A group of dogs on leashes at the park.

What’s in a Pet’s Name?

Naming your pet is a very important decision — it’s going to stick with them for life, after all. But with thousands, nay, millions, of options available, why are some names more popular than others? We’ll take a look at the most popular pet names of 2022 and try to decipher why they’re such PUPular monikers.

The Most Popular Pet Names

Drumroll please… The most popular dog names of 2022 according to the American Kennel Club purebred dog registration and Canine Partner mixed-breed enrollment statistics were Luna for girl dogs and Max for boy dogs. The two most popular cat names according to Embrace Pet Insurance’s database of over 1.5 million quotes completed in 2022 were Luna and Oliver. Milo, Bella, Charlie, Leo and Lucy were popular for both cats and dogs, but Luna was the clear winner overall.

An interior image listing the top 10 most popular dog names of 2022 for male and female dogs.

An interior image listing the top 10 most popular cat names of 2022 for male and female cats.

The Name People Are Mooning Over

Why is Luna so popular? Luna means “the moon” in Latin and is also the name of the Roman goddess of the moon. So it seems that pet parents are gravitating toward a name that reminds them of the celestial being in the night sky. Or are there a bunch of Harry Potter fans out there?

Human parents have also become fans of Luna. According to BabyCenter user data, in 2002, the name ranked #1,162: only 114 babies per million were named Luna. Ten years later the number of Lunas jumped up to 1,021 per million, and in 2022, Luna became the seventh most popular girl name with 5,708 babies per million named after the moon. So if you call for “Luna” in your neighborhood, you might have dogs, cats and kids running toward you!

People Names for Furry Family Members

Did you notice that a lot of traditionally human names appeared on the most popular pet name lists? This isn’t surprising given most pet parents treat their cats and dogs like family members, not just animals they own. A lot of the names on the pet list are also “old fashioned” human names — Daisy, Lucy, Lily, Rosie, Ruby, Sadie, Max, Charlie, Leo. This reflects a trend in people names, which also show a resurgence in century-old names. Maybe “Lassie” will make a comeback in another 30 years!

Other Pet Name Inspirations

Some popular names on the list might be due to the pet’s appearance. There are plenty of big fluffy dogs who look like bears and cute cuddly dogs who look like a teddy. Every dog could be your “Buddy” and Leo is probably a popular name for Maine coon cats that look lions.

Naming your pet after a book, movie or TV character is also a popular idea — that may be why Penny, Nala, Rocky, Coco and Loki made the list. Nature themes also are popular with pet parents, giving us names like Luna, Daisy, Willow, Rosie, Rocky and Bear.

Some people have their pet’s name picked out before they meet their new family member, maybe because they’ve always loved a certain name and have it saved for their next pet — or maybe because old “Max” is always replaced with new “Max.”

Other people live with their furry friend for a few days to see if their personality inspires a name. “Spidey” might be a good name if your cat likes to climb things, but if they prefer to laze in the sun all day, maybe “Sunny” would be better. “River” could be a good name for a dog that loves playing in streams and “Sandy” would be a fun name for a dog who loves the beach.

Tips for Naming Your Pet

If you’re reading this because you’re about to welcome a new pet to your family, there are a few things to consider when choosing a name. Pets tend to respond better to one- or two-syllable names that end with a vowel sound (e.g., Daisy, Rocky, Lucy, Buddy). You should avoid names that your dog could confuse with training commands and steer clear of names that sound like the names of other people or pets in your home.

If you don’t want a bunch of dogs named Luna or Max running up to you at the dog park, you may want to pick a name that’s not on the most popular list. Think about a name that’s unique to you — maybe your favorite drink, food, car, clothing brand… it could be anything really. Or just make one up! What about Qwerty? That one just came to us while we were typing…

You can read more tips about naming your pet in our post “Naming Your Pet Can Be Fun and Challenging.” We also have advice for renaming your rescue dog.


Like most things, pet names that are trending now will likely be replaced with a new top 10 in five years’ time (although some names tend to stay in the top 100 forever). Whatever you name your pets, we hope they’re the goodest girls and boys and actually come when called!


RELATED POST: Does Your Cat Recognize Their Name and Your Voice?


The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


Where to Buy Diamond Pet Foods Near Me