Teeuwynn has owned dogs her whole life. She has enjoyed the companionship of everything from Pugs to Newfoundlands.
Find the Right Nordic Name for Your Dog
There is a whole world of places to get dog names from. So how do you narrow it down and find the perfect name for your pooch? One way is to look for what a name means. Mythology and history are great places to turn to for names brimming in meaning. Everything from gods and goddesses to warriors, nymphs and even mystic locations can make great names for your dog or puppy.
Norse mythology has a wealth of meaningful names. This mythology comes from the region of Northern Europe known as Scandinavia. A pantheon of gods led by Odin, the All-Father, have adventures, fight their enemies and each other in the myths.
In this article, we'll look at:
- Names out of Norse mythology, including gods and goddesses, giants and giantesses, dwarves, animals, places and more
- The stories behind these figures
- Tips for matching your dogs' personalities and breeds with these names
- The role of wolves and dogs in these myths
- Names from Scandinavian and Viking history, including real-life figures and common or popular names during this era
- How to give your dogs Viking-style nicknames
7 Male God Names
- Pronunciation: OH-din
- Meaning: Frenzy
- Background: The head of the Norse gods, Odin is known as the All-Father. He is a god of battle, prophecy and poetry, among other things. Odin keeps close contact with the wild, mystic warriors known as berserkers.
- Naming Tips: This name might suit the leader of the pack!
- Pronunciation: THORE
- Meaning: Hammer
- Background: Thor is the god of lightning, thunder, storms and strength. He lifts a mighty hammer (perhaps the most famous weapon in Norse mythology), but a dog named Thor might go and fetch it!
- Naming Tips: Thor is usually described as having red hair, so this name might be good for a red or russet dog. Due to Thor's enormous strength and valor, this name would also obviously work for a dog who is the guardian for the household.
- Pronunciation: FRAY
- Meaning: Lord
- Background: Frey—brother of the goddess Freya—is the god of rain, sun and harvest time. Perhaps because he’s connected with such important and happy aspects of Norse life, he is beloved by all.
- Naming Tips: A sunny, peaceful dog like a Golden Retriever might be a good candidate for this name.
- Pronunciation: LOAK-ee
- Meaning: Tangler
- Background: The trickster god, Loki can manipulate just about anything, even having the ability to change his own form and gender. Loki has a love of pranks and will go to elaborate ends to play jokes on others. He can be selfish, but he is also the funniest of the Norse gods.
- Naming Tips: This might be a great name for a puppy who loves to play games.
- Pronunciation: BALD-er
- Meaning: Shining one
- Background: Another especially beloved figure in Norse mythology, Baldur is good, kind, handsome and cheerful. Some scholars believe Baldur's name means “white," and he is sometimes described as having a light coming from within.
- Naming Tips: Baldur could be a wonderful name for a light-colored dog or one that is particularly kind and friendly.
- Pronunciation: TIER
- Meaning: God
- Background: Tyr is a Norse god often invoked for victory in battle. He may also have been involved in law. He lost one of his hands to the giant wolf Fenrir when he was the only god brave and willing enough to place his hand within the wolf's mouth to get Fenrir to let the gods put chains around him. When the gods refused to let Fenrir go, he bit Tyr's hand off.
- Naming Tips: If your dog is especially courageous, Tyr could be just the name for him.
- Pronunciation: HAME-doll
- Meaning: Unknown
- Background: Heimdal is one of the Norse gods known as the Aesir. He is a continuously vigilant presence who guards the rainbow bridge between Asgard and the mortal realm of Midgard. Heimdal has amazing eyesight and only needs to rest a few minutes a day.
- Naming Tips: This name could be wonderful for a bird dog or watch dog.
8 Giant and Dwarf Names
- Pronunciation: JOTE-un
- Meaning: Glutton
- Background: Jotun are giants who are often in conflict with the Norse gods. Jotun are huge, but their appearance varies a lot otherwise. Some are beautiful, while others have claws in strange places or are somehow deformed.
- Naming Tips: The jotun are forces of chaos in the world. This could be the right name for your big, scrappy puppy.
- Pronunciation: EE-mere
- Meaning: Scream
- Background: This jotun—the very first—sprung into being when fire met ice. Not only did Ymir exist before the earth was formed, the world was made from Ymir's body.
- Naming Tips: Consider this name if you have an impressively large dog that seems to care for everyone in his pack.
- Pronunciation: SURT or SURT-er
- Meaning: Black
- Background: Surtr is a jotun, but more specifically a fire giant.
- Naming Tips: This name could suit a large, dark-colored dog, or one with a fiery personality.
- Pronunciation: SIN-dree
- Meaning: Spark
- Background: Sindri is one of the inventive dwarves who made Thor's hammer and Frey's golden boar.
- Naming Tips: This might be just the right name for a smart, lively little dog, like a terrier.
5–8. Austri, Vestri, Nordi and Sudri
- Pronunciation: AUS-tree, VES-tree, NORD-ee, SOOD-dree
- Meaning: East, west, north, and south
- Background: These dwarves represent, respectively, each of the four cardinal directions.
- Naming Tips: Keep these names in mind if your dog is a hiking companion with a favorite direction, or if your mama dog has a litter of puppies.
5 Goddesses, Giantesses and Valkyries
- Pronunciation: FRAY-ah
- Meaning: Lady
- Background: Frey and Freya are brother and sister gods. Freya is a goddess of love and fertility. She enjoys the finer things in life, and she is also a skilled magic user.
- Naming Tips: This name could be a good choice for a ladylike and intelligent breed, like a Poodle or a Collie.
- Pronunciation: SKAHD-ee
- Meaning: Shadow
- Background: Skadi is a giantess known for her hunting and skiing skills. She lived high up in the snowy mountains of the mortal world, but she traveled into Asgard to demand some form of compensation after the gods killed her father. She soon married the god of the sea, Njördr, and became the goddess of winter.
- Naming Tips: An independent and outdoorsy type, her name could suit a breed that loves to hike or frolic in the snow, like a Siberian Husky.
- Pronunciation: VAL-ker-ee
- Meaning: Chooser of the fallen
- Background: A valkyrie is a warrior maiden who looks at mortal battles and chooses the most brave that die to join the gods in the halls of Valhalla. The valkyrie prepare the gods' battle forces for the coming of Ragnarok—the end times battle. Valkyrie are always brave and stalwart, but they can be loving too.
- Naming Tips: Your little "Valky" might be a strong but sweet dog.
- Pronunciation: BRIN-hild
- Meaning: Protected by the shield
- Background: Brynhild is a renowned and beautiful valkyrie. Her stories inspired many pieces of literature and even operas. In most versions, she is the center of an intense and dramatic love story similar to “Sleeping Beauty.”
- Naming Tips: If your dog is a striking and noble heroine, she might be a Brynhild.
- Pronunciation: EE-dune
- Meaning: Rejuvinating one
- Background: Idun is the goddess of youth and springtime. She guards the magical “eternal youth” apples that the gods eat to maintain their immortality.
- Naming Tips: A dog that never seems to lose her puppyish spirit could be an Idun.
6 Wolf Names
- Pronunciation: FEN-rir
- Meaning: He who dwells in the marshes
- Background: Fenrir, a son of Loki, is a monstrously ferocious wolf. He is huge, with slavering jaws, and he's one of the most intimidating figures in Norse mythology taking part in Ragnarok, the destruction of the world.
- Naming Tips: Fenrir is a great name for any giant breed dog, particularly one used for protection. It could also be a great name for a dog that looks like a wolf, like an Alaskan Malamute or Alsatian Shepherd.
2 & 3. Geri and Freki
- Pronunciation: GARE-ee, FREH-kee
- Meaning: Greedy
- Background: It's said that because Odin was lonely, he decided to create friends for himself: two wolf warriors named Geri and Freki.
- Naming Tips: These names could be good candidates if you decide to adopt a bonded pair. And since Geri and Freki mean "greedy," so you might also consider these names if your bonded pair particularly loves their treats or toys.
4 & 5. Hati and Sköll
- Pronunciation: HAHT-ee, SKOHL
- Meaning: One who hates and one who mocks
- Background: Hati is a warg who chases the moon and eventually swallows it during Ragnarok. Sköll, on the other hand, chases the sun.
- Naming Tips: This set of names might work for a bonded pair. If your dogs love to chase, or if one loves the morning while the other loves the nighttime, you could consider these names.
- Pronunciation: GARM-er or GARM
- Meaning: Unknown
- Background: Garmr is a hellhound—the dog or wolf of the underworld. He protects Hel, who oversees the realm of the dead.
- Naming Tips: If your dog is protective and seems more intimidating than he actually is, he might be a “Garm.”
6 Other Mythological Names
- Pronunciation: RAG-nuh-ROCK
- Meaning: Fate of the gods
- Background: Ragnarok is a terrifying disaster that occurs sometime in the future in Norse mythology. When Ragnarok comes, there will be huge battles all over the world, and natural disasters like earthquakes and fires will occur. Gods will die. Eventually, the world will be swallowed up by water. But after this disaster, the world will reappear—clean once more—and will be repopulated by two surviving people.
- Naming Tips: This name might be great for a tough or intimidating dog who is very kind at his core and sweet to the family he loves.
- Pronunciation: MEYOL-neer
- Meaning: Lightning
- Background: Mjolnir is the name of the thunder god Thor's hammer. The hammer has a short handle and was made by dwarves. Mjolnir is so powerful it can level mountains to the ground with just one blow.
- Naming Tips: Because it is so stout and powerful, Mjolnir might make a good name for a heavier set or stocky dog.
- Pronunciation: GULL-in-BURS-tee
- Meaning: Golden bristles
- Background: Gullinbursti is Frey's boar, but he's not just any boar: He's golden (literally). Created as a special treasure for the gods by the same dwarves who made Mjolnar, he has a shining gold mane.
- Naming Tips: This could be just the right name for a stocky yellow dog, like a Corgi. If "Gullinbursti" is a bit of a mouthful to call out at the dog park, you could always use the nicknames "Gullin" ("gold") or "Bursti" ("bristles").
- Pronunciation: as-GARD
- Meaning: Enclosure of the Aesir
- Background: Asgard is one of the nine worlds of Norse mythology. It exists in the sky. It is invisible to the mortal world, but connected to it by a rainbow bridge called Bifrost.
- Naming Tips: This name could suit a quiet, beautiful dog with a heavenly disposition.
- Pronunciation: val-HALL-uh
- Meaning: Hall of the fallen
- Background: This is a grand hall of the afterlife in Asgard. It’s where the bravest mortal warriors go after dying in battle. They’re rewarded with lavish meals and luxurious celebrations.
- Naming Tips: This would be a good name for a dog who particularly loves the finer things in life, or a dog you adopted as your reward for a valiant effort.
- Pronunciation: ROON
- Meaning: Magic sign
- Background: Runes are a set of letters that make up a written language—the earliest runes date back to 150 A.D. In Norse mythology, it's said that the runes are magical and were given to mortals by the gods.
- Naming Tips: A very communicative dog may just be a Rune.
Real-Life Viking Names
Male Norse Names
Female Norse Names
How to Give Your Dog a Viking Title or Nickname
Because the Norse people didn't generally have last names, descriptive nicknames that sound a bit like titles were helpful ways of distinguishing people from one another: For example, "Erik the Bloodaxe" was not the same Erik as "Erik the Ale-Lover." Nicknames mentioned in the Book of Settlements include Ketil Flat-Nose, Ulf the Squint-Eyed, Thorstein Ill-Luck and Thurid the Sound-Filler.
If you've named your dog but would like to give him or her some extra Norse flair, you could single out your dog's most marked characteristic and create a nickname like one of these:
- Asgard the Long-Eared
- Helga the Dainty-Pawed
- Heimdal the Guardian
- Brynhild the Stalwart
- Loki Foul-Fart
- Gullinbursti the Fluff-Butt
- Sindri Loud-Bark
More Dog Naming Ideas
I hope you found the right Nordic name for your dog! But if you're still looking for other mythological name ideas for your pets, check out:
- Names for Your Dog Based on Greek Mythology
- Behind the Name: Mythology Names
- Norse Mythology for Smart People
© 2014 Teeuwynn Woodruff
Katelyn Keeton on June 11, 2019:
My older sister is getting a new dog and I think we will pick rune for it’s name
rube on April 26, 2019:
I love you loki
Teeuwynn Woodruff (author) from Washington State on June 15, 2018:
Thank you so much! I love intertwining myths and legends with meaningful names for pets!
Natalie Frank from Chicago, IL on May 31, 2018:
What a great idea for a hub! Lots of hubs may skillfully intertwine information from elsewhere on the net but this is truly creative. It's enough to make me want to get a dog!
anthony lewis on January 04, 2018:
thenames of the dogs have good meaning
Norm on October 25, 2017:
We named our Doberman Valkyrie. Valky for short. She's not that brave though. Scared of the vacuum. She talks (barks) a good game though.
steve on July 24, 2017: