The Most Pupular Holiday Dog Names In The U.S. Revealed

Jingle Paws, Santa Claws, Holiday Names all the way

It's the most wonderful time of the year! But how many keep the holiday cheer going on year-round by naming their pet a holiday-inspired name? From snowballs to hot cocoa, many people get naming inspiration from the holiday season.

In order to learn the most common and festive names in America, Yappy analyzed over 167,000 pet names from their internal data to determine the top holiday dog names across the country. We then looked closely at specific breeds to determine which most commonly have festive names.

Key Findings:

●      States with high levels of snowfall name their dogs wintery names like Elsa and Olaf more than warmer climates do

●      Shih Tzus, who are known for having white fur, are the most popular breed for the name Olaf

●      All 9 of Santa's Reindeer made the list of popular names - Rudy (Rudolph) and Comet are the most popular

Oh, What Fun It Is To Name Your Pup A Holiday Name!

When it comes to naming your new pet, you have a lot of choices. You can name your fur baby after a friend, family member, or something else you love. For some, that means choosing a holiday-inspired dog name. Here are some of the most popular Holiday-inspired dog names in the US: 

From being inspired by Alvin and The Chipmunks to Santa’s Reindeers, the possibilities for Holiday-inspired dog names are endless.

Holly, Rudy, and Cookie are the most popular festive names for dogs in America. 

All nine of Santa’s Reindeer made the list of popular holiday-inspired dog names. However, Simon was the only chipmunk that made the list.  

It’s not all about what’s under the Christmas tree – other holidays were represented with names like Pumpkin and Dreidel making appearances ninth and 64th in popularity in America.

Deck The Paws with year-round names! Fa la la la la! 

Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, and so it’s only natural that people choose names based on their appearance. What are some of the most popular Holiday-inspired dog names for the top dog breeds?  

To determine the most common holiday names for each breed, we analyzed each breed against each popular holiday-inspired name.

It comes as no surprise that Goldendoodles, Cockapoos, and Huskies, all known for having a loving disposition, are most commonly called the #1 most festive-inspired name, Holly, when looking across all the holiday-inspired names. 

Another interesting name that was the most common holiday-inspired choice for Golden Retrievers and English Bulldogs was Ralphie, perhaps inspired by the main protagonist in the 1983 Christmas classic, A Christmas Story.


With their glistening white fur, Shih Tzus are most commonly called Olaf when it comes to holiday names. The reindeer line-up (Comet, Dasher, and Rudy) includes Boston Terriers, French Bulldogs, and Dachshunds - an interesting combination!

Paws-itively the most common holiday-inspired pet names in each state

How much does your home state influence what you name your dog? Turns out, quite a lot.

Dogs in states with colder climates, like Washington, New York, and Maine, commonly have names based on Santa’s Reindeers - Comet, Dasher, and good ol’ Rudy the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Olaf is also another popular name in snowier states like Maryland and Connecticut. Note that our analysis covers the contiguous United States only, and that is why Alaska and Hawaii are excluded.

So, what’s in a name?  

When it comes to naming your dog, it turns out just because you love winter, you might want to rethink naming your pup “snow”.

We spoke to dog behaviorists Gia Savocchi of Thinking Canine and Antonio Diaz of Leader Of The Pack LV, for insight into how your dog's name can affect their behavior.

Both Diaz and Savocchi use behavior science and advanced coaching techniques to work with dogs of all kinds, sharing training advice on TikTok to over a million followers collectively. You can find them on TikTok at @ThinkingCanine and @leaderofthepacklv.

Here are their top tips on naming your dog:

Choose names that sound dissimilar to any commands you would use  

Savocchi recommends picking a name that doesn’t sound like a command (think: “sit, stay, go, no” etc.) She says, “I would shy away from a name that is just too close to a command I’d definitely use. In agility we use the word ‘go’ a lot, so I would never pick a name that’s anything close to the word ‘go’. I would say when you choose the name, you want to pick a name that you can say in a happy tone of voice - so you’re not intimidating your dog or scaring them.”

Diaz has been working with dogs for years and has noticed the effects that a name can have on trainability. He says, “I have been professionally training dogs and helping people train their dogs for 6 years now. I’ve seen many dogs with the same name exhibit the same behavior problems and have similar personalities…Names that sound similar to commands can definitely affect training. I’ve had to change commands due to a dog's name a few times.”

When we speak to our pets, inflection matters as well. Savocchi says, “I think when we’re calling our dog’s name, too, the inflection is different and the tone is different so “Snow” might understand what “no” means. Would I, though, take that chance and name a dog that? No…you can always choose different words for your commands but it gets really confusing.”

Choosing a name with one or two syllables is best 

Cinnamon and Marshmallow may sound sweet to call your dog, but Savocchi recommends a shorter name.  She says, “When we train dogs to listen to their names, we think of it like your name means ‘Hey, I’m talking to you.’ So we teach it like an attention command, the name. And so, when you get into people having these super long names and then they’re using the nickname, it just becomes confusing for the pet …”

She goes on to explain, “There’s a reason why when you look at herding dogs they have 1-2 syllable names. Because you want to get it out and say it fast and have them listen and you don’t want to be like stringing along a long name.”

Diaz had similar tips for naming. He says, “Longer names (and commands) can be harder for a dog to learn. I think for sure that eventually a dog would get used to it, but there is truth that 1-3 syllables is the ideal length for dog names and commands. It’s just easier for them to learn.”

Too many nicknames can confuse your dog, so try to be consistent

Over time, what we call our dog can change, and we can end up using many different nicknames. According to Savocchi, this isn’t the best idea.  

“I would just choose a name that’s easy for you to say and is something that you feel comfortable saying without it being a nickname. But if you do have a dog with a name that’s long and you want to use a nickname, that’s fine, you just have to be consistent so the dog knows you’re talking to them.”

What other people think of your dog matters too

Do names with happier meanings help with positive associations? Savocchi says, “I think it’s good to have a nice name on a dog too so people don’t feel scared of your dog. Like, if you have a pitbull named Menace, it could give a weird vibe to your dog. Your dog doesn’t know it, but other people will. Like if you have a dog going to the dog park named something negative, if your dog looks scary at all already, it can make people look at your dog in a weird way.”

You can assign meaning to your dog’s name, but they won’t get the reference

Can names have an affect on your dog's personality? Savocchi says no. She says, “I don’t think animals understand their names the way a person does. Meaning you have a theory of mind, a theory of yourself. If you look in a mirror, you can recognize yourself and you know your name - like if somebody asks you ‘who are you?’ you could answer and it would be abstract. But with dogs … they don’t ever understand that their name is them. They understand that their name means X, Y, Z…”

When asked about anything else to keep in mind, Diaz shared a quirky anecdote that “Dogs named Lucky aren’t so lucky.” 

Happy Howl-idays!

Choosing your dog’s name is such an important task. You will use this name when referring to them throughout their lives. It’s the name you’ll use when personalizing gifts, going to the vet, or introducing them to others. If you want to keep the holiday cheer going year-round, a popular holiday-inspired dog name may be for you!

Methodology: analyzed an internal database of over 167,000 pet names. This included data on breeds, locations, and the occurrence of each name. We then scraped that data further to pull out the most holiday-inspired names while using Daily Paws and MyDogsName lists of Holiday Names as a reference.

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Fair Use Statement:

Now that you know the top Holiday-inspired names in the United States, feel free to share our findings with anyone who might be interested. We ask that you do so for non-commercial use and provide a link to the original study page, so the contributors are credited correctly. 

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