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How To Choose A Name For Your Pet
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How To Choose A Name For Your Pet

Critter Culture Staff

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Choosing a name for your pet can be challenging. You not only have to find something that you like, but you also have to choose a name that your pet will be able to recognize and respond to. It's a challenging balance, and there are some mistakes to avoid. When you get it right, though, you'll land on a name you love that not only captures your pet's personality but also helps in training them!

1

Think about your pet's personality

If you've already spent time with your pet, consider their personality. Do they remind you of anyone? Is there something they like to do? For example, if you have a dog that loves to play ball, consider names like Chase or Slugger or something inspired by your favorite baseball team.

A Golden Retriever running with her ball in yard by a tree – 5 year old cmannphoto / Getty Images

2

Consider your pet's attributes

All pets look different, but some have physical features that stand out more than others. These attributes are a great way to find inspiration for a name. Do you have an orange cat with black stripes? How about Garfield or Heathcliff? Is your dog covered in spots? Spot or Dot are obvious choices. If your pet has a strip of white fur, you can name them Skunky or Pepe.

Fur color can help you here, too. For example, Smoke, Ash, Bear, or Raven are great picks for a cat or dog with black fur.

Black-white cat lies on a pink background. Maryna Terletska / Getty Images

3

Choose something that will grow with your pet

Names like Pupper, Kitty, Small Fry, or Baby might fit your pet when they're small, but they might now be suitable as they get older. If your dog is skinny, you might be tempted to choose a name like Slim or Tiny; if they're on the large side, Tank, Chubs, or Chonk might be crossing your mind. But remember that your pet's size can change, so try to choose something that will always suit them.

large dog in the park FluxFactory / Getty Images

4

Decide if you want something common or unique

The decision is entirely personal. Some people like popular pet names, like Fido, Rex, Spot, Stella, Max, Bailey, Luna, or Stella. Others might want something more unique, like Atlas, Barkley, Moose, Mondo, or Doodle. Still others turn to distinctly human names like Fred, Marvin, or Agatha.

Again, this is completely up to you, but once you decide, it gives a little more direction to narrow down your selection.

Woman cuddling her dog in a field Gary Yeowell / Getty Images

5

Take inspiration from your own life

What are you interested in? What are your favorite hobbies, TV shows, and movies? Do you collect anything? What's your favorite book? These questions and others like them can help you narrow down the perfect name.

Do you like Star Wars? How about Han, Chewy, Mando, or Ahsoka? Want to name your pet after a famous writer? There's no end of great options: Vonnegut, Hemmingway, Heller, Dickens, Wells, Eudora, Langston, Harper, Flannery. Take inspiration from your life to find a name you have a deep connection to and use it for your new best friend.

Harry Potter Dog Taylor Baker / Getty Images

6

Avoid long names unless you're willing to use a nickname

Long names might be cute, but they are not always practical. For example, if you name your dog Winston Churchill, you're probably not going to call him that every time you call his name. Some people like giving their pets long, quirky names, and rattling this off to friends and strangers can be a hoot.

But if you take this route, it's best to settle on a nickname you can use to make the name shorter. For example, you can call Winston Churchill many things: Winnie, Wins, Church, Hill, or something else entirely!

Sleepy chihuahua dog Anita Kot / Getty Images

7

Consider the breed

Sometimes, your pet's breed might be the best place to start. Do you have a German shepherd or a German rex? How about Ada, Berlin, Falk, Greta, or Liesel? If your cat is a British longhair or you have an English foxhound, names like Alfie, Archie, Tilly, Queenie, or Lilibet might work.

cat with tongue out Nils Jacobi / Getty Images

8

Don't choose a name that sounds like a common command

Be careful choosing a name that sounds like a command you want to teach your pet. Consider common commands you might want to teach your dog, for example. If your dog's name is something like Brit or Dorit, they might get confused when you tell them to sit. Another good example is "no." Pets with names like Bo, Mo, Snow, Joe, Po, or Milo might all sound very similar to them, which may confuse your furry friend.

man hugging dog Delmaine Donson / Getty Images

9

Don't choose a name that sounds like someone in your household

If you name your pet something that sounds very similar to someone in your household, things can get confusing. If your son's name is Hugh, it might not be a good idea to name your cat Stew, Lou, Boo, Too, or Poo. If you have another pet named Mia, you should avoid naming your new pet Pia, Tia, Gia, Thea, or Leah, adorable as the rhyme might be.

Shot of a little boy bonding with his dog while his parents sit in the background PeopleImages / Getty Images

10

Search for inspiration

Still stuck on what to name your pet? Don't worry; you can find inspiration anywhere! Famous pet names, like Lassie, Simba, Balto, Nala, Beethoven, Nermal, Clifford, Stimpy, McGruff, Figaro, Odie, Binx, Gromit, Duchess, and Benji, never go out of style.

If you're trying to come up with a name for a dog, consider choosing one that starts with a hard consonant, like T, M, or K, as they can usually recognize these more quickly than names that begin with vowels.

Happy positive female searching internet on laptop computer at cozy house on carpet dima_sidelnikov / Getty Images

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