Best Dog Names Starting With R For Your New Pup

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Choosing the perfect name for your dog can be a tough task. There is literally no limit to the number of options!

Fortunately, it can help to narrow your choices down to find something that works. This article is for you if you have decided to call your dog something starting with the letter R.

There are lots of reasons why you might choose R as your focus letter. Perhaps your name or your last name starts with R and you think it will combine well. Perhaps you like the way that R names roll off the tongue.

Dog Names Starting with R

Whatever your reason is, your best approach is to expose yourself to as many R names as possible until you stumble across one that just feels right to you. With that in mind, check out our list of the best R names for dogs below.

If you are getting a puppy, don’t forget to check out our new puppy checklist.

Male Dog Names Starting With R

Below, you will find a list of our top names for boy dogs starting with R. However, many of them are unisex and could also work for your girl pup.

  • Ra – after the Egyptian god
  • Rafe – Norse name meaning “wise wolf”
  • Ragnar – the most famous Viking of all time
  • Ragnarok – name your dog after the Norse apocalypse
  • Raiden – Japanese name for the god of thunder and lightning
  • Rainer – an old German name for decisive warriors; great for German breeds
  • Ram – for large dogs with big heads
  • Rambo – for tough pups like Stallone in the film
  • Ramses – after the Egyptian pharaoh
  • Ranger – like a Texas Ranger; ideal for dogs that like to roam
  • Rascal – when you can already tell they are going to be trouble!
  • Rasputin – after the Russian sorcerer
  • Rasta – especially if they have a thick, ropey coat
  • Raymond – everybody loves Raymond; a French name meaning “counselor” and “companion”
  • Raza – Arabic name meaning “contentment”
  • Red – for dogs that are red in color (or those with a fiery red temperament!)
  • Reef – a unique name for dogs that love to swim
  • Reese – scrumptious like Reese’s chocolates; the Welsh “Rhys” means “ardent” or “fiery”
  • Regis – for dogs who know they are royalty
  • Reinhardt – an old German name meaning “brave counselor”
  • Remington – as in Remington Steele
  • Remus – brother of Romulus, who also suckled from the wolf
  • Ren – a Japanese name that means “lotus”
  • Rex – after the formidable T-Rex; great for dogs with a powerful bark!
  • Rey – for your ray of sunshine
  • Reynolds – after actor Ryan Reynolds
  • Ricky – the diminutive of “Richard” for your little prince
  • Rice – great for little white dogs
  • Rico – a Spanish name meaning “strong ruler;” perfect for Spanish breeds
  • Ridley – as in Ridley Scott
  • Riley – a favored name for both children and pups
  • Rishi – an Indian name meaning “sage”
  • Rio – “River” in Portuguese; great for dogs that love to swim
  • Ripple – perfect for a dog with a smooth and sleek coat
  • Rocco – this name actually means “rest,” so it could be good for lazy dogs, but also dogs who act as carers, like the 14th century Saint Rocco
  • Rizzo – a name for a boy with curly hair; perfect for your Poodle
  • Robin – as in Robin Hood or, alternatively, a reference to Batman and Robin
  • Rocket – for fast dogs that are always off like a rocket!
  • Rocky – like Rocky Balboa; great for tough dogs with big hearts
  • Rodeo – for dogs that like to jump and buck
  • Roger – Roger Ramjet; he has no fear
  • Rogue – for dogs that don’t like to follow orders
  • Rolex – precious and valuable, like the watch brand
  • Rolf – another kingly name for the leader of the pack
  • Rollo – like the mighty Viking who went on to rule Normandy
  • Rolo – delicious and round, like the chocolate snack
  • Romeo – when a dog looks at you with those loving eyes, they could be a Romeo
  • Romulus – after the founder of the city of Rome
  • Ronaldo – after the famous footballer
  • Ronan – the Irish name means “little seal” and works well for gray dogs
  • Ronnie – for strong mountain dogs; the Hebrew name means “mountain of strength”
  • Roo – when they have long, strong legs like a Kangaroo
  • Roscoe – an Old Norse name meaning “deer wood”
  • Ross – great for fans of Friends
  • Rover – a classic dog name for pups that like to roam
  • Rowan – another name for dogs with a reddish hue
  • Royal – ideal for your little prince
  • Ru – for pups that jump like a Kangaroo
  • Rubble – like Barney Rubble
  • Ruckus – for barkers that like to kick up a stink
  • Rudy – the diminutive of Rudolph; this name means “famous wolf”
  • Rufus – ideal for red dogs, since it means “red hair,” but also a favorite with fans of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
  • Rusty – perfect for dogs with a brown or russet coat
  • Ryder – perfect for dogs as big as a horse, or breeds that can’t control their barking when a horse passes by

Female Dog Names Starting With R

Below is our list of the best names for girl dogs starting with R, though you might find some inspiration here for your male pup, too.

  • Rachel – like our favorite Friend!
  • Radka – Bulgarian name meaning “care” or “joy”
  • Raijana – another regal name for your princess
  • Rain – for dogs that love the water
  • Rainbow – for pups that light up your day
  • Raisin – sweet like the dried fruit
  • Ramira – this Spanish name means “wise”
  • Ramona – a Spanish name meaning “protecting hands”
  • Rapunzel – perfect for pups with long hair
  • Rashida – like actress Rashida Jones
  • Raven – for dogs jet black in color
  • Ravioli – for little bundles good enough to eat!
  • Raya – the name means “friend” in Hebrew
  • Rebel – like Rebel Wilson; great for fun-loving pups
  • Reebok – like the sports brand
  • Reese – after actress Reese Witherspoon
  • Regal – for pups with a queenly manner
  • Reggae – for fans of the music genre
  • Regina – like Regina George from Mean Girls
  • Remi – a French name meaning “oarsman”
  • Rey – after Rey in the Star Wars Trilogy
  • Reyna – for the queen of the house!
  • Rhea – this Greek name means “flowing;” she was also the mother of Zeus
  • Ricotta – delicious and smooth like the cheese
  • Riley – a popular name for both children and pups
  • Ripley – like Sigourney Weaver’s character in the Alien movies
  • River – perfect for breeds that love to swim
  • Rizzo – like the spunky character in Grease
  • Robin – How I Met Your Mother fans will know why
  • Rogue – for rebellious pups that never listen (and fans of the X-Men!)
  • Romi – a Slavic name meaning “my exhaustion;” a humorous name for dogs that never stop causing mischief
  • Rona – the Hebrew name means “my joy”
  • Roona – an Indian name; it means “red in color”
  • Roo – for pups that like to jump (and then curl up in your lap)
  • Rory – a favorite with Gilmore Girls fans
  • Rose – for the best-smelling dogs
  • Rosé – after your favorite sweet wine
  • Rosie – after Rosie Hunting-Whitely
  • Roxy – for rebellious pups that do their own thing
  • Royal – for your little princess and the Lorde song
  • Ruby – for dogs with a reddish hue that are special to you
  • Ruth – the name means “compassionate friend” in Hebrew

Nature-Inspired Names Starting With R

Still can’t find what you are looking for? Consider some of these nature-inspired names starting with R.

  • Rabat – a city in Morocco
  • Racine – Wisconsin team with a great baseball team
  • Rain – for dogs that love the water
  • Rhine – for the Rhineland and its very good wines
  • Rhino – great for big and ferocious dogs
  • Rhodes – after the Greek island, or Rhode Island
  • Ribbet – for pups with a small bark
  • River – for breeds that love the water
  • Riviera – after the French paradise
  • Riyadh – a city in Saudi Arabia
  • Rochester – the borough in New York
  • Roma – for the eternal city
  • Rook – like the delicate bird
  • Root – for grounded dogs
  • Ruanda – the African nation
  • Rubicon – a river in Italy; famously, it represents a line that, once crossed, cannot be returned

Food-Inspired R Dog Names

Is your dog good enough to eat? Why not name them after one of your favorite foods?

  • Radish – a versatile little vegetable
  • Raisin – the sweet dried fruit
  • Ramen – delicious Japanese noodles
  • Raspberry – delicious little sweets
  • Rhubarb – tasty stalks often used in sweets
  • Rice – perfect for small white dogs
  • Ricotta – the delicious cheese
  • Ravioli – packages of fun
  • Rum – the favorite drink of pirates
  • Rye – the wholesome grain

R Names Inspired By Characters

It can be fun to name your dog after one of your favorite fictional characters. Here are some of the best character names starting with R.

  • Rafiki – the lovable monkey from the Lion King
  • Raj – like Rajesh from The Big Bang Theory
  • Rambo – the war vet played by Sylvester Stallone
  • Ramrod – the mercenary from the Marvel universe
  • Ramshot – super-criminal murdered by Venom
  • Rancor – the mutant leader from Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Randall – one of the monsters from Monsters, Inc.
  • Ransak – deviant from the Eternals
  • Raphael – the artist and one of the Ninja Turtles
  • Reaper – another Marvel supervillain
  • Remus – as in Remus Lupin from Harry Potter
  • Ren – from Ren and Stimpy
  • Rick – of Rick and Morty fame
  • Riker – as in Jonathan Riker from Star Trek
  • Robin – as in Robin Hood or Batman’s sidekick
  • Robocop – the unstoppable man
  • Rocky – the boxer played by Stallone
  • Rubeus – as in Rubeus Hagrid from Harry Potter

How To Choose A Name For Your Dog

There is no magic formula for choosing the right name for your dog. In most cases, it is just a matter of exposing yourself to inspiration until the right thing comes along.

Narrowing down your ideas based on a letter, the type of breed you have, or their color can help make the search feel more manageable.

That said, there are a few things to keep in mind when checking whether a name you like will really work well for your dog.

Keep It Short.

The best dog names are short, just one or two syllables, or at least a longer name that can easily be shortened. It is easier for dogs to learn shorter names, and they are also easier to bark out when you want to get your pup’s attention in a hurry.

Avoid Names That Sound Like Other Important Words.

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.

Thankfully, there aren’t many staple commands to worry about with R, but it’s still worth just running through them to check.

Consider The Name’s Appropriateness.

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.

All too often, people give their dogs rude, offensive or overly absurd names they thought were funny at the time and then find they are embarrassed to use them later.

Remember, everyone in your family who is responsible for your dog will also need to be able to use their name with ease.

Read our complete guide to puppy names here.

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. After all, how else are they meant to know that this word represents them?

Training your dog to recognize their name is pretty much the same as teaching them commands. However, in this case, the desired response is less rigid.

To start with, teach them to give you their attention when you say their name. When they comply, reinforce this behavior with rewards (treats, praise, or play).

Start with a short training session during which you have your dog in an attentive situation and then say their name. When they respond to you, give them a treat.

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, 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, say their name again, and then reward them.

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, you should also 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 Naming Your Dog

How do you pick a name for your dog?

Look for something to inspire you, such as something about your dog’s appearance, personality, or breed, and use that as a starting point for finding inspiration. 

For example, if you have a German Shepherd, think of German names. If you have a black dog, consider names inspired by the color.

If you want their name to match yours, consider something that starts with the same letter. Search for inspiration until you find the right thing.

Is it bad to use your dog’s name too often?

There is no problem using your dog’s name often, but be careful of the context in which you use it.

You want them to associate their name with fun and happiness, so never use their name when you are reprimanding your dog. Say just “no” or “leave it” when giving them instructions.

Also, try not to use your dog’s name in frustration when you catch them doing something that they shouldn’t.

How long does it take for dogs to learn their name?

All dogs are different, but they should learn their names pretty quickly. Intelligent dogs can learn it within 1-3 days, and most dogs should have figured out their name within the space of a week.

Is it bad to change a dog’s name?

If you have a healthy and happy dog and you just want to change their name on a whim, this could be unnecessarily confusing for them. 

But if you have a rescue dog or have adopted an adult dog from another family, changing their name can be useful if they have had a difficult past and their name may have negative connotations.

A new name can give them a fresh start. This will not undermine their sense of identity, as dogs do not think about this in the same terms as humans.

The Verdict

Looking for a name for your dog and decided to go with something starting with R? Find inspiration in our list of R dog names. If you don’t find the perfect name, you’ll at least hopefully find something here that points you in the right direction.

When naming your dog, keep these things in mind:

  • Choose something short (or a longer name that can easily be shortened)
  • Choose something appropriate
  • Avoid names that sound too similar to important commands you’ll use often with your dog

Do you have any recommendations for great R dog names?

Share them with the community in the comments section below.

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The Best Dog Names Starting With "R" - brown puppy held in man's arms.

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