If this year’s top dog names from Austin and the rest of the country are are any indication, it looks like the news and pop culture events of 2016 have spread to the monikers we give our pets.
According to Rover.com, a blog that compiles data on dog breeds, dog names and other pet stories, Americans liked to name their pets in 2016 after politicians, pop culture figures, fictional characters, alcoholic drinks and Pokemon.
As for the city of Austin, the top dog name for males was Max, while the top female name was Bella. But other, more Austin-centric names were on the rise, like Brisket, Pickle and Taco, which saw a 13 percent uptick in 2016.
And as Austin’s tech industry grows, so does the number of technically-named pooches in the city: Names like Mac, Pixel and Tesla were up 3 percent. So-called “hipster” names like Mason, Bowtie, Brewery (seriously?) and Sushi were reportedly on the rise, though there were no numbers available to back that up. Surprisingly, “Willie” and “Nelson” weren’t anywhere in the Austin rankings.
But the more fascinating data comes from Rover’s compilation of national trending dog names, which mirrored America’s pop culture fascinations and political hopes during 2016.
Bella and Max won nationally, as they did in Austin, but dogs named for video game and fantasy TV characters were especially popular among the nation in general and Millennials in specific.
Pet names from “Pokemon Go” (Haunter, Skitty, Bayleaf), “Harry Potter” (Luna, Harry, Dobby) and “Game of Thrones” (Arya, Snow, Khaleesi) saw high increases among pet owners. Netflix’s summer smash “Stranger Things” also found some representation, with names like “Eleven” and “Barb” rising nearly 12 percent (what, no love for Dustin?). “The X-Files” fans also dubbed their pets with higher rates than usual (names like Mulder and Scully were up 10 percent).
Dogs named for powerful women also rose 13 percent this year, where America saw its first major-party female nominee. The biggest increase in that category? Dogs named for Eleanor Roosevelt, rising at a rate of 42 percent. Meanwhile, dogs named for Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump also saw an increase.
Perhaps the most telling way dog names acted as a mirror to America in 2016 was in the “Dogs Named For Food” category. Junk-food-themed names like Taffy, Twix and Milano rose 2 percent, as did booze-themed names like Brandy, Guinness and Whiskey. And dogs named for health foods decreased 17 percent.
Lastly, the infographic from Rover said animal names like Bear, Moose and Tiger grew 8 percent from last year.
The report examines names that were input into Rover.com’s dog name database throughout 2016. Take a look at the full report here.