These are the most popular dog names of 2021

Young Woman Kissing Her Puppy
Luna is officially the number one dog name (Picture: Getty)

Choosing a name for your dog is a special decision – and a big responsibility.

You want a name that suits their personality, that isn’t going to embarrass them in the dog park, and also is ideally at least a bit unique.

Well if you’re looking for name inspiration for your four-legged friend, looking back at the big hitters for this year could be a good place to start.

Pet-sitting and dog walking, has revealed the UK’s most popular dog names of 2021. The annual report reflects how the biggest trends of the year influence Brits’ naming of their pedigree pals.

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While the main themes of 2021 – travel, sports, entertainment and the pandemic – inspired an eclectic mix of names, Luna officially became the UK’s number one pooch title, closely followed by last year’s favourite, Bella, and top choice for males, Milo.

The research also revealed that while half of pet owners had pre-selected their name before they met their pooch, one in five (20%) said they waited to understand their dog’s personality.

Meanwhile, 12% admitted they had previously considered using the name of their hound for their child, and 5% even picked their dog’s name from a baby book.

If your dog’s acting funny, get out the umbrella! According to a Press poll, 72% of dog owners believe their dog can detect when stormy weather is on the way.

Sport themed dog names

The England squad’s gallant efforts at this year’s European Championships inspired the next generation of pet names. Fan favourite Jack (Grealish) topped the list of names from the team, while captain Harry Kane saw both his first and last name both featured in the most popular list. Luke (Shaw), saw the largest increase at 409%. Wimbledon also impacted this year’s rankings, with Murray trending upwards by 760% and Roger increasing by 234%.

Travel themed dog names

It’s no surprise that destinations from across the globe featured in this year’s report, given that we couldn’t get on a plane.

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The most popular travel-inspired names included China, Chile, Sofia, and India, while Santorini entered the list for the first time. However, Tokyo was this year’s clear winner, with an increase of 809%, claiming the gold medal for destination-related names. With millions of Brits taking staycations this year, the report also revealed dogs named Devon were trending, up by 209% in 2021.

TV and film themed dog names

Love Island continues to impact our decisions, as Teddy rocketed to number five in the overall UK rankings, while Hugo, Toby and Millie were the other three most popular names from the hit show.

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There also appears to be a new wave of doggy names styled on Netflix’s recent hit, Bridgerton. The report says Simon saw an increase of 359%, while Daphne is up 66%. Duke and Penelope are trending down, 52% and 91% respectively, but for the first time Eloise was put on the map.

Pandemic themed dog names

Woman with Puppy Using Laptop
Our pups have been loving us working from home (Picture: Getty)
With Covid continuing to dominate headlines, owners have embraced the situation by thematically naming their pets. The most popular pandemic-inspired dog names were Delta, Rona, Covi and Covid, but Boris was bounced down the list, with a decrease of 9%.

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With Brits needing to take the edge off the doom and gloom, our favourite tipples saw a spirited return to the rankings. Upwards trending alcohol-inspired names for dogs in the UK include Whiskey (226%), Fizz (134%), Scotch (59%), Cosmo (39%), and Brandy (26%).

Top tips for naming your dog:

What you name your pup is completely up to you, however Adem Fehmi, Rover’s canine behaviourist, has some tips that you might want to take into consideration:
  1. Pick a short name or a name that can be shortened to one or two syllables. This makes learning easier as they can clearly hear their name during training e.g. ‘Luna, down’.

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  1. Consider a name that has a vowel or vowel sounding consonant at the end e.g. Bella or Penny as these sounds roll easily off the tongue. When saying a name like this you are also more likely to elongate the vowel sounds and change your pitch of voice for the second syllable in a sing-song voice. This can help your dog to hear their name more clearly and make it sound more positive, helping them to learn their name.
  1. Avoid names that sound like a command you might use e.g. Jay as this might sound like ‘stay’, or Neil as this could sound like ‘heel’. It is best to run through rhyming words with any considered names so that these can be eliminated.

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  1. If you are a regular park visitor, it could be wise to research the most popular names. You want your dog to be able to clearly distinguish their name from others so that they can be recalled when it’s time to go home.
  1. Choose a name that everyone in the family who will be responsible for your dog agrees on and is happy to use. You want consistency when teaching commands and calling for your dog’s attention. If other members of the family or carers start using an alternative name because they don’t like the one chosen, then this could become confusing and pose a problem.

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