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So, you are adopting a black or dark-colored dog into your family. The bedding is bought, the crate is ready, and the family is excited. Now you just have to agree on the perfect name for your new pup!
Interestingly, it does actually matter what you choose to call your dog. Dogs are able to learn their names, so their names become important signals for them.
For this reason, it needs to be a distinctive word that doesn’t sound too similar to any other commands you will give your dog often during training and play.
Also, while a name might seem cute and funny at the time, don’t forget that you might find yourself yelling that name at the top of your lungs across a crowded park. Will it still feel quite so funny then?
In this article, we will share our list of some of the best black dog names that will also suit darker-colored dogs in general.
They are thematically organized, and we have also provided brief explanations of each name and why you might want to consider choosing them.
In addition, we will share a few tips for choosing a good name for your dog that everyone in the family can agree on.
Even if you don’t find the perfect name that everyone in the family can agree on in our list, hopefully, it will get the creative juices flowing to help you eventually find the right name for your pup.
Best Names For Dark-Colored Dogs
Below, you will find a list of great dog names for black or dark-colored dogs. They are divided into various themes to help you narrow down your search based on your interests.
We have also provided brief explanations about what inspires us about these names and what kind of dogs they are best suited for.
- Ink – ideal for the blackest of black dogs
- Slate – perfect for dogs with a greyish tinge
- Soot – perfect for dogs with a black mask
- Charcoal – an ironic name for heavy shedders
- Witch – for pups with a wicked streak
- Onyx – best suited for dark dogs with a flair for battle
- Diesel – great if your dog has unstoppable energy
- Ebony – ideal for a canine princess
- Jet – for pups that love to run and zoom about
- Iron – perfect for an independent personality
- Ember – great for dogs with a fiery tinge in their eyes
- Oil – for dogs with a slick coat
- Metallica – heavy metal fans need no explanation
- Orion – for lovers of the stars
- Velvet – for pups with the softest, most sleek coats
- Indigo – for dogs with a blue or purple-tinged coat
- Steam – perfect for a dog with a fiery temper
- Nightfall – best for dogs who love to howl at the moon
- Midnight – for a dog that seems to disappear in the dark
- Shade – for a greyish dark dog
- Shadow – for a dog that loves to always be by your side
- Storm – perfect if your pup has a volatile personality
- Nightshade – excellent for a more mysterious pup
- Thunder – best for dogs with a big, thunderous bark
- Ash (or Asher) – for its dark color (or after Ashton Kutcher)
- Espresso – for a small and energetic pup
- Roast – for a juicier little morsel
- Burnt – ideal if your dog has black tips on their ears or paws
- Pepper – ideal for Sable-colored dogs
- Smoke – great for dark grey canines
- Caviar – for classy dogs with luxurious coats
- Guinness – for lovers of the lush liquid
- Pepsi – ideal for a pup with a bubbly personality
- Cocoa – for deep brown-colored dogs
- Rum – nice for dark dogs with lighter colored eyes
- Whiskey – for a pure-malt pooch
- Blackberry – for dark dogs with a reddish tinge
- Licorice – great for a dog who is dark and sweet
- Oreo – ideal for black dogs with white patches
- Godiva – for a dog who’s a mysterious, classy lady
- Seal – perfect for water-loving canines
- Raven – for dogs with an eagle eye
- Bear – ideal for larger dogs
- Panther – excellent for stealthy hunters who stalk their prey
- Bat – good for pups with large, pointed ears
- Panda – great for larger dogs with black and white patterning
- Stallion – best suited for long-legged canines that love to run
- Grim – for lovers of dark omens and the macabre
- Doom – if they have a thundering, imposing footfall
- Enigma – for a mysterious dog whose thoughts are impossible to read
- Phantom – great if they have mask markings around the eyes
- Ghost – excellent for insomniac dogs
- Darth Vader – no explanation required; perfect for dog owners who are proud of their nerdy interests
- Voodoo – embrace your dog’s magic with this name!
- Mascara – for dogs with distinctive eyes or long lashes
- Ninja – ideal if your dog is always sneaking up on you
- Styx – only for the most loyal companions
- Sabbath – a reference to the band, Black Sabbath
- Sheba – as in the queen of Sheba
- Hannibal – the Carthaginian general
- Artemis – Greek goddess of the moon
- Devi – the Hindu moon goddess
- Hecate – the Greek goddess of magic
- Hela – the Norse goddess of death who is half black and half white
- Dokkalfar – means “dark elf” in Old Norse
- Zumbi – the famous Brazilian freedom fighter
- Blackjack – for a clever, cheeky chap
- Domino – for clumsy dogs
- Eightball – great if your dog seems to always have a knowing look in their eyes
- Knight – for the most fearless and loyal canine companions
- Spade – ideal if your pup has pointed ears
- Arya – a reference to Arya Stark from Game of Thrones
- Black Beauty – for show dogs or dogs that like to show off
- Neo or Morpheus – the black-clad heroes from the Matrix
- Manson – a reference to iconic goth singer Marilyn Manson
- Selene – Kate Beckinsale’s enchanting vampire from Underworld
- Severus Snape – of Harry Potter fame
- Wednesday – from The Addams Family
- Zorro – the classic masked vigilante
Foreign Language Names
- Noir – “black” in French
- Svart – “black” in Norwegian
- Musta – “black” in Finnish
- Du – “black” in Welsh
- Pango – “black” in Maori
- Beltza – “black” in Basque
- Kuro – “black” in Japanese
- Amaya – “night rain” in Japanese
- Preta/o – “black” in Portuguese (finish with A for a female and O for a male)
- Buio – “dark” in Italian
- Dunkel – “dark” in German
- Ele’ele – “black” in Hawaiian
- Fekete – “black” in Hungarian
- Madow – “black” in Somali
- Nero – “black” in Italian
- Schwarz – “black” in German
- Tumma – “dark” in Finnish
- Zwart – “black” in Dutch
Opposite Black Dog Names
These are all “black” or dark names. Guess what? You don’t always have to follow the rules. Maybe an opposite name works for your dog. For instance, naming your huge dog “Tiny” or nicknaming your overweight dog “Slim”.
We decided to name our black Lab, Elsa. Of course, Elsa is the blonde princess in the Disney movie Frozen.
Here are a few other opposite black dog names:
- Elsa – blonde Disney princess
- Nanook – Inuit name for polar bear – I always wanted a dog named Nanook after watching the movie Lost Boys.
- Casper – like the friendly ghost
- Olaf – another Disney reference
- Blanco – white in Spanish
By the way, we also have an English Cream Golden Retriever (she’s almost white in color) named Raven.
If you are getting a puppy, don’t forget to check out our new puppy checklist.
How To Choose A Dog Name
Families often struggle to choose a name for their dog. Your dog will have this name for the rest of their lives, and it is a big responsibility to choose something appropriate, especially when you have only known your pup for a few days.
This is why many people choose to give their dog a name based on a physical trait, like their color, rather than a personality trait, as they may not have revealed these yet.
Getting agreement among family members can also be very challenging. Consider the following points to help reach a final consensus.
- Choose something short, ideally only one or two syllables long, or at least something that can be shortened in an easily understandable way. This is because it is easier for dogs to learn shorter names, which means they will be responding when you call sooner than if you chose a longer and more complicated name for them. If you want to give your dog a long and complicated name, such as “Severus Snape” for a long-haired black dog, remember that you will need a shorter nickname for daily use, like “Sev,” for example, in this particular case. Considering it is the nickname that you will be using most often and that they will recognize, make sure that you are carefully considering their nickname alongside their full name.
- Avoid complicated tongue twisters. Remember that it is not just you who may need to use your dog’s name to call their attention or give them directions. As a result, you don’t want to go with something that only you can pronounce. Moreover, as any human with a name that others mispronounce all the time will tell you, it gets pretty annoying to have to correct people all the time. You may get sick of correcting other people’s pronunciations of your dog’s name as well.
- It is a good idea to choose something that starts 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 subtle choices will make it easier for your dog to distinguish their name from all the other ambient noise surrounding them, which means it will also be easier for you to get their attention.
- Avoid names that sound too much like commands that you will use regularly, as this can just confuse your pup. Remember, while dogs are very intelligent, they don’t actually understand language in the more complex way that humans do; they are just recognizing familiar sounds. So, if their name sounds too much like a command that you use regularly, such as sit or stay, they may confuse the two words. This will probably result in the offending command being less effective than it should be, as they won’t be sure whether you just want their attention or if you want them to do the specific task.
- Remember that you will often need to use your dog’s name in public, sometimes shouting it loudly, and sometimes using it in front of children and strangers. This is why it is rarely a good idea to choose something rude or potentially offensive (so it might not be a good idea to call your black dog “Blackie,” for example; while it seems harmless at first in context, it will likely create some uncomfortable confusion in public at some point). All too often, people give their dogs names that they thought were funny at the time and then find that they are embarrassed to use it later. Remember, everyone in your family who is responsible for your dog will also need to be able to use their name with ease.
- Be wary of names that are too trendy. While trends change quickly, you might be blessed with the companionship of your dog for anywhere from 15 to 20 years. If the name you’ve chosen reflects a passing trend, it might start to sound foolish after a while. If you do decide to go for an entertainment-inspired name, prioritize classics. Something like Elvis will probably never go out of style, but there were probably a lot of people out there that regretted calling their dogs Bill Cosby or OJ. Learn from their lesson and avoid new celebrity names. You just never know what the person might do next, which could leave you regretting your dog name choice.
- Since you will know more about your new dog’s appearance than their personality, it is often a good idea to mainly use this as your source of inspiration. In addition to their color, consider their breed, their size, distinguishing markings, and any unique features such as a curled tail or big, floppy ears. These can all be a great starting point for choosing a name that suits them perfectly.
- Remember that you don’t have to give your dog a name the moment you bring them home. There is nothing wrong with taking a week or so to get to know your dog’s personality a little bit better first and then choosing something that better fits them later. While their character might not yet provide you with a clear name, it can certainly help you eliminate things that just won’t be appropriate. However, it is always fun to give dogs contradictory names. For example, Thor for a dog with a tiny little bark (that sounds nothing like a clap of thunder) or Tiny for a massive pit bull.
How To Teach Your Dog Their Name
Once you have chosen a name for your pup, it is important to teach them to recognize their name. How else are they meant to know that this word represents them?
Training your dog to recognize their name is essentially the same as teaching them to recognize a command, though the desired response to the word is more fluid.
Principally, you should teach them to give you their attention when you say their name and reinforce this behavior through rewards (treats, praise, or play).
Start with five-minute training sessions daily 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.
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 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?
It is best to avoid dog names that sound too much like other words that you will want your dog to recognize and respond to such as “sit,” “stay,” “heel,” and “no.”
This is because your dog can confuse the sounds and may be unsure whether you are just trying to get their attention or give a command.
While it is fun to come up with clever names for dogs, remember not to be too clever. Remember, you will also need to use the name in public, and other people may also need to use the name to bring your dog under control.
Avoid anything too complicated to pronounce or anything that could potentially be offensive or controversial.
Do dogs respond better to certain names?
Yes, dogs do respond better to some names than others. To be clear, they do not actually understand the name itself but instead are responding to a familiar and recognizable sound.
For this reason, names with two syllables are often best as they are long enough not to be confused with other words but are still short enough to grab their attention.
Names that start with consonants such as S, SH, C, and K are also easier for your dog to distinguish from the background noise of life.
Is it bad to give your dog multiple names?
With the right training, your dog can be taught to respond to multiple names, and you can even change their name.
However, you do have to put the work in to change them. It is much easier to teach your dog to recognize and respond to their own name if you use the same name consistently. The same rule is true for all canine commands.
Should you use your dog’s name a lot?
While your dog’s name is different from a command, they will still respond to it in the same way, treating it as a command for attention. For this reason, you should avoid using it out of context.
For example, you should not combine the name with other commands, especially negative commands. This way, the name will not develop negative connotations.
For similar reasons, it is best to say your dog’s name once when you want to get their attention rather than repeating it multiple times.
Want to learn more about dog training? Check out these common hand signals for dogs.
Choosing the perfect name for your dog is a big responsibility, as they will ideally have this name for the rest of their life.
Not only will it become part of their character, but you can also expect to be using it several times a day as well. It needs to feel and sound just right but also be practical and easy to remember..
In short, keep the following things in mind when choosing a name for your dog:
- Use short, two-syllable names that are easy to pronounce
- Avoid using difficult to pronounce, controversial, or potentially offensive names
- Don’t use names that sound too similar to common commands like “sit” or “stay,” as they will confuse your dog
Using your dog’s appearance as a starting point is often a good idea when choosing a name, since in the early stages you will still be learning about their personality traits.
If you have a black or otherwise dark-colored dog, hopefully you will find some useful suggestions in our list of options.
What are your favorite names for darker-colored dogs? Share your suggestions with the community in the comments section below.
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