Whatever happened to Rover, Spot, and Fido?
In 2018 these canine monikers were pushed aside to make way for human names for dogs— including many of the year’s top baby names, according to Rover.com’s sixth annual report of the year’s most popular dog names. Pop culture names were once again among the most popular, with dog names inspired by movies, musicians, and the royal family standing out as trendsetters last year.
Pop culture is a powerful influence when naming dogs, according to the report. Names inspired by newsmakers like Cardi B, Childish Gambino, “Fortnite,” “Black Panther” and celebrity babies rose dramatically. The name Cardi rose more than 1,000 percent, Nakia of “Black Panther” is up 560 percent, Gambino rose 190 percent, and Stormi (daughter of Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott) increased 240 percent. Rover found 33 percent of pet owners named their dog after a character from a TV show, video game, movie or book, and another 12 percent took inspiration from famous or historical figures.
“Nine out of ten pet parents consider their dogs full-fledged members of the family. They’re not just pets, but part of the family we choose,” said Halle Hutchison, vice president of marketing for Rover. “Our dogs and what we choose to call them is part of our self-expression, which is why people name their pets after the things they love and admire, from pop culture icons to superheroes.”
The humanization of dog names also continued in 2018, as 36 percent of all dog names are decidedly human. The popularity of human names for dogs is underscored by the surprising fact that one in three dog owners have met a dog who shares their name. And, millennials are even more likely to have met a dog who shares their moniker (49 percent).
Using one of the largest databases of dog names in the country, Rover examined 2018 data to learn where Americans draw their naming inspiration.
Pop Culture Trends
Pop culture names made up 16 percent of all dog names in 2018.
- Dog owners are enamored with the royal family. The name Harry was up 133 percent and Meghan rose 129 percent.
- Superdogs: “Guardians of the Galaxy” names rose 97 percent, with the name Drax leading the pack (up 186 percent). Dogs named after “Black Panther” — including Shuri, Nakia, and Zuri — were up 25 percent.
- Famous villains are also inspiring dog names: The name Thanos rose 215 percent and Pennywise increased 500 percent.
- “Westworld” characters were more popular, with Maeve up 127 percent and Dolores up 87 percent.
- Harry Potter was another inspiration: The name Draco was up 123 percent, Albus Dumbledore rose 200 percent, and Albus Dumbledog increased 29 percent.
The internet is shaping the culture and dog names trends. In 2018, pet owners named their dogs after trends that went viral.
- Dog names from the video game “Fortnite” were up 16 percent, with Zoey being the most popular.
- The popular dance moves, Whip and Dab, increased 40 percent over 2017.
- Following the popularity of the “In My Feelings” Challenge, the names JT, Kiki, and KB all trended up.
Foodies are picking dog names from their food and beverage favorites, with five percent of all dog names being food-themed in 2018.
- Millennials’ obsession with brunch has crossed over into dog names. Brunchy names like Biscuit, Muffin, and Waffles were up 12 percent.
- Booze-themed names like Guinness and Whiskey were up 17 percent in 2018, but Rosé fell from favor, decreasing 44 percent.
The Rover report also revealed trends in how pet owners select names for their dogs.
- Three out of four picked their dog’s name after meeting him or her, so they could find one that was a fit for their dog’s personality.
- Thirty-eight percent chose to change their dog’s name from the name given by the shelter or previous owner.
- Eighty-one percent give their dogs nicknames, with more owners giving their dog three or more new monikers.