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Tough and Badass Dog Names -- Outlaws and Gangstas

Updated on November 18, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian in Brazil. He also trains dogs, mostly large breeds, and ones that suffer from aggression problems.

Yes, Margaret, even tough dogs smile. They just don´t dance.
Yes, Margaret, even tough dogs smile. They just don´t dance. | Source

A lot of dogs need tough names. Well, maybe not need, exactly. But a lot of dogs look great wearing a tough name—whether it's a guard dog that needs a gangsta name to match its brawny exterior or a little, scrawny dog that needs some street cred.

In this article, we'll look to real world and pop culture for tough-name inspiration. Since dogs respond best to two-syllable names, here is a list of two-syllable dog names inspired by:

  • Rappers, singers, and bands
  • Outlaws
  • Prisons
  • Names that mean tough things
  • Mythological figures
  • Tough-sounding words

Male and Female Dog Names Inspired by Rappers, Singers, and Bands

A lot of musicians adopt “gangsta,” outlaw images. Some of them are real, some of them are just acting up for the videos, but all of them have great names:

  • 2Pac
  • Akon
  • Arcade (short for Arcade Fire, an alternative rock band)
  • Bruno
  • Busta
  • CeeLo
  • Dido (female)
  • Fergie (female)
  • Ice Cube
  • Ke$ha (female)
  • Jayzee
  • Linkin
  • Neyo
  • Shaggy
  • Outkast
  • Pitty (female, a Brazilian singer)
  • Tayo
  • Twisted (short for Twisted Sister, an older acid rock band with a tough, “We´re not gonna take it” image)
  • Usher
  • Waylon (a country singer with an outlaw image)
  • Wyclef
  • Youngbloodz

Does this list give you any ideas? There are a lot of new bands that I have not put on the list—if one of them has a name that gives off the vibe you want for your dog, consider using it. Again, just keep in mind that good names for a dog need to be two syllables, like those in the list above. "Chamillionaire" might be a cool name, but it isn't something you should expect your dog to respond to.

Some dogs need help to be tough. A good name helps with the image.
Some dogs need help to be tough. A good name helps with the image. | Source
OrangeTag 17"-20" Black Faux Leather Spiked Studded Dog Collar 2" Wide, 31 Sp...
OrangeTag 17"-20" Black Faux Leather Spiked Studded Dog Collar 2" Wide, 31 Sp...

I have a pitt bull, and people already give her space, even though she is the sweetest thing in the world.

This collar just makes them that much more nervous!

I love it.


Outlaw Dog Names

Here are famous outlaws, both real and fictional, that you can name your dog after. The suggested name is in bold—for example, for "Baby Face Nelson," it's much easier to call "Nelson" than "Baby Face."

  • Bonney—Billy the Kid's last name
  • Bonnie—from Bonnie and Clyde
  • Lizzie Borden—ax-murderer
  • Butch Cassidy—bank and train robber
  • Al Capone—the boss of the Chicago mafia
  • Genghis Khan—founder of the Mongolian Empire. Though not everyone considers him an outlaw, it's impossible to deny that he killed thousands of people.
  • Jesse James—murderer and bank and train robber
  • Theo Kojak—NYPD detective lieutenant from the 70's TV series
  • Baby Face Nelson—murderer and bank and train robber
  • Robin Hood—fictional English outlaw who stole from the rich and gave to the poor
  • 'Tila—short for Attila, the Hun who ruled over a huge swath of Asia and Europe in the 400s
  • Darth Vader—fictional villain in Star Wars
  • Pancho Villa—famous general in the Mexican Revolution
  • Vlad the Impaler—the prince of Wallachia who fought the Ottoman Turks
  • General Zod—fictional villain in various Superman comic-book series

Or you can avoid all of these and just call him “Outlaw” or “Bandit."

Prison Names

This might not be for everyone, but you could always name your tough dog after a notorious prison:

  • Chino—a state men's prison in San Bernardino County, California
  • Folsom—a state prison near Sacramento, California
  • Hatfield—a men's prison and Young Offender's Institution in Yorkshire, UK
  • Lompoc—a federal men's prison in California
  • Parchman—the oldest maximum security men's prison in Mississippi
  • Raiford—Florida's state prison, which houses its execution chamber
  • Rikers—New York City's correctional facility, which sits on Rikers Island
  • Sing Sing—a maximum security state prison in New York
  • Yodok—a political prison camp in North Korea famous for its human rights violations

People with Tough Names:

Father of peace
Strong in faith
Strong in battle
Short for Alexander; a defender of men
Man of steel
Short for Alexander; a defender of men

As soon as you find a name, get your tough puppy a name tag. Be sure to include your cell phone number on the tag. His or her life may depend on it some day.

Also talk to your vet about a microchip the next time you visit.

Tough Guys from Mythology

Here are famously tough men and women from various religions and Greek and Norse mythology:

  • Ares—the Greek god of war
  • Atlas—the Titan in Greek mythology who carries the world on his back
  • Ajax—a hero in Greek mythology who was so strong and skilled in battle that he held off the entire Trojan army at one point during the Trojan War
  • Bacchus—the Greek god of wine. I am not sure how tough this god was, but he did get up every morning and throw another party, never taking a day off to nurse a hangover.
  • Hades—the Greek god of the underworld
  • Hera—as Zeus's wife, she was the queen of Greek gods. Known for her vengeful personality, Hera is the mother of Ares, mentioned above, and Eris, the goddess of discord.
  • Loki—a Norse god or giant, Loki is a shapeshifter famous for causing trouble. After being punished by the gods, who tie him up with his son's entrails and leave him under a venom-dripping serpent, his convulsions are said to be the cause of earthquakes.
  • Maia—one of the daughters of Atlas who helped teach Bacchus as a child and eventually turned into the constellation Pleiades.
  • Neptune—the Roman name of “Poseidon,” the Greek god of the sea. This name is a great choice for a dog that likes water
  • Samson—a biblical man of superhuman strength
  • Shaitan—Satan's Arabic name
  • Thor—the Norse god of thunder
  • Titan—Titans were the Greek giants of incredible strength who preceded the Olympian gods

Tough dogs do not need to hang out at the gym and pump iron, but it helps.
Tough dogs do not need to hang out at the gym and pump iron, but it helps. | Source

Tough-Sounding Words

And there are a few words that just sound tough:

  • Ammo
  • Bouncer
  • Bruiser
  • Brutus
  • Champ
  • Crusher
  • Dozer
  • Duke
  • Hitman
  • Kevlar
  • Nitro
  • Rampage
  • Razor
  • Reaper
  • Rhino
  • Spike
  • Tonka
  • Turbo
  • Scandal
  • Sniper

Remember, not all dogs will live up to their tough name. You can always try one, though.
Remember, not all dogs will live up to their tough name. You can always try one, though. | Source

I named my pit bull “Ajej,” which is the Moroccan Arabic word for “sandstorm.” That may not seem tough enough for some people, but the storms in north Africa are fierce enough to drive grains of sand into your flesh, and I have seen bikers lose control of their motorcycles when hit with one of these winds. That's a tough storm.

There are a few rules you should remember when naming any tough puppy:

  • Don’t forget to choose a name that has one or two syllables. A lot of good names with three or more syllables did not make this list. A lot of people would like to have a dog called “Dillinger,” for example, but names longer than two syllables are difficult to use for commands. Of course, if you have a long name that you really like, you should use it, but be sure to find a good nickname.
  • Do not use any name that sounds similar to the name of a dog you already have.
  • Don´t give your new dog a name that sounds like one of his training commands—“Grit” may be tough, but it sounds too much like “sit”! If you give him a name that sounds like one of his basic commands, he is going to get confused and not perform when he should. None of the dog names I have suggested in this list sound like any commands.
  • Give your dog a name that commands some respect and stay away from the dog names I would not use. Most tough dog lists will recommend movie names like Rambo and Rocky. There are worse choices, but I would not want to make my dog go through his life with a name like that.
  • Do not name your dog “Puddles” after an accident at the carpet. It may be funny at first, but will get old real fast.
  • Do not brand your new dog with one of the overused dog names. Cody and Buster may sound good, but they are also going to be one of the most common names you run into when you take your dog to the park or to the vet. Your dog is an individual, and the last thing he needs is to be just another Harley. Every dog deserves a unique name!

© 2013 Dr Mark


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    • profile image

      Paula 2 months ago

      I had a female red heeler named her Thistle someone stole her. But I thought the name was different. I raise heelers. My second love now is a jack Russell his name is Torque.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 11 months ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Hi Jennifer, I think Ruger sounds good, or how about Mossi (for Mossberg)? Cali will work too. (Caliber). Good luck with them, sorry to hear about the other dogs.

    • profile image

      Jennifer 11 months ago

      We had 2 blue pits named Bella and Trigger but our house was broke into n the shot our dogs as they came out the door so we have 2 new pups we named our female maci and I was thinking ruger for our male but I'm not sure since we didn't name out female remi short for Remington what do you think I have had them 2 weeks and we haven't decided on our little guy a name yet and our female has her name bc my daughter isn't gonna have it any other way

    • profile image

      jenny salvador 16 months ago

      what about spooky ?

    • profile image

      Anonymous 20 months ago

      I have a 7 week old female blue pitbull and i would like to give her a badass name not a mean or tough name just something that sounds cool

    • profile image

      lol 22 months ago

      lol at this alexander in greek **** it's Albanian and it means the Boy from the Dream ALEANDERR

    • profile image

      caddy 24 months ago

      Name my dig caddy after my favorite car Cadillac

    • profile image

      Darcy 2 years ago

      This website was very helpful. Thx

    • profile image

      Deegsma 2 years ago

      We had a beautiful fawn bluie pit bull. He was the best dog EVER!, his name was Deegan. Tough ass name for my gentle giant. You can add to your list or use if anyone is looking for a dreat dog name.

    • profile image

      Samantha 2 years ago

      Hi! I just brought home an AM staf - white and black. Wanting a strong loyal name...

      Btw this page is great!!

    • profile image

      karenweir 2 years ago

      I would have wanted a meaner name but that was good

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 2 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I think Gunner or Gunter sound tough, like a good boy. What kind of dog are you expecting?

    • profile image

      peeps popper 2 years ago

      How about thunder or guntner leave me a comment which one it's a boy.

    • profile image

      Calie 2 years ago

      I have a great name, I named my puppy, Kryptonic.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Chi Chi! Did he walk in the room carrying an extra-small muzzle? Great story.

    • B Lucy profile image

      B Lucy 3 years ago from Podunk, Virginia

      Love, love, love this hub. Voted Up and across the board. I have a mastiff my daughter named Chi Chi which of course people use for chihuahuas. Imagine the vet's surprise when he walked in expecting a little peep and finding a beast! Very good advice about the short names - dogs respond well to one or two syllables. Chi Chi progressed to Cheech which I think is also an awesomely badass name!! Thanks so much for this hub!!

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Great idea, Cheeky Kid. I knew someone (years ago!) who named his 200 pound dog "Kitty", since who is going to expect a huge slobbering dog to appear when he calls out "Here kitty, kitty"?

    • Cheeky Kid profile image

      Cheeky Kid 3 years ago from Milky Way

      Lol. Why not do the reverse and give them a "girly" name. Not sure but that way, they might sound suspiciously more tougher...and funny. hahaha.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks Jackie the name Lockjaw sounds tough!

    • profile image

      Jackie Reinke 3 years ago

      What about Lockjaw from the pet avengers? He's a beasty bulldog. You could always add Riddick on there too. Especial for dogs whoseem to be able to escape from anywhere. And then there's Diesel. Like Vin Diesel.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I guess Oreo has trouble being tough, but you never know. He could tell the other dogs that he hangs out with a bunch of tough dragons!

    • KnowWhatImean profile image

      KnowWhatImean 3 years ago

      My dogs are named after food - Flour and Oreo, but my Bearded Dragon's name is Doomagheddon, the Redoomagheddoning. We call her Doom though. :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      It really depends on her personality too, Morgan. I am boarding a Red Nose that always looks sad, and a tough name just isn't right for her.

      If you have a tough little puppy, what about naming her Chino (after the prison in California)? Does that work for you?

    • profile image

      Morgan Paige 3 years ago

      I have a chinaman pit puppy she's blue. . Any ideas on a name for her?

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks, carrie.

      Mquade works! It does not roll off my tongue, but then again not all of the good ones do.

    • profile image

      Mquade 3 years ago

      Mquade from Chuck Norris movie, LoneWolf Mquade is sweet.

    • carrie Lee Night profile image

      Kept private 3 years ago from Northeast United States

      Interesting and just a fun hub :) thank you for sharing

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks for the share, Solaras.

      DavidG, is your white Pit a red nose? I have a bunch of red nose Pitbull names

      or white dog names at

      Whatever, just pick something different!

    • profile image

      DavidG 3 years ago

      Named my first pit Axe, after the lone survivor.... soon came to realize there was an Axe murderer too. Tough as it gets but now I'm having trouble with my second pit because he's all white... so don't know?

    • Solaras profile image

      Solaras 3 years ago

      Great List Dr. Mark - Pinned and Shared!

    • bodylevive profile image

      BODYLEVIVE 3 years ago from Alabama, USA

      Our first pit came from our son's pit bull, Titus. He was first pick and was given to us without a name, we called him Conan. Our second pit was given the name Eragon. I chose these names because of their breed. Conan only lived to be 4 months old. Eragon will be 8 years old comes his birthday in August.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks Bob, Kojak is such a good one that I had to edit and add it. I wasn´t quite sure where, though! Maybe I should skip over and add it to my Sitcom Dog Names. (calm down, I am just kidding; you guys from Mass are really sensitive)

      Hi Mary thanks for stopping by. This list was fun to put together, too. That is the best part about working in a niche you enjoy!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      What great lists you have here. I'm sure a lot of them will be used now that you've so graciously pointed them out. As always your advice is right on the money.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Bob Bamberg profile image

      Bob Bamberg 4 years ago from Southeastern Massachusetts

      Nobody names their dog Kojak, after the tough Telly Savalas character in the 1970s TV series of the same name. Isn't that a good one? Maybe it's too close to Cujo.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      Thanks Billie! Zod is such a cool outlaw name I had to edit this and put it on my list. That name really sounds tough!!

    • Billie Kelpin profile image

      Billie Kelpin 4 years ago from Newport Beach

      I'm very afraid of tough dogs, especially when my fearless, naïve, little llapsha/shih-tzu Scooter growls at them, but this is fun. How about Zod? as in General Zod in "Man of Steel"? or Khan as in 'the wrath of...'? oooh, "Tony" (for Tony Soprano) - too much fun. back to work

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 4 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

      I did the same thing with my Maltese, Kristen. I am not sure if that was an excuse for his swagger or not!

    • Kristen Haynie profile image

      Kristen Haynie 4 years ago from Modesto, CA

      This is pretty cool! I like to use tough names like many of these for my small pets: parakeets, bunny rabbits, kittens, etc. I think it's funny. There are lots of great ideas in this Hub! Thanks for sharing!