The 10 Most Popular Pet Names of 2022
2022’s pop culture trends not-so-subtly influenced our new adoptees’ monikers.
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The holidays are over, and we have just welcomed in the new year. But, because 2023 is barely a year yet, we can still reflect on the best parts of 2022. As we do, there is at least one thing we can all agree on: Taylor Swift’s Midnights was the album of the year.
In fact, the name Taylor saw a sizable increase as namesake for cats and dogs. To get a more complete picture of what pet parents were identifying with over the past 12 months, The Wildest scoured the internet for the most popular names and trends of 2022. And while nothing Swift-y cracked the top 10, pet parents still proved they stay up-to-date on the latest cultural touchpoints without sacrificing an appreciation for the classics. Below, 10 of the most popular and trending pet names from 2022.
Luna was the most common dog and cat name last year, so it’s no surprise to see it take the top spot again. What’s less clear is how or why our reigning champ was able to repeat. It’s by far the most used name for female cats and dogs, so this might just indicate that girls rule in the world of pets.
Similarly, the most frequent male name of 2022 is also a revival from 2021. At this point, Luna and Max are like the LeBron James and Tom Brady of pet names — they’ve seemingly been around forever and, despite the competition’s efforts, remain on top. But for their sake, let’s hope these new name MVPs aren’t forced, like James and Brady, to endure the humidity that comes with moving to Florida to win another championship.
Rounding out the top three is another yearly staple, Bella. But before this list starts to feel too repetitive, there were plenty of changes in the pet-naming landscape this year. For example, 2022 saw a significant decline in pandemic-related names. According to Rover’s annual report, Covid, Rona, and Fauci all saw a massive drop in usage. That being said, the name Pfizer did see a 185 percent uptick which we can only hope is tied to a similar escalation in vaccination rates.
Look, pet parents aren’t exactly known for their subtlety, as evidenced by every single one of our camera rolls. So given that The Bear was one of the most watched and critically acclaimed shows of 2022, it’s not surprising to see it became a popular designation for new pets. And while more specific character callouts, such as Richard, Richie, and Carmy also made appearances across the states, so did Chef, which only drives the point home.
Another classic, and not just on the pet front. Charlie is in the top 10 of human names, too. This leaves me with the same thought I had after recently losing the remote and involuntarily watching a Two and a Half Men marathon on FX: I don’t think the world needs more Charlie (but to each their own).
It’s been 70 years and nothing tops walking in the front door with a booming “Lucy, I’m home!” But rather than a quirky redhead, you’re greeted by a four-legged friend. Lucile Ball is undoubtedly an icon who enthralled thousands in her time; is it so hard to believe she continues to inspire a few pet names in ours? Alternatively, maybe everyone made it through their Amazon cue and finally streamed Being the Ricardos (2021). Either way, one thing is clear, we (still) love Lucy.
Loki was a popular pick for pet parents last year following the Marvel character’s trippy Disney+ series, and the name appears to have staying power. This might be due to Loki’s enduring appeal as a devious trickster (but in a fun way), or it could be a reflection of the MCU’s persistent relevance. The latter is most likely, as other comic book namesakes, including Peter Parker, Vision, Spidey, and Asgard also proved to be increasingly utilized in 2022.
Before addressing Yellowstone, another popular show title used as a trendy name, it’s important to note that most pet parents are actually creative; we just generally save that energy for cute animal outfits and Instagram posts. Of course, some fans went a step further as Teeter, Rip, John, Beth, and Kayce were all rising names, Rover notes. Not to mention, Kevin Costner-heads showed out, because the name Dutton was up nearly 300 percent. Now, if you loved the family drama of Yellowstone but wished there was more inbreeding, fret not — House of the Dragon also inspired some names this year. Targaryen, Hightower, and Daemon were all notable pet names in 2022. However, Aegon was nowhere to be found, which is a bit surprising, given roughly half the characters on that show share the name.
It’s not hard to understand how HBO’s Euphoria became a massive cultural hit. The show is inclusive, dangerous, features makeup looks that never quit, and stars Zendaya, who is a gift to us all. Naturally, this mania has infiltrated the pet space with Rue and Faye making appearances on a few adoption papers this year. But by far, the most prevalent name from Euphoria was Fezco. In fact, it was the name that saw the largest growth in 2022. According to Rover, Fezco increased a staggering 2,385 percent in usage. To some, that may seem concerning, considering the intensity of Angus Cloud’s character, but Fez generally means well. And isn’t that what we all truly want — a drug dealer with a heart of gold?
Music-related names were hot this year. Bieber was trending up nearly 200 percent, J.Lo topped 118 percent, and Spears even increased 135 percent. So, why did Doja Cat beat them (she was up 85 percent for dogs and 300 percent for cats on Rover’s list)? Maybe it’s the natural feline energy of it all, or maybe it’s a reaction to her recent rendition of Elvis’s “Hound Dog.” Regardless, Doja Cat topped this chart. That said, I’d be remiss not to mention the moniker Dolly Barkin which, in my heart, was the name of the year — and it isn’t a particularly close race.
What the Wildest readers’ most popular cat names say about 2021.
From old-school classics to pop-culture trends, these were the top dog names of the past year.
How to christen your cat with an ingenious name (and IG handle).
Because there’s nothing scarier than being off-trend.
Sean Zucker is a writer whose work has been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He has an adopted Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and whose behavioral issues rival his own.