There is nothing more exciting than getting a new dog. Children and adults alike dream of getting a dog for the first time or adding a new one to their pack. Many of us even go so far as to pick out a name for their dog before we get to the animal shelter. Choosing a name can be difficult, though, and not everyone can think of a name on the spot. If you are having trouble thinking of a great name for your new best friend, here is some inspiration.


Max has been the number one dog name for decades. When one hears the name "Max," they instantly think of a friendly, happy-go-lucky canine who loves to play and go for long walks with his owner. Max can be short for Maximus, Maxine, Maxwell, or Maximillian. Or it can just be a name in and of itself! It can be used for both male and female dogs and is short and easy for children to remember.

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There is no shortage of famous Jakes in the world: Jake Gyllenhaal, John Wayne's famous tough, lovable grandpa character, Big Jake, and Jake from those State Farm commercials, to name a few. Jake is another name that evokes good vibes and friendly, familiar feelings. so it is no surprise that it has been one of the best dog names, not just in 2018, but for many years. Jake is typically a male dog's name and can be short for Jacob, although the name also stands perfectly well on its own.

boy dog names

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No list of best dog names would be complete without mentioning everyone's best buddy: Buddy. Many people call their dogs "buddy" as a nickname, but many owners skip this step and name their best friend Buddy. Unlike the other names on this list, Buddy is more of a dog name than a human name, so it is best for people who want to give their dog a name that doesn't run the risk of getting confused for one of their people friends. The name is a derivative of Budd, which means "a welcome messenger."

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Maggie has long been one of the most popular names for female dogs. For humans it is usually short for Margaret, meaning "pearl," but for dogs, Maggie is typically a name in and of itself. It, too, calls to mind smiling faces and friendly vibes. This explains why it is most often used for cheerful, upbeat breeds like Golden Retrievers and Labradors. This is not to say that smaller dogs can't be named Maggie as well and that they won't enjoy your goofy renditions of Maggie May by Rod Stewart every morning too.

most popular dog names

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Bear is another of the best dog names, especially for big breeds like Rottweilers or German Shepherd Dogs. This name is usually used ironically: most dogs named Bear are really big teddy bears, who are more interested in eating snacks and getting loved on than mauling people in the woods. This name can also be used for little dogs who have a bigger, tougher spirit than their tiny bodies would imply, making it a great moniker for dogs of all shapes and sizes.

most popular dog names

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Second only to perhaps Maggie, Molly is another extremely popular name for female dogs. It is a variant of the name Mary and implies an air of sweetness and cheer. Some famous Mollies that dogs have been named after include actress Molly Ringwald, the fictional Molly Weasley, mother of Harry Potter's best friend Ron, and Molly Hatchet, a Southern rock band. They are often lovingly referred to by nicknames like "holly jolly Molly" at Christmastime, making the name even more adorable.

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The name Bailey can be used for both male and female dogs and has been growing in popularity for several years. It too evokes a friendly, happy vibe, and is therefore often associated with cheerful breeds like Retrievers and Beagles. It can be used for any size dog with any kind of temperament, and never fails to bring an anticipatory smile to the faces of children. Some inspirations for this name include Bailey's Irish Creme and Barnum and Bailey's Circus.

bailey dog

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Shadow has been one of the most popular dog names since the word was invented. It is often used for dogs with black or grey coats, as they remind their owners of shadowy corners and shadowy figures lurking in the dark. This is not to say that Shadow is the name of a spooky dog though: most Shadows are sweet, happy-go-lucky dogs who just happen to be a certain color - and just happen to follow you around the house like your own body's shadow.

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Sam is a unisex name that is great for the family dog. Children have an easy time pronouncing the one single syllable, and the dog has no trouble remembering that that is what he or she is called. It is a name that can be used for big dogs and small dogs alike, although it is easy to conjure up images of smiling Golden Retrievers named Sam, or tough but intelligent German Shepherds called Sam who help the police track down criminals.

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The last name on our list is one for the ladies - literally. A modern alternative to "Lady," Sadie is another name that was originally for humans but can now be given to our furry friends as well. Sadie is short for Sarah, which means "princess," but it is a name that can apply equally well to your average Jane as it can to girls who enjoy the royal treatment. It can be used for dogs of all sizes and has been growing steadily in popularity for the last ten years.

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