Barbara Fitzgerald is an AKC Breeder of Merit and author of the column "Conversations with Champions" for the BCSA magazine, Borderlines.
Looking for a meaningful name for your female dog? We have compiled a list of the 50 most popular names over the last decade, along with their origins and meanings. The meanings of some of these may surprise you!
The Art of Naming Dogs
Over the years, we have discovered that there is an aspect of self-fulfilling prophesy in naming dogs. As they say, be careful what you wish for, you may get it! Choose a name that embodies the essence of the temperament and personality you want to see shine through in your new canine companion. Interestingly, many of these names signify protection, purity, or bravery.
The 10 Most Popular Female Dog Names of the Last Decade
- Maggie: The diminutive of Margaret, which means "pearl." Pearls symbolize purity and innocence and are associated with the moon.
- Zoe or Zoey: Of Greek origin, it means "life" or "alive." Fitting for an active puppy!
- Lucy: Lucy is the diminutive of Lucille, which means "light." Lucille was also the name of B.B. King’s famous guitar. Name your dog Lucy and you can call her favorite toy "Lucille’s ball."
- Molly: Molly means "wished-for child." Perfect if your puppy is like a child to you. Famous Mollys include the Unsinkable Molly Brown of the Titanic.
- Daisy: Of English origin and refers to the flower, which has white petals surrounding a yellow center (daisy literally means "the day's eye"). Daisies represent innocence, purity, and cheerfulness.
- Sadie or Sally: Both are diminutives of Sarah, a name of Hebrew origin meaning "princess."
- Sophie: Of French origin. It is short for Sophia, which means "wisdom." Famous Sophies include Academy Award-winning actress and Italian politician Sofia Loren and Academy Award-winning screenplay writer, director, and actress Sofia Coppola.
- Princess: Princess needs no explanation, perfect if you plan on spoiling her rotten!
- Chloe: Of Greek origin, meaning "verdant" and "blooming."
- Lady: English for a well-born female. The Disney cartoon film Lady and the Tramp still inspires many people to name their dogs Lady!
The Newest Popular Female Dog Names in 2019
Over the course of the last 10 years, these dog names have been on the rise in popularity for American pet owners.
- Charlie: Familiar of Charles, which means "free man" in German. CHarlie is popular for both male and female dogs, consider the old perfume "Charlie."
- Lola: Spanish, diminutive of the name Delores; it means "lady of sorrows."
- Luna: Roman goddess of the moon.
- Stella: Spanish name in origin, meaning "star."
- Poppy: Due to the poppy seed's restful qualities, the poppy is associated with sleep, beauty, messages in dreams and luxury. Following World War I, the poem, In Flanders Field, popularized the poppy as a symbol of remembrance.
- Olive: Olives represent peace, dignity and beauty.
- Reagan: Irish name meaning "little ruler."
- Ruby: The ruby symbolizes pure love, loyalty and good fortune. What more could you ask for from your new best friend?
- Shadow: Shadow is a charming dog name for a pup that is closely bonded to her owner.
- Sydney: A Norman baronial name, Sydney means of the wide island or wide stream.
- Willow: The willow tree represents life and fertility in addition to balance, learning and harmony.
Favorite Names for Female Guard and Watch Dogs
- Bailey: A gender-neutral word of English origin that means "law enforcer," "steward" or "public official." It's an excellent one for a dog that likes to control the situation.
- Lexi: A variation on Lexie and short for Alexandra, this name is derived from Greek, meaning "defender of man."
- Lulu: Tuetonic in origin, Lulu means "famous in war."
- Casey: Celtic and Gaelic in origin, Casey can be used for both males and females; it means "brave."
- Riley: Irish origin, the name means "courageous."
- Sasha: The Russian diminutive form of Alexander, Sasha means "defender of man."
- Sandy: Greek and English in origin, Sandy also means "defender of man."
- Pepper: Angie Dickenson’s character in Police Woman: Tough, smart, and beautiful; terrific for a female guard dog.
Top 10 Royal, Regal Names for Female Dogs
- Athena: Greek goddess of wisdom, war, courage and patroness of the arts, has recently become one of the most popular female dog names.
- Chloe: Epithet (or added name) of Demeter, Greek goddess of the harvest. Chloe or Khloe, was added to her name during the summer season and harvest.
- Cleo: Though short for Cleopatra, the famous and final active pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, the name is Greek in origin. Cleopatra translates into "glory of the Father." Following her demise, Egypt became a province of the Roman empire.
- Maya: Hindi and Persian, in Hindi myth, Queen Maya is the mother of Siddhartha, the given name of the Buddha. In Old Persian the name Maya means generous.
- Princess: Popular name for regal female dogs; another variation on Princess is the Italian form, "Principessa."
- Sheba: Arabic in origin, it refers to an ancient kingdom and is also a diminutive of Bathsheba. The Queen of Sheba figures prominently in the tales of King Solomon. She traveled to meet King Solomon after having heard of his great wisdom, bringing with her a fortune in gold to give to him as a gift. She was greatly impressed by his wisdom, and offered blessings to his God. It is believed that the two kingdoms then engaged in very profitable commerce with each other. The Queen of Sheba is widely regarded as a shrewd business woman and just ruler of her kingdom.
- Riley: Gaelic or Irish origin, Riley means "descendant of Roghallach."
- Heidi: Of Germanic origin, Heidi means "of noble birth"— fitting for noble German breeds.
- Ruby: This red jewel is considered the queen of gems and the gem of kings. The ruby is considered a talisman of prosperity, passion, and protection.
- Ziva: A Hebrew name meaning brilliance, light, and God or godlike.
Popular Dog Names With Holy or Religious Significance
- Angel: A spiritual being and celestial attendant of the lord. One who is angelic is exceptionally beautiful and kind. Angel is a lovely name for a devoted canine companion blessing her owner with unconditional love.
- Madison: Derived from Matthew, Madison means "gift of God."
- Lola: Diminutive of Dolores and Spanish in origin, Lola means "sorrow" or "Mary of the sorrows."
- Annie: Diminutive of Anne, Annie means "gracious" and "merciful."
- Samantha: Samantha is relatively recent and of American origin—its first recorded use was in 1800. Samantha is the female form of Samuel, Hebrew for "his name is God."
- Holly: Derived from the evergreen plant with red berries associated with the holidays, Holly takes its roots from the word "holy."
- Tasha: Russian in origin, Tasha is the diminutive form of Natasha, which means "born on Christmas Day."
- Hannah: A Hebrew name, Hannah means "grace."
- Gracie: The diminutive of Grace and means "blessed" or "blessing." The three graces of Greek mythology reigned over splendor, mirth, and good cheer.
- Katie: A nickname for Katherine, Katie means "pure."
- Ginger: A common nickname for those with red hair, ginger symbolizes purity.
Top 23 Female Dog Names That Mean Cute or Beautiful
- Bella: Bella is Italian for "beautiful." It also alludes to Beauty and the Beast. Charming for any dog that is beautiful inside and out.
- Fang: Chinese - Means virtuous or beautiful.
- Roxy: An English name of Persian origin, Roxy is short for Roxanne or Roxana, which means "dawn" or "bright." Roxana was also Alexander the Great’s wife. Name your girl Roxy if you want a clever dog that gets you up early in the mornings for her walk.
- Rosey: The diminutive of Rose and Roselyn, Rosey is of French descent meaning "red hair," lovely for any of the red-coated breeds such as Irish setters and chow chows.
- Emma: A variation of Emily, meaning "industrious" or "hardworking." It's ideal for the energetic working breeds such as the Doberman and Rottweiler or any of the sled dogs.
- Lilly: This lovely flower is the symbol of beauty, innocence, and purity.
- Abby: Short for Abigail, Abby means "one who gives joy."
- Mia: The diminutive form of Maria, it means "of the sea." Great for a water-loving retriever or spaniel.
- Stella: Of Latin origin, Stella means "star." Stella was also Stanley Kowalski’s wife in Streetcar Named Desire. You too can call for Stella with the same angst as Marlon Brando.
- Luna: Luna is the Italian and Spanish word for "moon."
- Dixie: Dixie comes from the French word dix, meaning "ten." When Louisiana was still a French colony, a ten dollar bill was called a dix in that region. In time, the nickname for southern states became Dixieland and ultimately Dixie.
- Shelby: Appropriate for both male and female dogs, Shelby is of English origin and means from the town in the hollow.
- Penny: Short for Penelope and of Greek origin. Its meaning can be interpreted as "white shouldered" or "with a web or veil over her face," perfect for a female dog with a white blaze or collar, like a border collie or rough collie.
- Mika: Japanese for beautiful, also pronounced Miku.
- Missy: Short for Melissa, a figure from a Greek myth. Melissa was a nymph who rescued Zeus from his father, Cronus, who wanted to kill and eat his children (Cronus had killed his own father and therefore viewed children as a threat). Melissa cared for the baby Zeus by feeding him honey with milk. When Cronus learned of her treachery, he turned her into an earthworm, but Zeus took pity on his former nursemaid and turned her into a honey bee. Melissa is seen as a civilizing force that taught mankind to move past its violent, barbaric nature to become more caring and refined.
- Nava: Hebrew name meaning beautiful.
- Dakota: Native American from the Sioux Nation. The word means "allies."
- Chelsea: Chelsea is a port in England.
- Coco: Spanish and French— iconic and known worldwide is "Coco" Chanel. Some believe her nickname is an allusion to "Qui qu'a vu Coco," a song about a lost dog.
- Misty: English and American in origin, Misty means "covered in mist or dew."
- Sassy: Of English origin, Sassy means "full of one’s self" or "insolent."
- Zuri or Suri: Swahili meaning beautiful.
- Baby: Nobody puts Baby in the corner….
Still Need Inspiration? Enjoy These Dog Name Ideas
- 101 Brown Female Dog Names
Inspiration for naming female dogs of all shades of brown.
- 20 Female Greek Names That Make Cool Dog Names
Greek goddesses and heroines have amazing powers and gifts that every good dog could use. This list contains meaningful names that will enhance her canine super-powers.
- 40 Meaningful Native American Names for Female Dogs
The Native American languages offer a wide variety of meaningful names for our canine companions.
- 30 Cute Dog Names from Cartoon Characters
These cartoon characters elicit fond memories that will help you bond quickly with your new canine companion.
Rebecca on August 25, 2020:
my dog is called margo
Mia on August 24, 2020:
I have a German Shepherd female named Peachy. peachythedog.wordpress.com
Nimisha on July 10, 2020:
stefany Orozco or tiye on June 08, 2020:
my puppy´s name is donya
doggo on May 14, 2020:
i used to have a dog named luna. i love that name. luna also means moon in spanish :3
Barbara Fitzgerald (author) from Georgia on April 06, 2020:
Hi Lulu: I named a puppy Faith. She was the smallest in her litter and I was concerned she would not survive. The litter had a country music theme, so she was named for Faith Hill. Others were named Hank, Patsy, Cash, Travis and Buck.
Lulu on April 05, 2020:
Sunny on March 28, 2020:
My dogs name is Sunny
Flyboy on December 13, 2019:
Angie on December 07, 2019:
I have a German Shepherd female named Lexi.
Ilsa_Feldman on October 14, 2019:
lulu is my baby!!
Honey on May 08, 2019:
Montana Hillis on March 08, 2019:
I like shadow
Kellie on February 12, 2019:
I used to have a dog called rocky and my daugter just got a pup named Roxy lol
Shara on August 30, 2018:
Love my Jada
JAtt on August 26, 2018:
Rocky and Roxy
Mimi on July 15, 2018:
Taffy is a good name! It means “A personality that is both kind and feisty”
Nadiya on March 29, 2018:
I want a prouper name for my dog
Barbara Fitzgerald (author) from Georgia on February 01, 2018:
Ginger has not been one of the tp names, but may be on the rise!
lady smith on February 01, 2018:
why didn't you think of ginger???
Sheryl Claxton on November 04, 2017:
Roxy is a good name for a dog
Bobba on June 22, 2017:
Do you think Cyra is a good name for a ligth brown short whippet? I was wondering how that goes with the new puppy from spain! I LOVE ANIMALS
Barbara Fitzgerald (author) from Georgia on June 22, 2017:
That is a beautiful name Estella. Thanks for sharing!
Estella O'Dell on June 21, 2017:
I named my new Black Pug puppy Midnight Pearl.. Midnight because she is so black you can't see her in the dark and Pearl because she is such a true gem like black pearls
lily on May 09, 2017:
I love dogs
Ma Bear on June 17, 2016:
My 15 year olds name is Cinnamon Sugar Bear. She is 1/2 Chow and her name fits her. She looks like a brown bear cub.
Essence on January 12, 2016:
I love these dogs
peachy from Home Sweet Home on March 29, 2015:
i love tasha and mia, exceptionally special names
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on October 06, 2014:
I love the Earth Day names - great choices!
Barbara Fitzgerald (author) from Georgia on October 06, 2014:
I love coming up with original names, however discovering the meanings of some of these names was surprising. One of my dogs is named Cave; which I have been told is weird. lol. It is actually an old French name. He was born on Earth day, so the whole litter had Earth related names. The boys were Cave, Clay and Rift and the girls were Eden, Delta and Terra.
Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on October 06, 2014:
Of your top 10 names from the last decade, we've had dogs with three of them. No, we've never been accused of being original!
Barbara Fitzgerald (author) from Georgia on June 20, 2014:
Hi Dr. Mark - I have a penchant for unusual dog names too, like my boy Cave. When I named Luna, I thought I had invented it as a dog name. Then it seemed like every other dog I met was named Luna. I should have checked the lists first lol. Anyway, as to be expected, she is a luna-tic.
Thanks for dropping by and reading!
Dr Mark from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on June 20, 2014:
This is really interesting. I am not into popular names, but enjoyed reading these meanings. I knew a few of them but several, like Molly,were new to me. Thanks; now I am looking forward to your hub on the 50 most popular male dog names!