Bringing your new puppy home is such an exciting time. This new bundle of loveliness immediately becomes the center of attention. Everyone in the family will have a name that they want to call the new baby. But take a deep breath here. Naming your new puppy is a big decision and it’s important too, for many reasons. Now is not the time to cave in and let your kids choose a name. It may cause a few tears but it’s worth standing firm. Let’s go through the things to consider.

Is it a male or female?

Don’t laugh! Your seller will probably have told you the sex and you may even have chosen your puppy because of its sex. But there are lots of dogs out there who started life as George and finished up as Georgina. If you don’t know the gender of your new puppy, here are some guidelines to help you find out. Both males and females have nipples, so that doesn’t help. Turn your puppy over onto its back. If the puppy is male, you’ll find the scrotum almost between the back legs, just below the anus. It will be easier to find in a puppy that is over 8 weeks old as the testicles will have descended by then. If the puppy is female, you’ll see a tiny slit almost between her back legs, just under the anus.

Size does matter

Some people love to call their Doberman Tiny, or their Chihuahua Monster and that’s cute. But don’t forget that your dog will have this name for life and what seemed funny all those years ago may wear a bit thin later on. Similarly, avoid Fluffy, Cuddles, Baby or any other names that seem appropriate now – but your dog (and you!) will outgrow.

Character reference

It’s not a great idea to give your dog an emotive name, like Psycho or Killer. Even if you’ve named him as a joke, people make a subliminal judgement and may fear your dog, even if he’s as soft as butter. It’s worth just living with your pup for a few days. Watch him play and see his character develop. Just get to know him and you may find ideas coming to you.

A dog-friendly name

The name you choose will affect how easy it is to train your dog. Dogs find it easier to hear ‘hard’ consonants, such as T, K and D.

Keep the name short, one or two syllables is best. If you’re out in a windy park, your dog is more likely to hear a short, sharp name.

If your puppy is a pedigree and will have a registered name, try shortening that, or using one part of it.Avoid choosing a name that sounds like a command. For instance, Kit could sound like sit. You don’t want to confuse your dog. For the same reason, avoid names that sound like members of the household.

Don’t choose a name that you may feel embarrassed to call out. Would you feel comfortable shouting ‘Tinkerbell’ last thing at night in the yard? I know it works for Paris Hilton – but she probably has someone to do that for her!

Stick with it

Once you have chosen the name, don’t change it. Use if often and your dog will soon make the association.

Breeding familiarity

One last point to remember. If you want to use your dog for breeding, you should choose a kennel name and get it registered with the American Kennel Club.

I need inspiration!

Try looking at our lists. There are plenty of names to choose from. Good luck!

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