From Stranger Things to feminism: the new inspiration for pet names

pet names

As the pet market becomes increasingly valuable and people treat their pets as family, something we’ve been tracking since 2016 at WGSN, it seems they’re now likely to name them as part of the family too.

Rover.com has launched its fifth annual list of the most popular dog names, and the favourites were inspired by top baby names, with pop culture being the most popular source. Interestingly, food and political names have trended down. Making the list are new sources of inspiration, including 2017 newsmakers like Wonder Woman, Taylor Swift and DoggoLingo

The company said pet owners are now using names as a way to express something about themselves and are becoming more thoughtful about the process. Last year 8% of all dog names were pop culture-influenced, with Stranger Things and Star Wars among the key influences.

Interestingly, for the third year in a row, the top baby names were also among the most popular dog names, reflecting the humanisation of dogs. In fact the company said that this trend has been growing year-on-year for some time, and last year 44% of of dog names were also human names (that’s up 57% since 2016).

“More than ever, we’re seeing pet ownership redefining the modern definition of family and home life. Many of today’s owners call themselves ‘pet parents’, a huge signal of the familial relationship modern pet owners have developed with their dogs,” said Brandie Gonzales, pet lifestyle expert for Rover.

Based on survey results, it said that 53% of dog owners reported having a pet named after a movie, book or TV character, a number that rose to 75% amongst Millennials. Stranger Things was popular with Barb, up 182% and Eleven, up 166%. Similarly, Star Wars names like Rey and Leia rose 70%.

Americans were inspired by strong female characters with Wonder Woman-themed names surging. The name Atwood leapt ahead by as much as 200% too, following the hit TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale last year.

Of course, celebrities got a look-in too, with Taylor proving popular (by beating the name Katy by 65%).

Rover also said that DoggoLingo, an internet-created language fuelled by love for dogs, was a new trend on the rise last year. The name Fluffer increased 500%, while names like Floof, Corgo and Woofer rose 52%.

Travel-focused Millennials also popularised pet names, with Sydney, Dallas, Phoenix and Indiana all ranking highly.

Nostalgia also played its part but, of course, it was nostalgia 21st century-style. So that didn’t mean in names like Fido or Rex, but rather names inspired by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Spice Girls and Harry Potter, accounting for 3% of the total.



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