It's not easy to name a pet.
The name has to fit.
It has to sound right.
It shouldn't be something that will haunt you in the future, say, if your dog runs straight into a tree at the park and you shout "No, Einstein, no!"
The name can't be too long. "Come here, Benedictine!" doesn't work because the dog will lose interest by the time you get to the third syllable.
(Of course, that wasn't always true. According to Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella, a Roman author of agricultural guides who lived from 4 to 70 A.D., dog names should be chosen from the great canines of literature. That's why the Romans had dogs burdened with Oresitrophos or Melanchaetes.)
Everyone in the family must agree on the name, which generally means Dad loses and swallows his objections and finds himself calling "Here, Foofoo!" at the dog park.
And, finally, the perfect dog name can't be too common.
If we go by old movies and cartoons, dogs were either named Fido, or Rex, or Spot. These days we've expanded the nomenclature, but many people still choose the same name.
How can you avoid having a common moniker for your pup? Easy: Consult this new list of popular pet names for the Twin Cities, complied by Rover.com, an online service for arranging pet care.
In the Top 10 names for male dogs, the least popular is Buddy, which is generic but friendly. No. 9 is Finn, a "Star Wars" name that suggests a lot of 10-year-old boys got naming rights in 2020.
Next up: Bentley (No. 8) works if your dog cost a lot and has his own heated kennel. Teddy (7) and Max (6) are classics. Oliver (5) will no doubt be shortened to Ollie, which will no doubt confuse the dog.
Gus (4) seems perfect if you have a basset hound, or some breed that's a bit phlegmatic.
Cooper (3) is close to the top, to no one's surprise. There are a lot of Coopers out there. But perhaps there shouldn't be.
The name comes from the English term for a barrel maker, someone who makes containers to transport goods. Dogs do not transport commodities, therefore the name is quite inaccurate. (Please point this out to anyone you meet who has a dog named Cooper. They will undoubtedly appreciate the information.)
Tucker comes in the No. 2 spot. Could be a reference to the TV host. Could be a nod to the ill-fated automobile designer whose vehicles are highly prized today.
And the No. 1 name: Charlie.
If you want to avoid an overused name, consider skipping this one. But, if you think about it, Charlie really is a good name for a dog. In fact, all male dogs, at heart, are Charlies.
Females and felines
The Top 10 female dog names all end with vowels.
Starting from the No. 10 spot, there's Maggie, then it's Zoey, Bailey and Stella (7). We stick with vowels for Ruby (6), Lola (5) and Daisy, an old-fashioned name that goes back to the Blondie comics in the 1930s. Lucy (3) is still popular, but has slipped in the standings since. Luna (2) is on its way up.
The top name for female dogs around these parts? Bella.
It's very cute and civilized, with a hint of European sophistication. It's also the last thing you want to be shouting when your dog is chewing on a dead vole.
According to the survey, some local folks are naming their dogs after foods: Cheesecake. Chili. The latter is understandable. The former is not. Can you imagine ever saying "Cheesecake, no! Bad Cheesecake!" It defies reason.
If you're wondering, yes, they listed cat names, too.
Oliver is the top male cat name. Lucy is the top name for female felines.
But let us consider, and applaud, the people who choose the second most popular female cat name: Kitty.
For cats that are called that, the entire world is the bar in "Cheers." Everyone knows their name.