Rover Re-Imagined? Modern Trends in Dog Names

Dog sillouette on a logo in green and blue

From Classic to Current – A Fun Guide To Current Trends

Brown Working Cocker posing on a log for a Professional Dog Photoshoot
Our Love of Foodie Dog Names – Meet Plum. Photography by Nicki Cameron, The Art of Dog

How did you pick your dogs name? 

The names we choose for our four-legged furry pals are more than just for tags – they’re a reflection of their identity &  our creativity.

Names are powerful. They’re not just a way to get your dog’s attention – they’re a part of who they are & can say a lot about us as owners, too. 

A unique name be a great conversation starter. But beyond that, the name you choose can reflect your dog’s personality, your interests & sometimes even their quirks.

Gone are the days when “Snowy” and “Rover” were the in the top ten of dog names. Nowadays, we’re seeing a trend towards more unusual names. This move mirrors our changing relationship with pets – they’re not just animals in our care any more – they’re family members. 

Names are individual. From monikers that tickle our sense of humour to those that reflect our favourite books or movies, the glass ceiling has smashed when it comes to naming our dogs.

In this blog, I’m going to find some of the most left field names that dog owners have come up with & what might have inspire such unique choices! 

Close up of a brown and white Border Collie with a head tilt
Teddy – One of the Top Ten UK Dog Names

But first of all, let’s start with the top ten names in the UK in 2023. Different lists give up different names but the one from Borrow My Doggy seems to have all the usual suspects

Poppy, Daisy, Luna, Bella, Alfie, Lola, Charlie, Max, Milo & Teddy

Is your dog called one of these fashionable names?

Names can shape our perceptions

A name can often act as a snapshot of our dog’s identity. A dog named Thor might immediately be perceived as strong and brave whilst Pixie could conjure images of a playful & cheeky nature. These names can shape how others view our dogs, sometimes even before they’ve met them. We’ve formed a picture in our minds.

If I have to choose a dog for the name Gizmo, I’d plump for a scruffy looking, impish Yorkie!

Photo of a Yorkshire Terrier peeping round a wall
Gizmo – Photography by Nicki Cameron, The Art of Dog

Names & the bond between owner & pet

The name you choose is often repeated countless times a day, and it becomes a key part of the communication  between you and your dog. 

Taking time to choose a name can forge a strong connection, making it all the more special. It’s not just a label –  it’s a term of affection & a call to play. I guess that’s why many of us have numerous nicknames for our dogs.

Being Practical for a Second

Beyond the emotional & social aspects, there’s a practical side to naming. A name that’s easy to call out and for the dog to recognise can make training easier. 

“My neighbour had a very special pooch called Achilles and I don’t think she got the irony 😬. Can you imagine shouting, Achilles heel!!! 😂”

Helen Hyde

It’s also worth considering how the name will fit in with everyday commands and interactions. A name that’s too long or complicated might end up being shortened, so thinking about the potential nicknames is also part of the process.

It’s important to pick a name that’s easy to say & for your dog to understand. Shorter names with one or two syllables, like Max or Bella can be easier for dogs to recognise and for you to call out.

You might want to include the family in the decision

Everyone will be saying this name a lot, so it should be a hit with the whole family. Although from personal experience this can get truly tricky when each family member loves their own pick 😂

Names like Kit that rhyme with sit can be confusing ( I wish I’d read my own blog before naming our puppy Kit 😂)

A black & white Border Collie running straight at the camera, ears up & tongue out
Kit – Photography by Nicki Cameron, The Art of Dog


A dog’s name can be a talking point for years to come, remembered by friends, family & fellow dog walkers, especially if it’s an unusual one. A good name will stick out & be remembered, much like the dog itself.

So how Do Owners Decide on a name?

Personal stories & meanings

Often, a dog’s name is a snippet of the owner’s life story. Maybe Monty was a Grandfather’s nickname or perhaps Luna reflects a fascination with the night sky. These names carry personal significance & are a way for owners to share their history or passions through their pet’s identity.

“Mary’s Dad was from Castle Blayney. Every year when she was a child her Mum & Dad packed the 5 kids in to the Vauxhall Viva and headed over to Granny’s farm for the school holidays.There was a working Bearded Collie on the farm called Fly, who stole their hearts. So, Mary was always going to have a Beardie and he was always going to be Blayney.”

Richard Tulley
A Beard Collie lying on the ground
Blayney – photo credit to Richard Tulley

Your Dog’s Personality

Just like people, dogs have their own distinct personalities. A playful pup might end up with a bubbly name like Poppy while a regal-looking dog might be a Duchess or a Prince. 

Owners often observe their dog’s behaviour, quirks & temperament to find a name that’ fits.

“Meet Doofus the #boxer

Boxer dogs are notoriously clownish so Doofus felt like a suitable name. Fair to say he has lived up to it!”

Steve Perks
A Boxer Dog
Doofus – photo credit by Steve Perks

Our Favourite Pastimes 

Sports, books, movies & TV shows can inspire dog names. I always fancied calling a male dog Mr Darcy!

Mopp is named after early 70’s Glam Rock band, Mott the Hoople (his full name is “Mopp the Hoodle”)…Here’s Mopp… and here’s Ian Hunter, lead singer of Mott the Hoople…

Greg Winton

This is my 6 month old rottie, called Basham, named after my favourite footballer for my team (sheffield united)

Harrison King
A Rottie with an orange jumper
Basham – photo credit Harrison King

The now trendy old-fashioned names

There’s a charm and fun in the old that’s new again. Some owners are drawn to the elegance, history & timelessness of names from the past. While others just find it funny…

“I don’t really have a story as to how Colin got his name, but any excuse to share a pic of him 🐾😍.I knew I wanted a “human” name for him, but he just looked like a Colin and that was that. There was no long winded list writing and narrowing it down to some favourite choices, he was simply Colin from the start 😁”

Kelly John
A little black white & tan terrier with a red harness
Colin – photo credit Kelly John

The influence of breed and appearance

Sometimes the breed or the look of a dog can nudge an owner towards a certain name. A fluffy Bear or a sleek Shadow can be as descriptive as it is endearing, giving a hint of the dog’s physical traits. Or add a touch of humour & call a Great Dane Dot!

“My puppy is called Ruby Tuesday, after the Rolling Stones song – mind you if I’d know she was going to be this black I may have called her Sirius! 😁”

Liz Mutch
Black dog in an orange jumper
Ruby Tuesday or Sirius Black? Photo credit to Liz Mutch

Names with international flavour

The world is full of beautiful cultures & these names can honour an owner’s heritage or an affinity for a certain place in the world (a bit like the Beckhams with Brooklyn 😂)

“My husband, who’s Colombian/Italian (grew up in Colombia) chose the name Lorica, which is a town in Colombia on the North coast. I think it suits her well! (although looking at this, Ewok is a close second option!)”

Sarah Peña
Scruffy little dog running
Lorica or Ewok? Photo credit to Sarah Peña

Playful names

Sometimes, a name like Waffles, Boots  or Bingo just fits a certain dog.  And it makes us smile. 

“My best friends dog is called Bark! Nothing better than hearing her call him in the park whilst we’re on the phone 🤣”

Nicky Williams

They’re the names that reflect the laughter & humour that our dogs bring into our lives on a daily basis.

“I once knew someone who had a Rottweiler called Oi”

Chris Crowshaw

Unusual, Weird & Surprising Dog Names

“My nephews family have a Cockerpoo called Rocket Grout from Guardians of the galaxy”


“My mate genuinely called a dog he bought for his dad “Taxi” cos he wanted to hear his Dad shouting “Taxi” in random places 😂”

Steve Ware

Aww my first dog was called Lord Fudgeington, Fudge for short. But he loved his name. 🤣

Jamie Rose

Foodie names 

One just one dog walk I met an Oreo, a Toast, a Crumble and a Biscuit!

Food related names seem to be very popular!

There’s Peppers, Olives, Gingers and Honeys, Pickles, Cookies, Peanuts and Toffees not to mention a Gravy, a  Pumpkin & even a Lobster 🤷🏼‍♀️

Names from mythology & history

These names carry with them the weight of stories and legends, ideal for a pet whose presence is as commanding as the gods and heroes they’re named after.

Tech-inspired names for the modern dog

Techy names can be cool. They’re perfect for the dog who’s always by your side if you’re a gamer, if you’re nerdy or just bang on trend.

“Our last next door neighbour had a dog called Bagel never did find out why. Across the way there’s one called Penguin (the kids got to choose). There’s also a farmer nearby whose springer is simply called Dog. 

Makes my little Megatron seem quite mainstream…”

Rachel Woods
A white and tan Jack Russell paddling in water
Megatron – photo credit to Rachel Wood

When kids choose

Kids are undoubtably creative and imaginative. You might end up with a dog named Sparkly Unicorn, Captain Danger or Doggy McDogFace!

Their choices can be absolutely hilarious & unique but bear in mind it’s probably going to be you who has to shout Flooooooofbaaaaall across the field!

And finally some Dachshund names, inspired by the great British sausage. Banger, Link, Lincoln (short for Lincolnshire) and Slinky are my favourites 😂

Along with “Richmond”, of course!

A black & Tan Miniature Dachshund running with all 4 paws off the ground
Richmond the Sausage Dog – Photography by Nicki Cameron, The art of Dog

So, what’s in a name? Quite a lot, as it happens!

It’s often one of the first words they learn & one they’ll hear thousands of times throughout their life.

Whether your dog’s name is weird, wonderful or somewhere in between, it’s a part of what makes them & your relationship with them unique.

So, if you’re reading this blog, get in touch & tell me what the story is behind your dog’s name!

Nicki Cameron, The Art of Dog Photography

Find & follow me on Linkedin, Facebook & Instagram

Have a read of my other blogs The Secrets to Relaxed Owner & Dog Photography and Hate having your Photo Taken – I have the Solution

Huge thanks to my wonderful contributors from Linkedin :

Helen Hyde 

Steve Ware

Rachel Woods 

Richard Tulley 

Steve Perks 

Liz Much 

Sara Pena 

Nicki Williams

Greg Winton 

Kelly John

Jamie Rose 

Harrison King