Most Popular Dog Names of 2014

Okay, I confess. The release of the year’s most popular dog names is more exciting for me than the Academy Awards and the Grammys combined. You’re a dog lover- surely you can relate to this.

Now, let’s share the excitement. Drumroll please as I present the highlights from 2014’s most popular dog names. There were some interesting trends this year:

  • Eighteen of the top 20 names are human names. Perhaps this correlates with the growing trend of people referring to themselves as “pet parents” rather than “pet owners”.
  • Compared to 2013, there was a significant rise in food and beverage-themed names such as “Guinness,” Kahlua,” “Coconut,” and “Kale”.
  • There was a huge jump in names associated with things found in the great outdoors (perhaps a by product of our “going green” culture). “Lightning,” “Shadow,” “Clover,” “Panda,” and “Moose” are some examples.
  • Pop culture shaped how we named our dogs this year. Many pups were named, “Elsa,” “Olaf,” and “Anna” based on the movie, Frozen (why am I not surprised). The Game of Thrones (I’ve never seen this show) spawned plenty of doggie ID tags inscribed with Khaleesi, Daenarys, Sansa, and Tyrion. Any of these names are quite the mouthful when contemplating an effective recall command!
  • Newly retired New York Yankee superstar, Derek Jeter must feel flattered. “Jeter” made the top ten list of sports-related names.
  • No great surprise to see “Max” and “Bella” leading the pack of male and female names. Both are good, rock-solid dog names, and have been super popular for years.

I enjoyed these results, just as I do most every year. As long as “Lucky” doesn’t make the top ten list, I’m a happy camper. Every “Lucky” I’ve known was lucky enough to get kicked by a horse, run over by a truck, whooped in a dog fight, or trapped in a garage for days.

How did you choose your pets’ names?

Best wishes,

Nancy Kay, DVM

Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog’s Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook

Please visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health.   There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog’s Best Health are available at,, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

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23 Comments on “Most Popular Dog Names of 2014

  1. Hi Dr. Kay.

    I have two rescued female dogs: Chili and Grace.
    I have six rescued cats: Bella, Simbad, Murphy, Chico, Zoë and Yoyo.

    I love your column!

  2. My 2-year old rescue Border Terrier is named Piper. She’s a wonderful companion!

  3. I always strive to be OFF the most common listed names! All my dogs had litter themes — from golf (Honeylake Two Under Par is “Eagle”) to Royalty (Shenandoah King of Scots is “Duncan”). I’ve had two of my six dogs named after other animals “Eagle” and “Tiger” — so if I can combine my love for other animal names and keep them off the most popular list…. I consider it a double bonus! I’m waiting currently for my new breeder to announce the litter theme for my new golden puppy so I can start playing the Name Game!

  4. When I was 8 years old, I was home tutored in the Sierra Mountains of Tlacoapa, Mexico by my missionary parents. My reader was a dachshund named Noodles. Since I fell in love with the dachshund on the front cover, Noodles was the name of my first dog, a sturdy red dachshund, given to the family by a wealthy American from Taxco. Noodles was born in Taxco, State of Guerro, Mexico. Noodles lived to see my daughter, and lived until she was a two year old toddler. NOODLES.

    When I was 35, I got a female red dachshund. My husband (her dad) is from La Paz, Bolivia. The national flower of Bolivia is a beautiful red flower: Cantuta. In Bolivia, the people call a little girl “Imilla” so we called her IMILLA CANTUTA.

    When I was 49, I got a female red dachshund. Laura Bonita. Everyone knows bonita means “pretty.” The Laura came from a family member named Laura. Nickname is Lala. LAURA BONITA.

    Now, I am 67, and hope to be able adopt another dachshund, and will have to see what to name this lucky new member of our family.

  5. We have, over the past 25 years, had pure bred dogs from breeders and rescues, and mixed breed dogs from the street and from rescues. One dog from craigslist. The people didn’t know he was gonna get so big. Big is great by us.

    Named for my husbands’ dead relatives, we had,
    Emilio, rottweiler
    Anna, rottweiler
    and Sadie Anne (don’t ask) English mastiff
    named by my husband’s clever wife…
    Shadow, border collie cross…he followed me around like a shadow
    Doozer a 190# English mastiff. Named for tiny beings on Fraggle Rock
    Sammy, a 3 year old Neapolitan mastiff…came with the name.
    Hogan, I named him because all the people involved in his rescue were Hogan’s Heroes.
    Rudy, the name just fit him…he is a beautiful red color.
    Greta, a good name for a German shepherd
    Walker, a black and tan coonhound. He just looked like a Walker
    Our most recent rescue is MayBea…MayBea she is our last dog for awhile.

    Finally…every dog we have ever brought into our home, those rescued and those purebred dogs purchased from breeders…every single one has been spayed or neutered without reproducing.

    PLEASE, Spay or Neuter your pets…

  6. As a Veterinarian, I dont like to have cat patients named Angel or Princess, they are then guaranteed to want to kill both my staff and me for their entire lives. The dreaded schedule would be a Princess followed by an Angel.

  7. My now 11 year old dog Dory, was born the year that the animated film, Finding Nemo came out. I actually acquired Dory, because she was dumped off at the veterinary hospital where I worked at the time, at literally one day old. She was left in a box on our hospital’s doorstep. This tiny, helpless puppy weighed 330 grams, and of course required round the clock bottle feedings. She was actually unnamed for the first week of her life. She was just referred to as “the puppy.” My then nine year old niece asked me her name, and I replied, “I haven’t decided.” She said, “she looks like a Dory.” The amazing thing, was that I haven’t met more than one other Dory in my work as a veterinary technician. I understand that Dory is a fairly common name for pet fish.

  8. My youngest dog, a border collie mix. was adopted at 7 months. The night before she was to come home I was thinking that there was a serendipity to finding her, that by the grace of God, this pup will be mine. So, I named her Gracie.
    I am sometimes embarrassed by her name as she is a feisty, tomboyish, lively dog who doesn’t often fit her name.
    But, she is the dog my husband loves (not much of a dog person otherwise) more than any other we have or have had. To me, that’s God’s grace in it.

  9. My last adoptee ‘Foster’ got his name because I was fostering him, and I needed to identify something with his ‘name’ (which he didn’t yet have.) I said aloud, “Well, I can just write ‘Foster’, and not only did the name stick, he is now a ‘permanent’ member of the family.

  10. I have a 20lb Yorkshire Terrier.He will soon be 6 years old on April 15th 2015.I found him at a local breeder on September 9th 2008.At that time he was almost 5 months old.Rather big for a yorkie at 5 months weighing in at just over 5lbs.He was the last of a litter of 4 and the largest.I was told by the breeder that he was the last one left because he was too big.everyone picked the smaller ones of the litter first.I am glad that they did because if they had not I would have never had found him.It was love at first sight.I brought him home and was sitting at the kitchen table writing down names that I thought I would like to name him.I never did right down anything I liked.I then just started thinking out loud and out came the name Teager which I thought sounded perfect.I run and direct local running races and Teager goes to everyone with me.All of my running friends know him as one of the regulars at our events

  11. Thank you for mentioning that the name “Lucky” is a bad luck name. I have been a vet tech for 25 years and every “Lucky” I have know has died a horrible death. NOT a good choice. I find “Brandy” is another one.
    BTW, I really like your style. I bet you are a great vet to work with.

  12. Hi Nancy,

    I so enjoy all your posts and discovered you from the Addison Dog FB group. Thanks for your contribution. As far as my pretty girl Molly, I wanted a female Springer and contacted the breeder where I had gotten three males in the past. He sent me the pics of the litter and I had never thought of her name until I saw that face! I said “hello Molly” as if she had introduced herself! That’s it, a perfect name for a perfect girl_BTW, she is doing well on her low dosage Percorten and daily pred. Merry Christmas and God Bless, Elaine.

  13. Maggie was named that because she’s a sheltie and i thought it was so cool and original to name her something that reflected her heritage. Little did I know it was one of the most popular name for a sheltie, ever, or I would have named her anything but that.

    Oscar is a little star and was named for our love of movies… his puppy name came straight out of Legally Blonde (Bruiser Woods). His registered name is “Academy Award”.

    Charlotte was a total milk pig from the get go so we wanted her puppy name to be something that reminded us of pigs. “Charlotte’s Web” was all we could think of. Even though the pig was Wilbur, we know what the name means. She kept her puppy name and it still fits her in that respect and also because she is a lithe, delicate, and beautiful girl.

    Streak has a white streak on his head, and he’s very fast. His full name is Streak of Lightning. (He kept his puppy name, too). Sometimes we call him Crackhead because of his stripe.

  14. Oh, and a P.S. When I looked up Esmé, it apparently means “beloved” in old French.

    True enough!

  15. I have 4 yorkies, I named Princes “Sparkle” now 16 1/2 I delivered her, “Clancy Peewee 6 1/2 was already named, I named Little “Prince” Charming 5 1/2 months and Countess “Caitlin” 9 months came named.

  16. After having a “Maggie” for 10 years, when we adopted “Bella,” I decided I’d like something a little less common, a little more unique for our new girl. Particularly when someone told me Bella was the name of a character in the “Twilight” series having to do with vampires– well, who knew? No way was I naming my new dog after anything having to do with vampires.

    Somewhere along the line, I’d seen Esmé (and knew it from JD Salinger’s book). I liked it — two syllables, pronounceable (or so I thought –now I know better), and unusual without being weird. I also knew a lovely girl named Esmeralda and I liked thinking of Esmé as a shortened version of my young friend’s name.

    I spent Esmé’s first year introducing her to puzzled looks, rolled eyes, and discovered it was so strange as to be easily forgotten: “What’s your dog’s name again???”

    But one day I was surprised. A woman said, “Ah. Esmé, mother of vampires.”

    Excuse me?!

    “Yes, you know, from the Twilight series?”

  17. I have 4 yorkies Sparkle, Clancy, Prince Charming and Caitlin. 4 rescue cats Socks, CryBaby, Bambam and Delilah

  18. My dog came from a second and final litter. The first litter’s pups were named after “A” stars/constellations like Almaak and Aries. My girl came from the litter named after “B” stars like Bootes, Bellatrix, and mine, Betelgeuse!!!! I guess I could have called her Beetle, but I searched for a new “B” name that I could live with, and inspired by the spot in the middle of her forehead, I came up with Bijou, which is French for jewel. Eight years later, she remains my little jewel and sidekick… hiking and cuddling with me and of course chasing those evil squirrels away.

  19. Many years ago, I had lost my 16-year-old Sheltie, Jake, and I was kind of waiting for a sign that it was time to get a new puppy. One night I had a dream: I was at the Hotel Del Coronado, near the tennis courts. There was an expanse of green grass and people going back in forth in tennis whites. In my arms I carried a tiny, blue merle Sheltie puppy. The tennis players were coming up to me and stopping to pet him. “What’s his name?” they asked. Oh, it’s Rex the Wonderdog,” I replied proudly. Soon the puppy became a reality. UCDX Rex the Wonderdog, CDX lived to the ripe old age of 16.

  20. With my last two dogs I was disappointed to learn their names were among most popular female dog names , so with my “new ” girl I was hoping to be inspired with something unique but not unusable or cumbersome.

    So my Belgian Sheepdog came from Wisconsin where I picked her up ,we had 5 hour drive to the airport and flight ahead of us…as I drive away from the breeder my new pup cried for about 2 minutes , that was it! About 2hours into our journey I looked down at this PERFECTLY behaved pup and said WOW you’re one NIFTY little girl …and that is how my wonderful herding girl ( I have sheep) got her name ..and she is one NIFTY dog , officially Bonntymes Nifty in Pink ( she had pink ribbon for Id with all her black litter mates) . She has lived up to her name in every way imaginable!

  21. I named my McNab shep Wolfie after the dog in my little kids’ book. Pretty good for a 3 year old!
    I named cattle dog Bobbin that b/c she bobbed around.
    I named my calico Daphne after the fragrant winter shrub.
    All of my adult dogs came with names (Sophie, Bonnie, Clyde, Venus) and my cat KC too.
    What I added was middle names, nicknames, and secret names (which are names only the animal and I know as I whisper them into their ears!)
    Elegant Rhody/Boxer/Pit bull Bonnie who resembled Loretta Young in her Prime became Bonnie Mabel, nn Nora Charles.
    Darling Australian shep/blue heeler Clyde began Clyde Bailey after George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, nn Nick Charles.
    Zesty black Venus dog became Gladys Venus Iris, nn Miss Iris Osiris.
    And my current animal, my 21 year old tuxedo kitty, KC, became KC Dinah, after Alice in Wonderland’s wonderful cat, nn too many to name, but including Bessie Beulah, Shirley Poppy, and Opera Cream.

  22. We named our gal “Lucy” because she was feisty and funny and a redhead and we just loved her so, of course….after that famous redheaded comedienne Lucille Ball! Lucy left us in August and we have so many wonderful memories of her silly funny ways….perfect name choice for her! Happy Holidays Dr. Nancy.

  23. Mine came to me with names, including Daisy & Toby. Levi’s pet parents were very religious, according to their vet. They were Christian, but I like the Hebrew translation for him: “attached.” He certainly was attached to them and he’s becoming attached to me. He’s under my chair at the kitchen table right now, his favorite place other than next to me in bed.