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toddler__dogBaby Name Mythbusters is a new Category I dreamed up to replace Celebrity Baby Names, which seems redundant now that we have Celebrity Baby News. I thought it would be a fun way to examine some of the myths prevalent amongst the baby naming community, and see whether they stack up.

I was in an Australian parenting forum where someone was looking for opinions on a baby name they were considering – Sailor, for a girl. One of the responses was ewww not sailor i had a dog called that. This struck me as one of the least useful or helpful things you could say in this situation – I mean I had a horse named Caroline; I don’t expect that name to be forever off limits for babies because I claimed it as a “horse name”. (I also had a dog named Judith, same deal).

It got me thinking about how often “That’s a dog’s name” comes up in discussions on baby names, and how it is designed to end all debate. That’s a dog’s name: a good parent would never give their baby a name suitable for a dog : discussion over, seems to be pretty much how it is supposed to work.

I decided to search through baby name forums to see what names were perceived as “dog names”, and then see how popular they really were for dogs, based on the popularity charts put out by a major dog tag corporation, which is the only national database for pet names that I know. Then I could compare them to the latest available data for baby name popularity.

I hit upon this method because it’s common for people to use popularity charts to decide how a name’s popularity reflects its usage for each gender. So if Matthew has continually charted for males, and never for females, it’s usually decided that makes it a “boy name”, and if there are more girl babies named Harper than boy babies, some would argue that Harper is more of a female name than a male one.

I didn’t see any reason why that method couldn’t be applied to see whether a name was more dog than human. Here is what I discovered:

NAMES THAT PEOPLE THINK ARE DOG NAMES THAT ARE MORE POPULAR FOR DOGS THAN HUMANS

  • Bailey (#36 dog, #47 human)
  • Barney (#28 dog, unranked human)
  • Bear (#21 dog, unranked human)
  • Beau (#17 dog, #71 human)
  • Billy (#30 dog, #112 human)
  • Buddy (#12 dog, unranked human)
  • Buster (#14 dog, unranked human)
  • Charlie (#7 dog name, #22 human)
  • Duke (#48 dog, unranked human)
  • Harley (#25 dog, #126 human)
  • Harry (#15 dog, #27 human)
  • Jake (#4 dog, #25 human)
  • Lucky (#23 dog, unranked human)
  • Max (#1 dog, #17 human)
  • Milo (#22 dog, unranked human)
  • Monty (#10 dog, unranked human)
  • Rex (#24 dog, #472 human)
  • Rusty (#18 dog, unranked human)
  • Sam (#2 dog, #97 human)
  • Shadow (#19 dog, unranked human)
  • Toby (#5 dog, #56 human)
  • Zeus (#50 dog, unranked human)
  • Bella (#15 dog, #41 human)
  • Belle (#41 dog, unranked human)
  • Buffy (#47 dog, unranked human)
  • Cassie (#23 dog, unranked human)
  • Cleo (#55 dog, unranked human)
  • Coco (#11, unranked human)
  • Daisy (#9 dog, #149 human)
  • Gypsy (#42 dog, unranked human)
  • Holly (#13 dog, #42 human)
  • Honey (#25 dog, unranked human)
  • Lucy (#5 dog, #21 human)
  • Maggie (#18 dog, #204 human)
  • Millie (#34 dog, #202 human)
  • Misty (#27 dog, unranked human)
  • Molly (#2 dog, #55 human)
  • Poppy (#57 dog, #68 human)
  • Sally (#7 dog, #306 human)
  • Sasha (# 6 dog, #167 human)
  • Sheba (#32, unranked human)
  • Tara (#31 dog, #153 human)
  • Tess (#8 dog, #260 human)
  • Zoe (#10 dog, #15 human)

NAMES THAT PEOPLE THINK ARE DOG NAMES THAT ARE MORE POPULAR FOR HUMANS THAN DOGS

  • Cooper (unranked dog, #7 human)
  • Jack (#3 dog, #2 human)
  • Riley (unranked dog, #20 human)
  • Annabelle (unranked dog, #38)
  • Emily (unranked dog, #8 human)
  • Maya (unranked dog, #46 human)
  • Sophie (#16 dog, #11 human)

A NAME THAT PEOPLE THINK IS A DOG NAME THAT’S EQUALLY POPULAR FOR DOGS AND HUMANS

  • Chloe (#3 dog, #3 human)

NAMES THAT PEOPLE THINK ARE DOG NAMES, BUT ARE NOT ACTUALLY COMMONLY GIVEN TO DOGS

  • Alfie
  • Andy
  • Akira
  • Bandit
  • Barclay
  • Baxter
  • Bernie
  • Bran
  • Brindley
  • Brock
  • Brody
  • Bruno
  • Buck
  • Champ
  • Chance
  • Colby
  • Cosmo
  • Dash
  • Dexter
  • Digby
  • Earl
  • Eddie
  • Elliot
  • Elvis
  • Gage
  • Gunner
  • Hunter
  • Nico
  • Otis
  • Pete
  • Prince
  • Remy
  • Rocco
  • Roscoe
  • Rufus
  • Samson
  • Shiloh
  • Sonny
  • Spike
  • Winston
  • Wyatt
  • Zane
  • Zeke
  • Ziggy
  • Abby
  • Apple
  • Bess
  • Betsy
  • Bindi
  • Bluebell
  • Dakota
  • Dixie
  • Fifi
  • Fran
  • Gigi
  • Ginger
  • Jenna
  • Josie
  • Kiki
  • Libby
  • Lola
  • Lulu
  • Luna
  • Macy
  • Maddie
  • Madison
  • Madeline
  • Maisie
  • Mia
  • Olga
  • Piper
  • Raven
  • Reba
  • Sadie
  • Sailor
  • Skipper
  • Sophia
  • Star
  • Zuzu

NAMES THAT ARE POPULAR FOR DOGS, BUT PEOPLE DON’T SEEM TO THINK OF THEM AS DOG NAMES

  • Oscar #6
  • Zac #9
  • Tyson #11
  • Ben #13
  • Jasper #26
  • Jackson #29
  • George #34
  • Casper #38
  • Angus #39
  • Jesse #40
  • Cody #42
  • Basil #45
  • Gus #47
  • Jock #49
  • Bronson #51
  • Henry #53
  • Casey #54
  • Clyde #60
  • Ralph #58
  • Bonnie #4
  • Rosie #14
  • Ruby #17
  • Penny #24
  • Gemma #28
  • Jasmine #32
  • Roxy #33
  • Kelly #38
  • Tessa #35
  • Emma #48
  • Chelsea #51
  • Ellie #52
  • Amber #53
  • Jedda #58
  • Heidi #60

From this we can see that although people were able to correctly identify some names as “dog names” that had greater popularity for dogs than humans, there were many more names that they were wrong about. Much as people might imagine that dog owners call their pets Spike and Fifi, these names did not even make the Top 60.

Even more revealingly, there were a number of names that were very popular for dogs that didn’t seem to earn them the title of “dog name”. Henry and Emma are both names commonly given to dogs, and yet I couldn’t find any examples of parents being warned off these names as “too doggy”.

You might argue that’s because these names are so popular for humans, and yet you can see from the first list that very popular baby names like Charlie and Zoe were correctly identified as names commonly given to dogs. You can also see from the second list that popular baby names like Cooper and Emily were incorrectly identified as “dog names”. Moreover, names such as Bonnie and Basil are many times more often given to dogs than humans, yet they were not perceived as dog names.

Because people seemed to do so poorly at correlating baby names perceived as “dog names” with names that were actually given to dogs, I am calling this

MYTH BUSTED

Disclaimer: Information for entertainment purposes only; results may not be scientifically accurate and further studies need to be done with better data. There is no connection between Baby Name Mythbusters and the television show “Mythbusters”, so nobody needs to sue me or anything.

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