If you’re here, you’re probably thinking that choosing a Japanese dog name for your dog is a good idea, because the name will sound exotic and unique especially if you live in the United States. I agree wholeheartedly with that. Sure, if you live in the west, Japanese dog names sound strange, and your friends are probably going to have a hard time pronouncing your dog’s name. However, we also know that unique names are “in” right now.
Japanese names are still uncommon in the west, which is one of the best reasons why you should consider giving this type of name to your dog. Just imagine calling your best friend in a busy dog park, and he comes to you quickly because no other dog has the same name. Owners will want to know where your dog got his name or what it means. Also, Japanese names do not sound like any English command, so your dog won’t get confused during training.
We don’t usually have a list of Japanese names lying around waiting for our best friend, but don’t despair because that’s what this article is for. We have ideas for names based on their personality, color, characteristics, and gender. If you’re worried that you won’t be able to pronounce your own dog’s name properly, don’t be. We’ve made sure to pick Japanese names that aren’t too hard on our western tongue. Before you peruse the list of names, we have a few preceding tips that we believe should be kept in mind.
Tips on How to Name Your Dog
Picking a name for your dog is more overwhelming than you think. Aside from the names that you’re already considering, it’s likely that family, friends and other people will suggest names as well. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to pick a name for your dog. The most important consideration is to choose a name that you love. Here are some tips to consider if you’re still feeling confused about your dog’s Japanese name.
How Does It Sound?
Japanese names sound strange and foreign in the west which is why you should exercise care in choosing a name. When looking for a name, consider the sound. Does it sound harsh, sharp, or offensive?
For example, Saiko (SAA-iy-Kow) is a popular Japanese name for girls; it means serene child. In the United States, it means something else. Yudai is another good example. It is a good name for a boy because it means brave. In the United States, people might find it offensive if you shout “Yudai” at a dog park to call your dog because it’s like you’re screaming for somebody to die.
Other awkward examples include Yuu (because it sounds like “you”), Yumi (you, me), Nobu, and Fukuyo (the last two don’t really sound bad especially if pronounced correctly. However, they look bad especially if you think in English).
Japanese names are already unique if you live in the west. If you’re in Japan, they’re quite common. For example, Sakura is a very popular name for girls. The same is true for Kenta for boys. If you ever find yourself living or staying in Japan with your dog, don’t be surprised to hear these names often.
Incidentally, the Japanese word for dog is “inu.” If you decide to name your dog Inu, it will be unique in the west, but generic in Japan and lots of dogs and people will probably be looking at you wondering why you chose to name your dog, “dog.”
Names That Age Well
Some of us get dogs during their puppyhood. At this time they are all cute and cuddly creatures so it can be hard to picture them as adult dogs with jobs. But puppies grow up so it’s better to picture your pup as an adult and find names that will still be suitable for him even when he’s grown.
Names like Koinu literally means puppy in Japanese and doesn’t sound bad in the west. However, it can be funny for people who understand Japanese that you would be calling an adult or senior dog Koinu. In this connection, it is also better to avoid names like ramen, soba (a kind of noodle), tempura, sashimi, sake, ryokucha, or sushi.
The Best Japanese Dog Names
Ready for a comprehensive list of some of the best dog names available? We will separate the Japanese dog names we have into several categories. We’ll start with names divided by gender, names that symbolize certain personalities, colors, size, and then wrap the article up with names inspired by famous Japanese landmarks.
Japanese Dog Names by Gender
When you get a dog, the first thing you usually think about is their gender. Did you get a boy or a girl or maybe both? Names based on gender are easy because it immediately gives you a category to look for.
Just like with western names, Japanese names are strictly divided by gender. That is to say, some names are specifically meant for females while others are for males, while a few of them can be used for both sexes.
Dog Names by Gender #1: Female
In Japan, the ideal female figure is known as “Yamato Nadeshiko,” or one that’s gentle, kind, and loving. Since the Japanese associate females with elegance, their female names usually resonate with something heartwarming, such as flowers or feelings of affection. Here are some fabulous Japanese dog names female to give to your Yamato Nadeshiko:
Airi – ai meaning love and ri for jasmine or pearl
Akiko – aki is for red or autumn. Ko is a common suffix attached to girl names, such as “-a” (Alexa, Maria) in western names
Chieko – chi is for wisdom or thousand
Chou — for butterfly
Emi – e is for blessing or favor. E can also be for picture and mi is for beautiful
Hana — flower
Hinata — sunflower or facing the sun
Hisa — long-awaited
Hoshi — for the “star” in your life
Izumi — fountain or spring
Kaede – for dogs that love sweet maple nectar or maple leaves
Kaori — for scent, perfume, fragrance. It can also come from ka “smell, perfume,” and ori for weaving
Kawaii — cute or darling pooches
Mai — meaning dance or linen robe. It can also come from ma, meaning real or true, and ai for love or affection
Mariko – ma is for real or true, and ri is for village
Megumi — beautiful blessing
Mei — me is for bud or sprout, and i is for clothing/garment
Michiko — mi is for beautiful, and chi means wisdom or intellect
Mika – mi is for beautiful, combined with ka for smell or perfume
Naomi — nao means honest and mi is for beautiful
Rei – means bell or lovely
Rina — ri is for jasmine or village, and na means vegetables or greens
Rio – ri is for jasmine or village, and o is for silky thread
Sakura – one of the most popular Japanese names, meaning cherry blossom
Sayuri — sa is for small, and yuri is for lily
Shiori –to weave a poem
Suki – the equivalent of “I like you.”
Suzu – means bell
Suzume – means sparrow
Ume — means plum, which symbolizes fidelity
Yuuna — yu is for yui, meaning bindings and na is for vegetables or greens
Dog Names by Gender #2: Male
Japanese males prize honor, loyalty, and a strong heart above all, so their names often have meanings that reflect those qualities.
Now, let’s check out some cool Japanese dog names male for your dog.
Akira – bright or clear
Arata — fresh or new
Haruki – haru means spring, while ki means radiance
Hikaru – light or radiance
Isamu – bravery or to be inspired by courage
Kaito — kai means the sea and to refers to the constellation Ursa Major. It can also mean to soar or fly
Kazuki — kazu means harmony. Ki means radiance or hope
Makoto – sincerity
Masaru — victory
Naoki – nao means honest or straight while ki is for tree
Ryuu — dragon
Seiji – perfect for dogs that work in law enforcement
Sentaro — sen means steel and taro is for boy—a good name for good boys
Shigeru — flourishing or luxuriant
Japanese Dog Names by Personality
Dogs, just like human beings, have their own personalities. Some of them are playful. Others like to sleep all day, and there are those that are sweet as honey.
Their different personalities are evident even during puppyhood. If their personality isn’t immediately apparent, if you can afford to, we recommend taking a few days or maybe weeks to observe your dog’s personality. This can be your basis for their Japanese name. Here are a few inspirations to match your dog’s personality.
Akira (M) — good name for bright or smart dogs
Atsushi (M) – industrious, good name for working dog breeds
Chie (F) – wise or smart pooches
Hansuke (M) – very helpful friend and a good boy
Hisato (M) – because we all want our best friends to live a long and happy life
Jun (U) – obedient. Good name for good boys.
Kaiya (F) – because dogs are always forgiving
Kana (F) –for dogs with skills
Kazu (F)- for obedient boys and girls
Keiko (F) – a name for good girls
Madoka (F) – good choice if your dog is tranquil
Nani (F) – beautiful
Natsuko (F) –for puppies born during summer
Natsuo (M) – for puppies born during summer
Nozomi (F) – a good name for the dog you’ve hoped and wished for
Osamu (M) – disciplined
Sachio (F) – meaning “happy child.” It is a good name for cheerful dogs
Sato (F) – a good name for sweet puppies and pooches
Satoru (M) — fast learner. Good name for smart dogs
Shinobu (U) – endurance. For dogs who can go all day
Shiori (F) — guide. Can be used for guide or service dogs
Shizuka (F) – quiet. Some dog breeds hardly bark. Examples include the Basenji, Bull Mastiff, and the Greyhound.
Souji (M) – means general manager because some dogs are born leaders of the pack
Tadao (M) – loyal
Takahiro (M) – the noble guard dog
Takara (F)- for the dog you will forever treasure
Tomo (F) –intelligent. For smart doggies
Toshi (M) – alert or intelligent. Good name for guard or service dogs
Tsutomu (M) –for working dog breeds like German Shepherds or Border Collies
Yasashiku (M) – for gentle and polite pooches
Yasuko (F) – peaceful. Good name for dogs that avoid fights
Yori (M) – means servant to the public. Nice choice for service dogs
Yoshi (F) – good
Yuko (F) – is a great name for helpful dogs. Good choice for working dog breeds
Japanese Dog Names by Coat Color
Dogs come in many colors. Some of them are black, white, red, or a combination of colors. Naming your dog from their coat color is one of the easiest ways to pick a suitable moniker for your best friend.
The good news is that you won’t be stuck with generic names like Blackie, Whitey, or Spot. Well, you can still call them the equivalent Japanese translation of those names, but at least it won’t be obvious to other people. Here are some great examples.
Akako (F) – red
Akane (F) – brilliant red
Aki (F) – autumn
Aoi (U) – means blue. We know there are no blue dogs, but it can be an alternative to the name Blue.
Aya (F) — means color. A good choice for multi-colored dogs
Ayame (F) – iris flowers
Chika (F) — scarlet flowers
Fuyu(F) — winter
Gin (F) — silver
Hayate (M) — smooth
Kane (M) — golden. Can be given to Golden Retrievers or other breeds with gold or tan coats
Kasshoku (U) – brown
Kin (U) – gold. For golden retrievers or tan colored dogs
Kinu (F) — for dogs with silky coats
Kiyoshi (F) – pure
Kohaku (U) – amber. Good name for golden retrievers and other tan colored dogs
Kuro (U) — black
Madara (M) – an alternative for Spots
Maru (U) – ideal for merle-coated dogs
Masago (F) — sand
Murasaki (F) — purple, because you just want to be unique
Seijun (F) – pure. Good choice for a dog with a single color or perhaps all-white dogs
Shiro (U) — means white
Taiyo (M) – meaning sun. Can be used for tan colored dogs
Yoichi (M) – sunshine
Yoko (F) — child of the sun
Yuki (F) – snow. Good name for white colored puppies
Colors need not reflect their coats only. They can also be chosen because they are your favorite color.
Japanese Dog Names by Size
Size is another consideration when naming a dog. Dogs come in many sizes ranging from the teacup varieties which can fit in your hand to Clifford-like sizes.
Here are a few Japanese names for dogs of all sizes.
Akihiro – (M) meaning glory
Chisai (U) — for small dog breeds since it means small
Dai (M) – great, big dog
Hotaka (M) – means tall grain. Good choice for dogs like Basenji or Greyhounds and other dogs that are tall
Kaori (F) – strong
Kenichi (M) – strong and healthy
Kenta (M) – meaning healthy or strong, big or stout
Ooki (M) – for big boys
Taichi (M) – means large one
Takeo (M) – warrior. Can be given to guard or working dogs
Tatsuo (M) – dragon. For scary and intimidating dogs
Tsuyoshi (M) – strong
Japanese Names Inspired By Geography
Names of cities, states, and countries are also a very popular option. Here are some cool cities in Japan for dog name inspiration.
Ashi – for Lake Ashi
Fushimi – a shrine in Tokyo
Hokkaido – snowy northern area
Kobe – sixth largest city in Japan
Kyoto – a city located in the center of Japan
Osaka – one of Japan’s largest cities
Tokyo – Japan’s capital and most populous city
Japan’s culture of tradition, loyalty, and honor has been around since 10,000 BC. These names embody their ancient beliefs that are also reflected in their haiku poetry, architecture, ikebana, and noble lifestyle that can be seen in the Samurai Bushido Code.
Japanese dog names are a beautiful choice for your puppies. If you own a Shiba Inu or other Japanese breeds, it is a great idea to find a Japanese name for them. Even if your dog is not a Japanese breed, you should still consider Japanese names for uniqueness or perhaps because you like the sound of them.
Have you just adopted a Japanese dog breed? Or perhaps you just love Japan? If you have any other good name suggestions, please share them in the comments section below! We would love to hear from you. Arigatou and mata ne!