Some wise individual once said that the more names someone has, the more he is loved. This wisdom can certainly be applied to dogs as well. Many people are so fond of their canine companions that they come up with countless nicknames to address them. These run the gamut from cutesy to clever and from ironic to downright ridiculous. And while most pups are capable of learning and responding to nicknames, it's important not to humiliate your diminutive yet dignified dog in the process. You also don't want to embarrass yourself by having to yell something like "Here, Baron Von Squishy Butt" in the middle of the dog park. It's difficult to maintain any semblance of sophistication once those words have been uttered.
That said, coming up with appropriate appellations for your precious pet can be a lot of fun. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the nickname you choose for your small dog should reflect his personality as well as your own tastes. Still need guidance? Take inspiration from our list of 10 nicknames that won't embarrass your small dog.
10: Big Dog Names for Small Dogs
Some of the top choices of nicknames for small dogs are actually names more commonly associated with big dogs. This is because humans have a natural love of irony. When selecting a big dog nickname for your small dog try out an uber-masculine option such as Hulk or Butch. You could also go with a particularly burly fictional character such as Godzilla, King Kong, or Big Foot (an especially good option for a dog with big feet).
Another great big dog nickname is Sparky, which can be short for Spartacus. These macho monikers are much better than the obvious choices of Tiny, Shrimp, or Munchkin for small dogs. Not only do they lack creativity, these names typically do not match the demeanor of the surprisingly bold and tough toy breeds.
9: Harmonic Hounds
Everyone loves music, so it's no surprise that some of the best — and least embarrassing — small dog nicknames are often inspired by the world's top musical entertainers. Try taking inspiration from your favorite musician with nicknames like Shaki (short for Shakira), Ozzy (short for Ozzy Osbourne) or Kiki (short for Ricky Martin). If your mutt prefers classical music, try a symphonic pseudonym like Tovi as a nickname for Beethoven. This is an especially good choice if your dog has more refined tastes, as many itty-bitty breeds do. Whatever your musical preferences are, these tune-themed terms will be excellent conversation starters.
8: Dangerous Designations
Some of the best nicknames for dogs are those inspired by other, more ferocious animals. You can even look to your pooch for ideas for your pet name. A dog with a keen sense of smell might appreciate the nickname Komo (short for Komodo dragon), one with a sizable snout might be called Henri (full name Henrietta Hippo), while one that likes to show off his tooth-filled maw might be appropriately named Gator (short for Alligator).
Is your small dog more bear than bowwow? Perhaps Yogi (short for Yogi Bear) is the nickname for you. On the other hand, if your howling hound has wolf-like tendencies, there are several good options, including Woofy, Sir Wolfenstein, or the Wolfinator.
7: Superhero Hounds
Small dogs often have outsized personalities, and many would do well as caped crusaders, X-men, or other unearthly entities, so why not let your favorite superhero inspire the name of your petite pet? Some good choices are the Dark Knight for Batman or Cassandra Cain for Batgirl. Or, go with a lesser-known evil-doer like Winghead (short for Captain America).
Perhaps you prefer the super villains. In that case, there are plenty of options for you too. Consider Marvel Comics' Dr. Doom (full name is Victor von Doom) for a marvelously mischievous mutt. For the ultimate in Gotham gore, nickname your canine after the Crown Prince of Crime, aka the Joker.
6: Mythical Monikers
If you really want your dog to have a nickname that is both interesting and cosmopolitan, consider going with a Greek god. These immortal beings are powerful and all-knowing, but they don't take themselves too seriously, which is also a good description of many small dogs. Greeks names are also beautiful, but long enough to be shortened for ease of use. Got a small dog with big hair? Try Afro as a nickname for Aphrodite. Is your pint-size pup all brawn and no brain? Go with Hercules. Your pet's Hellenic handle will be all the rage at your next yappy hour or pooch play date.
5: Exotic Names
Sometimes the best names and nicknames for dogs come from other languages. Got a French bulldog? Perhaps Chien (male dog in French) or Chienne (female) is a proper pet name. Have a Havanese in your home? Try nicknaming him Perro, the Spanish word for dog. Or, get even more exotic with a nickname that means another animal such as Lobo or Oso (wolf and bear in Spanish, respectively).
In naming her Jack Russell terrier puppy, Loretta Tulloch of Washington D.C. took inspiration from a recent trip to Maui. Her Little Bear soon became Pea (pronounced "pay-uh"), which is Hawaiian for bear. This is a great strategy for coming up with affectionate appellations for your pet. By doing a bit of research on the possible versions of his or her name in other parts of the world, you may find some unique and interesting nicknames.
4: Historical Hounds
If you really want people to remember your little dog, give him the nickname of a notable figure in history. Do you have a charismatic dog that tries to conquer everyone he meets? Consider calling him Little Corporal, an affectionate alias for Napoleon Bonaparte. This is an especially good choice for a pooch that's both pudgy and a bit paranoid.
Got a favorite American president? Let him inspire your choice of nickname for your pet. Some good options are Dubya for George W. Bush, Bubba for Bill Clinton or Teedie for Theodore Roosevelt. Of course, the nickname you choose for your dog should also fit his demeanor. For example, a very cool, cerebral sort of canine might be a good candidate for the nickname Barry, the childhood name of Barack Obama.
3: Notable Nicknames
Giving your dog the nickname of a local celebrity, notorious criminal or enigmatic politician is a sure way to garner attention. No one will forget your four-legged friend if his name is The Governator (short for Arnold Schwarzenegger) or The Donald (full name Donald Trump). If you're more into the darker side of society, take inspiration from the mafia by nicknaming your pocket-sized pet after John Gotti, affectionately known as the Teflon Don because no one could get criminal charges to stick to him.
If you're more into royalty, try taking inspiration for your dog's nickname from the House of Windsor. Kate, Katie, or Princess Kate is a great nickname for your canine version of Catherine Middleton. Or, name your petite pooch after the Queen herself, giving her the nickname Lilibet, which was Her Majesty's childhood nickname.
2: Famous Movie Names
No matter how silly the name might be, referring to your dog as a character in a popular film or television show is almost always a hit. Are you a fan of the movie "Top Gun"? Why not name your dog Maverick, the character played by Tom Cruise. It's a cool name, especially for a small dog that is also spunky and capable. You could also use the names of movie stars as well as their fictional personas, naming your little dog Vivien Leigh with the nickname Blanche for Blanche DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Going with inspiration from the movies gives you a lot of good options for a nickname. Perhaps a favorite animal character is the way to go — everyone loves Chewbacca (nickname Chewy). Tarzan is another good choice, especially if your pet thinks he's king of the jungle, as many small dogs do.
1: Appetizing Appellations
People simply can't seem to resist using nicknames like Cupcake, Peanut, or Love Muffin for their diminutive dogs. For some reason, edible epithets are irresistible. If you're the proud owner of a dachshund, it's a good bet you've called him your little sausage, schnitzel, or hot dog at least once or twice. Got a Boston terrier? Chances are he's occasionally your Boston Baked Bean.
While it's true that these appetizing pet names can be very cute, be careful not to go overboard — you don't want to spend your golden years on a park bench shouting out "Come here, Honey Bunches of Hot Pockets" to your pet. That is, not unless your aim is to embarrass the socks off of both of you. If your dog's nickname is inspired by food, go with something short and sweet like Cookie, Pumpkin, or Sweet Pea. These simple, cuisine-themed codenames are cute and memorable without being sickeningly sweet.