How Dogs' Names Have Changed Through History

By Kelly Villa, April 2019, Updated August 2021

​Picking a dog name is pretty important business—it’s the name you’ll call your dog for the rest of their lives. You need to pick a name you love, so, how do you decide? More recent popular names include Bella, Luna, Charlie and Max. But how have popular dog names changed over time? When did Maximiliano become just Max?

Audley Village investigated this question and shared with us how dog names have evolved across history. As our relationship with dogs have changed, their names have changed along with them.

Medieval Dogs

In the Middle Ages, most dogs were workers. These dogs were practical ‘tools’ used for hunting, herding, and guarding. During this period, these working dogs were more often simply named a description of their physical appearance. While smaller lapdogs had more endearing names, they were clearly doted on.

​​​​​Male: ​Holdfast, Magastomo, Nosewise, Ringwood, Sturdy, Whitefoot

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​Female: ​Bellina, Clenche, Dyamant, Purkoy, Terri, Venus

"I speak to my hounds as I would to a man... And they understand me and do as I wish better than any man of my household, but I do not think that any other man can make them do as I do."

​–14th century hunter Gaston, Comte de Foix​

17th Century Dogs

King Charles I is widely known for his devotion to his spaniels which were named after him. During this period, dog names were often less about their working status or physical appearance and more about their personalities. A dog’s presence in the home was more accepted and often depicted in 17th Century artwork.

​Male: ​Bangor ​, ​Blue​-man​, Chante​r​​, ​Drunkard​, ​Thunder​, ​Tickler​, ​Rapper​, ​Spanker 

​Female: ​Beauty​, ​Countess​, Daphne​, Darling, Duchess​, ​Jenny​, ​Juneau​, ​Moxie

"​B​ulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been s​at on. My hounds are bred out of the Spartan kind; so ​flew'd so sanded​; ​their heads are hung with ears that sweep away the morning due..."

–​William Shakespeare​

Victorian Dogs

The modern idea of dogs as family member was brought forth in the Victorian era. This radical change in our view of dogs was reflected in the popular names chosen for dogs at the time. With animal rights brewing and the foundation of the RSPCA in 1824, dogs were firmly cemented as important parts of our households.

​Male: ​Albert, Arnold, Cyril, Dante, Ernie, Ezra, Fletcher, Owen, Ruben, Wyatt

​Female:​ Ada, Arabelle, Ariella, Clara, Cordelia, Gertrude, ivy, Lucinda, Myrtle, Rosetta

​"​The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven not man's​"

Mark Twain​

Modern Dogs

​In recent times, dogs play a significant role in the lives of families, they are often thought of as children. The names we give them are reflective of that feeling, both dog and baby names have similar names at the top of the list.

​Male: ​Charlie, Max, Archie, buddy, Ollie, Milo, Oscar, Bailey, Alfie, Cooper

​Female: ​Bella, Luna, Ruby, Molly, Coco, Daisy, Lucy, Rosie, Lola