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Top Ten Dog & Cat Names In 2023

According to several sources —including Nationwide Pet Insurance,, and—here are the top ten dog and cat names of 2023, separated by gender.

Did your dog or cat make the list? Allow me a minute or two to analyze these popular pet names. First, there is some cross-over of names between the two species. Both male dogs and cats have the popular names of Max, Charlie, and Ollie. Female cats and dogs share the names, Bella, Lucy, and Daisy.
Over my lifetime, I have owned dogs named Max, Cooper, and Bear. These dogs were already named when I adopted them, so I take no credit for selecting a popular name. I owned a cat named Sid, but again, he was already named when I took him into our household.

Just because the dog’s name is Max or Cooper doesn’t necessarily mean that is how the dog is addressed. We called our dog Max, Maxy, Maxwell, Mad Max of Thunderdome, and other names unfit for publication. We call Cooper, Mini-Cooper, Coop, Coopie, Cooper the Pooper, Coop-Coop, MC, and so many other names unfit for publication.

I know many dogs and cats with the popular names mentioned, but having worked at an animal shelter where I was exposed to thousands of dogs and cats over the years, my advantage is unfair. As well, as I have mentioned in past columns, my wife is a pet sitter, so she cares for many animals over the course of each year and shares her experiences with each animal by name with me. She currently walks dogs named Bella and Lucy. She sits for two cats named Sasha and one named Luna.

Usually, pet names, and human names for that matter, become popular due to an event or a person becoming popular. In 2023, the hit television show, This Is Us, came to Netflix available to binge, and one of the featured stars of this series was named Milo in real life and Jack in the series. Both names are popular dog and cat names. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Back in the ’60s, when the television show Lassie was popular, the name Lassie was also trendy for dogs, not just the specific Collie breed, like Lassie. There was another show in the ’50s called The Adventures Of Rin Tin Tin, which featured a German Shepherd who helped the U.S. Calvary be the victor in a new episode every week. During the run of the show, Rin Tin Tin became a very popular name, especially for German Shepherds.

Were you or your pet named after someone or something trendy and popular? I know two ladies, both named Nancy, who were named Nancy after the song Nancy With The Smiling Face. I am sure many females were named Brandy after the famous song in the ‘70s or were named Olivia, Scarlett, Arianna, etc., after a re-nowned recording artist or actress. Many of these names have also been given to dogs and cats for the same reason: the names are popular.
Animal shelters have to name new stray arrivals that were found wandering the streets by animal control. Without any history about the animal, the intake de-partment has to assign a name and a number to the animal. Assigning a number is easy, but coming up with a new and unique name becomes very difficult, especially after checking in several hundred animals. Shelters avoid using the same names over and over again. Duplicate names can create confusion, so it is best to have a unique name for every shelter animal. Considering that many pet owners find it a difficult task to name their new puppy or kitten, think how difficult it is to name several hundred animals a month.

When selecting a name for your pet, think about how it sounds when you are calling the dog or cat. Having your big, strong husband walking your little Westie Terrier and saying to the dog, “Come on Poopsie Doopsie, make a poo poo for Daddy,” could be embarrassing for both the dog and your husband.
Use caution when naming your pet. They will be with you for many years and need a good name that you and they can be proud of.
Please remember to adopt, don’t shop, and support your local animal shelters.

Barry KuKes is the former Community Outreach Director of Halifax Humane Society. E-mail him at bkukes View more of his work at minicooperpro