According to the lunar calendar (via Travel China Guide), we won’t see the next Year of the Dog until 2030 (the last one was in 2018). That’s not what the numbers say, though. As The Washington Post reports, the pandemic saw nearly unprecedented pet adoption rates, with the result that more of us than ever are pondering that all-important question: What should I name my furry friend? Whether you’ve welcomed a new puppy or an amazing older rescue like first dog Major Biden, you’ve probably put quite a lot of time and effort into selecting just the right name for your new family member.
While there were a number of parents of human babies who opted for COVID-themed names, we’re pleased to report that Corona, Sanitizer, Pfizer, and names of that ilk did not make the list of top names given to pandemic pups. (Although AstraZeneca, does have a certain sci-fi movie heroine ring to it, and we can totally see a pooch named Fauci.) Instead, 2021’s most popular dog names are, well, the kinds of names that wouldn’t seem too out of place in any given kindergarten classroom.
Bella was top dog (name)
According to data compiled by GoCompare, the most popular dog name is … drumroll please … Bella! Interestingly enough, this was the third-most popular name for cats, as well. A popular pick amongst Twilight-loving pet owners, no doubt, though PetPlace points out that the name is Italian for “beautiful,” and they characterize canine Bellas as small, pretty, and graceful. There’s a doggie dress-up game on the Apple App Store called My Cute Dog Bella where the dog in question certainly fits all three qualifications with her tiny body, huge anime eyes, and flair for fashion.
While all dogs named Bella are undoubtedly beauties, they may not necessarily be so dainty. GoCompare also compiled top dog names on a by-breed basis, and it turns out that the breeds most likely to be named Bella include the English Springer Spaniel, the Beagle, and the Rottweiler. Aww, we can just see a Rottie Bella right now, with a wreath of flowers on her great big gorgeous head.
Charlie is a good boy (or girl)
Charlie, a boy dog name that can become a girl dog name by simply dropping the final “e” (or not), came in second on GoCompare‘s list (for cats as well as dogs). 99 Dog Names says that Charlie comes from the Old German word for “free man,” which makes it a great name for a free-spirited dog. (Aren’t they all?) The main character of All Dogs Go to Heaven is a Charlie, although perhaps the most famous Charlie of all would have to be Snoopy’s human owner, Charlie Brown.
So what breeds are the most likely to be Charlies? An interesting assortment, it turns out. Charlie makes perfect sense for a Labrador Retriever -– it’s a simple, straightforward name for a dog that the AKC says is America’s most popular. Charlie seems like a bit of a low-key name for the super-intense Border Collie, though, and a bit plain for the floofy King Charles Spaniel –- although Charlie is a nickname for Charles, so it actually works on that level.
Luna's equally popular with dogs and cats
Luna, the number-one name for felines, came in third on GoCompare’s list of 2021’s most popular pooch names. Luna, which is the Spanish word for moon, first appeared in the top spot in 2017, when the Daily Mail reports that it was the most popular dog and cat name of the year. They speculated that it’s come-from-nowhere rocket to the top might have been fueled by the fact that Chrissy Teigen gave this name to her often-Instagrammed daughter. Other famous Lunas include Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series and Princess Luna from My Little Pony.
The top Luna-named breed is the hipsterrific French Bulldog. It’s also a super-popular pick for a wide variety of cat breeds including the Ragdoll, the Russian Blue, the Snow Leopard Bengal, and the plain old moggie (the kittycat version of a mutt). While Luna is a lovely, if perhaps a trifle over-used, doggy (and kitty) name, we’ve got a feeling that any temporarily not-so-good-girl Lunas may get the nickname Luna-tic.
Cooper and Milo round out the top 5
Parade, who used different data than that compiled by GoCompare (their figures came from pet insurance provider Trupanion), also ranked Bella, Luna, and Charlie in their top five, although in a slightly different order. On their list, Luna ranked first, Charlie remained in second place, and Bella dropped to fourth. Third place on their list went to Cooper, originally an occupational name meaning barrel maker. It’s Rosy says it makes a great name for cute lil’ puppers who just love to be with their friends and families, so it sounds like it would work for just about any dog.
According to Parade, the number-five name, Milo, cracked the top 10 just this year. GoCompare names it as top pick for Jack Russell Terriers, and in the 1994 movie The Mask, Milo the dog was a Jack Russell Terrier (though IMDb says he was played by a Max). If you hear the name Milo and think pug, that’s because of the 1986 movie The Adventures of Milo and Otis (via IMDb). Turns out, though, that Milo was the cat and Otis the dog. While numerous ’80s and ’90s pugs were named Otis, the current top name for that breed is Frank.
No matter what you call your dog, though, the best thing is — they won’t care! Just keep those hugs, scratches and treats coming, and they’ll answer to anything you like. After all, every dog knows their real name is Good Boy/Good Girl.
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