The Pop Culture Driving Dog Names, from Kobe Bryant to ‘Game of Thrones’

Choosing your dog’s name is no easy task. Will the name capture their personality or give a nod to their appearance? Will it reflect one of your pop culture obsessions or give a nod to your furry friend’s breed? The possibilities are endless.

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To help give you some ideas, the team at pet care business BarkbU.S looked at data from nearly half a million dogs to determine the biggest dog name trends by year, breed and gender.

When it comes to gender, Cowboy was the most popular male dog name in 2021, while Paloma was the most popular female dog name in 2021.

It’s also important to note that pet adoptions skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2021, the ASPCA found that 23 million Americans adopted a pet during the crisis. Therefore, many owners chose to keep the names that their dogs had before they joined their families. BarkBus found that the most common dog names adopted were Penny, Lulu and Dexter.

While human names dominated dog naming trends in general, research shows that pop culture still has a big influence on what pet parents name their dogs. For example, Kobe was one of 2020’s most popular dog names, with many owners understandably wanting to pay tribute to iconic basketball player Kobe Bryant after his tragic passing. “Game of Thrones” names have also proven popular in recent years: Khaleesi was a top name in 2016, Arya ranked high in 2019 and Snow was a big name in 2019. With the prequel series House of the Dragon in full swing , don’t be surprised if the fantasy franchise continues to inspire dog owners for years to come.

You can see the entire Barkbus survey here.

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