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Some Tips to Ensure Your Dog's Name Isn't Awful
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Some Tips to Ensure Your Dog's Name Isn't Awful

Critter Culture Staff
Updated Jul 15, 2022

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You've just brought home a new furry friend, and it's time to decide on a name. Fido? Fluffy? Tom? What do you choose? Your pet's name is the designation you'll use for the next decade, so it has to be catchy, cute and accurately describe your canine companion. The choice might be challenging, but it's better to select well than to settle and spend years explaining it — or worse yet, apologizing. Whatever you decide, discover how and why these names are some of the ultimate no-nos.

1

Pop culture references

smiling man with remote control watching tv and sitting on sofa with dog LightFieldStudios / Getty Images

Carving out your pet's place in history by naming them after a celebrity, song, or cultural reference can be tempting, but it's not so sensational over time.

Little TikTok or mini Kardashian might be in vogue now, but trends come and go quickly, especially in the social media age. If your favorite celebrity is canceled tomorrow or a major scandal arises, as they so often do, your pup's name will be tied to the public disgrace, not the good times.

How awkward would it be to explain why you chose "Harvey Weinstein" as your Great Dane's moniker? Avoid this one altogether, and you'll also avoid the associated embarrassment.

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2

Puns

woman brushing and kissing her dog spkphotostock / Getty Images

These playful monikers lose their appeal after a while, and we hear them so often that they're simply not funny anymore.

Naming your Yorkshire terrier Big Guy or T-Rex isn't clever, nor is it interesting, and the more often it's repeated, the lamer it gets.

People get it: your pup is tiny. They know. They can see this. If you choose a more wacky, off-the-wall pun, there's a good chance that most people won't get it, so you'll have to explain every single time you introduce Pup Culture or Little Guy, Big World. Words from the wise: don't do it.

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3

Accomplishments

Man holding paw of the his dog Chalabala / Getty Images

Think your new puppy's the next Einstein? Great, but don't name him that. The same goes for Rapid Rover, Champ, Bullet, Speed Train, or anything else that implies accomplishment.

You've just met your four-legged pal, so there's a chance they won't live up to the title. Maybe Einstein's a bit ditzy, or Rapid Rover prefers to lie around and roll in the grass. While the irony could be humorous, it might not be in the way you expect.

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4

Misheard monikers

woman carrying her dog outside in the snow bojanstory / Getty Images

What does Duck rhyme with? Or Fitch? How about Bam or Britsch? Yes, these are all real names people choose for their furry companions.

Hearing one called while the owner is walking past your front window, however, you might assume that your house is about to get egged. They all rhyme with swear words and could easily be misheard, so tread carefully. Not only is it embarrassing if the whole crew thinks you're cursing across the park, but it's also shocking and downright offensive.

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5

Anything political or religious

Laughing guy hugging and getting licked by his pit bull at the park. WhitneyLewisPhotography / Getty Images

It might seem obvious, but you'd be surprised. Most dog owners aren't trying to get into a debate while they're on their afternoon stroll, so avoid expressing overt political or religious statements through your pup's name; they're innocent in this situation, after all.

Naming your four-legged friend after a classic character or famous faces, such as Lincoln or Washington, or something cute, like Pres or Veep, is much different than selecting a current candidate or controversial issue. Leave the division away from the leash, please.

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6

Difficult to pronounce

woman lying on the floor with her dog Blend Images - LWA/Dann Tardif / Getty Images

While naming your pup J8nuuloritz4l might seem innovative at the moment, all this accomplishes is unnecessary confusion down the line. Does anyone know how to pronounce it? Is it said the same way it's spelled? What does it even mean? It's obvious that no one knows, including the owner. What's not obvious, however, is the most important thing: how to say it. No explanation needed.

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7

Lengthy names

couple with their dog Milan_Jovic / Getty Images

Armageddon and Abracadabra might be your favorite words, but shouting multi-syllable concoctions on your dog's morning walk is a bit overboard.

The more you repeat these names, the more you'll catch yourself in a tongue-twister. Keep in mind all of the places you'll be giving out your pet's name: the vet, doggy daycare, the sitter, the walker, travel, accommodations, friends, and family... the list is endless, and that doesn't include forms and health paperwork!

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8

Dangerous names

woman playing with her puppy Bogdanhoda / Getty Images

Avoid naming your dog anything that implies intimidation, fear, or aggression: you'll give fellow dog owners the wrong idea, and people will probably stay away.

Naming your rottweiler Meanie, Danger, or Fury could easily backfire, as others will assume your pup is a dangerous predator instead of a fluffy ball of joy. Use names that accurately describe your dog's nature without going over the top, or they could suffer some undeserved consequences when other pups don't come around.

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9

Offensive names

Dog giving high give to his owner at camping ArtistGNDphotography / Getty Images

Political or religious names aren't the only ones that can offend, so be mindful. Maybe you look up to a famous figure with a checkered history or a name that's huge in your country of origin but has damaging repercussions in other parts of the world.

No Yorkshire terrier deserves the name Stalin, and Hitler is universally offensive for incredibly clear reasons. If something comes across as crude, it probably is. Avoid anything derogatory or hateful at all costs.

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10

Obvious names

woman carrying Dalmatian dog mladenbalinovac / Getty Images

Your golden retriever is gold; we get it. Your dalmatian has spots; we've seen them. While these descriptive titles are the easiest names to select, they're also the most played-out and get old quickly.

Not to mention, many pups gain or lose certain traits as they grow; a fluffy puppy could easily grow rougher fur as they get older, and the name Fluffy just wouldn't be fitting. Think up something a little more interesting.

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