By Rob Abruzzese
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
If you go to your local dog park and call out the names Max, Lucky or Princess, you can bet that a few dogs will come running. But this is Brooklyn – so calling out names like Carmelo, Biggie, and even Brooklyn will also get you quite a bit of attention.
WNYC combed through NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s dog license database and compiled a list of the most popular dog names and breeds in NYC. Among the 92,720 licensed dogs in the city, Max is the most popular name, followed by Bella, Rocky, Lucky and Buddy.
According to WNYC’s findings, Brooklynites aren’t big on the old staples like Fido, Spike or Rover. While there are a few dogs in the borough with those classic names, you are just as likely to hear of dogs with names that are more hip and in line with contemporary pop culture.
WNYC’s list reveals that many New Yorkers are fond of naming their dogs after popular movies. Bella, the name of a character in the Twilight series, is the second most common dog name in the city, while Rocky is the third. Of course, because Brooklyn is on the cutting edge, in the 11217 area code there is even a dog named Django, after Quentin Tarantino’s latest flick.
New Yorkers’ dog names aren’t only inspired by movies, though; favorite foods, actors, musicians, and athletes have also influenced names in the dog community. Oreo is the most popular of food-related names, but there is no shortage of variety, as other common names include Muffin and Biscuit. Murphy, Brando, Kobe and Jeter are also prominent choices.
Most popular of all, though, are gender-specific human names like Charlie, Jack, and Lucy. This trend is not confined to New York; it is evident nationwide, as people consider their dogs more as a part of their family than they ever have in the past.
One Brooklyn dog owner, Kerry Held, said she even changed the name of her dog after she picked him up at the shelter because the name Sparky was not familiar enough.
“Frankie is my dad's name,” said Held. “We consider him family and we didn't like Sparky.”
As far as breeds go, Shih tzus are by far the most popular, followed by yorkies, chihuahuas, malteses and labrador retrievers. Pit bulls are among the top breeds in neighborhoods like Bed-Stuy, Brownsville and East New York. It is no surprise that smaller breeds are more popular living in the city as dogs often have less room to run around.
“We definitely wanted a smaller dog,” explained Matt Molner of DUMBO, who owns a lab mix named Amy. “We actually thought she would be a little bit bigger, but we’re happy that she’s not. She’s the perfect size.”
Not everybody is worried about their dog’s size, though. David Grossman, owner of a standard poodle named Einstein, said that there are plenty of dog parks in Brooklyn, so the size of the dog wasn’t a major factor when he was choosing.
Want to check out which dogs names and breeds are most popular in your neighborhood? Go to www.project.wnyc.org/dogs-of-nyc/ for an interactive map.