Pug, dog wrapped in blanket

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

NEW YORK — In a season 11 episode of HBO’s hit comedy “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Larry David struggles to even utter the name of “Angel Muffin,” a dog he’s agreed to watch. His pure disgust for the name even winds up leading to a near-death incident for the pooch. As it turns out, he’s not alone when it comes to having a strong opinion about animal names. According to a recent survey, more than six in 10 admit to judging other people based on the names they give their pets.

A recent study asked 2,005 Americans to describe the thought process they use when choosing names for their animal companions and found that one in four Americans say they like to name their pets after food.

Pet name game

In addition to the 28 percent of respondents who’ve given their pets delicious-sounding monikers like “Meatball” or “Biscuit,” 36 percent give their four-legged friends “human” names — such as Jessica or Kevin. That’s compared to 32 percent who prefer “traditional” pet names like Fido or Fluffy.

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of PupBox, the survey also asked what themes people use when naming multiple pets in the same household. The most popular choices include pop culture icons and fictional characters (37%), followed by historical figures (33%).

For individual pet names, 38 percent would use an interesting name of an acquaintance for inspiration, while a similar percentage would get their inspiration from movies, TV shows, books, and music.

Unusual names can help a pet stand out, for better or worse, as 68 percent say they are more likely to remember a name (human or animal) if it is unique or out of the ordinary.

“Selecting a name for your new puppy can be a lot of fun, but you’ll want a name that you love saying (and hearing) since you’ll be calling your pup a lot the first year,” says Ariel Zvaifler, co-founder of PupBox, in a statement. “You’ll want to consider length of name, how many syllables, and if it sounds like other words (which could confuse your pup).”

pet names

The selection process

The poll also looked at the most common traits people consider when naming a pet. Just over half the poll (51%) look at the pet’s gender, followed by 49 percent who consider the pet’s personality, while 42 percent look at their animal’s size.

With so many factors to consider, it’s no wonder that 85 percent of pet parents have given their pet at least one nickname. Almost two-thirds of those claim they use their pet’s nickname so often that they’ve forgotten their companion’s actual name.

When it comes to training, 55 percent of respondents say it took longer than two weeks for them to teach their pet its name.

That’s perhaps why almost six in 10 believe teaching an animal its name is one of the hardest parts of getting a new pet, and another 58 percent expressed concern about how to train their new companion.

“Bringing a new addition into the home is extremely exciting, but the thought of training a new puppy can also be a bit overwhelming. Some key tips for your new training journey include rewarding good behavior, being consistent and doing lots of reps with your pup,” says Zvaifler. “I also suggest keeping training sessions short and fun, filled with treats, pets, and words of encouragement! Training classes are another way to go, or if you prefer to train at home, check out training sites or puppy subscription boxes that come with puppy training guides.”

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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