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Here, Molly! Nanaimo residents pick range of popular dog names

Spark, a red-tri border collie, takes a moment to gnaw on a toy during a Best Paw Forward dog training class in Nanaimo. - TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/The News Bulletin
Spark, a red-tri border collie, takes a moment to gnaw on a toy during a Best Paw Forward dog training class in Nanaimo.
— image credit: TAMARA CUNNINGHAM/The News Bulletin

Before Summer Gordon met her new dog, she was thinking of a simple name, something average and cool, like Spruce.

But with a penchant for trying to escape out of fences, digging in the garbage and through his food cupboard, Gordon knew the right fit for her smart trickster was Loki.

“We were just going for the average dog names ... and then we wanted something that really suited him,” she said.

Nanaimo has its share of uniquely-named canines, with dogs answering to the call of Roast Beast to Kermit the Dog, Who, Whut and even Juice Box. But when it comes to most popular names in this city, Molly leads the pack.

There are 115 dogs in this city named Molly, according to dog licence information from the City of Nanaimo.

Chasing close behind is Bella, with 103 canines sporting the name; followed by Buddy and Lucy, tied for third, and Charlie.

Nanaimo residents with popular large breed dogs like labs, golden retrievers and German shepherds, tend to pick names like Buddy, Bailey, Molly and Sadie, while names like Bella, Buddy and Jack trend for smaller dogs like chihuahuas, dachshunds and Jack Russells.

Human names are starting to become more popular, said Carley Colclough, Nanaimo Animal Control Services pound coordinator, who just sold a dog licence to a new puppy named Douglas and another called Kevin. She doesn’t believe they were seeing those kinds of names as much before, and said it’s the longer, formal human names, too, like Thomas instead of Tom.

“But there’s still several names that are overwhelmingly popular – Charlie, Roxy and Bailey,” she said.

Gordon, a daycare supervisor for Dog 'n’ Suds, sees a lot of dogs named Bella, Ella, Stella, Sophie and Charlie, with almost 15 dogs alone called Sophie at the daycare.

“Let’s just say there’s a lot of dogs with the same name going on right now,” Gordon said. “We’ll have someone say ‘I’m here to pick up Bella’ and we have to ask what breed.”

Robyn Andexser, owner and lead trainer of Best Paw Forward, said she's seen a few dogs in the last year named after characters from the television series Game of Thrones, like Khaleesi, Daenerys and Arya.

Andexser finds dog names tell more about a person.

“I know exactly when people are signing up their dog for a class and their dog’s name is Khaleesi, that they really like Game of Thrones and want to talk Game of Thrones, probably,” she said.

Looking for help picking a dog name? Andexser suggests two syllables and a name that carries easily.

People can get inspiration for names from anywhere, dog licence data shows. There’s dogs named after places like Haida Gwaii, Sicily and Mars, and food – just take Pistachio, Pork Chop, Jello and Ju-Jube. Even well-known characters appear on dog tags, from Star Wars’ Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Chewbacca, to Orphan Annie, Shrek and even Paddington Bear.

Oh and keep your eyes out for Loch Ness – we have one of those, too.

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