DOG NAMES

British Dog Names: Cool and Cultured Names for Your Pup

Image of a cute brotish bulldog puppy walking on grass
John Walton
Written by John Walton

You’ve finally found each other! Now that you’re with the pup or dog of your dreams, you’re faced with a new dilemma: What to name them? Naming your dog isn’t a simple matter because there are so many options that it would take you forever to sort through them all. For starters, you’ll have to figure out which category you would like to draw a name from. If you have a British dog breed such as a Golden retriever, a Beagle, or a Bulldog, how about going over some cool British dog names?

British names are cool especially if you live in the States because they are not common, so you’re sure that the right dog will come running to you when you call out to them in a crowd. Furthermore, they sound unique but not too exotic or strange to most people’s ears. They also sound posh and dignified—perfect for a proud, brave, and intelligent dog breed.

Boston Terrier walking on the grass

But there are so many British names. How do you choose which one is best suited for your pup? Don’t worry because we have you covered. In this article, we have a list of potential British names that you can try out for your dog to see if it fits.

How to Name Your Dog

Owning a dog is a dream come true for most of us. We spent so much time pining, we actually have a list of names. But some of us were surprised by this blessing, so we didn’t have time to concoct a list. If you’re not sure what to call your dog, here are some tips to keep in mind when choosing a name for your new canine companion.

Avoid (some) Slang Words

British people, just like Americans and other nationalities, use slang words. These words are not usually used in formal forms of communication, so foreigners sometimes do not understand their meaning.

A black an brown dog walking on the grass

In this connection, the wrong slang can offend or provoke other people. For example, Tosser seems like a good name for a retriever and sounds perfectly innocent. However, it’s also the slang for idiot. Here is a short list of British slang to avoid.

  • Dodgy – suspicious
  • Whinger – whiner
  • Punter – prostitute’s customer/client
  • Nutter – crazy person
  • Bugger – jerk
  • Nosh – food
  • Fanny – vagina
  • Ponce – poser
  • John Thomas – penis
  • Dobber – also penis
  • Chav – white trash
  • Loo — toilet
  • Blimey – how the British say “my goodness”

But not all British slang needs to be avoided; some of them are actually cool. Here are some awesome and unique British slang words to call your dog.

  • Kip – means sleep or nap. Perfect for lazy dogs who love doing these things
  • Bee’s Knees – awesome
  • Wicked – means cool in Britain but something else in the States
  • Tenner — £10
  • Fiver — £5
  • Toff – upper-class person
  • Quid — £
  • Chap – male or friend
  • Chips — French fries
  • Ace – cool
  • Posh — fancy
  • Blighty – Britain

Pups Become Dogs

No matter how cute and cuddly your puppy is, they will grow up, and some of them will even have jobs. This is why it is important to give your dog a name they can grow old with. Some names like Chap and Ace sound great for dogs of any age. However, it can be hard to imagine a sheep herding dog with a name like Cheeky (slang for forward or naughty) or Boff (sex).

English Bull Terrier Dog sitting

Not only are the names not dignified, but they are also not befitting of a working dog. It can be funny at first but unbecoming as the dog (and you) mature. So better think of a name that sounds good for any age and any job.

Go For Unique

Many dog owners like to give their pets classic names like Rover, Max, Sparky, or Lassie. These names transcend generations and will sound great when you regale their tales to your grandchildren.

The downside to giving classic names is their popularity. Many dog owners will give these names to their dogs, too—making them too common. To remedy this, try to look for a unique name to call your dog.

close-up of a shetland sheepdog

A unique name can make you popular in the dog park or vet’s office as people will be asking you where you got the name. Aside from this, the name will instantly become recognizable to your dog, and they will be able to recognize the sound more quickly and easily.

British Dog Names

Now that we have these tips in mind, choosing a British name for your dog should be easier. The British Isles and Ireland have produced many dog breeds, but you should not limit the use of these names to these breeds only. You can choose any of these names if you love anything British or you just want something different to call your pet.

British Dog Names by Gender

Is your pup a lady? A gentleman? Either way, we’ve got plenty of British dog names female and male recommendations for you. Giving your dog a name based on their gender is the easiest way to go, because when you’ve just adopted a pup, you may not be able to discern any of their personality or character traits immediately. Only their gender is obvious.

Dog Names by Gender #1: Male

If your pup is male, going British in giving him a name will ensure that he grows up poised and gentlemanly.

two people helping a dog to drink water

Here are some great name suggestions.

  • Aidan (Ireland) – fiery one
  • Alfie (England) – variation or Alfred, meaning sage or wise
  • Angus (Scotland) – exceptional
  • Bran (England) – strong
  • Cedric (England) – chief
  • Colin (Ireland) – young child, peaceful dove
  • Conor (Ireland) – strong-willed
  • Dermont (Ireland) — free man
  • Dinsmore (Ireland) – from the hill fort
  • Gordon (Scotland) – from the marshes
  • Griffin (Wales) — strong in faith
  • Harry (Germany) – home ruler. Not of UK or Ireland origin but Harry Potter and Prince Harry are popular in Britain
  • Ian (Scotland) — gift from God
  • Inis (Ireland) — from the river island
  • Kent (Wales) — white
  • Norris (Scotland) — from the north
  • Oliver (England) — from the olive tree; symbolizes fruitfulness and dignity
  • Pierce (England) — rock
  • Rogan (Ireland) — red-haired
  • Romney (England) — winding river
  • Shane (Ireland) – God is gracious

Dog Names by Gender #2: Female

Want your female pup to grow up elegant and dignified like those British ladies?

female white puppy sitting on a bench

No better way to start than by giving her one of these British female dog names:

  • Alma (Ireland) — all good
  • Bowden (England) – messenger
  • Bree (Ireland) — strong
  • Briann (England) — strong, ascending
  • Bridget (Ireland) — strong
  • Deirdre (Ireland) — sad one
  • Delia (Wales) — dark
  • Diva (Ireland) — divine one
  • Ethne (Ireland) — fire
  • Fiona (Ireland) – white, fair
  • Gilda (England) — golden
  • Iona (Scotland) — dove
  • Keely (Ireland) — beautiful
  • Keira (Ireland) – black haired
  • Kerry (Ireland) — dark princess
  • Maeve (Ireland) — Goddess of song
  • Meryl (England) — falcon
  • Mirna (Ireland) — tender
  • Moira (Ireland) — bitter
  • Neala (Ireland) — champion
  • Nell (England) — shining light
  • Quinn (Ireland) — wise
  • Rhiannon (England) — sacred queen
  • Winnie (Wales) – blessed reconciliation

The rich legacy of these British dog names spans history and literature. Some of them are not commonly used in the States and are good options if you’re looking for something unique to name your dog.

British Dog Names Inspired by UK Geography

Another way to name your dog is to give them names based on UK geography. These places can hold a special meaning for you, or you probably want to visit them someday.

big brown dog sitting on a chair near window

In any case, these names pay homage to some of Britain’s famous cities, regions, and landmarks. You can’t get any more British than these names!

  • Avon — after Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare and English medieval market town
  • Belfast – capital and largest city in Northern Ireland
  • Brighton – a seaside city in Southern England
  • Bristol – a city in Southeast England
  • Camden – a borough in London and home of the Camden Markets
  • Cornwall – a county in the southwestern tip of England
  • Dundee — a city in Scotland
  • Edinburgh – the capital of Scotland
  • Gloucester — a city in southwest England
  • Leicester – (pronounced as less-ter) a city East Midlands of England or a popular square in London
  • Liverpool – the birthplace of the Beatles and a city in northwest England
  • London – an obvious choice and the capital city of England
  • Manchester – can be after the team or for the metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester
  • Nottingham – can be for the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood or for a city not too far away from Leicester
  • Oxford – a city in southeast England and home of the renowned university
  • Salisbury – a city in Wiltshire, England
  • Skye – after the Isle of Skye, the largest island in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland
  • Swansea – a city and county in Wales
  • Westminster – for the City of Westminster; a city within London. Also for Westminster Abbey and the Palace of Westminster
  • Windsor – the Queen’s house, also a historic market town in the Royal Borough of Windsor and for Windsor Castle
  • Worchester – a cathedral-city in the West Midlands of England
  • York – a historic walled city in North Yorkshire, England

British Dog Names Inspired by Literature

English literature is hundreds of years old and remains to be a popular course in universities around the world.

gorgeous labrador puppy lying down with his head up

The works of world-renowned English poets, writers, playwrights, and other artists are some of the richest and most famous all around the world. With so many inspirations, we’ve narrowed down these choices for your dog’s names.

  • Austen — for writer Jane Austen
  • Camelot – King Arthur’s home
  • Charles — after Charles Dickens, social critic and writer during the Victorian era
  • Chaucer – for the father of English Literature and writer of the Canterbury Tales
  • Dickens – a good alternative to the common Charles or Charlie
  • Excalibur – King Arthur’s sword
  • Guinevere – King Arthur’s wife
  • Hamlet – the main character in William Shakespeare’s namesake play
  • Harry – from the Harry Potter series; English Lit is not complete without the series’ legendary characters
  • Henry – for Henry V, another one of Shakespeare’s plays
  • Hermione or Granger – one of Harry’s best friends
  • Jeeves – fictional character in some short stories
  • King Arthur – legendary British ruler and the wielder of Excalibur
  • Lancelot – Perhaps the most famous of King Arthur’s knights
  • Orwell – for George Orwell, writer of the very popular novel 1984
  • Pip – the main character in Dickens’ Great Expectations
  • Puck – the mischievous sprite in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Dream
  • Ron or Weasley – Harry’s other best friend
  • Sherlock – the world’s most famous detective
  • Watson – Sherlock’s sidekick

There are still many inspirations to draw from. Check out books authored by JRR Tolkien, the Bronte Sisters, Rudyard Kipling, HG Wells, Roald Dahl, Mary Shelly, and Virginia Wolfe.

British Dog Names Inspired by Pop Culture

Pop culture can also serve as a good inspiration for your British-themed dog names.

yorkshire terrier lying down and looking at the camera

These are great choices for young people who want their names to be “hip,” “current,” or “in.” What do you think of these options:

  • Adele – British singer who lit up the charts last year
  • Bond – for Bond, James Bond
  • Bowie – in honor of the late David Bowie
  • Di – after Diana, Princess of Wales
  • Elton – after the famed British singer Elton John
  • Harrison – the “quiet” Beatle
  • Lennon – co-founder of the world famous Beatles
  • McCartney – the other co-founder
  • Mr. Bean – the popular cartoon character played by British actor Rowan Atkinson
  • Ozzy – for Black Sabbath’s Ozzy Osbourne
  • Pippa – Duchess Kate’s sister
  • Ringo – the Beatles’ drummer
  • Sean or Connery – the actor who starred in a lot of Bond movies

Fun British Dog Names

If all of these seem too “stiff” or “proper” you can always go for something more lighthearted.

cotton-tulear puppy dogs playing together

Here are some names that could tickle your funny bone each time you call out to your dog with them.

  • Big Ben – nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the Palace of Westminster in London
  • Crumpet – a griddle cake popular in the UK
  • Dame – the equivalent of a knight (for a woman) in the British honors system
  • Guinness – a dark beer popular in the UK
  • King/Queen/Prince/Princess/Duke/Duchess –the UK has had a lot of titles over the last few centuries
  • Paddington – for Paddington Bear
  • Pasty – a baked pastry

Wrap Up

British dog names are great for British dog breeds, but it doesn’t have to end there. You can still give your dog a British name even if they are not a British breed or even if you’re not living in the UK. That’s the fun thing about naming dogs; you can give them any name you want so long as it is dignified and won’t embarrass you or your dog.

Choose a name that you love and won’t be ashamed to call out loud. It should be a 1-or-2 syllable name so that your dog can understand or recognize the sound easily. Longer names are also a pain to say over and over again.

big size dog sitting on the grass in the yard

It can be hard to make a decision that’s permanent and significant so why not try a couple of names and see how your dog reacts or if it fits their personality. Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to name your dog so long as it’s dignified and not offensive to others.

What do you think of our suggestions? Do you think you will now give your dog a British-sounding name? Any other dog names that you think should’ve made this list? Tell us by leaving a comment below.

About the author
John Walton
John Walton

John Walton lives in Somerville, MA, with his two dogs, two sons, and very understanding mate. He is a Certified Pet Dog Trainer, a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants, a mentor trainer for the Animal Behavior College, an AKC Certified CGC Evaluator, and the Training Director for the New England Dog Training Club.

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