Do you have a brand-new dog in your life? If so, congratulations! Whether it’s a precious little puppy or an animal shelter rescue, bringing a dog into your life is always an exciting event. Raising a dog to be a member of your family can be a lot of work, but having a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have in their lifetime. If raised right, a dog will be your most loyal companion and fiercest protector — in between goofing off and making you laugh endlessly, of course. They don’t call them man’s best friend for nothing!
Now that you have (or have decided on getting) your precious little buddy, it’s time to pick out the perfect dog name. Most dog owners recognize that their pet’s name is effectively an extension of the owner’s personality, quirks, or sense of humor. Many people also choose to name the dog based on its own personality — each dog does have a unique personality of their own, after all.
Regardless of the reason for any particular dog name, there are enough popular names for dogs out there to warrant a list of 2018’s top 10 cute dog names. We’ll cover those names in this article, along with how to get your dog used to their name and why names for dogs are so useful in the first place.
Why Dogs Need to Have Names
Before humans evolved to use language, they probably communicated with wild dogs via signals and sounds. Now that we’ve evolved to talk and have bred dogs to be domesticated pets, there is definitely a need for a dog to have their own name, especially if your pup is going to be considered a member of the family. Also, if you want your dog to listen and respond quickly to you, naming them is essential. Dogs’ brains are capable of learning and remembering up to 100 words — making their intelligence the equivalent of that of a human toddler — so giving them a name they’ll always remember will be useful for not just the dog, but for the whole family.
As for the 10 most popular dog names of 2018 (featured below), we’ve divided them into the current top five names for male dogs and top five names for female dogs. However, this doesn’t mean that the names on each list are limited to just one gender — many people enjoy mixing and matching dog names as they see fit. Most of the names on our list could easily fit the personalities of millions of dogs, which may explain why these names are so prevalent in the first place. Selecting one of these popular names will give your dog an easy name to remember while adding an extra touch of cute to their already-cute existences.
Top 5 Cute Boy Dog Names
As the number one name for male dogs everywhere, Bailey has proven that it isn’t just a cute name for humans. The name originates from an English surname meaning “bailiff,” so it definitely makes a great name for a guard dog! Bailey is also a unisex name, so feel free to use it on male or female dogs.
Although Max is usually a shortened version of Maxwell or Maximillian, plain old Max works excellently for dogs. The name Max has been one of the most popular dog names for over five decades, so you’d definitely be paying tribute to the very existence of domesticated dogs with this name.
Charlie is usually a nickname of Charles, but the name Charlie is technically a unisex name. The strong “Ch” consonant at the beginning is what makes this name a popular choice for dog owners who want their dog to easily recognize a strong, classic name.
This laid-back name embodies everything a dog should be. If you want your dog’s name to represent companionship and a strong bond, Buddy is a great name choice. Your little buddy will take to this name as naturally as learning how to eat and drink.
Fans of boxing and the “Rocky” movie series may find themselves drawn to this name. The name means “rest” in Italian, which may or may not be hilarious depending on your dog’s natural energy levels. People who want their dog’s name to represent toughness while still being cute will enjoy using this name for their dog.
Top 5 Cute Girl Dog Names
A highly popular name for baby (human) girls, Bella has also been the most popular name for female dogs for several years. Bella is French for beautiful, so if you’ve got a gorgeous dog, we understand why you’ll want to use this name!
Are you a fan of classic shows like “I Love Lucy” or “Charlie Brown” that features memorable characters named Lucy? Lucy is a somewhat classical name that was made popular by humans in the 1950s and 60s. This name has been making a comeback due to its simple inflection and overall adorableness.
The name Molly has long been viewed as a light, carefree, feminine name, making it an excellent choice for naming your carefree, furry little princess. This name remains steadily popular for both humans and dogs. Although the name means “bitter” in Hebrew, the intention behind this dog name is anything but.
Does your dog remind you of a precious little flower? Perhaps they just like eating flowers. Either way, Daisy could be a great name to consider. Like the name Molly, Daisy is also a lighthearted, carefree name that your dog will pick up at lightning speed.
Maggie has long been a pet name for Margaret, and most pet names usually make great names for pets. The name has a bit of a vintage vibe, but it also presents an adventurous, quirky flair. If your dog is the adventurous type, Maggie is a wonderful name to consider.
How To Get Your Dog Used To Their Name
Once you’ve picked the perfect name for your dog, it’s time to get them used to hearing it on a regular basis. Name recognition is one of the first exercises you should begin teaching your new dog. The simplest way to get your dog used to their name is to use the name constantly and reward the dog when they respond to the name. Eventually the dog will learn their name and understand that it’s what they’re expected to respond to.
When it comes to your dog learning its name, positive reinforcement training is the best way to go. This training method works for all types of commands and involves a non-punitive method of teaching your dog desired behaviors while using food, treats, or praise as a reward. If the method is used correctly, the dog will always associate doing what it’s told with great things happening. Positive reinforcement will ensure your dog learns its name quickly while providing an excellent opportunity for you and your dog to form a meaningful bond.
Your first name-recognition session should begin with your dog giving you its full attention. Be sure to have treats on hand because most dogs learn fastest with treat-based training. Once you have a treat in your hand, say the dog’s name, and as soon as they look at you, give them the treat. Repeat this exercise several times a day for at least five minutes each time. Your dog will eventually learn to associate the sound of his or her name with a positive reaction and a tasty treat.
Conclusion: Why You Should Consider Using One of the Top 10 Dog Names
The names on our top 10 list are incredibly popular for a reason. One thing all of these names have in common is that they’re short — in fact, each name is no longer than two syllables. The reason these short names are so popular for dogs is because dogs have a much easier time recognizing shorter names compared to longer, more complex names. “Molly” or “Charlie” will be a lot easier for your dog to learn than “Princess Snuggle Diamonds” or “Sir Harrington of Dogtown.” If you do end up straying from what’s popular and give your dog a longer name, just know that you will be shortening the name no matter what if you want them to respond.
Some of the names on our top 10 list also feature sharp consonants. Names that start with B, Ch, or K sounds are typically very effective when getting a dog’s attention. You’ll also notice that none of the names on our list sound anything like typical dog command — this is because dogs don’t really recognize actual words but, rather, how often the word is used. It’s best to avoid dog names that may rhyme with “sit,” “no,” or “stay.” Luckily for you, the top 10 dog names on our list will help you avoid all these potential pitfalls. We wish you and your new furry friend the best from here on out!