Origins Of The Top Dog Names Of 2018: Pop Culture, Brunch, And Baby Names

Dec 9, 2018
Originally published on December 11, 2018 5:09 am

Roll over Spot, Buddy and Rover. Say hello to Cardi B, Harry and Groot! These are just some of 2018's popular names for dogs.

Kate Jaffe is a dog name curator for Rover, the dog and cat service provider. She says that this year pop culture dog name names are in.

"We saw the royal wedding surging as inspiration for dog names," she says. "In fact, dogs named Harry and Meghan were both up about 130 percent this year."

Music idols also offered inspiration, with names including Freddie Mercury and Cardi B. Plenty of pups were named after sci-fi characters and superheroes, with names pulled from Guardians of the Galaxy, Rogue One, Wonder Woman and Black Panther.

Even some of the "bad guys" lent their names to doggos.

Villainous names went up 18 percent, according to Rover. The name Pennywise went up 500 percent, Jaffe says. Other popular villain names included Loki, Bane and Syd.

"Since Rover is the world's largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers, we also have one of the largest databases of dog names, so every year we analyze the list to find out what the top names are," Jaffe says.

And the analysis doesn't stop there. Jaffe says the company also looks at trends across the U.S. to see what people are talking about and have cared about in the past year.

"Then we cross reference that with our database to see how those trends are really mirrored in the way people are naming their dogs," Jaffe says. "What we've found is that the things that we care about the most, whether it's the food we're eating or pop culture, are really mirrored in the ways that we're naming our dogs."

Dogs of NPR whose names are included in the Top 10 dog names of 2018: From left: Lola of the Breslow family, as pictured from a rooftop in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Lola, the "doghter' of two NPR employees Matias Blanco and Juana Merlo, and Max the "dogson" of NPR employee Blair Greenbaum.
Ryan Brenizer, Juana Merlo, Blair Greenbaum / NPR

Jaffe says owners named their dogs based on activities they spent a fair amount of time doing, which includes eating.

"We saw a big uptick in brunch names and even more than brunch, we saw booze-themed names trending up about 17 percent year over year," Jaffe says. "Those are names like Whiskey, Porter and Guinness."

In 2018 human names were also rose to the top.

"Increasingly, dogs are really the family you choose and because we have this tight bond with our dogs and they really are a part of our family, it's not surprising to see that the majority of dogs names are human," Jaffe says. "They really reflect that bond."

In fact, she says, many of the top dog names this year were also in the top baby names.

That is a trend that Jaffe expects to continue into 2019.

"As that bond between people and dogs continues to get closer, the way we name them is going to continue to mirror the naming practices we have for our human children," she says.

As an added treat, we asked our NPR colleagues to throw us a bone and send in photos of their dogs, or friends' dogs, with names in this year's top 10. For our colleagues whose dogs aren't in this year's most popular names, fear not, they're all good dogs.

Top 10 Male Dog Names 2018

  1. Max
  2. Charlie
  3. Cooper
  4. Buddy
  5. Jack
  6. Rocky
  7. Duke
  8. Bear
  9. Tucker
  10. Oliver

Top 10 Female Dog Names 2018

  1. Bella
  2. Lucy
  3. Luna
  4. Daisy
  5. Lola
  6. Sadie
  7. Molly
  8. Bailey
  9. Maggie
  10. Stella
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NPR's Scott Simon's dog, Daisy, "driving' in France.
Elise Simon / NPR
Sadie, the "doghter" of NPR's Peter Breslow and family.
Peter Breslow / NPR
Tucker, NPR's Alisa Barba's dog, boating in San Diego.
Virginia Barba / NPR
Buddy Platt, family friend of NPR's Emily Dagger.
Jeff Platt / NPR
Lola of Jason Breslow's family, as pictured from a rooftop in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Ryan Brenizer / NPR
Molly, a family friend of NPR's Emily Dagger.
Ken Persell / NPR
Tucker, a family friend of NPR's Emily Dagger.
Ken Persell / NPR
Luna, a family friend of NPR's Veronica Spake.
Sabrina Rugg / NPR


Roll over, Spot, Buddy and Rover. Say hello to Cardi B, Harry and Groot. These are just some of 2018's popular names for dogs.

KATE JAFFE: My name is Kate Jaffe. And I work at And I'm here to talk about dog names.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Dog name curator - who knew? - Jaffe says that pop-culture dog names are popular this year. Music idols, characters from movies, villainous names like Loki and Bane and Sid are up almost 20 percent. So...

JAFFE: In your neighborhood, there's a good chance there's a dog named Pennywise.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Food names also got quite a bit of love, including brunch names...

JAFFE: ...Like Waffles and Muffin and Biscuit.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But the most popular...

JAFFE: Dogs with human names are bubbling to the top - Max, Charlie, Cooper, Bella, Lucy and Luna. And that makes sense - right? - because pets are members of our family.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Kate Jaffe has a dog, of course.

JAFFE: His name is Oso.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's bear in Spanish. My dog's name, Kiko, alas, didn't make the list. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.