27 January 2021
We have found that, while the puppy names in the UK’s top ten have stayed largely consistent over the past five years, names that have shot up the charts are predominantly from children’s and popular culture.
Comparing puppies registered with us in 2015 and 2020, one of the bigger influences appears to have been the Disney Pixar film, The Good Dinosaur. There were 659% more puppies named Arlo - the name of the star dinosaur in the film – registered in 2020 compared with 2015 – tying in with the film’s release.
Pablo, from the children’s animated series of the same name, seems to have been the inspiration for the 200% increase in puppies of the same name. And, the Nintendo Switch game, Animal Crossing, appears to have inspired several of the top movers, with ‘Moose’ seeing an increase of 323%, ‘Peanut’ up by 186% and ‘Rocket’ at 148%.
Marvel and fantasy
For the girl puppies, ‘Nova’ was the name with the biggest increase, seeing a rise of 700%. Although a male Marvel superhero, it seems that owners think Nova is the perfect name for their female puppies. The name ‘Lyra’ – the heroine from the hugely popular BBC series, ‘His Dark Materials’ – saw a rise in popularity of 238% among puppies.
Harry Potter remains a strong influence among the UK’s choice of puppy names, with ‘Albus’ – first name of wizard Dumbledore, rising by 150% in popularity. Luna – another of JK Rowling’s characters, enjoys popularity as a puppy name not just in the UK but across Europe too. At position 1 in the UK, Luna is also in the top 3 of puppy names in Denmark, Norway and Finland.
Bowie and Ziggy also saw big jumps in popularity in 2020 compared with 2015, at 118% and 97% respectively – possibly attributed to the musician, who died in 2016. But the biggest surge in popularity of all is the name Kobe, with a staggering 929% rise in puppies with the name joining Agria in 2020 – likely to have been named in tribute to the American basketball star Kobe Bryant who sadly died last year.
Tom Vaughan, our Head of Marketing, comments: “It’s fascinating to see the impact that the big names in children’s lives and popular culture have on names chosen for family pets - giving a good clue as to who in the family is getting the say in this all-important decision! Following these naming trends also give us a great insight into those that are losing popularity for the same reasons, such as the big drop we have seen in puppies named Elsa since 2015 – when Frozen was still at its height – with no new puppies named Olaf joining us at all in 2020.”
The King lives on
And while several names have dropped out of favour altogether and off the list – including Scarlett, Anna, Dillon and Zac – we are delighted to report that the King still lives - with the name ‘Elvis’ at position 113, up 3 places from 2015!
The top 50 UK female and male puppy names are:
Names data collated from all puppies covered by an Agria Pet Insurance policy in 2015 and in 2020.