A friend and I were talking about popular pet names, especially those used for cats and dogs and she read me names from a list she'd gotten somewhere and asked me how many of these I had used in the past. I have volunteered to foster both cats and dogs numerous times throughout the years. I've rescued a number of puppies, kittens, cats, dogs and other animals in my life and typically follow up with them until each reaches his or her furever home.
So, I became curious as to how many animals with a name on the "popular" list have passed through my life since childhood. I excluded pets belonging to friends, family and clients and focused on just those that spent time in my home.
The Most Popular Names for Dogs
I started researching popular pet names by looking through a list published by PetMD, one of the top websites pet owners use. In the top 20 most popular names for female dogs, I found four that I have used in the past: Bailey, Bella, Gracie and Molly.
In the top 20 male name for dogs, I found only one similarity. Buddy was number 19 on the list. My dog's name was actually "Little Buddy." I have to pause and remember how each one of these five came through my life.
I got Bailey when she was a newborn pup. She came with a built-in storm detector. Thunder frightened her and she would start getting antsy long before the storm arrived. I'm not sure if she could hear distant thunder long before I could or if she somehow sensed a changed in air pressure and knew a thunderstorm was likely in our area. I tried various ways over the years to help her with this fear and never fully succeeded. She was 14-years-old when she died from complications resulting from liver cancer a few years ago. At least I know now, she no longer has to be frightened of anything.
Molly,(pictured at right), I met at the Franklin County Humane Society about five years ago. She was a loner, yet we immediately bonded for some reason. I decided to adopt her, socialize her with humans and other dogs and find her a furever home. It didn't take her long before she liked all creatures and I found a couple in Stamping Ground that seemed to be perfect for her. We, (humans), worked out the details. The couple prepared for her and off I went with her. She stayed less than 48 hours. Her personality completely changed. She went back to being a recluse, hid from the people and refused to eat. Needless to say, she's back at my house, the friendliest dog I have presently. Go figure.
I found Bella roaming in Bellepointe. She was a good dog but too hyper for me at the time. I was suffering from a back injury resulting from an auto accident and Bella loved to jump all over me. I found her a good home and the last I heard she's doing well.
Gracie is a Pit Bull Terrier that just showed up at my house, likely dumped. She was pitiful, so emaciated and malnourished I thought she was a Dalmatian at first. I nursed her back to health. While she was recovering, she befriended a little blind dog I was fostering at the time and helped him get in and out of the house. She would walk along beside him providing direction through the doorways. They slept in the same bed and were fast friends for a while. However, once she regained her health, she became far too aggressive with my other animals. I couldn't keep her.
I rescued Little Buddy from the middle of the road on Holmes St. He had no hair and was covered in fleas. I found his owner, who quickly gave him to me. Once he was restored to good health I found him a furever home. He now lives in New Jersey in a wonderful home with humans that love him dearly. They say he runs and plays likes he's a pup again.
The Rest of the List
If you're curious as to what the other names are on the list PetMD published as most popular for dogs, here's the top 20 females: Stella, Bailey, Bella, Coco, Sophie, Katie, Zoey, Molly, Pandora, Lexi, Anna, Rosie, Sadie, Pepsi, Zailey, Gracie, Kiki, Lady, Lucy and Greta.
The top 20 most popular names for male puppies are: Gus, Trapper, Finn, Cooper, Bailey, Boomer, Otto, Hawkeye, Wrigley, Ace, Butch, Lucky, Axel, Gunner, Diesel, Delgado, Max, Evan, Buddy, and Ricky.
A Different Top 10
If we change sources, we find a variety of names different from the previous list published as the most popular. For example, the top 10 most popular dog names, according to Petcentric in 2013, were Max, Bella, Buddy, Molly, Rocky, Lucy, Bailey, Maggie, Jake and Daisy. As you can see, Max, which is named as the most popular of all names for dogs in Petcentric is listed at number 17 on PetMD's list. Other names on the Petcentric list that are not on PetMD's list at all include: Rocky, Maggie, Jake and Daisy.
This leads me to believe the most popular names for pets depend on who you ask. But, it's fun and silly to think about anyway.
Most Popular Cats' Names
Of the top 20 most popular cat names, for both males and females, as listed by PetMD, I've never used any of these for my pets. However, it should be considered that I have a cat named "Dawg" and two cats named Sissy. So, I suppose I'm not creative when it comes to naming cats.
The most popular names for male cats are Toby, Mikesch, Oliver, Leo, Milo, Blade, Harley, Tigger, Garfield, Cassidy, Ace, Whiskers, Oreo, Aaron, Duncan, Simba, Achmed, Alex, Felix, and Smudge. (I have a dog named Toby.)
Names for female cats listed as most popular are Angel, Mittens, Charlie, Milkshake, Oreo, Lily, Pepsi, Amber, Ellie, Molly, Truffles, Snowball, Kitty, Tiger Lilly, Peanut, Winnie, Sienna, Kiki, Cupcake, and Kiara.
(I have a friend with a cat named Milkshake and her son wants a second one that he can name Hamburger.)
It should be noted that these lists change constantly, based on reader submissions and votes. Therefore, we could go over this same topic next week and talk about different names. Too funny.
Different or Wacky Pet Names
During the conversation about pet names my friend asked, "What are the wackiest pet names you've heard?" One stipulation was that I should know these animals actually exist. She wanted both a dog and cat name. The two that came to mind belong to the same human. A former coworker has a dog named D-O-G and a Cat named C-A-T. Pronunciations are like the initials, "Dee Oh Gee" and "See A Tee." But I'm not sure I would define those names as "wacky." I think they're both actually quite different. And once again maybe that's because I have a cat named "Dawg," pronounced "dog."
Sometimes I meet dogs and cats with longer more elaborate names like Mr. Wentworth Garrett Fuzzypants. That makes me think of the way thoroughbred owners name racehorses, with four, or five or six words in the name. But that's a subject for a different day.
What Names Will You Share?
Back to cats and dogs -- what names do you think are the most popular in the area where you live? And what's the wackiest pet name you know personally? I'd love to hear them.
When this page first went live online, it contained a Facebook comment widget below the body text. I asked my readers to share how his or her pets' names were chosen. However, I asked on my personal Facebook page instead of in the widget that was here originally. So, that's where the conversation took place immediately after the article was posted, on Facebook.
Instead of embedding each comment individually here, I've copied the comments verbatim from Facebook and you can read them below. I must say they're quite interesting and thank you to everyone that shared. It's much appreciated. -- Barbara
Ann Gill wrote: "We had a cat for 17 1/2 years and when she was a kitten, I would tell my hubby, "Chip, see how cute she is? Chip, see how adorable she is? Chip, see how sweet and yet mean she is?" I named her Chipse (Chip-see).
"We got our Yorkie poo, Chia Pea. Named her after my hubby too. I call him Chippy and when you say Chia Pea fast, it sounds like Chippy.
"Levi and Lexi just flowed together. Haha"
Melissa Webster wrote: "Well...I wanted Porkchop. My son suggested Sam. Then, it morphed into Samuel Jackson. And, finally we settled into Captain Porkchop Sandwich. I can honestly say, there's never a problem with mixups at the vet or anything."
Leah Wolfrom Ritter wrote: "The Franklin County Humane Society already named our dog Sidney. It seemed to suit her. As she is part Aussie, we decided to keep the name, spelling it like Sydney, Australia : )"
Adam Wright wrote: "Our daughters named our female kitten Taylor after Taylor Swift, but when her testicles dropped we started calling him Tay Tay."
Whitney Driskell wrote: "I named Crayton after the E-5 I had during deployment. I had a lot of respect for him. I named our dog Nero after Emperor Nero whom I was studying in class at the time. Plus, Nero's coat is the color of fire. I thought both were good baby names and my husband said "no" so I gave the names to the dogs. My husband named our dog Annabel. Our bird Cuddler used to cuddle when she was young. She was so sweet."
Kathy Walker wrote: "We named ours after an alligator . She had really sharp teeth as a pup. We call her Alley. But I call her Gator a lot more . She's a pit boxer mix. It fits her good."
Margaret Wilson Dean wrote: "Favorite cars lol"
Patti Weghorn Blythe wrote: "The black pup is Agnes Mayfield. She was originally named Aggie by my granddaughter but Aggie wasnt a long enough name to call when she's in trouble. The brown pup is Taebo Aayon. My son and grandson named him. His name was too long cause he never gets in trouble so i call him BoSeeBo. My rotten furbabies."
Karla Renee Downey wrote: "Our cockapoo is named Bear. (Harley's Lexie Bear official.) His dad was Harley and his mom Lexie. However, he was the most sweet and docile pup ever when we got him. Until the ride home and about 5 minutes from our house, he woke up and bit our daughter. The name suits him as he is bipolar and destroys everything in site when left alone."
Darleen Newton Rusnak wrote: "His name was Bruiser at Franklin Humane Society and I didn't think he looked like a Bruiser, so I named him Buddy. Love him!"
Darleen Newton Rusnak wrote: "Baby is just a baby, even though she is 14."
Darleen Newton Rusnak wrote: "I named Rumpke his name because he was found in a dumpster."
Virginia M. Watts-Layson wrote: "My little litter mates, Sisi and Isis (names have the same letters just in opposite arrangement), were named for their dam and sire, Sassy and Zeus."
Diana Henderson Munson wrote: "Debbie Harry looked like a punk rocker."
Diana Henderson Munson wrote: "Cosmo Augustus came from Life House for Animals, where he was called Gus. He looked sophisticated in his tuxedo, so I called him Cosmo for cosmopolitan, and Augustus to keep his Life House connection."
Larry Raisor wrote: " Pyewackett is named after a witches familiar from the movie Bell Book and Candle"
Lynn Davis-Patterson wrote: "Layla after Eric Clapton's song and Bella Donna after A Stevie Nicks Album."
Stephanie Ann Cartwright wrote: Tank, my 7 lb Chorkie, was about a pound when I got him. He needed a masculine name so I gave him one. "Baxter, my almost 15 lb mix of who knows what (Jack Russell, Corgi), was originally named Mutley when I met him (named by the Lifehouse). I saw his little face and extra special personality and the name just clicked. He has been my Baxter Bohannon ever since! "Bitsy, my 4 lb Chihuahua princess, was originally Dory-Toe (named by the humane society). Although that was a cute name, I wanted her to have a more prissy name for her prissy personality. She was so little! Bitsy Belle fit her perfectly, although I was conflicted with a few others. She looks like a deer so Bambi was the next option. Of course she is full of sass so occasionally my mother calls her "b*tchy" instead. "My cats of course don't have such an interesting name story. Deja Blue was named by my mom because she had him first when we found him under our deck - he was just a little blue eyed fluff ball. I love the name. His blue eyes are mesmerizing! And Lucy girl was originally Tori (humane society). She has a reddish tint to her die that always reminded me of I Love Lucy. So, that's what she became! She's also a little short, chunk so my mom calls her Buttercup. But I did consider butter ball. "
Sarah Anne Hawkins wrote: "We chose Finnegan because of our Irish heritage . . . . little did I know he would be registered as Finnegan Who's the Best Kitty in the World Hawkins. "Leave it to my teenager to "handle" an adult responsibility"
Jennifer Nelson Wright wrote: "My daughter liked a little puppy when she was getting one for her dad as a surprise, but he was a "biter" so she chose a different dog. The chosen one, Oscar, died unexpectedly after 10 days. The vet thinks it was parvo. Heartbroken, she went back to pick another dog and the little biter was still there. She decided to give him a second chance. She called and told us which one she picked. I said we should call him Chance since we were giving him a second chance. My daughter and husband weren't sure, till while driving home with him he peed in her lap. She had to pull over and get out and get a towel from the trunk. When she looked up at the sign she was parked under, it read "Second Chance Furniture". We all took that as a sign that Chance should be his name. He's now five but this was his picture on his way home on that first day. We love him so much."
Lloyd Scott Thornton wrote: Maximilian = Latin for "greatest"
Maximilian was a traditional royal name among the Hapsburgs in Austro-Hungary and also in Bavaria. In literature, it appears as the husband of Rebecca in the eponymous novel and also in The Count of Monte Cristo. Maximilian Schell was a highly respected Austrian actor who won a Best Actor Academy Award in 1961"
Johnny McKee wrote: "Snodgrass and Betsy. Snodgrass was named after my best girl. Her maiden name is Snodgrass. She always disliked her name, in junior high the kids called her "Booger Weed". After Snodgrass was with me about a year he started crying while I was at work so I got him a cat. The only name I could think of that went with Snodgrass was Betsy. In the Harry Belafonte movie, The World, The Flesh And The Devil, Harry's character thinks he is the only survivor of a nuclear war. He brings two mannequins home for company and names them Snodgrass and Betsy."
Tami Braden wrote: "Mia and Murphy.......Just because I like those names."
Rose Miller wrote: "When Ozzy was little he screamed like Ozzy Osborne."
Dani Adams wrote: "Bluebell my bird because when I first saw him he was almost all blue. My heart sang. So Bluebell it was even before I made him mine. My Bluebell may he rest in peace."
As you can see, how pet owners choose names is fascinating, in my opinion. If you'd like to add to the conversation, you can shoot me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add your comments to this page. Looking forward to hearing more . . . .