Roll over Spot, Buddy and Rover. Say hello to Cardi B, Harry and Groot! These are just some of 2018’s popular names for dogs.
Kate Jaffe is a dog name curator for Rover, the dog and cat service provider. She says that this year pop culture dog name names are in.
“We saw the royal wedding surging as inspiration for dog names,” she says. “In fact, dogs named Harry and Meghan were both up about 130 percent this year.”
Music idols also offered inspiration, with names including Freddie Mercury and Cardi B. Plenty of pups were named after sci-fi characters and superheroes, with names pulled from Guardians of the Galaxy, Rogue One, Wonder Woman and Black Panther.
Even some of the “bad guys” lended their names to doggos.
Villainous names went up 18 percent, according to Rover. The name Pennywise went up 500 percent, Jaffe says. Other popular villain names included Loki, Bane and Syd.
“Since Rover is the world’s largest network of pet sitters and dog walkers, we also have one of the largest databases of dog names, so every year we analyze the list to find out what the top names are,” Jaffe says.
And the analysis doesn’t stop there. Jaffe says the company also looks at trends across the U.S. to see what people are talking about and have cared about in the past year.
“Then we cross reference that with our database to see how those trends are really mirrored in the way people are naming their dogs,” Jaffe says. “What we’ve found is that the things that we care about the most, whether it’s the food we’re eating or pop culture, are really mirrored in the ways that we’re naming our dogs.”
Jaffe says owners named their dogs based on activities they spent a fair amount of time doing, which includes eating.
“We saw a big uptick in brunch names and even more than brunch, we saw booze-themed names trending up about 17 percent year over year,” Jaffe says. “Those are names like Whiskey, Porter and Guinness.”
In 2018 human names were also rose to the top.
“Increasingly, dogs are really the family you choose and because we have this tight bond with our dogs and they really are a part of our family, it’s not surprising to see that the majority of dogs names are human,” Jaffe says. “They really reflect that bond.”
In fact, she says, many of the top dog names this year were also in the top baby names.
That is a trend that Jaffe expects to continue into 2019.
“As that bond between people and dogs continues to get closer, the way we name them is going to continue to mirror the naming practices we have for our human children,” she says.
As an added treat, we asked our NPR colleagues to throw us a bone and send in photos of their dogs, or friends’ dogs, with names in this year’s top 10. For our colleagues whose dogs aren’t in this year’s most popular names, fear not, they’re all good dogs.
Top 10 Male Dog Names 2018
Top 10 Female Dog Names 2018
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Some New Yorkers received an early Christmas present this year – a little, yellow envelope that came through the mail, inside, a letter telling the person that their medical debt has been forgiven. This act of kindness comes courtesy of Carolyn Kenyon and Judith Jones, who both live in Ithaca, N.Y. The two friends met through the Finger Lakes chapter of the Campaign for New York Health.
They’re both big supporters of a single-payer health system. And they were looking for a project to work on together to highlight the problems with the health care system. They decided on medical debt. For Kenyon, it was personal. The psychotherapist had a client who had to declare bankruptcy because of mounting medical bills.
CAROLYN KENYON: I mean, you couldn’t meet a sweeter, kinder, harder-working person. That touched my heart and was part of my motivation to raise the money for the debt relief.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Kenyon believes a person recovering from a serious illness or accident shouldn’t be hounded by creditors.
KENYON: No one in this country should experience medical debt. And how it affects their lives, their credit record – it can prevent them from getting employment, prevent them from getting mortgage. They should not be experiencing that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Inspired, the two women sent emails to friends and family. And they raised $12,500. From there, they turned to R-I-P Medical Debt, a non-profit that leveraged that money to forgive $1.5 million worth of medical debt for New Yorkers. Jones says it’s been a real learning experience, especially how it affects young adults just starting out in life.
JUDITH JONES: These are the young people who have just come off their parents’ health insurance. They have chosen not to buy a policy. They may be well-saddled with their college debt. And they get that illness or that accident. And now they have enormous amount of medical debt on top of their college debt. And that’s just no way to start a life.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Jones says they’ve gotten good feedback on their efforts.
JONES: From a lot of friends and even acquaintances and people I don’t even know who are telling us that they know someone who – not who got the letter but who is struggling with the problem of medical debt. And so it’s felt rewarding.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So rewarding, in fact, that they’re once again joining forces on a new fundraising campaign, this time focused on veterans.
JONES: We’re actually in the process of setting this up today. We think that a lot of people don’t understand that veterans accumulate a great deal of serious debt and that that also is a detriment to establishing a new life. So we have a project that is now labeled Cure Vet Debt.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So more yellow envelopes will be headed to mailboxes sometime next year.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.