Luna, Charlie and Bella top the charts once more!
Our amazing pet owners have been purrfectly consistent when naming their furry friends over the past few years, so it’s no real surprise that 2023 has just one exception.
Luna, Charlie and Bella took the top honours for the fifth year running in our Southern Cross Top 10 Pet Names list for 2023 with Nala making its first appearance in the top 10.
What’s in a name?
Plenty, if fur babies we cover are anything to go by. It turns out that many of the pet names we choose have strong meanings and associations.
Luna takes first place honours with 227 new ‘Lunas’ gracing our books. Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that this silvery name belongs to the majestic Roman goddess of the moon. Whether we're paw-ring over cats, dogs, female pets or the overall champion's name for 2023, in all these lists 'Luna' comes in at number one.
Charlie is such a popular name for dogs and cats that it's really no surprise to see it come in second once again. It's a playful, unisex name often associated with outgoing personalities. You probably think of Charlie as short for Charles or Charlotte. But it also comes from the old German name, Karl, meaning 'free man' or 'warrior.'
Finally, beautiful Bella takes third place in our top dog names and overall lists.
How to choose the best name for your pet
Now, our Southern Cross pet parents may be consistent in their name choices, but have you noticed what all but one of our pet monikers have in common?
Apart from Max, each of our top ten names from the last 6 years have two syllables.
That's probably not a coincidence. Two syllables roll off the tongue, making these names easy for us to say and for our furry friends to hear. It's as if they get two bites at the cherry in the name recognition stakes. The first syllable alerts and the second confirms, "Yep! They're calling my name."
Kerri Murray, former vet nurse and now our Sales Manager, has some basic guidelines for choosing a good name for your pooch.
“It’s important to keep things simple, but it’s a good idea to get creative and choose a name that stands out.
“One or two syllable names are best as they are much easier for a new puppy to comprehend, likewise they’re easier for you to say. Short, clipped names help dogs respond more quickly to commands, which is exactly want you want when you’ve let your pup go off-leash in a dog friendly park for the first time.”
“Names including a ‘c’ or ‘k’ or names with long vowel sounds like ‘ay’ or ‘ee’ at the end of the name help capture your dog's attention. Seven of New Zealand’s top 10 names for 2023 are clearly following one or both rules – like Charlie, Frankie, Coco and Archie.”
Murray recommends thinking really carefully about the name you choose.
“For one thing, it should be obvious, but your pup’s name shouldn’t be offensive. You will be calling the pup’s name out loud, in public, so bear that in mind when you are working through your selection. If you have young children too, you don’t want them being put in an awkward situation having to explain away a name.
“And steer clear of names which sound like a common command either – like ‘Chum’ / ‘Come’, ‘Kray’ / ‘Stay’ or ‘Beau’, which is pretty close to ‘No’. Make sure if you have more than one pet at home that their names are completely different – otherwise confusion will reign supreme!”
There are all sorts of things which can inspire a distinctive, snappy and acceptable name for your dog (or cat) like a movie character, a word you love in te reo Māori or another language, someone famous (and respectable), a classic name, your favourite sporting hero, a food, tipple or a place you love. Murray says, “If the Beckhams can call their human kids Brooklyn and Cruz, there’s nothing to stop you calling your beloved pooch ‘Richie’ (McCaw), ‘Khloe’, or ‘Hihi’ (a ray of sun). Though steer clear of ‘Biscuit’.
Southern Cross has your back
Pet parents are caring and thoughtful when choosing their furry friends' names. And we at Southern Cross strive to be equally considerate regarding insurance.
That's why we cover more than 64,000 New Zealand pets, giving their parents peace of mind before they need it most.