Gone are the days when names like “Fluffy” and “Fido” were the go-to choices for new puppies and kittens. Classic “cutesy” names for pets have ceased to be a common choice as other trends are forming. For some reason now, the popular trends in naming pets have much more to do with the way we engage with both the media, and the way we engage with each other.
In the 1960’s there seemed to be a tendency for people to name their dog “flower” or “peace,” for obvious reasons. For example, in the 1990’s “Simba” was one of the most popular cat names (inspired from the protagonist of Disney’s The Lion King). People also take major cues from public figures, fashion icons, sports stars, actors, and famous animals in the spotlight. When Prince William and Cate married in 2011, the name “Pippa” started popping up (after the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister). The name “Kobe” is common in Los Angeles, where residents pay tribute to their favorite basketball star. Current TV shows like Modern Family and trilogies like Twilight have certainly contributed to the popularity of names like “Bella” and “Stella.”
Another interesting trend is the tendency to choose human names instead of kitschy, amusing names that are more often associated with pets. Instead of “Rover” people are leaning towards “Toby” and instead of “Silky” or “Pooky” people are choosing names like “Frankie” and “Maggie.” Why choose human names? One conjecture is that more and more people are viewing their pets as family members, children, or close friends. It is not tough to make this connection when we see people leaving their pets fair sums of money in their wills, or including them in family photos. Now there are dog and cat hotels, exercise classes, dog parks, specialty pet food restaurants, and dog food trucks. These animals are less viewed as subservient house pets, and more like integral members of the family. It is no wonder then that people would be inclined to give their animals human names.
- Houses with pet dogs: 44%
- Pet parents who consider their dogs their family: 94%
- Pet parents who dress their pets in human clothing: 45%
According to Rover.com (which is essentially Airbnb for dogs), kept a record of the names of dogs who were booked on the site. They actually ran a list of the canine names, and found that just under 49% of them where human names. The findings reflect a decent growth margin over the last few years:
Dogs with Human Names
- 20% 2013
- 21% 2014
- 49% 2015
Most Popular Boy Dog Names
Most Popular Girl Dog Names