There’s a lot of pressure when choosing a name for your dog. On the one hand, you don’t want to go with anything too common—your Very Special Boy isn’t an average Spot, after all. On the other, you don’t want to embarrass Smoochie McSweetiepants at the dog park, either.
So, what’s a dog parent to do? Consider looking to pop culture for a little inspiration. While it might be a bit strange to name a child after your favorite “Golden Girls” character, Blanche Devereaux makes a pretty fantastic moniker for your Cocker Spaniel.
“Dogs never have to worry about spelling their name on the first day of school, so any pressure to choose a ‘normal’ name pretty much evaporates,” says Abby Sandel, a baby name consultant and senior editor at Nameberry.
From rappers to divas, athletes to actors, here are some of our favorite pop culture dog names:
If there was ever a pop culture name to borrow for your pup, it’s Snoop Dogg. Aside from the obvious canine appeal, the rapper has an array of aliases, which comes in handy for pets.
“It’s always helpful to consider possible nicknames,” says Sandel. “Even if you never shorten it, others in your household might be tempted.”
In this case, your family has plenty of options: Snoop, Snoop Doggy Dogg, Snoop Lion, DJ Snoopadelic and Bigg Snoop Dogg. Or of course, you could go old-school with Mr. Dogg’s birth name, the equally great Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.
If your pup’s breed is of the more vocal variety—we’re looking at you, Beagle friends—consider a crooner namesake such as Frank Sinatra. Like Snoop, Frank brings some pretty great nicknames to the table: Ol’ Blue Eyes, Swoonatra, The Voice and Chairman of the Board, to name a few.
“The Chairman of the Board chewed up another pillow.” Now, how fun was that to say?
William H. Macy
Some celebrity names are funnier than others. A Bulldog named Tom Cruise? Amusing, sure. But a Bulldog named William H. Macy? Now we’re talking. The key is choosing someone whose name is recognizable enough and fun to say, but not tabloid-cover famous. You might also consider Don Cheadle, Kathy Najimy, or Nathan Fillion.
Sir Patrick Stewart
When it comes to dog names, formal is funnier.
“There’s absolutely no reason pets can’t have formal names,” says Sandel, herself a fan of the ceremonious moniker. “My children are pushing to name our next pet Waffle. Should that happen, I will privately consider Waffle’s full name to be something like Waldemar Ambrose Felicitas.”
There’s nothing more dignified than a British honorific, so consider Sir Patrick Stewart. In addition to his fancy title, the actor is a dog lover and rescue advocate, and even fosters Pit Bulls. Other options include noted vegetarian Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Elton John and Dame Helen Mirrin.
Another perk to naming a dog is that, unlike with human babies, you can get to know your pet before deciding on a name.
“A few days of watching your new pet explore her world can be helpful,” says Sandel. “Is she cautious or daring? Does she seek out company or prefer a little space?”
Is she a pint-sized diva with a taste for the finer things in life? Your Pomeranian might be the perfect Mariah Carey. To live up to the name, you’ll have to keep her well-groomed and plenty pampered—as if you had a choice.
If your pup never misses a Frisbee, consider naming him after one of the NFL’s star wide receivers. We’d suggest Terrell Owens for his signature mix of skill and silliness—after all, how many football players have you seen jump in the cheerleaders’ kick line?—but Pood-dell Beckham Jr. has a nice ring to it, too.
Much has been made of Steve Buscemi’s distinct eyes (which, thanks to a popular meme, we now know are absolutely terrifying when Photoshopped onto female celebrities).
We happen to think they’re lovely—if not slightly reminiscent of a Pekingese. We guarantee Steve Buscemi the Peke will be a total hit at the dog park.
When choosing a name, you want to set your pet up for success. You wouldn’t, for example, expect Lindsay Lohan the Labrador to behave herself. Similarly, you might find yourself projecting naughty tendencies onto Charlie Sheen the Cockapoo.
But what about Tom Hanks the Terrier? You simply know Tom is going to be a good boy—how could be anything but?
Allegedly, Gwyneth Paltrow has a Maltese named Daffodil. But ask yourself this: Can you imagine Gwyneth Paltrow walking a dog? Or petting a dog? Or being in the same room as a dog? Of course you can’t—and that’s why Gwyneth Paltrow is the perfect ironic name for the scraggly mutt who stole your heart at the shelter. See also: Bethenny Frankel.
The two most popular dog names of 2017—Bella and Lucy—could be interpreted as nods to “Twilight” and “I Love Lucy.” For a less subtle reference that’s way more fun to say at the groomers, choose a character that’s distinctly non-canine.
The “Friends” cast has plenty of great ones—Chandler Bing might be one of the best names in TV history. But the animal-loving, smelly cat-sympathizing Phoebe Buffet is the natural fit. Phoebe also comes along with some options when you want to change things up: her nickname, Phebes, as well as her alter ego, Regina Phalange.