Tough Dog Names: The Power in a Name

Big size red dog walking in the yard
Anna Smith
Written by Anna Smith

So, you’ve also heard that there is power in a name. It is not uncommon for dog parents—especially those that have recently adopted a breed that is known for its aggressiveness and toughness—to look for tough dog names that will complement the lifestyle that their dog has been bred for. However, that often turns out to be a big challenge.

It is not just about choosing the name. Sometimes, the challenge is about picking one which is unique, not just tough. Other times, it is about choosing a name that holds meaning to you. Whichever it is you are looking for, we have taken it upon ourselves to scout some of the best tough sounding dog names your dog can ever bear—names that will strike fear into the heart of people who wish you harm and cast a feeling of safety over those who are under your canine companion’s protection.

rottweiler,dog having his mouth open

We have kept various mindsets of dog parents in mind, so expect to be treated to different categories of names. If you are looking for names such as ‘Daisy’ and ‘Lily,’ this is not the list for you. If you are open to naming your dog something like ‘Boss Bazooka of Boomsville,’ then you’re in the right place. Okay, we’re joking with that one. Or are we?

Tough Dog Names by Gender

Both male and female dogs can be tough, and that is why we will cover both divisions in this particular category.

Dog Names by Gender #1: Male

Not all tough dogs are male, but it cannot be denied that even in the realm of dogs, males are typically bigger and bulkier than females.

Black and white picture of a tough dog looking at the camera

That’s why when we thought about tough male dog names, many of the monikers that popped up had something to do with their intimidating and powerful appearance. Here’s a few of them:

  • Ares – This is the name of the Greek god of war. He was considered a physically fit, strong, and tough being

  • Blade – Even if you were not going to name your dog after the razor, consider this name for Wesley Snipes who played ‘Blade’ in the three-part 90s movie

  • Blitz – The name sounds cool on its own, even without a reason. But if you need a better reason to consider this, try to recall what a blitz looks like in American football

  • Butch – Carrying just the right amount of charm, this might be an old school name, but it still gets the job done

  • Hercules – With the possibility of shortening it to ‘Herc,’ this is the name of the son of Zeus who had superhuman strength

  • Kratos – If you have ever played the ‘God of War’ game, you will have no reason to ask us why we feel this should be an option. A single man that embarks on a revenge campaign and surmounts all the obstacles placed before him is as tough as they come

  • Rex – Short and sweet, Rex brings to mind the king of the dinosaurs before they went extinct

  • Samson – Biblical names are always apt. This one doesn’t just have a nice ring to it, but it also belonged to a very tough man. What else would you call someone that killed a lion with their bare hands?

  • Spike – Maybe it’s the sharpness with which it is pronounced or the dangerous nature of spikes itself, but something makes this name a fit for tough dogs

  • Tank – If your dog has a tendency to get very muscular, compliment the toughness and size all at once with this name

  • Thor – There is just something about this name that makes it fit almost anywhere. And here again, it slots in perfectly

  • Zeus – We weren’t going to mention the child and leave out the father. Another Greek god with a cool name and tough personality

Dog Names by Gender #2: Female

Female dogs can also be tough.

Two tough dogs running with a toy in water

They may be physically smaller and more slender, but no one would dare mess with them, especially if they are proudly bearing one of these tough female dog names:

  • Ash

  • Astra

  • Elektra – Inspired by the sword-wielding, martial artist of a lady that plays the girlfriend of Daredevil in the fictional story

  • Ghost – What is toughness if it doesn’t carry a little bit of fear with it, right?

  • Hera – One of the most prominent goddesses in the Greek mythology. She was portrayed as one of the biggest opposition one could ever have to contend with

  • Indiana – Although this name has been made popular by the kickass explorer, Indiana Jones, we still think it is a lovely one for a tough female dog. For short, you could opt for ‘Indy’

  • Ivy – Perhaps not for one of the supervillains in DC’s Batman, but for the plant that’s strong enough to support a grown man’s weight without snapping.

  • Kahuna – This name has its origins in the Hawaiian language. Loosely, it translates to mean someone who is in charge. Who else would that be if not the tough one in the pack?

  • Leia – If you are a fan of Star Wars, naming your female dog after Princess Leia could be the way to go. We don’t feel the need to state the obvious about how tough she is anymore.

  • Mace

  • Nyx – A goddess of the night with exceptional power, according to the Greek mythology

  • Rogue – Before you entertain that doubt, we can conform to you that this name will fit your female dog. Literally, it means ‘a playfully mischievous person with an unpredictable nature.”

  • Xena – The famed warrior princess. Need we say more?

Tough Dog Names Inspired by ‘Gangsta’ Musicians

Most especially in the world of rap, musicians have been known to adopt a bad boy/bad girl image time and again. This, they commonly use to form a part of their personal brand, and we tend to associate this with them for a very long time.

A tough dog playing with a red toy

Some of these musicians, bands, and rappers are the embodiment of tough themselves. That is why we know your dog will also feel tough bearing one of the names we are about to suggest to you below.

  • 2Pac – Up until the death of the man known on the stage as 2Pac Shakur, he fused the ‘street Gangsta’ lifestyle into his rap music. Even now that he is no longer with us, rappers that come after him know well to pay homage whenever his name is mentioned. Even after he’s gone, his name still keeps its toughness

  • Akon – You do not want to Google what the full name of this man is. If you just went ahead to do so, you must know why now. The self-pronounced ‘convict’ of the music industry is no easy egg to crack. Over time, he has still managed to stay relevant in more than two continents at the same time

  • Arcade – This is not in reference to the big consoles for playing heavily pixelated games. It is, instead, a nod to Arcade Fire, an alternative rock band

  • Bruno – You must have guessed that this one was inspired by Bruno Mars. It is true that he is not the regular ‘gangsta,’ and that is why we think this is the best name for a tough dog with a sweet side to them.

  • Busta – Known in full as Busta Rhymes, he ranks next on our list after 2Pac Shakur when it comes to toughness

  • Ice Cube – This man has a face that can get anyone to spill their guts. He, himself, has the guts to face an anaconda. Alright, we agree that it was fictional, but you can’t agree less that it is still a kickass name for your dog

  • Jay Zee – This is a man that has been in the music scene for so long, he knows nearly everything about the trade already. He started in the days of the gangsta rappers too, so it is understandable why he would be one himself. Although he has now grown out of that nature, he is still respected as one of the ‘biggest dogs’ in the game. A name that gets better with age for your dog, don’t you think?

  • Twisted – Does anyone remember Twisted Sister? That tough rock band that had a very imposing appearance? You just got where the inspiration for this name came from

Tough Dog Names Inspired by Prison Names

We will go out on a limb here and say that you will find the toughest breed of people in prison. The four walls of those correctional facilities hold some of the strongest, bravest, and toughest faces known to man.

Puppy sitting on the floor and playing with a toy

While we will not be naming your dog after any of the inmates (we don’t want them to have a bad role model now, do we?), you sure can choose to name them after the prisons themselves. Afterall, the prison must be a tougher entity to hold the tough inmates.

  • Chino – Located in California (San Bernardino), this is a state prison for men

  • Folsom – This is not just a pretty name. It is the name of one of the most fearsome prisons in the world. It is located near Sacramento in California

  • Lompoc – Near California too, this is a federal prison for men only

  • Parchman – Parchman is the oldest of all maximum-security prisons in Mississippi

  • Raiford – All the way from Florida, this is a state prison which also serves as a home to the execution chamber

  • Rikers – Sitting on Rikers Island, it is the correctional facility for New York City

  • Yodok – Famous in North Korea for its violations of human rights, the prison mainly serves for political reasons

Tough Dog Names Inspired by Soccer

Although we now have women in soccer, it is a world still largely dominated by the men. Of these men, we have seen some of the hungriest for success, toughest, and most driven people of them all. Instead of identifying them one after the other, we will let your dog get a pick from a combination of all three features.

A tough dog puppy playing in the grass

To aid your dog’s familiarity with the name, you can only choose either the first name or the last of these players. Here are some remarkable footballers that are known for their toughness:

  • Costa – Diego Costa can be said to be the Spanish Didier Drogba. He would bully the opposition, his own teammates, and even the coach!

  • Cristiano – or Ronaldo. Not only did this man go from being a scrawny little kid to a muscular idol, but the strength of his character to keep playing at a top level for years now is also something to commend

  • Drogba – Having played two stints for Chelsea FC now, this is one man that will always be remembered in the history of the club as one of their most prolific forwards. He was a constant menace to defenses everywhere he played and was known to be generous with his slaps too.

  • Mario – This, because Balotelli would have been a much longer name to risk giving to your dog. Need we say more about this character?

  • Pepe – The formal Real Madrid defender became complacent during his latter days in the club, but it is his earlier days that many will remember. He was never shy to provoke a confrontation, and would even be amused at getting sent off for that. Defiant and tough

  • Ribery – The man is tough. His name sounds tough. The scar on his face makes him look even tougher!

  • Wayne – Short for Wayne Rooney. Anyone who knew the former Manchester United man in his hay days will attest to his toughness. Not shy to bully opponents at the slightest chance, he is as tough as they come

  • Xabi – A cool name of Spanish origin. This man always had controversies following him everywhere he went. However, that did not stop him from having a wonderful career at Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Bayern

  • Zlatan – The giant Swede is the perfect embodiment of toughness—that is, not mentioning his sense of self-pride, humor, and strong character. You might never find a tougher name than this

Tough Dog Names Inspired by Comic Books

Are you one of those who are of the opinion that comic books are for children? We bet that after you see these names, you’ll change your mind

  • Barry – Especially if your dog is not just tough, but also faster than average, you might want to complement the toughness with speed. Hence, Barry from Barry ‘The Flash’ Allen

  • Bruce – Coined by Bruce Wayne (Batman), this is a character who is not only very rich but is also trained in the ways of nearly all the martial arts styles out there. How tough can one man get?

  • Hal – or Jordan. Even though he is a playful lad most of the time, he is also one tough Green Lantern to go through. As a bonus, the last name of this superhero (Jordan) is also a good fit for your dog

  • Oliver – Inspired by Oliver Queen, this is one of the best heroes we have ever seen. He is fictional, of course, but he is a very strong leader, excellent archer, magnificent martial artist, and master strategist. Need we say more?

  • Panther – This name gives a nod to the Black Panther of the Wakanda nation. There is no telling what he can or can’t do when the spirit of his forbearers descend upon him

  • Stark – While he might not be the toughest man outside the Iron Man suit, he is a very hard nut to crack once he gets into position

Tough Dog Names Inspired by Outlaws

In the wild, wild west, people would respect you (not in a healthy way though) if you were an outlaw. You were considered one tough enough to do something and get away with it—always living on the other side of the law and being intelligent enough to avoid capture.

A french bulldog sitting in bed

Does that sound tough enough for you? We know it does, so we collected the names of some popular outlaws.

  • Bonney – Not many people would remember this, but a mention of ‘Billy the Kid’ would get the bells ringing. Bonney is his last name

  • Bonnie – The female in the notorious Bonnie and Clyde outlaw couple

  • Butch – Rings a bell? How about Butch Cassidy, the notorious train and bank robber?

  • Capone – The last name of the Chicago mafia’s boss, Al Capone

  • Clyde – The male outlaw that was also in a romantic relationship with Bonnie, his criminal partner

  • Jesse – Jesse is a cool name for both a male and female dogs. The one who made the name a tough option was Jesse James. He added qualifications such as bank and train robbery to a resume of extensive crimes

  • Robin – The famous outlaw from English tales who would always rob the rich to feed the poor

  • Villa – After Pancho Villa who was a very famous general at the time of the Mexican revolution

  • Zod – The eternal enemy of Clark Kent (otherwise known as Superman). Formerly a Krypton general, he is a very tough opponent to face for even Superman

Wrap Up

Some dog breeds are not meant to be branded with weak names. That would be an insult to the breed and the intelligence of the dog. To prevent such, we have generated this list for you. To sweeten the deal further, we have made sure the names are easy to pronounce, apt for dog training, and carry great meanings.

Putting the names under different categories and providing notes on them is our way to give you all the information you need to make a decision on the most suitable tough dog name to adopt for your dog.

Beautiful brown with white moscow-guard-dog

If you happened to find one you will be using in the list, we would love to know why that particular choice caught your fancy. Likewise, if you have some suggestions that are not on the list, you should drop them in the comments box. Who knows, you might end up having your mention featured on the list.

About the author
Anna Smith
Anna Smith

Anna Smith resides in beautiful Santa Monica, CA, where she works as a Pet Nutrition Expert in a leading retail pet store. She is responsible for nutritional strategies for different breeds and development of new products on the market in compliance with Association of American Feed Control Officials. Anna's passions are education about proven methods and best practices in the industry and her dog Max, who is always well-fed.