Seattle, WA – Nov. 30, 2021 – Rover.com (Nasdaq: ROVR), the world’s largest online marketplace for loving pet care, today unveiled its ninth annual report of the year’s most popular pet names and trends. A surge in pet adoption rates, a change in social lives and an increase in working from home over the past year, has resulted in a wave of newly named dogs and cats in 2021 that showcase the personalities of both the pet and pet parent.
Illustrating the continued cultural impact of COVID-19, the names Rona and Fauci made their debut this year, and Covi, which first appeared in 2020, remained a popular dog name. Among cats, the names Delta (variant) and Zoom were both first timers in 2021.
Space travel was another topic top of mind this year, with Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic both launching out of the atmosphere. Dogs named Mars are trending up 496 percent this year. Venus (+722 percent), Pluto (+58 percent) and Titan (+19 percent) all made interstellar jumps as well. Interestingly enough, unlike the enthusiasm for space travel, the Prime Minister’s supporters aren’t backing their politician when it comes to pet names. There are no dogs or cats named Justin or Trudeau in Canada.
With the first half of the year largely spent inside our homes, it’s no surprise television shows and the Olympics inspired pet parents. Schitts Creek, the Canadian hit series, continued its popularity with David and Twyla both trending up for the second year in a row. 2021 also put the dog names Mutt and Moira on the map. After 6 seasons, the beloved tv show “Lucifer” came to close in 2021, and as homage, cats named Lucifer are on the rise, trending up 59 percent. Finally, 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of the first episode of Game of Thrones, a TV series that swept the globe. While there are many critics of the show’s final season, pet owners are still celebrating with Dragon (+122 percent), Arya (+31 percent), Winter (+28 percent) and Stark (+22 percent) all trending.
Canadian athletes had some epic moments at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. The most popular Olympic athlete-inspired names are Maggie, Penny and Andre. Maggie [Mac Neil] took home gold in the women’s butterfly, swimmer Penny [Oleksiak] became the most decorated Summer Olympian for Canada and Andre [De Grasse] the 6-time Olympic medalist in sprinting won gold in the men’s 200 meter, bronze in the 100 meter and bronze in the 4x100m relay.
“Year after year, we find that the names we give our pets are a reflection of the cultural moments that have impacted pet parents. This explains why COVID-inspired names, Olympic athletes and binge-worthy television characters have all trickled their way down to the names we hear at our neighbourhood dog park,” said Kate Jaffe, trend expert for Rover. “The remarkable influx of ‘pandemic pet’ adoptions and people growing closer than ever to their pets during times of stress and uncertainty all but guarantees the naming process of new family members will continue to grow and evolve in years to come.”
To better understand the stories these names have to tell us about the people, places, and events that defined the past year, we dug into millions of user-submitted pet names provided by pet parents on Rover.com. We uncovered everything from ever-popular pet names to newly trending ones and some completely unique names we never saw coming.
Celebrities and Movies Continue to Inspire
- The late great Norm Macdonald will be missed by people across the globe, but his memory and timeless jokes will live on forever. For the first time ever, several pet parents named their dog “Norm” in 2021. Expect an even more significant influx in 2022.
- Canadians continue to name their dogs after their beloved hometown musical artists, with “Drake” increasing by 83 percent this year.
- For the first time, we saw a cat named “Larry King” in Canada.
- 2021 also put the dog name Britney on the map, as fans got behind the “Free Britney” movement to end her conservatorship.
- Star Wars continues to provide strong inspiration to pet parents. The most popular Star Wars names for dogs are Leia (+129 percent), Obi (+198 percent) and Yoda (+22 percent).
- The Disney+ hit, The Mandalorian, keeps the enthusiasm going with Boba trending up 137 percent and dogs with the name Grogu hitting the charts for the first time.
- The top superhero (Marvel/DC) names by volume for dogs were Loki, Pepper, Thor, Storm, and Quinn
- As far as trending: The greatest growth in superhero (Marvel/DC) names for dogs goes to Jarvis (+222 percent), followed by Fury, Pyro, Bucky, and Viper.
The Great Outdoors
- The Canadian wilderness has inspired dog names this year with Willow, Maple and Cedar all trending. Also shout out to the increasing number of dogs named Timber.
- As expected, the dog name, Maple, is in the top 100 most popular in Canada.
The Birthplace of Hockey
- The dog name Gretzky is trending down 78 percent this year.
- Cole is the number 5 trending name in Canada in 2021, up 622 percent this year. It’s not a surprise, given the star quality of the Montreal Canadiens hockey player Cole Caufield.
A Resurgence of… Pokémon?
- Many of Canada’s top trending dog names are inspired by Pokémon characters. The number one trending dog name in Canada is Sora, leader of Emerald Gym. The number two trending name is Venus, one of the original four Cipher Admins.
- 17 of the top 20 trending names in Canada can be traced back to Pokémon.
Food and Booze to Get Us Through
- The most popular food-inspired names in 2021 are Pepper, Olive, Oreo, Maple, Cookie and Honey.
- Top 5 most popular alcohol-inspired dog names are Whiskey, Guinness, Tito, Caesar and Pinot.
- Donut is trending up 122 percent this year.
- The dog name Schnitzel is trending up 22 percent.
For a full list of the top dog names and trends of 2021, please visit here. Top Pet Names reports were also created for the U.S., UK, Canada, Germany, France, and Spain.
The Top Pet Names 2021 report was developed by Rover between September and October 2021. Results are based on analysis of millions of user-submitted pet names provided by owners on Rover.com. Secondary data was collected by a Rover survey conducted via Pollfish among 1,000 Canadian pet owners in October 2021.
Founded in 2011 and based in Seattle, Rover® is the world’s largest online marketplace for loving pet care. Rover connects dog and cat owners with pet care whenever they need it. Millions of services have been booked on Rover, including pet sitting, dog walking, in-home boarding, drop-in visits and doggy day care.
Rover makes it easier for people to have pet love in their lives through the Rover Guarantee, 24/7 support, vet consultations, and GPS walk mapping. The Rover blog, a trusted resource for millions of dog and cat parents worldwide, provides tips and articles that delight, inform, and enhance the bonds between people and their pets. To learn more about Rover, please visit https://www.rover.com.