How did you choose your pet’s name?

I am always intrigued by how people name their pets. Both what these names are and how the name was chosen. There are all sorts of ways to choose pet names including:


Ease of use: two syllables rather than one is meant to be easiest to call. Try it. A short one-syllable name such as Max is often lengthened to “Ma-ax” when calling. In fact choosing a name that you don’t feel embarrassed calling is often a good check. As a side note: Max is consistently one of the most common dog names.


Place names: Does your pet remind you of a place or did it come from a place. My cat Clyde was my first pet in Australia and was named after a Scottish river – to remind me of home.


Fashionable names: Perhaps your name for your pet came from a rock star or soap actor. My cat Mew was named after the pokemon (by my son) which probably tells you exactly when we got her. Our previous cat Maisie was named after a children;s book character Maisie from Morningside.

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Based on looks: An easy solution to the naming debate is to name your pet based on his physical characteristics. Take my cat Ginger – (named by another son) what colour do you think he is? And then there is Leo, our large Maine coon who, when he’s not recovering from paralysis tick attack, has a mane like a lion. (Again, Leo was named by my son. I have a lot of sons and a lot of cats!!)

leo face

My previous dog Cherry‘s name was also suggested by my son. Cherry was a liver-spotted Dalmatian, her spots were like ripe cherries. Actually his first suggestion was Peter Pan – not quite sure where that one came from but it didn’t stick (phew!)


Based on personality: it can often be beneficial to wait a few days before naming your pet to get to know his or her personality. Our current dog Chilli is red-ish in colour so her name fits her looks but it fits her personality ever better! A red hot chilli pepper. She is fiery, fiesty and fun! And like Cherry, we were sticking to the “Ch” theme and the food theme.


Then there are our ferrets Thunder & Lightning, aptly named for the weather conditions the day that we picked them up from ferret rescue but also reflective of their personalities – they certainly enter a room with a flash and a bang! However,when you have lost a ferret out in your backyard at 10pm at night and you are out with a torch calling “Lightning”, your neighbours tend to think you are a little strange! (Didn’t think of that one in naming my ferrets, did I?!)


In clients, I have come across 2 x Killer (both a Chihuahua and a Mastiff X), 3 x Diesel, 4 x Bella, Bacon, Cookie (food theme again), Lambchop (food or children’s puppet), Pikachu (same era as Mew!), Precious, Treasure and so many more.

How did you name your pet?

Choose your pet’s name & create a name tag…

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  1. My current and last cat were both named after book characters – Stormy after Stormy Llewellyn in Odd Thomas, and Darcy after Mr Darcy.

    Gypsie the Sibierian Husky got her name simply because we liked it and it suited her – and if you’ve ever seen a husky off-lead, then you’ll know just how much she can live up to her name!

    Woodstock the canary was named after Woodstock the canary in Snoopy. Very original and creative.

    And Charlie the betta was named by my 3yo son – he was named after Charlie the canary at his kindy, as well as Charlie from the show Charlie & Lola!

    1. I named my first cat. She was the semi-official stray that had lived on the gated estate I moved to all of her very long life, occasionally moving in with one of the residents but fending for herself when her ‘owners’ died (it’s a retirement estate). She decided to move in and, not knowing what anyone else called her, I named her Thingy. No reason. It just seemed right. When she died, I adopted a young rescue cat who actually chose me. She had already been given Poppy as her name so I stuck with it.

  2. “Hoodie” is short for Hoodlum. the boys figured with a mother Named “Veto” and a father named Cuno she would be a Hoodlum . She certainly lives up to her name. Her registered name (she is a rottweiler) is Ch Nowstarin Hundinnen Eine Nusse. Translated from german to English is Now Starrin Bitch with Nuts (balls) LOL

  3. After a kitty followed me to a party i was asked, “so, girl or boy?”, i flipped him over and “WillY” became his name. After the obligatory stay at the RSPCA and a big dose of cat flu he came home with me, where i realised how awkward the name Willy could be… lol

  4. Great article! Love the name Chili. Pet naming is my hobby, so I just started a new website where you can search pet names by category, like food/drink, movie/TV/film, sports, most popular, first letter, etc. Please check it out and let us know what you guys think! It’s free. (Sorry about last post, don’t know why it came out like that.)

  5. Our cat was named Bella after Bellatrix Lestrange in the Harry Potter books-it’s easier to say than Hermione and she’s quite an evil little cat so it fits her quite well.

  6. Our ginger 2 1/2 yr old cat is called Nutmeg, not purely because of the ginger colouring but because she’s absolutely NUTTY! haha

    We rescued her at 2 from the rspca at yagoona and has chosen 2 cats to become aquainted with, she chose us straight away playing through the cage then once out came straight up and wrapped herself around our legs while the other cat walked away.

    She is such a crazy cat and delights our family and friends when they come over for a visit as she’s so playful and crazy and has this cute pirate look sometimes where her lower fang pushes up on side of her upper lip giving her a bit of a mongrel/pirate look.

  7. For my two current Ragdolls their names were chosen before they were, as I wanted Male Blue Point Ragdolls I decided to name them after the Blues Brothers – Jake and Elwood. I just had to wait until the breeder had two male blue points available!!!!

  8. Winki – was our one-eyed clinic cat for 19 years.
    Cinder – looked like a little Brillo pad with a leg at each corner, and reminded me of a charcoal briquette – but Cinder was easier to say.
    Anniken Skywalker, fondly known as Anni – because he was black, an escape artist who escaped through the tree tops.
    Bright Angel (Brighty), also know as TidBit because of her diminutive size.
    Jupiter – named by a small child who thought that Jupiter was the Red Planet instead of Mars.
    Thor, Odin, Juno, Buddha, Caesar – because Mom was taking her Humanities classes in Mythology and History at the time.

  9. as a kid stray cats were attracted to mum almost every week it seems from the stories she and dad tell.

    they had William of Orange (ginger male), Meffy/Mephy – Mephistopholies aka the devil cause he was black and a rascal, Pim – a gentle female, like the drink, Pimms, Cassie – not sure about that one.

    We’re looking after my husbands brother and SIL’s cat until sept next year and he’s a big boofy 10 year old male called Minstrel as they are both music teachers 🙂

  10. When I was 5 I got a puppy and called her Sassy after the Himalayan cat Sassy from the movie Homeward Bound (pretty sure I had a cat complex even at that stage)
    I’ve had a canary called Flitter, a small grass parrot called Little Depp (after Johnny Depp).
    I’ve got a Diamond Python called Mercury after the element Mercury and because of the metal’s cool fluid appearance.
    I have two Blue-Tongue Lizards Muschu (after the dragon from Mulan) and Wesuni (because my friends from Western Syd Uni bought him for me)
    I have a Chocolate point Birman cross which I named Tia Maria, after the alcoholic bevarage, which turned into Tia Mia or just Tia.
    And lastly I have a Dwarf Lionfish which I have named Dragon because of it’s fiery nature and beautiful and dangerous appearance.

  11. My wife is Korean, so we named our dog, ‘Dioji’. People would often ask us, ‘What does ‘dioji’ mean.’
    I would reply, ‘It means ‘dog’. You know, “D-O-G.”‘

  12. When preparing to bring home my polydactyl, male cat…I ran through a lot of thumb, toe and finger-related names, none of which really seemed to work. I fell back on a name I’ve always liked thanks to both the movie “Men in Black” and the NBC show “Chuck”: Orion. It definitely suits him

  13. Generally, I recommend to my clients (especially children), some research on the breed of dog they are buying, or research on the geography, history, anecdotes, etc..

    Besides being educational, the names found are very special as their owners

  14. Named Beau after the French poet Baudelaire, just changed the spelling so I could shorten it to Beau.
    My last dog, Severina (RIP) was named after a song by a UK band called The Mission.. a cpl of years ago I was on you tube looking at the old film clip for the song and got to have a cpl of messages with the “REAL” Severina… the girl the song was named after & got to learn the story of the song etc.. Another odd thing happened one day when I got on a bus and the bus drivers (female) nametag said Severina Atkinson. My friend and I had a laugh about that on the bus ride.
    Had another dog named Ziggy Stardust – yes, I DO love Mr Bowie in all his 70’s glory.

  15. Great article on dog names! My little mini schnauzer Pixel was named so because I am an avid photographer, and all digital photos and movies are made of tiny little pixels that are full of color. The name seems to fit her very well. She is small and full of life and color, and I have taken thousands of photos of her over the 3 years we have been together. She shares her ‘Tails of Adventure’ on her blog,, which has a lot of photos, funny stories and movies of her joyful life.

  16. @JoanneRighetti I chose Olive because I’ve always loved the name…and it turns out her eyes are green!

  17. Pessa from ‘principessa’ which is Italian for princess. She’s a Staffy cross who does like the comfortable life. Miko adapted from ‘amico’ Italian for ‘friend’, and Minty for a Dalmation…does that need any explanation aside from a love of food? 🙂

    Clients names include the more traditional Reg, Boots, Toby, and the more modern Jersey (she’s caramel coloured like Jersey caramels) & Bailey. Plus Gladys which is definitely one of those whince-as-you-call-it-at-the-park names (for a Weimaraner)

  18. Lol…Jacqui – I love the name Gladys. I think t would suit a Corgi rather than a Weimaraner but that makes it even more special. Thanks for sharing your pets’ names. So great to hear how we make our decisions on naming. Jo

  19. Our pets names are Jerome, Millie, Laura, Lucy and Candy,

    Jerome and Millie were just names we liked for the cats. Lucy was out first dog and so “I Love Lucy”. Candy was already called Candy and we liked it. But Laur.a’s name is interested.

    She was first seen as a tiny stray kitten eating food on our front porch. She was feral and lived under our house. We could not go near her but kept feeding her and we were told that she could never be tamed. As she got older we would lay awake and worry that she might fall pregnant so we used to go to sleep saying lets put an aura of protection around her.. she was still so young. We borrowed a trap and caught her – she was so petrified.

    I took her to the vet and asked them to be nice to her – she had never been touched by a human. When i bought her home I took her to her new room to convalesce. I put my hand in the cage to get her out and thought I would be ripped to shreds. Instead she melted and started purring madly. Since then she has been the most loving cat and we decided to call her Laura after the “aura” we used to place around her worked.

  20. On December 23, 2010, I found a little kitten stuck way up in one of our maple trees. We were about to get a snow storm and it was already 26 degrees outside. I spent hours trying to find someone to help me get her down…all rescue places and even the sheriff’s dept would not come. Finally my neighbor came home and he climbed up the tree with a ladder and saved the little freezing kitten.
    Thinking that she would definitely be feral, I anticipated finding her a good home, but when she was brought down from the tree, she melted in my arms and decided that our home was best. Within hours she had everyone in my family in love with her sweet ways, and the next day, Christmas Eve, we named her Noel, our little Christmas Tree kitten!

  21. How kind of you to say Joanne! Noel has turned out to be the best cat I have ever even heard of. She is amazingly affectionate, LOVES all four of our dogs, likes the same snacks they do, including peanut butter, and snuggles on my bed every chance she can. Noel is amazing! I have a hilarious video on Pixel’s blog of her and Pixel, her twin dog sister, first meeting. Pixel is tap dancing all around her, being funny and jumpy as can be, and Noel is just looking at her, very relaxed…it is so funny! They are good friends now. You can see the adorable video embedded in this blog post:
    Hope you enjoy it! I certainly enjoy your blog articles!


  22. My first cat was a no name stray and her new name popped into my head – Thingy. It just seemed right. My present cat, Poppy, was given her name by the assistants at the rescue centre where I adopted her. They said I could change the name if I wanted but it was an OK name and I took it as fate. Thingy never quite understood that she had a name but Poppy answers to her name, very occasionally, when it suits her.

  23. I want to give my cats, names that no cat in the world would have.When I started using computers I got a Macintosh Classic Se. Since then I had several Macs. In those days they had particular fast connections called SCSI ( say scasi). I found this sound very funny so when I got my Norwegian Forest as my 40ties birthday present I called her Scasi. When she had babies, I gave them names according to the upgrades so they were called, Firewire and BlueTooth, but one of those kittens was of indeterminable sex. Originally we called it Clementine because we though it was a female. But later it turned out it was a male and he got a name that made him justice to his long fluffy hair. Fluffy of course. Still in continue to be “Oh my darling, Fluffy !!!!”
    Other cats were called Norman, Yuppi, Tito and Besnico (a Portuguese name given to small things). I had a crow called jack and a pigeon called Balthazar.

  24. We have a six month old kitten that was brought home when he was just a ten day old feral baby. Lets just say that my fiance was none too happy. We got into a big fight over the fact that I didn’t at least discuss it with him first. I took the “baby” to the living room with me while I was doing vocabulary for a class that I was taking. I started talking about all of it with my oldest daughter on the phone. Then I came across two words. Misdemeanor and felony. Being a complete smart alec, I told her that he was acting like I had committed a felony. I told her that maybe I had committed a misdemeanor but by no means was it close to being a felony. Thus, that teeny-weeny kitten was dubbed Mr. Meanor. Well, six months, about $900.00, and many bottle feedings until he was about 15 months old, he is a huge part of our daily lives. Everyone loves him but not some of his behaviors. He’s definitely a Mommas boy.

  25. My Afghan Hound’s name is Mahdi. I wanted a Persian name as his breed have origins in this region. His kennel name is Moon shadow and Mahdi was the son of an ancient Persian moon goddess!

  26. One of my girls is named Raia (rye-A). When I got her she didn’t have a name, so when I got home from work I’d call out ‘Where are ya?’. After 4 or 5 days I figured she thought it was her name, so I shortened it to ‘Are ya’ and then it got modified to Raia.

  27. It’s funny. During those unnamed days, nothing seemed to suit her, but Raia as a name is a perfect fit.

  28. Dexter, the psychopathic serial murderer “good guy” anti-hero, aptly describes our American Staffy Cross – his previous name (pound rescue dog) was Memphis, that just didn’t grab us – my (then 13) daughter came up with the name

  29. I didn’t want original names for my dogs. However, one of them – a German shepherd – is named Max. Probably the most original male gsd name. We decided before we got him that we would call him max and then I changed my mind. But when we got him, he just looked like a max. Our female gsd’s name is Jenna. The reason we chose that was because I was at the dog park and a guy came in with a dog named Jenna and I just thought it was the most beautiful name. 🙂

  30. My daughter named 2 of our 4 cats. Monolo is a female Ragdoll, Sally is a moggy while her mum is Bobbin named after the 2 ladies who rescued her and her 5 kittens – all homed -and Bentley is just priceless like a bentley! Maggie is a Blue Heeler who was named that as she didn’t Dash across Hume Hwy when we found her as an 8 week old puppy in 1997. Love them all to bits…

  31. I wanted a french name for my poodle but couldn’t find one I liked. My sister picked the name Maximus, an italian name. I picked Rene (french name). It means greatest loved, which he is. My second dogs name was Lucky when I got him. Didn’t like it so slightly changed it to Locky Aric. Both are very much loved and spoilt.

  32. Buster my Russian Blue X was named after a cat in a James Herriot novel. Hamlet was named because there was an ad on tv with a cat called Othello, and I liked the Shakespearean theme. Pixie was just a cute little pixie. Titch was going to be Nermal (after the character in the Garfield comics) but mum refused to go out at night calling “Nermal!”. So I went on a Whodunnit weekend, and saw a character there called Titch. It stuck. Belle was just a name mum and I chose. Balloo was called Bobo when I adopted him, but the name tag was behind a wire fence, and I thought it said Balloo. It was also from the old movie, Cat Balou. TiggerBugger is because I wanted a ginger cat called Tigger, and he ended up being a bugger.

  33. Thingy was a very old cat when she walked into my flat, the estate’s semi-official stray who’d blagged her way through life, adopting anyone who would take care of her. I’d never had a pet before so it was a steep learning curve for me. The first thing was thinking up a name for this no name cat. Thingy just popped into my head. It might have been Whatsit I suppose but no it was Thingy. It just seemed right and Thingy didn’t mind as she didn’t really answer to anything except food and cuddles.

  34. Me and my siblings recently put our money together a bought the cutest puppy, as we had been begging for one since we were younger. The new addition to the family is Ruby the 10 week old Pugalia X Cavoodle, she’s adorable and the weirdest colour too! Obviously having 6 people in our family everyone wanted to suggest a name, me personally i wanted Nalah like off the Lion King, but to be fair we all put down our name ideas and put them in a hat. My youngest sister got her name chosen and that is how we got the name Ruby (always the fairest way in our house lol). I have a real quick question for you Jo. This is our first puppy and obviously toilet training is a big issue, do you have any tips to help with the process? Thanks.


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