If you’ve been at the dog park lately, you probably haven’t heard too many owners calling out for pups with names like Sparky or Fido. When it comes to dog names, today’s owners are going for edgy monikers with a little extra flair. And with that notion, hipster dog names are on the rise.
“By definition, hipsters aren’t into anything too mainstream, so they probably wouldn’t give their dogs common pet names like Rex or Finn,” says author Andrea Bartz. “This means that they will likely go to greater lengths to find a unique or underground name, especially with a cool backstory, i.e. naming the dog after an obscure city or a character in an esoteric movie.”
Karla Haas, an animal rescue worker who has renamed over 1,000 homeless dogs, has a theory as to why this is happening.
“I think it’s part of a bigger trend of the anthropomorphization of animals, dogs in particular. We are putting clothes on them, they are going to daycare,” she says, adding that current generations are getting married later in life, putting off having children, and therefore treating their fur babies as their kids.
“They are naming their pups children’s names in a lot of cases,” she adds. “They are [also] branding their pet’s names on dog collar, dog bowls, dog beds, stockings. People are thinking puppy names through a lot more; they aren’t just grabbing a name like Fido.”
Here are 11 hipster dog names that are flourishing today:
“This is commonly associated as a girl’s name though it was made popular by [male football player] Peyton Manning,” says Laurie Bogart Morrow, author of “The Giant Book of Dog Names.” The name also means “noble” in Latin, she says.
If you change the spelling to Payton, the name represents a variation of the Irish name Patrick, and could work well as a name for Irish dog breeds like the Irish Wolfhound, Irish Setter, Kerry Blue Terrier, Irish Water Spaniel or Wheaton Terrier, she says.
Haas sees this popular dog name being associated with a pup that is precious, while Morrow says that, because amber itself is a fossilized tree resin of a deep golden color, the name is an “attractive female name for any deeply gold-coated dog, such as a Golden Retriever.”
“Hipsters want to come across as having an intelligent canine companion. Oliver is a quiet, reserved, intelligent name,” says Haas. “If a Pug would be wearing thick glasses, that would be an Oliver.”
Morrow adds that it’s trendy to name a male dog Oliver and a female dog Olivia. “Oliver means ‘olive tree’ in Latin and has associations with the Bible, symbolizing peace and fruitfulness,” she says. “People also name their pup Oliver after ‘Oliver Twist.’”
Haas has noticed that naming your dog after a city or a popular neighborhood is definitely trending.
“The name Chelsea has a tie in to the hipness of London or New York,” she says. “I am also seeing people naming their dogs after states. There are Dakotas and Montanas.” She adds that the name Chelsea is usually reserved for Labradors or other short-haired dogs like Pit Bulls.
“This is an old school name that people are modernizing,” says Haas. Typically, she sees Sadies with a bit of red on them. “It’s like a freckled girl name for a dog,” she says, noting that a lot of mixed-breed dogs will have the name Sadie.
“A female dog name. If she was a real person, she would be a pig-tailed red head,” says Haas. “This is a peppy, happy, active name. It brings Pippi Longstocking to mind. It suits a very cute and sweet dog.”
“This is a hipster name that never goes out of style,” Hass says. “It’s a name given as a cool, older man sort of name, to give the dog some kind of status as being serene and stately,” Haas says.
She adds that Hank can be used as a nickname for Henry, and that Henrys are often Bloodhounds, Basset Hounds, Vizslas and Shepherd mixes.
Hass calls Duncan a cute name name for a goofy dog.
“It pairs perfectly with a mixed breed that is just a little silly. Or, if you name a purebred Duncan, you do something edgy and change the spelling to be something like ‘Dunkin,” she says.
That’s another trend Haas has noticed: owners changing the spelling of their dog’s name to have it stand out more.
In recent years, Morrow has seen more dog owners name their pups after characters in Greek mythology. “These names have stood the test of time,” she says. Other fun examples are Achilles, Argos, Hermes, Midas and Jupiter.
Using Middle Names
Giving a dog a middle name or two names is something that Haas sees very frequently (and feels very hipster). The trend is especially hip if you can combine two names to fit artfully together.
“A friend of mine named her dog Sirius, like the star, and his middle name is Lee. So his name is Sirius Lee,” says Haas. “People are putting names together that are cute that mean something else when combined.”
Haas herself owns a Frank Lee. “Like ‘Frankly I don’t care,’” she says.
Offbeat Celebrity Names
The edgier these are, the better, says Haas. Hipsters are also naming their pups after obscure film characters, such as Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride” or after professional athletes.
Nicole Pajer is a freelance writer who lives in Los Angeles with her husband, energetic Doberman, and rat terrier.