Santa Barbara
82° F
Santa Maria
79° F
San Luis Obispo
77° F
76° F

More people give human names to pets

By Darlene Dunn, Staff writer
Published On: May 12 2011 10:06:15 AM CDT
Updated On: Aug 29 2013 04:22:05 AM CDT
dog on grass

It used to be that dogs were given names such as Fido, Spot and Rover. Those days are long gone."Pets are a member of the family," said Anabel Conner, who has three dogs -- Sheba, Fawn and Ella.

"The trend in naming pets is going toward more human names," said Conner, who is also the community leader of Parents Connect.Parents Connect also provides a database of more than 11,000 dog and 27,000 baby names at and, who considers herself a name expert, said that in addition to choosing names that are more human like, there are a few rules that dog owners should follow.She said it is important to use vowel sounds and give a name that has no more than two syllables.

"They can really pick up on them. It gets too complicated with more than that, but give a name with a punch to it," she said, because a pet's name is crucial in training.

"Any pet, as soon as they can ID their name, (that) is the first step in training," Conner said.

Three syllable names are OK for pets other than dogs and cats, however.

"You can name your snake Cleopatra," she said. "It's not going to come."

She followed the rules when naming her dogs, although Fawn's name was really difficult to come up with.

"She is a husky. I wanted something to do with nature but, as she was a member of my family, too, I just wanted her to have a name that a person could have, too," Conner said.

Conner said she really likes the name Ella, so that name was easy."

Ella is a name I have always liked, and in my job as a name expert, compiling data and giving advice about baby names to people all the time -- it is one that I had seen that I really liked," she said. "It is a very popular name, though, and one that I wouldn't use for a child of my own, only because I see so many little Ellas and Bellas being named every day."

Theme Names

Lori Krout, creator of, agrees that dogs are being given more human names.

Her website uses research from the Veterinary Pet Insurance, one of the country's largest pet insurance companies. VPI provides the names given by the policyholders. Krout said they track names for dogs, cats, birds, reptiles and exotics.

Krout said the trend toward using human names is driven by people who view their pets like children.

"Dogs before were used for work on the farm and different occupations. People would keep them outside in a dog house," Krout said. "Nowadays, they are in the house, even sleeping in the bed sometimes."

Krout also has a few guidelines for naming a dog.

"Have fun, be creative and maybe use a theme," she said. "Also, think about that you will be calling it this all the time, so you don't want it to be some long, crazy name."

Krout said that "theme names" for families with more than one pet commonly come from movies and books, such as Thelma and Louise, or Gable and Bogart.

Krout even chose to give one of her dogs a name from a book. She has Otis, Sofie and Guinevere, who is usually called Guinny.She said Guinevere is named after a character in "Camelot."

For fans of Harry Potter, Krout has compiled a list of possible pet names from the popular series.

Her Web site also has a list of dog names with Australian origin for breeds such as the Australian cattle dog and Australian shepherd. They include names such as Bikkie and Ace. The meanings are also included.

O Names

Some people believe that giving a dog a name ending with the vowel O may make a dog think that the owner is saying, "No."

Krout said she does not believe this rule is true.She pointed to the popular dog name Coco. It is No. 16 on the list of popular girl dog names.

What's Your Ferret's Name?

While a lot of attention is placed on cat and dog names, it is becoming increasingly popular for people to give a lot of thought to the names for their other pets.

Conner said on PetNamesWorld's message boards there are several questions and comments about other pets.

One comment Conner said, "I just got a new rabbit. What should I call him?"

The site includes pet names for birds, ferrets, fish, guinea pigs, hamsters, horses, lizards, mice, pigs, rabbits, rats, snakes and turtles.

An advanced search on the site allows users to enter a name and determine if it is suitable for that type of animal. The search also helps users narrow the name's origin.


The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Body of Isaiah Sanchez Recovered at Cachuma Lake

    Santa Barbara County sheriff rescue crews have found a body near the place where Isaiah Sanchez went missing.

  • Ellwood Fire

    Explosion at Goleta Apartment Complex Leaves One Man Hospitalized

    Santa Barbara County Fire crews responded to an explosion and fire at an apartment complex on 447 Ellwood Drive in Goleta.   Fire officials received the call at around 7:00 p.m. One person was injured and taken to the hospital with severe burns.  The apartment manager helped put out a small fire that broke out after the blast. The explosion and fire are still under investigation.  The fire did not spread to any adjoining apartments.

  • Santa Paula Reserve Police Officer Resigns After Posting Video About Bicyclists

    Volunteer posted a YouTube video joking about running over bicyclists.

  • Juvenile Hall Court to Host Gang-related Murder Trial

    The so-called "U-Haul murder trial" is expected to be another high security, gang-related trial that requires extra time and money to make it work at the Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall courtroom which is seen as the most practical venue.

  • dangerous dogs

    Orcutt Family Starts Petition to Change County Ordinance

    An Orcutt family is fighting to keep their dogs from being euthanized, and is now trying to change a county ordinance on aggressive dogs. The family has an online petition spreading their message on the internet in an effort to get the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisor's attention.

    Peggy Henning remembers the day her family welcomed Daisy and Duke into their family like it was yesterday.

    "They immediately just became part of the family," said Henning. "They were very friendly with all the guests we had coming over."

    But things changed when Daisy and Duke got loose. They liked chasing cats.

    "Dogs are pack animals and that is their default instinct," said Henning. "If they are bonded or litter mates, it intensifies that. They would get out of the confines of our house or yard and this instinct would come to the surface."

  • inspection_report_public_health_notice

    Health Inspectors Look Into Restaurant Bug

    Old Town Mexican Café in Old Orcutt has never failed an inspection in the past according to the Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services Department. On satruday several diners spotted bugs at the restaurant

  • What You Need to Know Before Accepting an Ice Challenge

    It's a challenge that has gone viral. It's known as "The Cold Water Challenge," but could this latest trend be harmful to your health?

  • New Family Friendly Tasting Room Opens in Solvang

     A new winery in Solvang recently opened their doors, and they are making their tasting room open to everyone.

  • Slideshow: Rescue Crews Find Body In Cachuma Lake

    Santa Barbara County sheriff rescue crews have found a body near the place where Isaiah Sanchez went missing.

  • Slideshow: Blondes VS Brunettes Charity Football Game

    A charity football game at the Polo fields in Carpinteria pits the Blondes vs Brunettes. The all-women football teams duked it out on Saturday to raise funds for the Alzheimer's Association. Both teams fought fiercely but in the end, only one came out the victor.

    Photography by Oscar Flores.