How to Pick an Unusual Name for your Dog

Step 1. Try to wait to give your new dog a name until you bring it home. It might be tempting to pick out something ahead of time, but then you run the risk of having a name that doesn’t fit the dog.

Step 2. Get to know your new dog, and pay attention to her personality. Is she hyper? Affectionate? Always hungry? These attributes can help you pick a name. Look for a name that reflects the dog as an individual. You can also pick names that are opposite to what might be expected. For example, you could name a hyper terrier Slouch or Snooze.

Step 3. Do some research on the breed if you know it. If you’re adopting, you can just guess on the breed. Find out the breed’s origins and what it was used for originally. You can pick a name based on that information. For example, if a dog is Irish in origin, you might name him Dublin or Shamrock.

Step 4. Look for more obscure names from pop culture. Does your dog behave suspiciously similar to a cartoon character, or have qualities that remind you of a movie villain or heroine from literature?

Step 5. Check a baby name website. You can type in either a meaning that you’re looking for or you can search by country of origin. Also check translation websites. You could name your German Shepherd the german word for shepherd. Look for the links at the bottom of the page.

Step 6. Make a list of all the names you think might be a good fit. If you can’t decide, why not let the dog pick? Try calling out a few, and see which one he responds to.

Step 7. Make a tag for her collar with her new name and address, just in case she gets lost!


  • Remember that dogs are sometimes nervous their first few days in a new home, so keep that in mind when watching for his personality.
  • Keep the name short and distinctive.
  • Don’t forget to think of nicknames too. You wouldn’t want your dog to have an unexpected and unpleasant nickname!
  • Do the lost dog test. Go out to the front of your house, and yell the name at the top of your lungs. Was it embarrassing? Did your neighbors get offended? Remember that if your dog gets lost (let’s hope she doesn’t!) you’re going to be yelling that name all over the neighborhood.

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