How to Choose a Great Dog Name

One of the most exciting and daunting tasks when you adopt a new pet is naming it. The name needs to suit the individual animal and its personality, along with yours. As a forever pet parent, you will be using this name for a very long time, so it needs to be just right.

When choosing Pinky’s name, I had a couple of criteria. The first being that I wanted the name to start with the letter P. She had been called Penelope while she was living at the rescue shelter, but my previous dog had been named Penny and something not quite so close would be easier for me. I thought that by keeping the first letter the same as she had before, it would make her transition smoother. Next, I took into account her personality and physical appearance and came up with two final options. The first was Pinky because we all thought that she bore a strong resemblance to Pinky from the cartoon Pinky and the Brain. This cartoon was essentially about two white mice plotting world domination. Hmmm…We also thought she looked a little like Piglet from Winnie the Pooh, especially when she wore a pink sweater. It was a close race, but in the end, Pinky stuck, and it has suited her perfectly.

If you are the type that prefers to take a more scientific approach, some trainers recommend that the best dog names are those that are comprised of two syllables. It seems that dogs learn to respond to two syllable names more quickly, making training easier. Longer names can be confusing to some pets, especially if it is pronounced differently by different people. This can make consistent obedience tricky. (I will say that even though Pinky has a short name, it hasn’t helped either of us in regards to education….but that is a story for another post).

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If you have been thinking and thinking and haven’t come up with just the right name for your new best friend, there are some fun online resources to help you. You can google things such as popular baby names or how to name your pet and find some good suggestions. The American Kennel Club lists the top 150 dog names inspired by the thousands of dogs that have participated in their events. Another fun site is They have a variety of categories to choose from such as movie dog names, sports names, TV dog names, funny dog names and tough dog names.

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According to Pinky, when you find the right name you will know it. Happy hunting!


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