most common dog names by breed
Matt M. Casey

Written by:
Matt M. Casey

Bagel, Poodle and Q: Surprising Trends in Dog Names [Interactive Infographic]

most common dog names by breed

What do dogs named Chi Chi, Taquito and Bambina have in common? They’re more likely to be Chihuahuas than dogs with other names. Boxers are more likely to be named Tyson, Brutus or Laila, and Schnauzers are more likely to be named Fritz, Otto or Frida.

For any given dog breed, certain names appear more frequently than among dogs in general. That’s what we found by examining the records of more than 290,000 dogs registered in five American cities: Seattle, Tacoma, Pittsburgh, New York and Los Angeles.

Many names that oversample within a breed fit obvious themes; Chihuahuas, which have always been closely associated with their native Mexico, tend toward Spanish names. Shiba Inus, a Japanese breed, tend toward Japanese names such as Toshi, Hiro and Mochi.

Other names in our graphic may sound like jokes. The name that most oversamples among Beagles is “Bagel,” and the name that most oversamples among poodles is “Poodle.”

Yes. At least 10 people named their poodles “Poodle.” What’s worse is that two people named their dogs “Poodle,” when those dogs were not poodles.

Poor dogs.

Browse through all the most disproportionately common dog names for each breed below by clicking on the buttons or using the left and right arrow keys. Or click here to view the full-screen version.

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Other Takeaways

Americans like short dog names. Nearly a third of dogs have a name with five letters, and more than 70% have names with between 4 and 6 letters.

Frequency-of-dog-names-by-length

While the falloff from five letters is steep, there are dogs at both extremes. Across the dataset, 75 dogs had names with only one letter. It might be tempting to dismiss that as a data entry error (and some one-letter names might be), but the trends among single-letter names suggest that not all of them are.

Dog owners who give their pet a single-letter name, tend to call their pooches “Q.” These dog owners are likely James Bond fanatics.

most-common-single-letter-dog-names
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One dog in our dataset had a name 45 letters long! Her name is Lady Kassandra Yu, Countess of Wallingford KBE. She’s a Collie and she lives in Seattle with an owner who probably rarely uses her full name.

More than 1 in 5 dogs have a name ending in ‘Y’ -- which makes a lot of sense when you notice that 4 of the 10 most popular dog names end with that letter.

most-common.names-amoung-all-Dogs last-letters-frecuencies-in-dog-names

 

Methodology

Seattle, Tacoma, Pittsburgh and New York all had publicly-available data on dogs registered in their cities. Los Angeles Animal Services graciously delivered its own data set when requested.

To prepare the data, we cleaned and standardized the five city files before combining them. We then classified each dog into one of 57 breed groups based on the the dog’s listed breed. For instance, a Scottish Terrier was grouped as a Terrier. A Border Collie was grouped as a Collie.

For each breed, we limited the analysis to names that occurred at least 10 times within the breed. We then calculated the occurrence of the name within the breed and divided that by the occurrence of the name outside of that breed. The result was a metric for how many times more likely a dog within the breed was to have a given name versus dogs outside of that breed.

 

Fun Facts

Beagle: Snoopy is easily the world’s most famous beagle, but he doesn’t actually look like one. While beagles can be black and white, their markings rarely (if ever) match Snoopy’s.

Bichon Frise: This breed name is truncated from the original French term bichon à poil frisé, which roughly translates to “curly lap dog.”

Boxer: Boxers can trace their lineage back 4,000 years to the Assyrian empire, where they served as war dogs.

Bulldog: The breed name “bulldog” is a lot more literal than you might expect. The English bred bulldogs to fight bulls in a medieval sport called bull baiting.

Chihuahua: Chihuahuas hold the record for smallest purebred dog. At two years old, a Chihuahua named Milly stood just 3.8 inches tall and weighed only one pound.

Collie: Border collies have an irrepressible herding instinct. In 2017, a border collie pup named Rocky herded several sheep into his owner’s home. But Rocky’s owner did not own any sheep.

Corgi: Queen Elizabeth II has owned more than 30 corgis, and corgis have lived in Buckingham Palace for more than 70 years.

Dachshund: The first Olympic mascot was a dachshund. The organizers for the 1972 Munich games asked guests at a Christmas party to design a mascot for the games, and they came up with Waldi the dachshund.

Golden Retrievers: Golden retrievers hold two Guinness world records: one for loudest bark at 113.1 decibels (louder than a rock concert!). Another holds the record for most tennis balls held in the mouth.

Havanese: The entire Havanese breed, which is native to Cuba, was saved by three families who immigrated from Cuba to the U.S. in the 1950s and 60s.

Hounds: Hounds have the best noses in all of dog-dom. Bloodhounds, specifically, have 230 million scent receptors, which is 40 times more than humans have.

Husky: Huskies are unnaturally good at running long distances. They change their metabolism to preserve energy while on a long run. Scientists don’t understand how this works.

Shiba Inu: Shiba inus nearly went extinct during World War II, but were brought back from the brink by dedicated Japanese breeders who combined the remaining three shiba inu bloodlines.

Labrador: Labradors are built for swimming. They have a waterproof coat, a tail they use as a rudder and webbed feet!

Maltese: Maltese don’t have fur. They have hair. As a result, the maltese don’t shed the way other dogs do. Their hair grows long and occasionally falls out the way human hair does.

Pinscher: A tax collector bred the dobermann pinscher. He also served as a dog catcher and wanted protection. So, he crossbred his inmates until he produced a sleek and intimidating medium-sized dog.

Pit Bull: While the American Kennel Club recognizes pit bull terriers as an official breed, few exist. Most dogs labeled as pit bulls are actually mutts that happen resemble the breed.

Pomeranians: Pomeranians used to pull sleds and herd animals. But breeders selectively bred them to make Pomeranians into companion animals, reducing their size from roughly 30 pounds to roughly 6.

Poodle: A teacup poodle named Nala learned -- without instruction -- how to operate an elevator. Nala now uses the elevator to visit nursing home residents.

Pug: Buddhist monks in Tibetan monasteries have kept pugs as pets for centuries. The dogs’ lineage stretches back to ancient times.

Retrievers: The retriever group includes golden retrievers and labradors as well as Chesapeake Bay retrievers, curly coated retrievers, flat-coated retrievers and Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers.

Rottweiler: Rottweilers formerly pulled carts and protected cattle. Their work defined them so completely that the invention of railroads nearly drove them extinct.

Schnauzer: The iconic Schnauzer moustache serves a purpose; the thick mane of facial hair protects the dog’s snout when it kills rats.

Shepherd: A German Shepherd named Gunther III was the richest dog in history. When countess Carlotta Liebenstein died, she left the dog $80 million!

Spaniels: Spaniels made quite an entrance into the U.S. The first arrived here in 1620. On the Mayflower!

Terrier: Terriers are a prolific group of dog breeds. The American Kennel Club recognizes 26 types of terriers in the U.S., and most of them trace their lineage to the United Kingdom.

Shih-Tzu: The Communist Revolution in China nearly drove the Shih-Tzu extinct. The party declared that food was too precious to be wasted on pets.

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About the Author

Matt M. Casey is a data scientist and an award-winning journalist. His credits include The Boston Globe, WAMU in Washington, MentalFloss.com and GEEK Magazine. As a data scientist, he builds data pipelines, recommendation engines and anomaly-detection systems for startups in New York City.

2 responses to “Bagel, Poodle and Q: Surprising Trends in Dog Names [Interactive Infographic]”

  1. Gian de Luca says:

    Great job! I really like your cool infographic! Well done!

  2. Marie says:

    Great infographic! I would have liked to have seen how you went about making it though, as I’m new to infographics.

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