One of the best parts of adopting a dog is naming him. It can also be challenging, though. You want a special name and with so many common and unique male dog names, it can be tough to narrow it down and find the name that’s right for your pup. The good news is there are ways to make choosing your dog’s name easier and ensure that you’ll not only be happy with the name but that it will also suit your dog.
Naming your dog should be a process. You shouldn’t just pick the first name that pops into your head or settle for the usual dog names like “Spot” or “Rover.” That is unless, of course, you love those names.
Picking your dog’s name should be based on a number of factors. First, it’s important to know that dogs are more likely to respond to certain sounds. This makes it easier to train your dog and to get its attention when needed.
Dog experts agree that dogs link their names with what happens after they hear it. Like other words you say to your dog like “sit” or “paw,” dogs view their names as cues. They know if you say their name and they respond a certain way, something will happen. They don’t identify themselves with their names but identify their names with an action or event that takes place after hearing it.
But you don’t want to choose your pet’s name based strictly on science. It’s important to pick a name you like and enjoy that is associated with your dog. You’ll be saying it a lot over your pup’s lifetime so it should be something you enjoy saying. Your dog will pick up on the positive energy you associate with the name.
Another important thing to keep in mind when choosing unique male dog names for your pet is just that – it should be unique. If there is a popular name you’ve heard that you like, it might not be the best option. This is especially true if you intend to take your dog to the dog park or to training class or to socialize your dog with other dogs (which you should!). If you and everyone else’s dogs have the same name, it can get confusing for all of them. The names we’d recommend avoiding for a male dog at the moment include Buddy and Max but there are others out there. The more unique the better when it comes to naming your pup.
- Tips to Help You Choose the Best Name for Your Dog
- Choosing the Best Name for Your Dog
- Other Things to Consider When Choosing Unique Male Dog Names
Tips to Help You Choose the Best Name for Your Dog
- Short, choppy names tend to be easier for your dog to understand.
- Hard consonants also make names easier to hear – hard C and K sounds are especially easy to hear.
- Consonant combos are also helpful, including “sh” or “ch,” making Chuck a great name for a dog.
- Don’t choose names that rhyme with commands. Dogs can easily get mixed up with rhyming words. Names like Shay and Kit might not be great when you’re trying to teach your pup to “stay” or “sit.” Likewise, avoid names that rhyme with words that get your dog overly excited. Any names that rhyme with “ride,” “walk,” or “treat” would likely be bad choices.
- Choose names with short “a” or long vowels at the end. It’s easy to say and easy to understand, which is why so many people affectionately add “e” sounds to the end of their dog’s names or nicknames.
- Keep it short – one to two syllables is best. Longer names are difficult to understand and tough to say when you need to get out their names quickly. If you prefer a long name – and many AKC purebred dogs have very long names – come up with a nickname you’ll use for training regularly.
Choosing the Best Name for Your Dog
Now that you have a general idea of how to choose a name for your dog, narrow down your endless list of names to a few of your favorite. Sorting names into categories is a great way to get your choices organized and make it easier to decide what name you’ll ultimately choose.
Children’s Shows, Movies, and Other Cartoons
Some of the best dog names out there come from other dogs. Dogs you see in cartoons or on children’s shows often have great names and if you are especially fond of one of them, they’d make a great name for your pup.
Some of the best cartoon dog names include:
- Dino (pronounced “Deeno”) – Dino was the purple “dog” who was likely a pet dinosaur from the Hanna-Barbara cartoon “The Flintstones”.
- Astro – Another Hanna-Barbara favorite, Astro was the family dog in the space-age cartoon “The Jetsons”.
- Goofy – Mickey Mouse’s beloved pal.
- Pluto – Another of Mickey’s pals.
- Scooby or Scrappy – both dogs in the Scooby-Doo cartoon series.
- Snoopy – Charlie Brown’s BFF.
- Clifford – From Clifford the Big Red Dog.
Dogs in Popular Culture
In addition to the dogs we see in cartoons and children’s shows, there are also plenty of dogs in other areas of entertainment that appeal to children and adults alike. Some of the most famous pop culture dog names include:
- Lassie – From the popular Golden Age of Television series about a boy and his dog.
- Cujo – A dog that was a real terror from a Stephen King book that was later made into a movie.
- Eddie – The family dog on the television show Frasier.
In addition to naming your dog after one in popular culture, you can also choose non-dog pop culture names. These are characters that might’ve been human or another animal but they still make for great dog names. They include:
- Harry (or Ron or Weasley or Potter): All from the popular JK Rowling book series Harry Potter.
- Neo: The protagonist in the Matrix movie series.
- Luke (or Hans or Jaba or Chewy, etc.): Any of the names from the Star Wars series make for great boy dog names.
- Ringo: Of Beatles fame. John, George, or Paul might also tickle your fancy but a lot of people consider them less suitable for pets.
Some people like to choose unexpected names for their dogs, many of which have to do with other animals. After all, what’s more ironic than a dog named Cat? Here are a few other suggestions for unexpected dog names:
Do you have a beloved vacation destination or hometown? Was your dog from a certain area or does its lineage trace back to a particular country? For instance, there are many Havanese dogs named names like Cigar, Fidel, or Mojito because the breed descended from Cuba. Chow Chows often have Asian names because their breed was popular among the royal families when it first came into existence. You can also choose location names closer to home for your pup. Some of the most popular places people choose to name their dogs for include:
- Nicky (for New York City)
- Balto (for Baltimore)
Human Names for Dogs
Maybe you like the idea of your dog having a name that a human might have. After all, it’s part of your family so why shouldn’t it have a normal name? Some of the best dog names that descended from names of people include:
If you’re a history buff, there are plenty of great names out there for your dog. Choose your favorite era in history or opt for a name that just stands out because it’s from a well-known historical figure. Some of the best historically based dog names include:
Names in Other Languages
- Draco – Latin for “dragon”.
- Le – The Chinese word for “happiness”.
- Zeus – Greek King of the Gods.
- Rico – Spanish for “wealth”.
- Rex – Latin for the “king”.
Names You Might Not Have Thought Of
Here’s a group of names most people agree are great for dogs but they might have slipped under your radar.
Other Things to Consider When Choosing Unique Male Dog Names
In addition to the tips listed above, these things help you narrow down the list of names we’ve supplied or the list of names you create.
- Stay away from names of people who you already know or who are already in your family. Though you might think you are honoring this person, they might take it the wrong way to learn you named your dog after them. If you want to honor a deceased loved one, that might be okay but also remember it might not sit as well as you think it will with other members of your non-puppy family.
- It’s also a good idea to avoid names you like for children if you aren’t a human parent yet. It could be tempting to opt for one of the choices on your list of potential child names because becoming a parent might seem far of. But there will come a day you’ll want to use that name and if it’s already taken, you might feel disappointed. If you’ve already had kids and there was a name you loved that you didn’t get to use, now is the time.
- Remember that AKC names tend to be long when registering your dog. This is especially true if you want to show your pup or if it has some kind of special lineage. Names might be made up of three or four distinct names and be shorted when you’re working on training or just hanging out with your dog. It’s as if you named your child David Allistair Jones but he just ends up being Davey Jones to all of his friends and family. If you do plan to pick an AKC name, have fun with it and be creative.
- If you are adopting more than one dog at a time or you intend to get another dog in the future, consider names that are usually found in combination. Duo names are fun and make it easier to name your pair of dogs. You’ll also have a name in waiting if you bring home pup number one and wait a bit to adopt a younger brother or sister. Some of the best dog pair names that feature good male dog names include:
- George and Gracey
- Simon and Garfunkel
- John and Paul
- Tom and Jerry
- Belle and Sebastian
- Dean and Deluca
- Smith and Wesson
- Jim and Pam
- Jack and Diane
- Harry and Megan
- No matter what you choose to name your dog, it’s important to pick a name you love. People might offer suggestions to you about a name or you might feel pressured by another member of your family to choose a particular name but in the end, it’s up to you to pick the right name.
Some people prefer to bring their pup home and get to know it first before picking a name. This shouldn’t be a problem for most dogs and they do adjust once you decide on a final name. The same is true if your breeder gave your pup a name that matched his littermates, as they normally do. Don’t worry about your dog missing its birth name or not being able to get used to a new one. Just as a dog can learn any new command you teach, as long as you use your dog’s name lovingly and consistently, it’ll get used to it. In no time, you‘ll be able to shout your dog’s name and get its attention.
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