“Some people may pick a name that they just think really reflects their pet’s quirky personality,” Jaffe told CNN. “But at the end of the day, what they’re really trying to do is honor the relationship they have with their pet and give them a name that showcases their pet’s personality and also shines a little bit of light on their own personality.”
Developed between September and October, the report was based on millions of user-submitted pet names that owners provided when registering on Rover.com.
According to Nicole Ellis, a certified professional celebrity dog trainer at Rover.com, names like Zoom are often chosen since they remind owners of an unprecedented time when they developed closer relationships with their pets.
“That’s the time we can look back and be like, ‘A puppy (with a) Covid-related name, did you get him during Covid?’ and now we have a great conversation starter,” Ellis told CNN.
“People feel like they’re living a little bit with a celebrity, and for most of us, our pets are our celebrities in our lives and what make us so happy and excited,” Ellis said.
Many dog owners who missed live sports also longed to travel, leading to a surge in names inspired by foreign — particularly French — foods. For dogs, the name Caviar was up 800% and Dijon up 700%. When it came to cats, Baguette rose 600% and Raclette went up 300%.
“As people are a little travel-deprived, they’re looking to pet names as a way to remember some of the things they miss, and when we give our pets a name inspired by our favorite food or our favorite travel destination, it’s a way for us to kind of live that fantasy,” Jaffe said.
This year, the top name for female dogs is Bella, followed by Luna, Lucy and Daisy. For males, Max takes the top spot, followed by Charlie, Milo and Buddy. The humanization of pets has continued to grow — 61% of pet owners said their pet already has a human name. Others said they would give their future pet a human name.
The way these top names sound is also a factor behind their popularity. Most pet owners would feel comfortable yelling human names in public, according to Ellis. Many of these names also sound distinct from things owners would ask their dogs to do.
According to Ellis, “super simple, short, and positive names” are best for dog owners, as well as names that can be shortened. Ellis prefers two-syllable names for dogs since they roll off the tongue easily.
Next year, Jaffe expects to see the continued influence of pop culture in pet names, as well as names inspired by more niche interests and passions.
“We all want our dogs to feel loved or feel special, so that happy feeling is really important, and that comes with a name,” Ellis said.