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20 Most Popular Puppy Names


Sometimes you just know. You look at your new puppy and you simply know his name is Scrappy. Other times, it’s not so obvious. Naming domesticated dogs dates back at least as far as the ancient Egyptians, according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia.

These dogs featured names reflective of their skills (Good Herdsman), their genealogy (the Fifth) or their coloring (Blacky). However you choose your puppy’s name, keep it simple. Animal Behavior College recommends a one- or two-syllable name since your dog will recognize and remember it more easily.

Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) compiles a list each year of the most popular dog names based on over 500,000 policies issued annually, while Bow Wow Meow creates a list from pet tag orders.

1. Duke

Bow Wow Meow lists Duke as the 20th most popular name for dogs in the United States. The name means leader in Latin and has strong, Western connotations thanks to Hollywood cowboy John Wayne sporting it as his nickname. Legendary jazz musician Duke Ellington lends the name a cool, musical vibe.

Popular website Dogs and Dog Advice lists three notable dogs named Duke in popular culture. Currently, Duke is the name of the golden retriever on the Bush’s Baked Beans television commercials. The long-running sitcom “The Beverly Hillbillies” featured a lovable bloodhound with the moniker, while a Great Dane named Duke featured in the 1944 movie musical “Bathing Beauty” with Esther Williams and Red Skelton.

Another famous fictional Great Dane, Marmaduke, may be an additional reason for the popularity of the name, as a shortened version of that mouthful.

According to James Madison University, their mascot, Duke Dog, is an English bulldog, a traditional canine of British royalty, named after a former president of the college who supported the athletic teams, Samuel P. Duke. A 2012 television movie titled “Duke” focuses on the search for a homeless war veteran who left his beloved, ailing eponymous border collie on the steps of an animal clinic, per IMDB.

A sad, but inspiring, true story of a dog named Duke came out of Iowa in 2011 when a mastiff was found, shot in the back and left to drown in the Des Moines River, according to The Dog Files.

Thankfully, Duke was recovered and treated at the Animal Rescue League. His back half was paralyzed from the bullet, but a two-wheeled harness was donated so he could move around. Susan Hollar adopted Duke in March of that year, giving the dog a loving, forever home. The assailant hasn’t been identified.

Although it didn’t make the top 20, Duchess is the leading suggestion from Bow Wow Meow if you’re looking for a female name to compliment your dog Duke.

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