DOWNTOWN — It’s the question every new parent must face: Go with a trendy name like Stella, pick a family name like George, get creative with something like Hambone or —
Well, when you’re talking about dog parents, anything’s on the table. Block Club analyzed city data to find the most popular dog names in Chicago. As it turns out, old classics like Fido and Spot aren’t nearly as popular as you might think — at least in the city.
And, yeah, there’s a Hambone (actually, two of them) getting walked around Chicago.
RELATED: Have An Epic Dog Name Idea? Play Our Contest And Name A PAWS Shelter Pup
The most popular name for Chicago’s pooches: Bella, with a whopping 430 dogs registered with that name since August 2015, according to data from the City Clerk’s office. The runners-up include Max (385 dogs) and Charlie (383).
The data included almost 43,000 dogs (though, of course, not everyone actually registers their pup with the city).
The top 10 most popular dog names in Chicago:
- Bella: 430 dogs
- Max: 385 dogs
- Charlie: 383 dogs
- Rocky: 296 dogs
- Lucy: 289 dogs
- Coco: 261 dogs
- Daisy: 236 dogs
- Lola: 231 dogs
- Buddy: 231 dogs
- Bailey: 208 dogs
Wrigley (125 registered dogs) was also a popular pick — and, no surprise, it is most common in northeastern neighborhoods around Wrigley Field. Cubs star Anthony Rizzo shares his surname with at least 32 pooches, including one named Antony Rizzo. (Other Cubs favorites Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber have at least one dog each using their last names.)
There are at least three dogs named White Sox, plus another four named Comiskey.
And don’t worry, hockey fans: The Blackhawks get some love, with 24 dogs named Kane or Kaner and eight named Toews or Toewser.
Of course, some people choose names that are a little more … unique. The data shows at least one pup named Albus Dumbledore, a famed wizard from “Harry Potter;” another named Ziggy Starpup; one named Meatloaf and a rottweiler named Persephonepomgranat, among other creative choices.
Check out which dog name is most popular in your zip code:
There are few people who have more dog-naming experience than the crew at PAWS Chicago, a large, no-kill animal shelter. Stacy Price, PAWS’ director of Animal Operations, said most of the animals who come into PAWS don’t come with names.
That means the PAWS team has to come up with a new name for more than 5,000 pets a year, and they have to give the pets those names as soon as they come into the shelter. They tap into all kinds of resources for help: They ask visiting children for suggestions, look to movies, books and current events for inspiration and talk to each other for ideas.
The staff tries to make the names “accessible and relatable,” Price said. They’ve also used themes: During the Cubs’ World Series run, they had a group of dogs named after Cubs players and team icons like Harry Caray. At least once a year, they’ll have a litter of kittens or puppies named Harry, Hermione or Ron from “Harry Potter.”
One recent favorite? Price said a litter of puppies came in with the last name Pickles, and they named one of the pups Picasso Pickles.
Those who adopt PAWS’ dogs can change the pets’ names, Price said, and it’s “a nice touch” when they choose a name that’s personal to their family. Price fostered a dog named Ruby and, by the time Price adopted her, the name had stuck. But they renamed their other dog Scout after the main character of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
And some of the dogs do come in with names, which means PAWS’ staff has been able to see the changing trends among Chicago’s pooches.
“We see a lot of Bellas. We see a lot of Stellas. Wrigley is a really popular name in Chicago or for Chicago people,” Price said. “It definitely goes in cycles just like children’s names do. We don’t see Rufus or Fido or Fluffy or any of those names that used to be popular. We’re seeing a lot more human names, which I think comes from the fact that people are seeing their pets as family … .
“I can’t tell you the last time I saw a Spot,” she added.
(As it turns out, there have been just 22 Spot or Spots registered since August 2015, while there have been more than 165 Stellas.)
Jenny Duda, of Bucktown, is among those who chose an uncommon name: Her pup, a 2½-year-old goldendoodle, is named Zip Adee.
Duda’s husband grew up being made fun of for his last name, she said, with people singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” to get a rise out of him. When they decided to get a dog, they knew they wanted to turn the tables.
“We figured, ‘Instead of getting made fun of … we’ll just embrace it. We’ll name our dog Zip Adee Duda,'” Duda said. “It just always makes people laugh and smile.”
Carla Coelho and her boyfriend, John Davis, of Bronzeville, rescued two dogs in June 2015. The pups had previously been named JLo and Henrietta, but Coelho said those names didn’t fit.
Coelho has always loved eggs but also wanted a more formal name for her new English bulldog. And Davis had always wanted to name a dog Bacon, Coelho said, and when they heard a song with the lyrics “bacon soda” they knew it’d make for “the craziest name” for their newly rescued beagle.
That’s how they settled on Eggs Benedictina and Bacon Soda.
The unintentional breakfast theme ended up working out perfectly, as Eggs and Bacon quickly bonded and have become inseparable, Coelho said. (Plus, Coelho and Davis have “fed them their names,” she said, and both pooches love bacon.)
“Eggs and Bacon, definitely — it suits them so much better,” Coelho said. “Doesn’t that just go together? … They really just kind of complement each other.”
If you’re trying to find a name for your own pooch, Price suggests choosing one that’s “short” and “pithy” because long names can make it harder to hold a dog’s attention during training. Names that have stories behind them can also be “endearing,” she said.
Duda recommends new dog owners not rush into a name — unless they have something “clever” in mind — but instead wait to see what name fits their pup’s personality. Coelho also suggested picking a moniker that owners won’t get tired of.
“I always tell people make it something that you’re comfortable saying over and over and over again,” Coelho said. Joking, she added, “Give them a name where you have no problems screaming it at the top of your lungs.”
The most popular dog names in each Chicago zip code:
|60651||Coco and Brownie|
|60615||Lucy and Coco|
|60636||King and Max|
|60649||Max and Diamond|
|60612||Lucy, Penny, Bella and Duke|
|60624||Rocky, Cooper, Lola, Chris and Cowboy|
|60603||Winnie, Lily and Hank|
|60666||(No registered dogs)|
|60618||Rocky and Bella|
|60602||Willy, Ella, Dory and Hedwig|
|60608||Max and Bella|
|60607||Bailey and Bella|
|60827||Palmira and Kobe|
|60630||Lucy and Charlie|
|60604||(No single-most popular name)|
|60620||Lady and Luna|
Source: City Clerk’s Office dog registration records, August 2015-Present