Top 5 Pet Names: British vs. Americans

Good news: “Spot” is no longer the most common name for dogs. But the winner isn’t much more creative. Read this article to see the top 5 pet names.

When I receive no-name Dachshunds from the shelter to foster, I delight in giving them ridiculous, pompous names: Linus, Angus, Hannah, Beauregard, Hazel, Duncan, Dieter, Hercules, Zelda… Dachshunds are conceited, self-involved little beasts, so they deserve names that are so serious that are silly.

After fostering more than 200 dogs, owning a dozen and boarding about 100 more, I have become tired of a few (perfectly good but horribly overused) names, especially Oscar, Frankie or any other hot-dog related name (my apologies to readers with Dachshunds named Oscar or Frankie).

top 5 pet names
Bernard was as staunch, stalwart and silly as his high-falutin’ name.

I prefer to give dogs people names. It’s not that I dislike other names, but some are just too common, like Heather and Madison in the 1980s (my apologies to readers named Heather or Madison). I have met so many Buddys and Blackies and Smokeys… and now, God help us all, Twilight has given us a slew of Bellas.

I can understand this behavior in homes with little kids, who think Blackie is the bestest, most perfect name in the world, but two adult PhDs who name their tabby cat Tiger? C’mon! Crack open Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, whydontcha? Use that degree! Let’s have a Prufrock or a Quark, at the very least!

But as much as I’m loathe to admit that my dog-naming cosmology is not the bestest, most perfect way of naming in the world, it seems that I am downright weird.

According to polls from Petfinder in the United States and a study in the United Kingdom, pet owners still cling to many of the tried-and-true names for dogs and cats. In a century already abounding with Ashleys, Madisons, Heathers and Apples, I would have thought that this list would be a little more eclectic. Ah well.

Without further ado, here are the top 5 pet names of 2010:

Top 5 Dog Names, U.S. Top 5 Dog Names, U.K.
1. Buddy 1. Poppy
2. Max 2. Alfie
3. Daisy 3. Molly
4. Bella 4. Charlie
5. Lucy 5. Max


Top 5 Cat Names, U.S. Top 5 Cat Names, U.K.
1. Lucy 1. Poppy
2. Midnight 2. Oscar
3. Bella 3. Charlie
4. Molly 4. Molly
5. Smokey 5. Daisy


What’s interesting to me is that the Daily Mail article that inspired this post leads with: “Britons are rejecting traditional pet names for their cats and dogs in favor of those normally given to children.”

Really? A lot of Brits think of Max, Daisy and Molly as being unusual for pets? Those are some of the most common pet names in the United States. In fact, I’ve had in my house three Maxes, five Daisys and more Mollys than I can remember, including the one in the living room right now (no, I didn’t name her).

I do like Poppy, and I congratulate the Brits on picking such a lovely little name as their favorite for cats and dogs.

The relative ordinariness of the Brit list is nothing compared with our boring standbys in the United States. People are still naming their cats Midnight? And Buddy is still the most common dog name? I guess I should be grateful Spot and Sparky finally fell off the list of top 5 pet names.

Tamar Love Grande

View posts by Tamar Love Grande
Tamar Love Grande, former associate editor, is a Crazy Dog Person who has fostered and found homes for more than 200 dachshunds in the past few years. Tamar lives in Los Angeles with her husband, her cat and far too many wiener dogs.

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