How did you choose your pet’s name? Did you name them after your favorite cartoon character? Or was it the unique coloring of their fur that inspired you? No matter how your furry companion ended up with their moniker, you may be surprised to know that, like human names, pet names are not only personal, but they also follow trends and reflect the sensibilities of the times.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s pet adoption statistics, there are more than 76 million pet dogs and 58 million pet cats in the United States.1 Let’s take a look at the most popular pet names in 2022 and their meanings.
- Top Dog Names Of 2022
- Top Cat Names Of 2022
- Unique Pet Names: Trends & Statistics
- How To Name Your Pet
- Final Notes
Top Dog Names Of 2022
Domesticated in Siberia around 23,000 years ago, dogs are the descendants of the loyal and intelligent gray wolf.2 Nowadays, with 356 distinct breeds worldwide, dogs provide us with love and companionship, and they even have the ability to help improve both our physical and mental health.3 4 It’s no wonder they're known as “a man’s best friend.”
Interestingly enough, we actually tend to think of our dogs as more than just best friends. In fact, there is evidence that we see them as our family, and even as our children.5 Knowing this, it makes sense why so many popular pet names, and popular dog names in particular, are common human names, including many on Rover’s top pet names of 2022 list. The Washington Post has even come up with an interactive “How Doggy is Your Human Name” scale to document this phenomenon.
With that said, here are the names that made it onto Rover’s top male dog names of 2022 list and their meanings. They are determined by Rover’s database of over a million pets and pet parents.6
- Max: Max is an all-time classic in terms of the most popular pet names. For dogs, the name Max has not once been dethroned as the top name in the past 10 years and has been a hit for more than a century!6 Of Latin origin, the name Max is often short for Maximillian, Maximus, or Maxwell. Meaning “the greatest,” it’s not surprising that it is so often used as a name for our beloved dogs.
- Charlie: A gender-neutral name that comes from Germany, Charlie can be used as a nickname for Charles, Charlotte, and more. Meaning “free man,” this name is commonly used for Labrador Retrievers and German Shepherds.
- Cooper: Cooper was initially used as a surname. Originating from Old English, it means “barrel maker.” Today, as the third most popular male dog name, it is a popular entry in the database of cool pet names. As a name with two syllables, it is very easy for dogs to recognize.
- Milo: Milo is a traditionally masculine name that finds its roots in many languages, such as Greek and Latin. Typically meaning “soldier,” it is a particularly good name for working breeds, including Anatolian Shepherd Dogs and Rottweilers.
- Buddy: “Buddy” is derived from the words “brother” and “butty”, which means “workmate.”When used for dogs, the name Buddy is self explanatory. Dogs are our greatest and most loyal friends after all.6
Compared to the top male dog names of 2022, there have been more changes and shifts in the naming conventions of female dogs. Below are the top female dog names of 2022:
- Luna: In the past 10 years, “Luna” has slowly risen to the top in terms of female dog names, receiving an exponential boost in popularity in 2015. Meaning “moon” in both Spanish and Italian, it evokes an image of wolves, the ancestors of all domesticated dog breeds, howling at the moon. The name Luna no doubt earns its place on the list of cool pet names.
- Bella: “Bella” has been a longstanding popular name for female dogs, only overtaken by “Luna” this year. Meaning “beautiful” in a variety of languages, including Italian, Spanish, Greek, and French, the name Bella has a posh but cute flair.
- Daisy: Some of the most popular pet names for female dogs are the names of flowers, and “Daisy” is no exception. Daisies boom in yellow, white, and light pink, opening only in the day and closing at night. Meaning “the day’s eye,” it is a perfect name for energetic and happy-go-lucky pups.
- Lucy: Lucy is the English version of the Italian name Lucia, meaning “light.” It has been a beloved name in the U.S. for quite some time now due to the popularity of comics like Peanuts and shows such as I Love Lucy.
- Lily: Another flower name, the name Lily takes on the meanings of “purity” and “innocence” associated with the flower. “Lily” is especially popular for white dog breeds such as the Maltese, Samoyed, and American Eskimo.6
Bringing a new puppy home can be a lot of work. Stay on track of your puppy training schedule by taking inspiration from these lists and picking out a name for your puppy as soon as possible.
Top Cat Names Of 2022
Throughout time, cats have appeared in a number of historical artifacts. From wall paintings in Egypt to Welsh law records, these artifacts suggest that cats have always been an important part of our lives, whether as deities to be revered, partners to help us exterminate vermin, or simply, pets that offer us companionship.7
Various cultures across the world have always had different ways of naming their cats and distinct popular pet names as well. In the medieval period, for example, domesticated cats in England were often known as “Gyb,” a short version of Gilbert. Around the same time in France, however, “Tibers” or “Tibert” was the go-to name for cats due to popular animal fables.8 So, what are the top pet names of 2022 for cats? Let’s take a closer look.
Here are the most popular pet names for male cats in 2022:
- Oliver: While the name Oliver has roots in Latin, with connections to the term “olivarius,” which means “olive tree planter,” it was first used as a given name in England or France. Dating back to Greek mythology, the olive tree symbolizes peace and amicability, making Oliver a perfect name for your feline friend.
- Milo: As it turns out, Milo is one of the most popular pet names for male cats as well. It is a versatile name that suits just about every breed and color. Particularly, on social media, there are many male orange tabbies named Milo.
- Leo: “Leo” is the latin word for lion. While cats are not direct descendants of lions, we might see traces of the ferocious and regal big cat in our cute and cuddly house pets. The name Leo suits cats that are brave and daring.
- Charlie: Another entry from the top male dog names list, “Charlie” conjures up an image of a dapper and gentlemanly cat. If you have a male tuxedo cat, “Charlie” is an excellent name.
- Max: While “Max” has been the top male dog name for quite some time now, it is only the fifth most popular male cat name in 2022.9
Interestingly, there are a lot of similarities between the most popular pet names for female cats and female dogs this year. The top pet names of 2022 for female cats include:
- Luna: The name Luna also sits atop the most popular female dog names list of 2022. Pet parents adore this name not only because of its meaning, but also because of its pervasiveness in pop culture, from Harry Potter to Sailor Moon.
- Lily: Flower names are also cool pet names for cats, especially since different types of flowers come with their own meanings and symbolism. Depending on your cat’s coat, you can even name them according to the lily they most closely resemble. For example, the name Tigerlily would suit a Bengal or an orange tabby cat.
- Bella: Meaning “beautiful” in many languages, Bella is the perfect name for female cats. Whether your cat has stunning, piercing eyes or a graceful gait, Bella could be the name for her.
- Lucy: Lucy means “light” and can be a nickname for an array of other wonderful names, including Lucia, Lucille, and more.
- Nala: Similar to the name Leo on the popular pet names for male cats list, Nala also has a connection to lions. Being the name of the strong-willed and spunky lioness in Lion King, the name Nala means “the first drink of water in the desert.”9
Unique Pet Names: Trends & Statistics
According to Rover’s 2022 Top Pet Names Report, there is a special selection of people, places, events, brands, and foods that defined and inspired unique pet names this year.
In general, entertainment-inspired names seem to be trending, with a whopping 33 percent of pet parents referencing TV shows when naming their furry companions. The name Targaryen, in particular, is rising in popularity by 185 percent thanks to the new Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon.10
In your search for cool pet names, food names should never be overlooked, and in 2022, the popularity of food names continues to prevail. For cats, a number of new food-inspired names have been added to the database, including Baklava, Focaccia, and Ham Sandwich. There has also been an increase in alcohol- and caffeine-inspired names, with Gimlet rising in popularity by 162 percent and Tazo seeing a bump of 132 percent.9
Take inspiration from everything around you to name your pet. Give your pet a name that both suits them and reflects the world we live in. In the following section, we will discuss some other tips and tricks for naming your pet.
How To Name Your Pet
Consider Your Pet’s Physical Characteristics
The first step to finding cool pet names is to take a long, hard look at your pet. Do they have any features that stand out immediately? Do they have two different colored eyes? Or are you particularly enamored with their orange coat?
Acknowledge Your Pet’s Origins
Do you have an Italian Greyhound or a Siamese cat? It may be a good idea to acknowledge your pet’s origin when giving them a name. Camille, Elodie, or Delphine, for example, are beautiful French names that can highlight the breed of your French Bulldog.
Think About Your Pet’s Personality
Is your pet haughty around everyone else but sweet to you? Perhaps they are especially energetic? Think about your pet’s personality when naming them.
Look At Names Of The Past
Popular pet names of the past can make a comeback, especially if you want the most unique pet names. For example, Old English has a great selection, including Aldwin, which means “old friend.”
Get Inspiration From Your Own Life
What are your hobbies? Where do you get your inspiration? If you love traveling, consider naming your pet after your most cherished destination. If you have a favorite book, name your pet after the author or main character.
Choose A Name Your Pet Can Easily Recognize
Pets definitely know their names and typically respond when they are called, but how can we make it easier for them to recognize their names? Dog trainers agree that two-syllable names are the best, especially if they include short and choppy sounds or hard consonants such as “k.”
There may be a list of top pet names of 2022, but remember to choose a name for your pet that is personally meaningful to you. Our pets have a special place in our hearts, so they deserve a name that perfectly embodies them.
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