Canada’s top pet names in 2023 read more like a trending X feed than a pet registry. Pooches and pussycats are being named after everything from celebrities to fast food, and it seems nothing is sacred in the pet-naming game anymore.
Pet care mega site Rover has revealed the quirkiest choices in its annual Most Popular Pet Names and Trends report, after analyzing millions of user-submitted pet names.
“A lot happened in 2023 and the names we lovingly chose for our pets reflect our most memorable moments,” said Kate Jaffe, a trend expert at Rover. “The country’s national emblem [and 5th most popular food-inspired pet name], Maple, proves Canadians still tap into nostalgia when it comes to naming their best friends.”
Leading the pack in Canada for female dog names were Luna, Bella, Daisy, Molly, and Lucy. The top male dog names were Charlie, Milo, Max, Cooper, and Leo. For cats, the top five female names were Luna, Lily, Bella, Lucy and Nala. And, the top male cat names were Leo, Milo, Charlie, Oliver, and Simba. It seems the cat kingdom is having its own Lion King moment.
Joining the ranks of more traditional favourites are the Swifties — no, not the fans, but the army of pets named after Taylor Swift. It seems T-Swizzle’s world tour wasn’t just a hit with humans; pets are also now bearing the names of her famous feline trio: Meredith Grey, Olivia Benson, and Benjamin Button.
“The popularity of the name Swifty has surged by 173% among cats this year, while Swift has debuted on the list for the first time. Additionally, 2023 saw Swifty being a new entrant in the dog names category. In the realm of music-inspired names for dogs, Harry, Elvis, and Willie have emerged among the top trending choices.
Then there’s the sports arena, where names like Gretzky and Connor are skating into pet owners’ hearts, proving that Canadians will never miss a chance to celebrate hockey. Inspired by Oilers forward and top NHL scorer in 2023, Connor McDavid was up 63% this year. (McDavid’s doggo Lenard even has his own Instagram account). New to the list was the team-inspired name Canucks.
And let’s not forget the food-inspired names. Cupcake (up 358%) and Burrito (up 773%) are topping the list, begging the question: are we naming our pets, or just listing our favourite foods? Hearing names like Almond, Banana, and Toast yelled at the dog park might make you wonder if you’ve walked into a hipster café or a pup playground.
But the influence doesn’t stop at snacks and sports. The silver screen and TV shows have left their mark too. Names like Barbie (up for dogs by 34%), Margot (up 12% among cats), and Wednesday are moving in the ranks, making pets ready for their Hollywood debut.
Sci-fi fans are taking cues from The Mandalorian for their pet names. Ahsoka saw a 573% surge among cats, while Mando jumped 473%. For dog names, Grogu is up 91%. Interestingly, cats are also being named after the show’s star, Pedro Pascal, with Pedro up 23% and Pascal skyrocketing 473%. (No matter that the actor was dog parent to a Yoda-eared pup named Edgar.)
Rover’s report confirms that when it comes to naming our furry friends, creativity knows no bounds, and neither does our love for all things trending. Next time you’re at the dog park, hearing names like Swifty and Gretzky, just think of it as a tail-wagging tribute to this year’s highlights and a cultural snapshot of current Canadian obsessions and joys.