Most Popular Names … for Dogs

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has just released its annual list of the most popular dog names. I will list them below and, just for kicks, I’ll put in parentheses each name’s rank among the most popular boy or girl baby names in the U.S. If a dog name doesn’t have a number next to it, that means it hasn’t been among the 1,000 most popular boy or girl names in the U.S. in the past 15 years.

1. Max (165)
2. Lucky
3. Princess (738)
4. Rocky (965)
5. Buddy
6. Coco
7. Daisy (149)
8. Lucy (174)
9. Lady
10. Shadow

I can’t say the list of top dog names was very surprising, but it is interesting how certain human names work for dogs (Max and Lucy and Daisy) and others don’t (I’ve never met a dog named Michael or Kate or Emily). I will admit I was surprised to see that Princess made the top 1000 in girls’ names. And Lucy, FWIW, is more popular for baby girls than at any time since 1942.

It would be fun, of course, to see what kind of people give their dogs what kind of names, and what those names are meant to accomplish. We’ve written before on aspirational naming, on the black-white naming gap, and more casually on criminal names and just plain old amazing names.

But even if we could get hold of the data on NYC dog owners, there’d be a serious limitation. As we’ve written before, the vast majority of NYC residents don’t register their dogs. The list above, therefore, represents the most popular dog names among the fraction of law-abiding dog owners who do go to the trouble to register their dogs. Not quite a representative sample. So, since it’s the holidays and lots of you have free time, maybe some enterprising readers want to go and start canvassing dog owners who haven’t registered their dogs to find out what their names are. Given the ratio of unregistered dogs to registered ones — the city puts it at 4:1; other estimates put it at 10:1 — they shouldn’t be very hard to find.


Of our eight(!) cats, four have names that can sometimes be found among humans: Ralphy, Merlin, Toby and Princess. The other four, however, have distinctly non-human names: Dipsy, Sherbert, Baci and Tiger.


I would assume that pure-bred dogs are more likely to be registered. How many muds named Princess could possibly be out there? With that in mind, I would expect Shadow to make a run for the top spot!


I wonder if you could contact the people who run sites such as Dogster and ask them to pull stats from their database. Not sure how good the data would be, but it would at least be a different self-selected subset than the NYC data.


I have a pug whose name is Emily. However, I did not name her. She was adopted from a rescue. I do not know if the rescue named her Emily or if the name came from her abusive owner. Needless to say, she knows her name very well so it has not been changed.


I have 2 pure-bred border collies, Sadie and Kody. Both are registered, not so much because of their breed, but because Austin requires it by law. I tried to give Sadie a more interesting name at first (Nitrox) but it just didn't fit. I used to have cats with much more imaginative names, however - Spigot (he drooled), Halftone (black & white), and Argentina (she cried).


"I thought her name was Lucy cus they all called her loose."


My dog Izzy was originally named Princess by the NY shelter we got her from. It makes me wonder how many of those popular dog names were orignally given out by the pounds and shelters. I'd guess that people getting dogs from pounds and shelters are more likely to register since they're either automatically registered or strongly encouraged to when they get the dog, and a lot of people don't change the dog's name.

Curt Sampson

You might find it interesting, or at least amusing, to look at popular dogs' names in Japan, if you can get the data. As well as traditional Japanese pet names such as "pochi," English given names are popular--but seem (anecdotally) to be those of people, rather than pets. "John," for example, appears to be a very popular name for dogs here.


If you ever look at the subset of dogs who belong to people who compete with them, you'll find that most of the dogs have easy to say one syllable names. I have a Roy and a Zoot. Their registered names are much longer but their every day names are short, easy to say and not easily confused with commands. It's far easier to get out the word, "Roy!" than a longer one.


We have a dog named Michael (

We've also had an Emily (


"Alright cats, back in the bag. Come on Fluffy, come on Mittens, come on Paul... what a ridiculous name for a cat...PAUL, that's a persons name, a persons name...HA HA HA...Paul." -- Adam West


I once had a friend with a Rottweiller (?) named Barbara, and a cat named Andrew....


Well we have already a Dog named Michael... for more info go to his friendster account just search for michael nardo.


Our dogs past and present - Joseph, Hershe (female), Kass, Molly, Buffy, Bruno, Apollo, Max.
Our cats - TigerLily, Sebastian, Pepper, Hermione.


We have an Ava and and Elisabeth :)

william greenleaf

i have a dog named angel, coco, and daisy is that not cool or what??

Kristopher shumate

I have a dog named buddy and in 2006 I was watching the news and I heard that buddy was the most popular name in 2006.

Rob Pesa

Great topic on dog names!

Andrea Perryman

We love our pets....

We have a dog name Missy 14yrs. old.

And a cat whose name is Chloe.

We have also had a Raven, Whitney, Maggie, Abby, and Lucy, Rosie, and Punky.

_Posted by Andrea Perryman


Okay, I had to jump in and do this:
Here are the names of pets we had (or have):

DOGS: Champ, Rusty, Blackie, Bucktooth Barney (the Bucktooth came later with his teeth), Fuzz, Brownie, Clown, Casper, Tramp (not my fault: an ex named her), Sasquatch, (Another) Blackie, Button, Bandits Little Scattergun, AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST: Charolette Bouleregard Scruffy Puffy Cottontail (one long name and yes, I named that one and they fit it all on her license records)

Mynah Birds: Adam and Willie

2 cats: Chillie Willie & Millie Vanilli,

Parrots: Patience, Charlie Barley and "Baby"

2 Tiny Garter? snakes: Poindexter and Smiley

And, fuzzy 'carpet sharks': Bandicoot/Bandit, Tazmanian Trooper, Bandicoot Junior, Spaz, Sweet Pea and Rockie.

I'm sure I missed some because of my old memory. Oh, and my dead ducks name (female white duck and a good pet) was Gertrude. I meant, she wasn't dead when I had her, but she is now, some 40 or so years later.

Oh, one more: "Lizzy". That was a good sized Crocodile Lizard I "had," but never kept in a cage. It just visited me from time to time in our large backyard. I would hold it, talk to it as if it could understand me, then let it go - and it never bit me. I assumed it was the same one because at the young age of eight, or nine or so, she or he looked the same as always to me, lol.

We had tons of other pets, I just forgot their names, so you all luck out on the reading tonite).