The Real Meanings Behind The Most Popular Dog Names

There are plenty of smart dogs out there, but so far, none have figured out how to name themselves. That's what humans are for, and when you first adopt your lovable little (or extremely large) pup, you need to take some time to make sure they have the right name. After all, you can't just go calling out something like, "Come back here, Tyrannosaurus Rex!" every time you go to the dog park ... or, well, you can, but it might be embarrassing, particularly if ol' T-Rex is a chihuahua.

As you go through lists upon lists of names, trying to find the perfect title for your loyal furry friend, it sometimes helps to look deeper. Every name has a meaning, no matter how silly it might be, and dog names — while certainly a lot more fun and varied than human ones — are no exception. 

What are the top five dog names in the USA?

So, any list of the most popular dog names has to include old classics like Spot, Lucky, and Fido, right?

Wrong. In late 2019, Banfield Pet Hospital, the biggest general veterinary practice in the United States, had a fun idea: using their computer database of furry patients, they put down some hard statistics on popular doggo names, according to Mental Floss. Surprisingly enough, nobody's naming their pup after spots or luckiness anymore. Rather, as with human names, pop culture franchises such as Marvel and Game of Thrones played a role in naming trends, with names like Thor and Sansa being given to an increasing number of puppies, though neither of them cracked the top five.

What did? Buckle up. 2019's top five were Bella, Max, Luna, Coco, and Charlie.

These names mean more than just, "Barks a lot"

Okay, with the help of NameBerry, it's now time to figure out what these names really mean. When it comes to the top ranker, Bella, it's an Italian name, meaning "beautiful," which is a truly loving title to bestow upon your beloved German Shepherd, Dalmatian, or what have you. Bella has been growing in popularity over the past decade or so, for both dogs and humans, probably thanks to Twilight. 

Second place goes to Max, which is an objectively cool name for any gender, of any species, in any decade. If Max is short for the Latin Maximilian, it means "greatest," but if you prefer the Scottish version, Maxwell, it means "great stream." Either way, it's great, right? Following this is Luna, a name that has probably gone up in popularity due to Harry Potter, and which is an Italian name meaning (you guessed it) "moon." Duh. Coco, which ranks fourth, began as an Italian occupational name for a cook, according to Ancestry, but these days, is more associated with a certain Pixar flick. Following this is Charlie, a common nickname for Charles, which means "free man" ... or free dog, as it were. That's a lot more dignified than Spot, for sure.