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Rover is out: These were the most popular dog names in 2022 (plus how to pick the right one for your pup)

Find the perfect name for your dog by choosing from the AKC's 2022 top names list

What’s in a pup’s name? More than you would think! The American Kennel Club has released its most popular dog names list from 2022, including plenty of beloved favorites and a few newcomers. While you might tilt your head at a few of the top dog names from last year, they actually have a number of key elements in common.

There’s no such thing as a bad name in our opinion, but we do know that dogs respond to certain things better than others. If you’re choosing a name for your pup, take a look at the list and follow the rules for picking something they’ll understand.

Girl with two puppies
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What were the top names of 2022?

In first place, we have Luna for girls and Max for boys. Believe it or not, these two monikers have been popular for years. They’re joined by Willow, Sadie, Milo, and Tucker (plus 12 more that you can see on the list by the American Kennel Club).

The trending boy dog names include Marvel characters, such as Thor and Loki, as well as Disney favorites like Simba. Both Maverick and Goose got on the list last year as well, possibly as a result of the latest Top Gun movie. On the girl side, Nala and Leia have been popular for years, and both got into last year’s top 100. You’ll see Arya, Xena, and Zelda there, too.

What makes a good dog name?

You might not notice at first glance, but many of these follow a few simple rules. When picking out the perfect word to describe your beloved pet, stick to a couple of these patterns.

Keep it short

Dogs respond best to names with one or two syllables. If you want to bestow a longer one, use a nickname for practical purposes. That will make it so you can easily call out to them or give a quick command.

Start with a consonant

Putting a really sharp sound at the beginning helps them to learn and identify their own name. But we know some of the best dog names begin with an “S” or a vowel. In that case, try to at least make sure there’s a good K or T in there that they can hear easily.

End with a vowel

We love a good pup name with a long vowel at the end and that’s why you see a lot of “ee” sounds in them. This too helps dogs hear when you call them from the rest of the mumbo jumbo that you speak.

Avoid mix-ups

You don’t want to name your dog Kit, Slayer, or Rum because they sound too much like Sit, Stay, and Come to your beastie. Plan your command words in advance before you choose your pup’s handle.

At the end of the day, there’s no such thing as the best names and worst names, just the one that fits your animal perfectly (though do avoid anything that could be offensive or sound close to it). By following these steps or picking one from the top name list, you’ll figure out the exact right thing to make your best friend feel special.

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Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
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