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When you are trying to find an imaginative but appropriate name for your dog, it can be challenging. This is especially difficult when you have just brought them home and don’t have a good feel for their personality yet.
When this is the case, using their physical characteristics can be a great place to start.
Naming your pup is a big decision. The name you choose for your dog will ideally be what they are called for the rest of their life. This means you’ll need to put a lot of thought and care into the name you eventually choose.
With that in mind, read on for our list of potential names for male dogs that are on the larger end.
These names are ideal for large dog breeds like German shepherds, Dalmatians, Bernese, and Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Mastiff, Irish Wolfhound, but they are also great choices for any pup that just feels larger than life.
Large Size-Inspired Names
Why not deal with the elephant in the room, so to speak, and give your dog a name that directly reflects just how big he is (or is going to be)? Here are some great choices if your dog is large and in charge.
- Bear – both big and cuddly
- Behemoth – a grand and mysterious biblical beast
- BFG – as in big friendly giant
- Big Mac – the iconic McDonald’s burger; good for dogs that live their food
- Bozorg – the world for “large” in Persian
- Brutus – a slightly intimidating name
- Chunk – for dogs that are both big and sturdy
- Dreadnought – a famously large British battleship
- Everest – as in Mount Everest, perfect if they are a little on the lazy side
- Hippo – a notoriously big and dangerous animal
- Hound – not only another word for “dog,” but of Game of Thrones fame
- Jumbo – like a jumbo jet; matches a big dog with big ears
- Mammoth – especially if they have long hair like the extinct wooly mammoth
- Mountain – both an unmovable object and another Game of Thrones character
- Ookii – “big” in Japanese
- Reef – as in the Great Barrier Reef; perfect if they love to swim
- Rex – as in T-Rex (just don’t tell him they are related to chickens!)
- Sasquatch – the legendary larger-than-human beast
- Sequoia – the largest type of tree
- Stilts – ideal for tall and skinny pups
- Tank – there’s nothing stopping your dog when they put their weight behind them
- Thunder – big as a thunderclap; perfect for a dog with a big bark
- Whale – there are few larger animals than this!
- Whopper – a delicious burger that delivers a big taste
Godly & Heroic Names
Gods and heroes tend to be larger than life, so they often have powerful names that make the ideal choice for a larger dog. Here are some inspired by a variety of gods and heroes from mythology, literature, and more.
- Apollo – the Greek god of practically everything, including music, poetry, and art
- Atlas – the Greek Titan who is condemned to hold the heavens aloft above the earth
- Attila – as in “the Hun,” a more than fearsome warrior
- Balor – a giant in Gaelic mythology
- Caesar – the man who created the Roman empire, nice for a dog that likes to be in charge
- Fenrir – an enormous wolf from Norse mythology destined to eat Odin himself at the apocalypse
- Hercules – the heroic half-human half-god who accomplished many brave deeds to earn his place in heaven
- Jormungandr – from Norse mythology, this large dragon lives in the water surrounding the world of men, circling the entire world and holding his own tail in his mouth
- Jotun – the Norse word for “giant”
- Jupiter – the most important Roman god and also the biggest planet in our solar system
- Odin – the king of the Norse gods; he had one eye and was the god of both war and wisdom
- Spartacus – the Roman slave who led an important (and messy) slave revolt
- Thor – the Norse god of thunder (and rock and roll) who was the ideal warrior and had lightning in his eyes
- Titan – a giant primordial being from Greek mythology who warred with the gods
- Ymir – the primordial giant from Norse mythology from which all other giants sprang
- Zeus – the most important god among the Greeks, lightning bearer, and a bit of a ladies man
Fiction & Pop Culture Names
While it is rarely a good idea to give your dog a name that is too trendy, here are some classics from literature and pop culture that would suit a larger pup.
- Beast – the more fearsome half of Beauty and the Beast, who may look scary but has a heart of gold
- Brobdingnag – the giant from Gulliver’s Travels
- Chewy – as in Chewbacca from Star Wars
- Colossus – a big villain from the X-Men universe, but also a Greek name for many large monsters
- Cormoran – Cornish giant (and character in Robert Galbraith books)
- Dothraki – as in the intimidating mounted warriors from Game of Thrones
- Drogo – as in the Dothraki Khal Drogo, good for the silent type
- Godzilla – this monster was capable of destroying whole cities; maybe your pup has a similar impact on your house
- Gogmagog – the last British giant
- Goliath – Jason was the small underdog against the big, strong, and powerful Goliath
- Groot – from the Guardians of the Galaxy, a big character of few words
- Heathcliff – the hero from Wuthering Heights who was definitely the strong silent type
- Hulk – the big green anger machine, especially appropriate for dogs with a hot temper
- Juggernaut – the large and unstoppable character from X-Men
- Kong – as in King Kong
- Marmaduke – the beloved Great Dane
- Maximus – the name for a warrior, mostly famous from Gladiator
- Nimrod – a famous giant from the Old Testament
- Og – a giant from the Jewish book of numbers
- Shrek – the popular green beast, perhaps especially if they have bad gas
- Thanos – of The Avengers Legend, who literally wiped out half of existence (spoiler alert!)
- Yeti – a legendary human-like beast that may live secretly in forests
Have you considered naming your dog after one of your favorite larger-than-life celebrities? Warning, there are quite a few fighters on this list!
- Andre – as in Andre the Giant
- Big Bird – our favorite yellow character from Sesame Street
- Biggie – as in rapper Biggie Smalls
- DeVito – like the diminutive actor Danny DeVito with a larger-than-life personality
- Hemsworth – as in Chris and Liam Hemsworth
- Jay-Z – like the chart-topping music exec and rapper
- Momoa – named for Jason Momoa
- Mayhew – as in Peter Mayhew, the man behind the Chewbacca costume
- Rambo – a character big enough to end entire wars on his own
- Rock – wrestling legend turned actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
- Rocky – Sylvester Stallone is one of our favorite boxers
- Snoop – as in Snoop Dogg, who is skinny but very tall
- Shaq – after the basketball player Shaquille O’Neal
- Tyson – as in the one and only Mike Tyson; would be great for a dog with interesting facial markings
- Vaughn – as in the very tall actor Vince Vaughn
Why not go for something ironic that plays on the fact that your dog might be big on the outside, but they are still your baby.
- Beetle – a small animal, and also a tribute to the legendary band
- Button – as in “cute as a…” nice if they have a small face or ears and a big body
- Joey – as in the name of young Kangaroos that live in their mother’s pouches
- Morsel – like a delicious little morsel
- Muffin – is your pup adorable enough to eat?
- Nugget – a nugget of gold, of course, not the type of nuggets your pup leaves for you to clean up…or perhaps your dog loves chicken nuggets?
- Peanut – also cute for kind of dopey dogs, with peanut-sized brains
- Peewee – like Peewee Herman
- Pocket – as in, small enough to fit in your pocket
- Sprout – perfect, since little sprouts tend to grow to be quite large
- Tiny – a classic ironic name for larger pups
If you are getting a puppy, don’t forget to check out our new puppy checklist.
Tips For Choosing A Dog Name
While there are certainly no rules for what you can or should call your dog, there are a few factors that are worth bearing in mind when you are narrowing down your list and coming to a final decision. Here are some things to think about when naming your new pup.
Your dog needs to recognize their name, which means it should be short, as in nothing more than one or two syllables. If their name is much longer than that, it will be hard for your dog to learn that the name belongs to them.
Remember, dogs don’t actually learn words; they recognize sounds, so you want something short and distinctive, not something that will lose their attention and confuse them.
If you want to give them a longer and more elaborate name, don’t forget to think about how you are going to shorten it. Make sure that everyone uses the same abbreviated version of the name so your dog can easily recognize it.
While it might be fun to choose a name that is unique and only you can pronounce, that fun novelty could wear off quickly. Anyone with a hard-to-pronounce name will tell you that it can get tiresome to constantly correct people.
Also, you and your immediate family might not be the only people who need to get your dog’s attention to get them under control. It’s best to avoid choosing a tongue twister that no one else can pronounce.
Your dog will need to learn their name, so ideally, they need something they can distinguish from other important words.
For example, don’t choose a name that sounds too much like a command that they will also need to learn (“Sid,” for example, is not the best name for a dog). This can just cause confusion when training.
Also, you can favor names that start with a sibilant consonant or blend consonants, such as an S or an SH, or a hard commanding consonant like a K or C. These sounds are easier for your dog to distinguish and will catch their attention better.
While a name might seem amusing and cute at the time, remember that you, your dog, and your family will be using it for the next 10 to 20 years, in front of other people, maybe even yelling it loudly across a crowded park.
Anything that is too rude or offensive could become problematic. So, while it is fun to come up with something interesting, don’t spill over into the offensive and vulgar.
This is also the risk when it comes to names that are too trendy. As things change, you might not really want your dog associated with that trend anymore. I imagine there are many people out there who regret calling their dogs Cosby or Epstein, for instance.
How To Teach Your Dog Their Name
Naming your dog is not just a case of choosing the perfect name. You also need to teach your pup to recognize it.
This is actually not that different from teaching your dog commands, except that instead of the word or command representing the desired action, it represents them!
It can be a good idea to consider teaching your dog their name as if it is a command to get their attention. When you say their name, what you want is for them to look at you.
Like with all commands, you should approach the teaching with positive reinforcement training, giving them a reward (treat, praise, or play) whenever they give the right response to their name.
Avoid using any kind of harsh punishment when training your dog, especially when you are teaching them to recognize their name. This can result in negative associations, and that is the last thing you want your pooch to have about their own name.
Start with short micro training sessions daily (just five minutes or so) during which you have your dog in an attentive situation, and then say their name.
When they respond to you, give them a treat. Repeat this several times over a couple of minutes every day for a few weeks to reinforce their recognition of their name.
Next, you need to teach your dog to respond to you when you don’t necessarily already have their attention.
Take them out on the leash (even if it is only into the yard) and let them explore. Then, while walking your dog, call their name. If they turn and give you their attention, that’s a success, so reward them with a treat.
If they don’t turn in a timely manner, lightly tug on the leash to get their attention and say their name again. When they do turn towards you, you can say their name again and then reward them for their response.
With this kind of training, your dog will slowly learn to associate their name with good things, and they will always want to give you their attention.
For this reason, avoid using your dog’s name in negative situations. For example, don’t say, “No, Rover;” just say, “No,” in order to avoid associating your dog’s name with negativity.
FAQs About Dog Names
What should you not name your dog?
Choosing a name for anyone, whether they are a child, a dog, or any other type of pet can be challenging. We generally have to put quite a bit of thought into finding a name that is appropriate, affectionate, and fun.
Additionally, there are a few general sort of rules that can help you choose a good name for your dog.
Principally, limit yourself to something that is only one or two syllables or can be shortened easily so it is easy for your dog to recognize.
Choosing something that starts with a sibilant or hard consonant can also help your dog distinguish their name from the background noise.
Can you have multiple names for your dog?
Your dog is intelligent, and if you have a name and a few nicknames for them, they will probably learn that they are all associated with them over time.
Still, bear in mind that you do need to train your dog to recognize their name, just as you train them to recognize other words.
Start out with just one fairly simple name that can be used when you really need to get their attention. Once they know that, you can start to give them nicknames. You can always revert to their stable, “real” name in emergencies if needed.
How often should you say your dog’s name?
There is no problem with saying your dog’s name frequently, just expect to get their attention frequently as well.
However, it is a good idea to avoid combining their name with other commands so they don’t start to conflate the two.
Also, never use their name when you are scolding them or telling them not to do something in order to avoid linking negative connotations with their name.
Want to learn more about dog training? Check out these common hand signals for dogs.
Choosing a name for a new pet can be challenging, especially when you are still getting to know their personality. So, why not let yourself be inspired by something about their physical appearance, such as their size?
We’ve provided a comprehensive list of diverse names that are perfect for male dogs who are larger than most. Hopefully, you can find something that feels and sounds just right for your pup on the list.
What are your favorite names for big, male dogs?
Share your suggestions with the community in the comments section below.
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