Pet names have always been seasonal, but the trend appears to be gaining momentum this year. And there’s something for every type of dog to choose from, from giant panda’s to bouncy castle puppies to even a cartoon. According to Nellie Hommes of Dukie Animal Rescue in New York, using the popularity of pet names as a gauge is way, way off-base. She calls the idea “pet parlor parlor.” But the popularity of pet names can be an indicator of the thinking behind modern parenting, especially when it comes to animal pairings. “There is a cultural acceptance and acceptance that people grow up with,” says Hommes. “We grow up with different pet names — it’s almost a generational thing.” And what’s hot in 2018 is definitely trending in the not so distant past.
There is no doubt that pets continue to be the next big trend for names for kids. In 2016, traditional names came back in style with jon to become the most popular kid name, with Harper and Asher following behind, popular among both boys and girls. Another popularity trend was “moon” and “moondoggle” becoming more popular than normal. Of course, none of these trends are now poised to keep traditional names at the top for long, and Dukie’s research doesn’t even acknowledge the recession that has hit the country.
But it is encouraging to see that other characteristics of modern parenting are still taking hold. This year sees a rise in baby names inspired by animals, and among the most popular were birds like owl (the most popular baby name in Denmark in 2017), rabbits and fish, and new names for others. “There was a bit of a lull,” says the Nellie Hommes, noting that names tied to fire and weather became more popular in 2017. She credits people just trying to make sense of what was going on in the world. A 2017 study of 1,000 babies’ names revealed a notable increase in “weather-related” names like storm, storm-girl, rain, and flood.
Popular baby names for wild animals have been a perennial favorite among parents for decades. Noah Leggette of Thornenames.com notes that the collection of animal names beginning with the letter P took off after Noah Webster first published books of dog names in the 1800s. Female Fatsah came in at number 5 in the most popular girls’ names for 2017, coming in at above the latter-ranking names of Andie, Merida, and Elsa.
And so it goes. Animal names have been around for centuries, and they’ll likely be around for many years to come. But they might, just might, find themselves being put in cages, having their water buckets taken away, and their morning walkers suddenly giving them all the attention.
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