You might think that when you’re naming a dog, anything goes. But in reality, there are limits. Some names are exclusively human.
Doubt it? Just try to picture going to the park and hearing dog owners calling out these names.
“Fetch, Suzanne! Heel, Steven!” Not likely, is it?
All of those names, perfectly normal for humans, sound odd and frankly a little ridiculous for dogs. Which is surprising, because the names we choose for babies and pets are moving ever closer together. As pet owners treat their furry companions more and more like members of the family, animal-only classics like Spot and Fluffy are giving way to human-style baby names.
But not all human names are created equal for dogs. Cuddly little old-fashioned names like Max, Lucy and Bella are especially popular, along with diminutive nicknames like Charlie and Maggie. Surnames are hot choices too, especially -er action names like Cooper and Tucker. Then come the names that are less common for dogs, but not ridiculous: ultra-old-fashioned names like Gertrude, notably unusual names like Sigmund, and youthful names like Brayden.
Now let’s imagine the opposite of those dog-friendly styles. The names would have to be formal but familiar, and neither very young nor very old: common middle-aged names. And sure enough, those are the kind of names that sound surprising on dogs today—even more surprising than they sound on babies.