“This post contains affiliate links, and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.”
One of the most unusual years in modern history, the events and antics of 2020 influenced every corner of our lives—including our pets’ names! This year, COVID-19, Kobe Bryant, RBG, binge-watchable television, and other 2020-inspired events served as inspiration for pet parents picking names for their newest companions.
Rover.com, the world’s largest and most trusted network of five-star pet sitters and dog walkers, unveiled its eighth annual report of the year’s most popular pet names—illustrating the cultural impact of COVID-19, all the way down to how Americans are naming their pets. This year’s data confirms that regardless of species, breed, or sex, our pets are truly a reflection of our passions, our day-to-day realities, and an enduring sense of humor.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only gave rise to the more obvious names, like Covi (up 1,159 percent), Rona (up 69 percent) and Corona (up 24 percent), it also led to the emergence of names like Fauci (a new name in 2020). The pandemic has brought about a new reality for many Americans, as well, with self-isolation and less socialization becoming the new normal. Binge-watching television is now a common pastime in most households and new pet names are a reflection with Geralt, from The Witcher, up 9,308 percent (the number one trending dog name in 2020), Mando, of The Mandalorian on Disney+, up 2,658 percent (the number two trending dog name of 2020), and Tiger King’s “Carol” [Baskin] is trending up 46 percent in dog names.
“Examining the trends in pet names provides a snapshot of the year gone by and 2020 has never been a better example, with cultural events, new everyday realities, shifting sentiments and emerging icons really influencing how pet parents name their pets,” said Kate Jaffe, trend expert for Rover. “Unique stressors, like coronavirus, coupled with people increasingly working from home, has led to a boom in pet adoption rates and a strengthening of the human-pet bond, so it’s no surprise that the days of simply naming a dog Fido are long gone.”
The humanization of pets continued in 2020, as revealed by Rover’s survey. The majority (58 percent) of pet parents said their pet either has a human name or they would consider a human name in the future. The majority of respondents (62 percent) also said they have anywhere from a few nicknames to too many to count. And, if you’re looking for proof that the naming process is a reflection of individuality, look no further than the fact that only one in ten pet parents kept the name their pet already had.
What’s in a name, exactly? Rover examined this year’s data to learn where today’s pet parents are drawing inspiration.
Social Isolation Gives Rise to Binge-watching, Streaming, and Television
- Geralt, from The Witcher, is the number one trending dog name in 2020 (up 9,308 percent).
- Mando, of The Mandalorian on Disney+, is the number two overall trending dog name of 2020 (up 2,658 percent).
- Tiger King’s “Carol” [Baskin] is trending up 46 percent in dog names.
- Are pets named “Ellen” cancelled? Surprisingly, no! Pets named Ellen are actually on the rise.
- Keeping Up With the Kardashians Ends… and so does their popularity among pet names. Khloe, Kourtney, Kim, Kylie and Rob are all trending down this year.
- Are RuPaul’s Drag Race superfans also pet owners? Ru is trending up 59 percent in dogs and 30 percent in cats.
COVID Restrictions = More At-Home Time for Gaming
- Midas (Fortnite), Hanzo (Overwatch) and Shep (Animal Crossing) are all up for both dogs and cats, which is no surprise as people spend an exorbitant amount of time at home gaming due to COVID.
- Call of Duty names are on the rise with Griggs up nearly 60 percent for dogs and Gaz up 250% for cats. Ghost is also trending up for dogs.
- Midas isn’t the only Fortnite name trending this year. Blaze and Banshee are trending up in cats, while Raven is up for dogs.
Music as an Outlet
- For the second straight year, Lizzo is trending up (458 percent in 2020) in dogs. Lizzo is also trending up 100 percent for cats, whereas Kanye and Drake are trending down in cats.
- Kanye is up 33 percent and Nas is also trending up, whereas Drake, Beyonce and JLo are trending down for dog names.
- Taylor Swift continues to remain a popular dog name, trending up 92 percent in 2020.
- The top 5 trending music-inspired cat names include Lady Gaga, Lizzo, Katy Purry, Catsy Cline and Beyonce.
- East Coast vs. West Coast: Biggie and Tupac are both trending among dogs this year. Shout out to “Biggie Paws” trending up 258 percent.
COVID, Please Don’t Take Our Sports!
Sports names as a whole are trending down this year among dogs and cats, which could be tied to the fact that we had no live sports for most of the year due to COVID. However, there are exceptions.
- In commemoration of the beloved Kobe Bryant, Kobe (16 percent), Mamba (111 percent) and Black Mamba (58 percent) are trending up in dog names this year. Kobe’s daughter, Gianna is also trending up 20 percent.
- Fan favorite LeBron James is trending up among dogs and Michael Jordan is trending up in cats (The Last Dance).
- Soccer player Neymar (58 percent) tops the list of the most trending athlete-inspired dog names of 2020.
- Tom Brady is trending upward, as the TB12 brand reaches a new market (“Tompa Bay”).
Marijuana-inspired names are alive and well among cat and dog owners in 2020.
- The name Ganja is the top trending marijuana-inspired name for dogs at 658 percent, followed by Hash (58 percent), Sativa (33 percent), Haze (21 percent) and Dank (13 percent).
- For cats, Hash (100 percent), Cheeba (50 percent), Ganja (50 percent), Indica (39 percent) and Mary Jane (11 percent) are the top trending names.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
- Dogs named Ruth are up in 2020 and dogs named Ruth Bader are up 19 percent.
- Cats named Ruth are up 16 percent.
You think that’s punny?
Pun-inspired names are trending up slightly with cats, down with dogs.
Top 3 for dogs: Sherlock Bones (309 percent), Karl Barx (59 percent) and Bark Wahlberg (59 percent)
Top 3 for cats: Fuzz Aldrin (251 percent), Katy Purry (101 percent) and Catzilla (101 percent)
Who is top dog?
2020 Top Female Names for Dogs
Bella (top baby name), Luna (top baby name), Lucy (top baby name), Daisy, Lola, Saidy (top baby name), Stella (new to the top 10; top baby name), Molly, Bailey, and Chloe (new to the top 10)
2020 Top Male Names for Dogs
Max, Charlie, Cooper (top baby name), Buddy, Milo, Oliver (new to the top 10), Leo (new to the top 10), Bear, Rocky, and Jack
For a full list of the top dog names and trends of 2020 as well as the top pet names in 26 local markets across the US, please visit here. To see the top male and female cat names and trends of 2020, please visit here. Top Pet Names reports were also created for the UK and Canada.
The Top Pet Names 2020 report was developed by Rover between September and October 2020. Results are based on analysis of millions of user-submitted pet names provided by owners on Rover.com. Secondary data was collected by a Rover survey conducted via Pollfish among 1,000 U.S. adult pet owners in October 2020.
Founded in 2011 and based in Seattle, Rover.com® is the world’s largest and most trusted network of five-star pet sitters and dog walkers. Rover connects dog and cat owners with pet care whenever they need it. Millions of services have been booked on Rover, including pet sitting, dog walking, in-home boarding, drop-in visits, doggy day care, and grooming in select markets.
As The Dog People®, Rover makes it easier for people to have pet love in their lives through the Rover Guarantee, 24/7 support, vet consultations, and GPS walk tracking. And by sharing expertise on TheDogPeople.com, a trusted resource for millions of dog and cat parents worldwide, Rover provides tips and articles that delight, inform, and enhance the bond between people and their pets. To learn more about Rover, please visit http://www.rover.com.