Top trending dog and cat names and breeds

There has been a significant increase in overall pet ownership in Australia, with pets recently providing a source of comfort during a period of greater uncertainty and social isolation. According to Animal Medicines Australia, 69 per cent of households now own a pet, up from 61 per cent two years ago, and there are an estimated 30.4 million pets across the country.

More than 368 million google searches were analysed to decide dog popularity and more than 163 million to conclude cat choice.

The annual research found that Australian interest in bringing home a new canine companion is high, with a whopping 29.6 million google searches made across the country last year relating to ‘dog adoption’ and ‘getting a new dog.’

It’s clear that more people are considering or have recently given a new pet a loving home. Pets can help lower stress, improve health and support emotional wellbeing.

Read: Bizarre things you probably didn’t know about cats

If you’ve recently acquired a new pet or are thinking of finding a new four-legged friend, settling on the right name can be a tough task. If you’re looking for inspiration, Hill’s Pet Nutrition Australia has done the research on the top trending dog and cat names for last year, and the results are in.

Does your four-legged friend feature in the top trending dog breeds across Australia?

Smaller dog breeds dominated the most searched for list in 2020, yet it seems that interest in larger more active dogs surged last year. Perhaps indicative of the multiple lockdowns and a desire for a more active, outdoor furry companion.

The top 10 trending dog breeds:

  1. golden retriever
  2. border collie
  3. German shepherd
  4. Rottweiler
  5. cavoodle
  6. Pomeranian
  7. bulldog
  8. shiba inu
  9. Labrador
  10. greyhound.

The top 10 trending cat breeds:

  1. Maine Coon
  2. Bengal
  3. ragdoll
  4. British shorthair
  5. Sphynx
  6. Persian
  7. Siamese
  8. Norwegian forest
  9. Burmese
  10. Siberian.

Top Trending Names

To work out the top trending names right now, an extensive list of well-known male, female and classic cat and dog names were analysed. A search popularity index score based on growth in search and year on year change was applied, in order to reveal a top name list.

Much like baby names, pet name trends change each year. And the names that are most highly searched for at the moment are often a reflection of what’s happening in the world around us – from popular culture to celebrities and places. Top name category lists may provide a good source of inspiration for new pet parents when looking to name their pet.

Most popular dog names:

  1. Loki – male
  2. Autumn – female
  3. Moxie – female
  4. Chewy – male
  5. Lady – female
  6. Ava – female
  7. Gimlet – male
  8. Sophie – female
  9. Odie – male
  10. Mimi – female.

Most popular cat names:

  1. Cruella – Disney
  2. Olivia (Rodrigo) – music
  3. Loki – movie/TV show
  4. Shang Chi – movie/TV show
  5. Raya – Disney
  6. Wanda – movie/TV show
  7. Lady – Disney
  8. Dominic (Toretto) – movie/TV show
  9. Agnes – movie/TV show
  10. Lil Nas X – music.

So, it looks like a golden retriever named Loki and a Maine Coon named Cruella take the crown as Australia’s top trending dog and cat.

Read: Eight things we do that really confuse our dogs

Different states prefer different dogs

While the golden retriever may have the lion’s share of searches, not all Australians agree on the top dog. Search interest for different dog breeds varies by state, with local favourites in some places making it as far as the top spot. In fact, only three breeds made it into the top 10 in every state – golden retriever, border collie, and Rottweiler.

‘Bulldogs’ in New South Wales

Those searching in NSW showed unmatched attachment to bulldogs. Despite their tough, intimidating appearance and thick-set body, modern bulldogs are often gentle and affectionate. Their laid-back nature makes them perfect for the more crowded suburbs of Sydney. Much like the beloved pug, bulldogs tend to enjoy clowning around and are a little goofy.

Cavoodles in Queensland and Victoria

The cavoodle has retained the top spot in Queensland and Victoria. Cavoodles have a gentle nature and are a family favourite for being affectionate and lively. They are perfect companions for children and are known to get along with all other types of family pets.

Rottweilers find love in the Northern Territory and Western Australia

The Rottweiler trotted its way into the top 10 in every state, but it took the second spot in NT and third in WA.

Rottweilers are one of the oldest herding breeds, and their history may date back as far as the Roman Empire. Originally working dogs, this unusual breed can be a demanding choice of pet, and needs socialisation, exercise, and stimulating mental challenges to thrive.

Herding Dogs in South Australia and Tasmania

The study found that herding dogs in general have the highest trending search terms in states such as SA, WA and Tasmania. However, the border collie and German shepherd have bounded their way into hearts in almost every state.

Read: Cats that made their mark on the world

Desirable cat traits and characteristics

Hill’s Pet Nutrition Australia analysed google search volume of specific characteristics such as fur colour and temperament to find out what Australians think is important in a new furry friend.

Tabby on top, but brown coats trending higher

The distinctive markings and stripes of a tabby cat are well-loved by Australians. But there has been a surge in interest in solid brown coats. They tend to be rarer in cats and are often said to be the result of a brown gene variant that reduces the amount of black pigment in the fur. The rarity of this colour may partially explain the rise in popularity.

Age is the number one factor

For Australians looking to adopt, rescue or buy a cat, age was the top consideration by a considerable margin, with 787,000 searches relating to the age of the cat, whether mature or kitten, in 2021.This was followed by hair, for example search terms such as ‘lots of hair’, ‘long and short coats’, ‘no hair’.

The third most searched for characteristic was sociability, that is, people looking for cats that will get along with family members, other people and potentially other pets. Keywords such as ‘friendly’, ‘affectionate’, ‘playful’ and ‘social’ ranked highly amongst searches.

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Written by Ellie Baxter