Australian Dog Names: Ideas for Your Best Mate

Red Speckled Australian Cattle Dog lying on the grass in the sun
Written by David Jones

Do you live in the US? The spirit of patriotism is important and all, but if you stick to dog names commonly used in the US, things could get confusing really fast—because every other US citizen could very well think along the same lines. Don’t you think calling out to your best bud Fido would be troublesome in a park full of other Fidos? Consider names from other countries. Exotic Asian or African names are well and good, but if you’d like to venture out of your comfort zone without traveling too far away from home, how about some Australian dog names?

The Land Down Under, or Australia, is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The country is blessed with unique flora, fauna, and natural wonders. Even though English settlers migrated to Australia years ago, the country’s culture is different from England and the rest of the world. Since it is a unique and beautiful country, Australian-inspired dog names are also unique and beautiful.

Australian Cattle puppy  lying down

But there are so many names to choose from; how do you know which one is best suited for your dog? If you’re confused about which Australian-inspired name to give your new mate, stick around because we have names that will roll off your English-speaking tongue without a hitch, yet still sound unique and charming. We have plenty of names derived from the Australian culture—both aboriginal and settler-inspired.

How to Name Your Dog

Some of us dream of having a dog for a long time. Because of this, some people prepare lists of names for their new best friends before they even arrive. However, there are also some of us who do not have a list and are just beginning to think of names. Before settling on a name for your dog, here are some tips you might want to consider.

Avoid Slangs and Swear Words

Americans and Australians speak English but don’t talk the same way. In this connection, there might be words or slangs that you might want to avoid to prevent other people from getting offended.

For example, Wowser sounds completely innocent if you’re American or English. However, in Australia, it means “boring.” Barbie is another innocent name and makes perfect sense for a female dog especially if you’re in the States. But in Australia, “Barbie” is short for barbecue and it might sound strange to some people if you want to “eat Barbie.”

an australian dog lying on the beach

Other examples include “dooey” (a DUI ticket), “bingle (car accident), “dunny” (toilet), “mozzie (mosquitoes), and “cocky” (cockroach). These names sound perfectly alright and make good Australian-inspired dog names in the States but might offend Australians. The last one will offend most people too. Slangs are alright just as long as they are inoffensive and are not provocative.

Think of the Future

Puppies are cute and cuddly, but they grow up and grow old too. It can be hard to imagine your pooch as an adult or a senior dog when he’s all small and tiny but growing up is inevitable, which is why you should find a name that sounds good no matter how old your dog is.

three dogs playing nice on the grass

For example, Tiny, Babe, and Buttons sound very cute but remember that your dog could have a job when he’s grown up. He could become a therapy dog, a service dog, or a police dog. Even if you have a small pup right now, picture him as an adult or a senior. Names like Max, Scout, and Maggie are not only dignified, but they are also classics that go well with dogs even during their senior years.

Be Distinct

Since you’re thinking about Australian-themed names even for non-Australian dog breeds, you probably favor distinct or rare dog names. This is good because uncommon names are easy to remember and your dog will instantly recognize his or her name once called.

Great dane puppy lying down on a hot summer day

Classics like Buster, Rover, or Lassie are nice names, but they are also very popular so you can bet that a lot of dogs will also have these names. You’re already going for an uncommon name (in countries other than Australia, of course), so why not go a bit further and give your dog some truly revolutionary and unheard-of name?

Australian Dog Names

Australians have been speaking English for over 200 years, but they have developed and sculpted the language into something that is uniquely their own. They are unique in many ways, and we have tried to categorize our name recommendations based on each aspect of the Australian lifestyle.

Animal-Inspired Dog Names

Australia’s wildlife is very distinct from the rest of the world. The duck-billed platypus, for instance, was thought to be a joke when the Australians mentioned that they would send one back to England during the early 20th century.

Two bulldogs walking in leashes

If you’re looking for a unique Australian name, look no further than the names of animals from Oz.

  • Clown Fish – can also be “Finding Nemo”-inspired like Merlin or Nemo.

  • Croc – there are thousands of these animals in Australia.

  • Emu — a large flightless bird that can only be found in Australia.

  • Kangaroo – can be shortened into Kanga or Roo (like in Winnie the Pooh).

  • Kiwi — a small, flightless bird native to Australia.

  • Koala — a funny way to name a playful dog after an animal that sleeps 20 hours a day.

  • Kookaburra — a unique bird found in Australia and New Guinea.

  • Loggerhead – after the loggerhead turtle which calls Australia home.

  • Perry – for a very famous cartoon-platypus

  • Spiny Anteater – an animal that looks like a hedgehog or porcupine. Maybe you can shorten it to “Spiney.”

  • Taz – after the Tasmanian Devil, a marsupial native to Australia but now only found in the island-state of Tasmania.

  • Wallaby – a marsupial in the same family as the kangaroo.

  • Wombat – also another marsupial.

Slang-Inspired Dog Names

If you think their animals are strange, check out their slangs.

Female dog playing with a toy with her owner

Their slangs are very different from American slangs, and they make unique Australian names that you can call your pooch.

  • Ace – Australian slang for “excellent.”

  • Aussie or Ossie — slang or short for Australian.

  • Barbie – Australian slang for barbecue.

  • Bitzer — a name for a mixed breed dog.

  • Bloke – English slang for a man.

  • Boomer – short for boomerang. Either part of the name is a great way to call your dog.

  • Brumbly – an Australian term for “wild horse.”

  • Crikey – Steve Irwin’s favorite expression when he’s surprised.

  • Didgeridoo – a wind instrument developed by the Aborigines.

  • Digger – Australian slang for “soldier.” An apt name for a dog since they love to dig.

  • Dundee – after the film “Crocodile Dundee.”

  • Grommet – Australian slang for “young surfer.”

  • Kiwi – slang for a person from New Zealand

  • Mate – a great name for your best friend because it already means friend.

  • Sheila – slang for woman.

  • Steve or Irwin – in honor of the famous animal lover and Australian, Steve Irwin.

  • Vegemite — A food spread made from brewer’s yeast that Australians love.

Geography-Inspired Dog Names

If you’re looking for Australian-inspired dog names, look no further than some of the country’s most beautiful cities, towns, locations, and tourist attractions.

Australian Shepherd lying down on the grass next to some flowers

Here are some good ideas to help you get started.

  • Adelaide – nice option for a female dog; a large Australian city.

  • Alice — for Alice Springs in the Heart of Australia. Enjoy cavernous gorges, boundless desert landscapes, and remote Aboriginal communities.

  • Allora – a town in Queensland; also means “the Lord is my light” in Hebrew.

  • Bondi – after the very popular Bondi Beach.

  • Bouddi – for the Bouddi Peninsula in the Central Coast region of the New South Wales.

  • Brindabella – for the Brindabella Mountain Range on the border of the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales. Good alternative to the popular Isabella and Anabella.

  • Brisbane – can be shortened to Brizzie; capital of Queensland.

  • Bronte – after the Bronte Beach, a popular location for surfers with surf shops offering lessons to beginners.

  • Bungle Bungle Range – (can be shortened to Bungle) a striking row of orange-and-black-striped sandstone domes that resembles huge beehives. It is a popular tourist attraction in Purnululu National Park.

  • Canberra – the capital city of Australia.

  • Cardinia – the name of a place on the outskirts of Melbourne.

  • Coogee – after Cogee Beach, located near and similar to Bondi Beach. It is less crowded here, and the drinks are also much cheaper.

  • Darwin – a city in the Northwest Territory and a popular transport hub.

  • Fraser – for the Fraser Island, which is famous for its rainforests, sand dunes, more than 100 freshwater lakes, and colored sand cliffs.

  • Great Barrier Reef – you can shorten it to Barry.

  • Hobart – the capital city of Tasmania.

  • Illuka – (eye-loo-ka) a coastal town in New South Wales; it means “near the sea” in the Bndajalong language.

  • Inala – a suburb in Brisbane.

  • Kakadu – a protected area in the Northern Territory.

  • Kareela – also a Brisbane suburb.

  • Koori — a place in Victoria and New South Wales.

  • Lue – a small village in New South Wales.

  • Melbourne – the capital of Victoria and the second most populous city in the country.

  • Perth — a city in Southwest Australia.

  • Sydney – the capital of New South Wales and Australia’s most populous city.

  • Uluru – popularly known as Ayers Rock; also a large sandstone rock formation.

  • Whitsunday – after the Whitsunday Islands in the middle of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

  • Yannathan – a rural suburb in Victoria.

Aboriginal Dog Names

Aside from the English influence, Australian names also have their roots in their aboriginal culture. When Europeans came to Australia during the 18th century, they were fascinated by the local rhythmic language. Soon afterward, they began to use the positive words to name their children.

Close-up image of a dog having his mouth open

The first European to give his child an aboriginal name was the chaplain from the First Fleet, who named his daughter Milbah. Here are some other great examples.

Aboriginal Dog Names #1: Female

  • Alita – means “flame” in traditional South Australian language.

  • Alkawari – a sophisticated name from the Pitjantjatjara language with an unknown meaning.

  • Allira – translates to “clear crystal quartz”.

  • Angoona – a rarely used Warlpiri name.

  • Anmanari – a name from the Pintupi language of the aboriginals.

  • Bindi – means “little girl” in an unknown Australian language and “butterfly” in Nyungar. Also the name of Steve Irwin’s daughter.

  • Darana – a deity who created grubs and put it in a bag and then hung it from the tree.

  • Elanora — means “home by the water” or “home by the sea.” A good alternative to Eleanor.

  • Ellin – means “wish.”

  • Jannali – means “moon.” A good alternative to the popular Luna.

  • Jedda – an aboriginal name meaning “little wild goose.”

  • Kalina – means “love and affection” in the Wemba-Wemba language of New South Wales and Victoria.

  • Karri — an Australian Aboriginal word for the Eucalyptus tree.

  • Kirra — translates to “leaf” in Yugambeh and “to live” in the Murri dialect.

  • Lowanna – means “girl” in Tasmanian.

  • Marlee — means “elderberry tree” in the Biripi language.

  • Maroochy – means “black swan” in Turrubal or Kabi.

  • Maya – translates to “home or house” in Kiwari.

  • Merindah — translates to “beautiful” in one of the aboriginal languages in Sydney.

  • Merri — inspired by the local phase “merri,” which means “very rocky.”

  • Mia – means “month” and “moon” in Nyungar.

  • Myaree – means “foliage.”

  • Rianna – the original spelling of Rhianna; means “caterpillar” in Palawa.

  • Talia — means “‘near waters” in Brisbane.

  • Tarni — a very popular name in Australia. It is an onomatopoeia for the sound of the surf in Kaurna.

Aboriginal Dog Names #2: Male

  • Anatjari — a cool aboriginal name of the Pintupi language. Used to be a very popular Australian name.

  • Colebee – the name of 2 famous aboriginals in early Sydney.

  • Daku – translates to “sand hill” in the South Australian Diyari language.

  • Djalu — aboriginal baby boy name that means “lightning.”

  • Dural – means “valley” or “gully” in Dharug.

  • Gurumarra — means “dry lightning or lightning with no thunder” in aboriginal language.

  • Jabiru — a term for the “black-necked stork” by the Aboriginals of the Northern Territory.

  • Jarli — means “barn owl” in Jiwarli.

  • Jarrah — is the aboriginal term for the eucalyptus marginata tree in Australia.

  • Jiemba – means “laughing star” in Wiradjuri.

  • Kaiya – means “spear” in Kaurna.

  • Koa – means “crow” in the Kaurna language. It also means “warrior” in a Hawaiian dialect.

  • Kuparr – translates to “red earth” in Ngiyampaa.

  • Mawukura – indigenous Australian name used widely by the people of Walmajarri.

  • Miro — a kind of a spear in the Nyungar language.

  • Monti — a good alternative to Monty; means “black-necked stork” in an unknown Aboriginal language.

  • Omeo — meaning “mountains or “hills” in Gunaikurnai.

  • Tarka – meaning “eggshell” in Kaurna.

  • Tau — a Kaurna word, meaning “twilight” or “dusk.”

  • Warragul — derived from a local word “Warrigal” that means “wild dog” or “dog.” This word originally refers to the Dingo.

  • Warrin — It means ‘winter’ in one of the aboriginal languages of Sydney and is a good alternative to the conventional Warren.

Wrap Up

Getting a new dog is an exciting experience and a great responsibility. Before printing his or her name on a dog collar, make sure that the name is suitable and dignified not only for his breed but also for his potential adulthood or future job.

You should consider some of the Australia-themed names above because they are not only unique, but also full of significance. The name you choose should be something you are willing to say repeatedly, and although those Australian names sound unique, they roll off of English-speaking tongues naturally.

Australian Shepherd puppy lying on the grass

Australia is not only a country; it is also an island and a continent. They have a unique culture and interesting roots that go back centuries. Their names are not only uncommon, but also suited for dogs of different breeds, gender, and sizes.

Australian-inspired names are not only suited for “native” Australian dogs like the Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, or Australian Silky Terrier. You can also give your best friend an Australian name if you like the sound or if you just love the country. Not a lot of dogs will be given these names, so you will have an uncommon option for your best friend.

Cute little dog looking up to someone

When giving your dog a foreign-sounding name, just remember to choose something un-offensive. You might have to raise your voice to call your dog, and you don’t want to embarrass yourself or provoke other people who do not understand that you’re just calling your dog.

What do you think of our dog names from Australia? Do you think you will give your dog an Australian name? Which one? Do you have some other names that you believe should’ve made it on this list? Tell us by leaving your comments below.

About the author
David Jones