What we’re naming our dogs

Good bye Spot, hello Molly!

Hear the words “Good girl, Molly!” or “Jake, don’t eat that!” and without visual context, it’s difficult to say these days whether you’ve stumbled onto a children’s playground or into the local dog park.

As Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) confirms in its release of the top 10 dog names for 2007, we’re christening our canines with names fit for humans, reflecting the trend that an increasing number of us — almost half, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association — consider pets part of the family.

Top girl dog names
1. Bella
2. Molly
3. Lucy
4. Maggie
5. Daisy
6. Sophie
7. Sadie
8. Chloe
9. Bailey
10. Lola
Top boy dog names
1. Max
2. Buddy
3. Rocky
4. Bailey
5. Jake
6. Charlie
7. Jack
8. Toby
9. Cody
10. Buster

This trend toward “people names” for our four-legged children runs wide, with a few exceptions–it’s unlikely Buster, Buddy, and Rocky will ever jostle for space on school rosters.

So as we spend more and more on our nation’s pets — lavishing our dogs with gifts, clothing, and bakery items rivaling any you’d find in a Paris café — doesn’t it make sense that the names we’re choosing for them are also more precious? The move away from Spot, Sparky, and Rover toward Chloe, Lucy, and Max suggests, in essence, that we now perceive our pets in much the same way we do our own children.

It’s interesting to note that we seem to be clinging to the same set of human names. Max and Molly have been topping (or close to topping) the list for the last four years, while Sam, Sasha, and Zoe float in and out of the top ten. Which raises the question: Is it possible future parents may soon hesitate to name their daughters or sons Molly or Jake because they know too many dogs with the same names?

As for 2008, expect the trend to continue. With the pet industry growing at a rate of about eight percent, it may be a while before you attend a doggie Bar Mitzvah. But if you happen to meet a Basset Hound named Steve, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Looking for more dog name inspiration? Visit our dog names section for hundreds of ideas!

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