In Ancient Times These Were the 185 Most Popular Dog Names

Cave Canem mosaic, Pompeii
© giannimarchetti/iStock via Getty Images

Written by Kellianne Matthews

Updated: November 11, 2023

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For thousands of years, dogs have remained our beloved companions, their names mirroring the shifts in culture and ways of life. In ancient times, their names often conveyed their looks, traits, or vocations. They were drawn from myth, religion, or literature. Join us as we explore the most popular dog names in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Europe!

a male actor in a suit of an Egyptian mythology character, the golden deity Jackal Anubis, twists buugeng in yellow light on a black background

Ancient Egyptian dogs were associated with Anubis, the dog-jackal god of the Underworld and Afterlife.


Dogs in Ancient Egypt were revered and seen as having a connection to the dog-jackal god, Anubis, and for their companionship. When their furry friends passed away, Ancient Egyptians greatly mourned, and many laid them to rest with great pomp and ceremony in the sacred temple of Anubis at Saqqara. They also believed that their dogs, just like humans, would continue enjoying their lives after death, in the afterlife or the Field of Reeds.

  1. Abuwtiyuw: Lead to rest during the Old Kingdom near the plateau of Giza, Abuwtiyuw is one of the most famous dogs from ancient Egypt. The Pharaoh at that time provided this royal guard dog with a very elaborate ceremonial burial, including a coffin straight from the royal treasury.
  2. Phts: “Blacky”.
  3. Ḥbni: “Ebony”.
  4. Jḏm: “Red-one”.
  5. ‘Ir(ii)-m-šsṯ: “One who is fashioned as an arrow”.
  6.  Ir(ii)-m-šṯ: Researchers translated this name as “One who is fashioned as a šṯ”, with “šṯ” possibly referring to a honey-badger. 
  7. Ꜥnḫw: “Lively”.
  8.  Sꜣq (or mniw)-nfr: “Good shepherd”.
  9. Mꜣti: “Brave one”.
  10. Tꜣ-n.t-niw.t: “Those of Thebes”.
  11. Tp-nfr: “Nice” or “beautiful head”.
Ancient tombs Keramikos Ancient Cemetery

Many Greeks chose to include their dogs in the epitaphs of their tombstones and grave markers.

©Konstantinos Livadas/iStock via Getty Images

Although many ancient Greeks held a disdain for dogs, utilizing them in sacrificial rituals and resorting to the word “dog” as an insult, there were also those who held deep affection and reverence for these creatures. Wealthier Greeks, in particular, paid tribute to their dogs by laying them to rest with utmost reverence and ceremony, complete with grand tombstones and literary epitaphs. 

In certain religious sanctuaries and temples, dogs were not only welcomed but seen as divine animals of the gods, and even regarded as a source of healing. In fact, in the fourth century BCE, many people sought treatment from the dogs residing at the sanctuary of Asclepius in Epidaurus. Here are some popular dog names from Ancient Greece:

  1. Argos: One of the most famous dog names, Argos was Odysseus’ faithful canine companion in Homer’s Odyssey. Argos recognized Odysseus when he returned home, even after being away for 20 years!
  2. Peritas: Peritas was the beloved canine companion of Alexander the Great. Alexander loved the dog so much that he founded and named a city after him!
  3. Locris 
  4. Tauros 
  5. Lampon 
  6. Aura: The famous Greek huntress Atalanta named her dog Aura. 
  7. Theia: Theia was one of the Titanesses and a goddess of sight and radiance.
  8. Philokynegos 
  9. Stephanos: “wreath, crown”.
  10. Epiodis: “One who is hopeful”; “hope, expectation”.
  11. Tyrannos: “Monarch, ruler of a polis”.
  12. Lycas: Meaning “wolf”, Lycas was quite popular from the fourth century BCE to the first century AD.
  13. Blackie 
  14. Whitey 
  15. Blue 
  16. Tawny 
  17. Blossom 
  18. Parthenope: Meaning “maiden-voiced”, Parthenope was a siren in Greek mythology.
  19. Fencer 
  20. Keeper 
  21. Butcher 
  22. Hasty 
  23. Spoiler 
  24. Hurry 
  25. Stubborn 
  26. Tracker 
  27. Yelp 
  28. Happy 
  29. Dash 
  30. Jolly 
  31. Rockdove 
  32. Trooper 
  33. Growler 
  34. Riot 
  35. Fury 
  36. Lance 
  37. Plucky 
  38. Pell-Mell 
  39. Dagger 
  40. Killer 
  41. Swift 
  42. Crafty 

Names for Hunting Dogs in Ancient Greece

Closeup of a cheerful Cretan Hound running in a field covered in the grass

Cretan hounds from Ancient Greece are one of the oldest breeds of hunting dogs and are around today.

©Wirestock/iStock via Getty Images

The Greek historian Xenophon (a student of Socrates) also recorded his thoughts on how to name hunting dogs. His ideal names were short, easy to pronounce, and carried significant meaning to influence the psyche of the dog.

  1. Ormi: Xenophon’s named his own dog Ormi, which translates to “momentum” or “rush”.
  2. Psyche: Psyche is the Ancient Greek goddess of the soul. 
  3. Pluck 
  4. Buckler 
  5. Spigot 
  6. Lance 
  7. Lurcher 
  8. Watch 
  9. Keeper 
  10. Brigade 
  11. Fencer 
  12. Butcher 
  13. Blazer 
  14. Prowess 
  15. Craftsman 
  16. Forester 
  17. Counselor 
  18. Spoiler 
  19. Hurry 
  20. Fury 
  21. Growler 
  22. Riot 
  23. Bloomer 
  24. Rome 
  25. Blossom 
  26. Hebe 
  27. Hilary 
  28. Jolity 
  29. Gazer 
  30. Eyebright 
  31. Much 
  32. Force 
  33. Trooper 
  34. Bustle 
  35. Bubbler 
  36. Rockdove 
  37. Stubborn 
  38. Yelp 
  39. Killer 
  40. Pele-Mele 
  41. Strongboy 
  42. Sky 
  43. Sunbeam 
  44. Bodkin 
  45. Wistful 
  46. Gnome 
  47. Tracks 
  48. Dash 
Cave Canem mosaic, Pompeii

Cave Canem

“, or “Beware of the Dog” mosaic pieces have been discovered in ancient Roman ruins.

©giannimarchetti/iStock via Getty Images

The Ancient Romans had pets of all kinds, from cats and dogs to apes and birds. However, dogs were revered far above all other animal companions and are often depicted in the art and literature of Ancient Rome. 

For example, Ovid, the popular Roman poet, listed many of Actaeon’s hunting dogs in his famous Metamorphoses, including:

  1. Fido: In Latin, Fido means “faithful”.
  2. Blackfoot 
  3.  Tracer 
  4.  Glutton 
  5.  Quicksite 
  6.  Surefoot 
  7.  Killbuck 
  8.  Tempest 
  9.  Hunter 
  10.  Wingfoot 
  11.  Chaser 
  12.  Woodranger 
  13.  Wildwood 
  14.  Harpy 
  15. Ladon 
  16. Barker 
  17. Spot 
  18. Tiger 
  19. Stout 
  20. Blanche 
  21. Lacon 
  22. Storm 
  23. Wolfet 
  24. Snap 
  25. Blackcoat 
  26. Bristle 
  27. Towser 
  28. Wildtooh 
  29. Dicte 
  30. Babbler 

Other citizens of Rome chose to name their precious pups with many of these popular dog names:

  1. Leukos: “White”.
  2. Melanos: “Black”.
  3. Anthos: “Flower”.
  4. Thyella: “Storm”.
  5. Thireutis: “Predator”.
  6. Phylax: “Guardian”.
  7. Margarita: “Pearl”.
  8. Patrice 
  9. Myia 
  10. Helena 
  11. Aeolis 
Depiction of deer hunt with Gaston III of Fox-Bearn

During the Middle Ages, dogs were often kept for companionship, pest control, and hunting.

©&#169 Getty Images/>> via Getty Images

In the Middle Ages, hunting was not just a hobby, it was also a highly esteemed sport. For example, The Names of All Manner of Hounds during the fifteenth century listed 1,065 names for hunting dogs. It included many of these popular English dog names:  

  1. Stalker 
  2. Birdismowthe 
  3. Holdefaste 
  4. Ercules: During the Middle Ages, many Europeans chose names from history and literature for their dogs, including “Ercules” or “Hercules”.
  5. Arture: Named after King Arthur of Legend. 
  6. Charlemayne: Named after the king and emperor who united much of central and western Europe.
  7. Plesaunce 
  8. Cherefull 
  9. Harmeles 
  10. Whitefoot 
  11. Jakke 
  12. Sturdy 
  13. Terri 
  14. Bo 
  15. Troy 
  16. Nameles 
  17. Bragge 
  18. Amiable 
  19. Nosewise 
  20. Clenche 
  21. Ringwood 
north wall of the Camera degli Sposi in the north east tower of the Castel San Giorgio, Mantua

One of the frescoes in the Castel San Giorgio depicts Gonzaga’s favorite dog, Rubino, beneath his chair.

©Andrea Mantegna / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

There were many other popular dog names throughout Europe during the Middle Ages as well, including:

  1. Rubino: Ruler of Mantua in the 1400s, Ludovico III Gonzaga, had at least two dogs: Rubino and Bellina. Gonzaga was so devastated when Rubino died that he buried him in a casket and gave him an official gravestone.
  2. Bellina: One of the dogs owned by Ludovico III Gonzaga.
  3. Purkoy: King Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, named her dog Purkoy.
  4. Turgk 
  5. Furst: Furst, which means “Prince”, was the most popular name in Switzerland in 1504.
  6. Venus 
  7. Fortuna 
  8. Hemmerli: “Little Hammer”
  9. Speichli: “Little Spoke”
  10. Mon Ami: “My friend”
  11. Douce: “Sweet”
  12. Douce Ami: “My sweet”
  13. Megastomo: “Big mouth”
  14. Beamond  
  15. Richer or Richier  
  16. Baude or Baulde 
  17. Gerland: Gerland, Talbot, and Colle were the names of three dogs in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Nun’s Priest Tale, and subsequently became quite popular in England during the Middle Ages.
  18. Souillard 
  19. Blonde or Blondeau  
  20. Rose or Roseau 
  21. Mirre or Mirau 
  22. Parceval 

Pet Care in the Middle Ages

Christine de Pizan with her dog

The French poet, Christine de Pizan, had a dog who often sat with her while she wrote.

©Kelson at French Wikipedia / Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons – Original / License

Although domesticated animals often were kept for a functional purpose (keeping pests away, hunting, etc.), people in the Middle Ages also kept animals for companionship. Dogs and cats in particular were popular in religious orders, with many monks and nuns caring for various types of animals. In addition, both hunting dogs and aristocratic lap dogs appear in many different Medieval texts and illuminated manuscripts. In fact, in the 15th century, the philosopher Albertus Magnus wrote an entire book called On Animals, wherein he included advice on how to care for our furry friends!

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About the Author

Kellianne Matthews is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on anthrozoology, conservation, human-animal relationships, and animal behavior. Kellianne has been writing and researching animals for over ten years and has decades of hands-on experience working with a variety of different animals. She holds a Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University, which she earned in 2017. A resident of Utah, Kellianne enjoys creating, exploring and learning new things, analyzing movies, caring for animals, and playing with her cats.

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