A woman sits on the ground with a group of dogs that are bear one of New Zealand's top 10 dog names

What Do the Top 10 Puppy Names in NZ Mean?


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Keen to find out the top 10 dog names in New Zealand? Want to go further than that and explore their meaning? You’re in the right place. If you’re bringing home a pet puppy, Googling names to give your cuddly new baby is no doubt part of your planning excitement.

The top dog names in New Zealand have a lot of takers. You may want to join the ranks.. or you may want to give your pet a name that stands out.

In this article, PD rounds up the top dog names and meanings:

A man playing with a dog on the floor, showcasing his affection for his furry companion.

Top 10 puppy dog names in 2023

What’s in a name? A lot! It just so happens that many of us Kiwis are giving new pets the same names. So many in fact, that if you want to make your pet stand out from the 1.3 million other pets registered on the Companion Animals New Zealand database, the General Manager has some advice:

“New kitten and puppy guardians might like to avoid Luna, Bella and Charlie if they want to avoid confusion at the local dog park or cattery.”

– David Lloyd, General Manager at Companion Animals New Zealand

The Companion Animals New Zealand (NZCAR) is our national microchip register of all pet species. It records the details of every pet so if yours should ever go missing and is found you can be easily reunited. Or if a pet changes owners, the ownership swap and new contact details are logged in this database.

Inspiration behind the top 10 pet dog names

In November 2023, NZCAR collated and shared the top dog names in New Zealand. As in, the most popular names people chose for pet dogs.

Some have clearly been inspired by recent blockbuster movies, some from flower species, others are timeless classics and some are just downright cute. Interestingly, the top dog name also happens to be the top name for pet cats and rabbits.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 dog names in New Zealand (and what they could mean).

A golden retriever surrounded by a group of people petting it.

#1. Luna

In first place, Luna is the top dog name but also the top pet name. If you’re in a pet playground, you might have a few animals look up when you call your fur baby.

Meaning of Luna

What’s in a name? The name Luna means “moon” in Spanish and Italian (and Latin). Roman mythology hails Luna as the goddess of the moon. Well, now Luna is also top spot for puppy names in New Zealand!

Shiba inu puppy surrounded by cherry blossoms.

#2. Bella

In second place, Bella is super popular as a favourite pet name for dogs, cats and rabbits. It’s a beautiful name, after all. Although the name has always been relatively popular it soared in popularity after people started falling in love with Bella, the lead character from Twilight.

Again, if you want your tiny tot to stand out from the lot, maybe move farther down this page or start a new naming trend.

Meaning of Bella

Bella is often the shortened version of Isabella, Annabella, or Arabella – although it is a name in its own right too. The name Bella is related to “bello” and “belle”, which are both variations of the word “beautiful” in many of the romance languages.

A black and white dog, named among the top pet names, sitting in the grass.

#3. Charlie

Clearly we have more girl pets than boys because standing in at third place we have our first boy name. Either that or even more names are becoming unisex, like the gender-neutral Charlie. This firm favourite takes the same spot on the list of top puppy, kitten and bunny names in New Zealand.

Meaning of Charlie

Charlie has its roots in Germanic languages and means both “warrior” and “free man.” While many of us know it as a version of Charles it’s also the shortened version of Charlene or Charlotte.

A girl is sitting on the ground with a dog named Spot.

#4. Ruby

Of the top 10 dog names in New Zealand, Ruby, makes a sparkling appearance at number four. Could it be many of the pets with this name have strikingly red, ginger or auburn fur? Perhaps!

Meaning of Ruby

This jewel inspired name is rooted in Latin and first became a popular female name towards the end of the Victorian era. The word ruby is an abbreviation of the Latin word “rubinus”, which quite literally means red. You can tell this is how the name came to represent the gemstone that shines especially red when held up to the light.

A collie dog exploring a vibrant field of poppies.

#5. Poppy

Poppy is the first flower inspired name on this list of faves for puppies and dogs alike. In New Zealand, our unique native flora provides an abundance of inspiration for names. And adventures! Speaking of which, explore five pet friendly Airbnb options for the holidays and, if you’re anywhere near Auckland, the best Auckland walks for your pup.

Meaning of Poppy

Where does the name poppy originate from? It’s from an old English name for the flower and varietals of the flower species (Papaver). It’s long been a popular female name in Britain.

A chocolate Labrador named Coco has a name inspired by the top puppy names in New Zealand

#6. Coco

Coco is a cute name that has long been popular across the human halls of fame and, now, the pet name halls of fame too. While it sits at number six on the top puppy names, it’s a top cat name at number five and a top rabbit name at number four.

Meaning of Coco

Coco comes from the cocoa bean (mmm chocolate) and is a popular French name. Coco Chanel of course is a big icon who helped to popularise this name. So it would seem that the name could represent chocolate coloured fur babies and/or fashionistas!

A woman with a white samoyed dog named Bella - one of the top dog names in New Zealand

#7. Molly

At seventh position on the top 10 list of dog names, Molly sounds great and seems like someone you’d have a cup of tea with. Or in your dog’s case, a walk in the park. Speaking of walks, read what you need in your DIY dog walking kit and the answer to should my dog be on a lead in public spaces.

Meaning of Molly

Molly is a nickname for Mary – which is interesting because more often than not nicknames are shorter than original ones. Mary means “star of the sea.”

A white dog, named Buddy, sitting on a bench in a field.

#8. Buddy

They say dogs are our best friend and Buddy at eighth place is testament to this notion. Read why dogs are a woman’s best friend and learn more about how dogs became domesticated.

Meaning of Buddy

Buddy of course means friend so, in the case of dogs, is a literal term of endearment. In fact, it would be fair to say dogs are our best buddy. The name Buddy is originally from Britain and was made famous by the singer Buddy Holiday (whose real name was Charles). 

A puppy is hiding in a field of yellow flowers.

#9. Daisy

Daisy is a classic female name, an understandable entrant on the top 10 dog names list. It inspires a sense of robust cuteness in a puppy sized package.

Meaning of Daisy

In old English, a daisy flower is a “day’s eye”. The original word for this, which we won’t (ok maybe we will) try saying, is “dægeseage”. Naturally, the daisy’s petals open with the sun, hence “day’s eye” is a literal term for the way this flower blooms. 

Two dogs, named Bella and Max, frolic joyfully in a serene field with their pet parents

#10. Teddy

Teddy takes final place in the top 10 dog names for 2023. Probably anybody feels good when they hear the name because we’ve all had a favourite teddy bear at some point. You can just imagine any dog with this name gets their fair share of hugs.

Meaning of Teddy

Teddy is a nickname for Theodore and means “God’s gift” or “divine gift”. That’s not all, because it can also mean wealthy/rich/happy/guardian. Sounds about right for our canine companions!

Now you know the top 10 dog names in New Zealand, want to find out what the favourite breeds are too?

Whether you’re looking to get a new puppy or simply see if yours is on the list, NZ’s top dog breeds are here, listed according to ownership stats.

In addition to top dog names and breeds, we’ve also rounded up other top dog stats:

And for cat mums and dads, read an A-list of famous cats that helped shape society.

Award winning dog insurance for your top dog

Whether you give your dog one of the top 10 dog and puppy names or a novel new title, consider giving them the safety net of pet insurance. A policy helps pay for a wide range of unplanned vet visits, including diagnostics, treatment and medication. Take it to the Deluxe level for breeds that are susceptible to oral health problems and you get dental cover too.

When you sign up, PD Insurance gives you one or more months of award winning dog insurance.

Click below to get a quote and find out more about giving your dog a soft landing when they need it most.

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