)
  8. Walter & Jesse (Breaking Bad)
  9. Latrice & Bob (RuPaul’s Drag Race)
  10. Harold & Maude (1971 cult black comedy)
  11. The Dude & Walter (The Big Lebowski)
  12. Tim & Daisy (Spaced)
  13. Frank-N-Furter & Riff Raff (Rocky Horror)
  14. Babs & Edie (Pink Flamingos)
  15. Clarence & Alabama (True Romance)
  16. Dale & Cooper (Twin Peaks)
  17. Picard & Number One (Star Trek/Picard)
  18. Avon, Stringer & Snoop (The Wire)
  19. Face, Murdock & BA (A-Team)
  20. Stan, Kyle & Eric (South Park)
The PetMD suggests that when naming two or more dogs, it might make your life easier if their names don't sound too alike (or too similar to another member of the household), so choose names with a different number of syllables, or different vowel sounds and consonants.
personalised dog cards

Stars, Astrology & Spacey Things

As well as stars of screen and literature, we can also turn to the stars up above for inspiration. Star signs such as Aries, Gemini, Leo and maybe even Scorpio could work as a dog's name. You could also look at names of constellations, planets, astronauts, scientists and Greek mythology. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

    1. Orion
    2. Boötes (constellation in the northern sky)
    3. Lyra
    4. Helix
    5. Ara
    6. Hercules
    7. Nova
    8. Perseus
    9. Draco
    10. Vega
    11. Castor & Pollux
    12. Pegasus
    13. Mars
    14. Juno
    15. Comet
    16. Artemis
    17. Lunar
    18. Hubble
    19. Aura
    20. Ulysses
Browsing unlikely sources can often help you get creative. For example, this list of NASA Missions has a few interesting possibilities.

A few more ideas

Here are a few more that stood out which have been inspired by a variety of themes in pop culture, modern life, brands (or just made up words).

  1. Smish
  2. Moo
  3. Kellogg
  4. Tarka
  5. Hashtag
  6. Arlo
  7. Smeghead
  8. Moriarty
  9. Chipper
  10. Foggy
  11. Pixel
  12. Squiglet
  13. Mush
  14. Champ
  15. Plato

Hopefully there will be something here to inspire you find the perfect dog name and below are a few resources that might be of use in your search.

More Inspiration

A feature in Your Dog magazine, Choosing a name for your dog also has tips on how to teach your dog their new name. The advice is particularly helpful for renaming a rescue dog. There are differing opinions about changing an older dog's name but Your Dog believes it could actually be helpful for dogs who may have a history of poor treatment, neglect or abuse as there could be negative associations with their current name.

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