Our family has come up with a lot of Labrador names over the years. From the puppies of my childhood to the companions that shadow me every day as an adult, Labs just as much a part of my life as anything every has been. Which whilst lovely, has the added benefit of meaning I’ve helped to name an awful lot of these loyal dogs. Today I’ll share our family’s tried and tested method of coming up some truly awesome names for new puppies. From classic and traditional ideas to those inspired by passing trends, hobbies and even the natural world around us.
Human Names For Labradors
It is very popular to give pets so-called human names. All of our family dogs have human names, and always have done. I don’t just extend this rule to the canine members of the house, every other animal we live with also has a human name. Even down to the guinea-pigs and fish!
The nice thing about using a human name for a pet is that it is formal, universally understood and can add to the feeling of their inclusion in your family. The downside of using a human name is it can be harder to get creative, and to be unique. Popular names can be very numerous when out in the world, and it can be frustrating to be one of several people calling the same name in the park.
Using Surnames As First Names
It’s worth remembering when it comes to human names for Labs, that it’s not just forenames that work well. Surnames can be nice too! Surnames which historically denoted trades tend to have a good ring to them, especially suiting working bred Labs. But any fairly short surname can work well.
Although these can sound more masculine, there is not reason not to use them for a female pup if you would like. So remember, if there is someone you admire you can name your dog after them using their first name or their surname too!
Celebrity Names For Labradors
Giving your Labrador the name of an admired celebrity can be fun. It can also be a nice way to honor someone who has departed. You could give a nod in the direction of the wonderful David Bowie by calling your dog ‘Bowie’. Or even call him ‘Hans’, after the late, great Alan Rickman’s legendary Die Hard character.
You could also choose a current or up-and-coming celebrity to name your Labrador after. Although I would be a little cautious doing this if you aren’t fairly thick skinned, as you never know where their life may lead them in the future… We have had a look at some currently trending and enduringly popular celebrities, whose names could sound good if used for Labradors.
Dive Into History
Another way to celebrate a person through your Lab’s name is to pick someone you admire from history. They can be someone very well known, or someone less recognised who you have read about or studied yourself.
- Mary (Seacole)
- Amelia (Earhart)
- Joan (of Arc)
- Florence (Nightingale)
- Rosa (Parks)
- Cleo (Cleopatra)
- Emmeline (Pankhurst)
- Helen (Keller)
- Winston (Churchill)
- Nikola (Tesla)
- Abraham (Lincoln)
- Louis (Pasteur)
- Nelson (Mandela)
Literary Names For Labradors
You might also like to name your Labrador after a character from fiction. Someone who really enjoyed reading about, engaged with or found exciting or novel. You can take a name from the classics or something more modern.
- Alice (In Wonderland)
- Scarlett (Gone with the Wind)
- Pippi (Longstocking)
- Laura (Little House on the Prarie)
- Ariadne (The Borrowers)
- Luna (Harry Potter)
- Fern (Charlotte’s Web)
- Elinor (Sense and Sensibility)
- Sherlock (Holmes)
- Gulliver (Gulliver’s Travels)
- Oliver (Twist)
- Thorin (The Hobbit)
- Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)
- Edmund (Narnia)
I have tried to give a selection from across a few genres in these examples, but of course you can choose whatever you are a fan of and enjoy reading.
Artists, Musicians & Authors Names For Labradors
You can also use the names of writers, artists or musicians for your Labrador. To make the slightly antiquated names sound more modern, you can simple abbreviate them. Or use them in their full glory if you prefer!
Super Hero Labrador Names
Staying in the realms of fiction, a great way to give a vaguelly human sounding name to your Labrador but keep it fun is to go with a super hero name!
The worlds of Marvel and DC have been opened up by the arrival of blockbuster movies staring a lot of our favorite comic book characters. So why not throw your lot in with the trend. Super hero / villain names which we think would make great Labrador names include:
This section was in danger of being as long as the rest of the article due to my personal love of the genre, but I have managed to contain it to the brief list above. There are some excellent names in the comic book world, so if you are looking for fun inspiration then I would definitely check them out.
Labrador Names From Children’s Characters
If you have young kids and want to get them included in naming your Labrador, you might like to look to characters from TV or kids books that they love too. This can really help when you bring a new puppy into the home to get even very little ones on board and excited.
Write down your kid’s favorite shows and ask them the characters name. You might be surprised that a shortlist of Chase, Spongebob, Peter Rabbit and Dora isn’t so bad after all!
So there is a lot of ideqas in the media that you can bring to the table when choosing your dog’s name. But what if you want something a little more different to the every day?
Looking at names which were popular more than 40 years ago, but which are now quite low down the ranks in terms of popularity.
Old Fashioned Ideas
Some of our top male Lab names are now quite antiquated in a way, but can add an unusual and unique twist to your Labrador’s name.
Another great way to make your Labrador’s name unique is to choose something sentimental to you to name them after. Whether it’s an obscure village you once went to, or a day of the week something special happened. Making your choice based on personal experience will give you a window into a different sort of name.
Naming your Labrador after a location can work charmingly, depending upon the place you choose. Some names for countries and continents, like India and Asia, are quite popularly used as names for both pets and babies. But if you narrow your margins or think a little outside the box you can find something unique.
Look at a map of your local area and note down any village names, names of rivers or even houses which sound appealing. Or open up a map of Newfoundland where the Labrador’s origins lie and see if any local names there appeal to you. Other unusual Labrador names can be found by taking titles and making them into names. Military or honorific titles can make quite fun names for Labradors.
Names From Nature
Another way to find a unique Labrador name is to look to nature. Natural Labrador names can include some very popular choices, but there are also some quite unusual ones which are just as pretty.
The worlds of botany and arboriculture have seemingly endless terms and descriptions which you could use. If this theme appeals then searching for those could help you to find your perfect unusual name.
Labrador names can be human style names, but they can also be descriptive. Either regarding their appearance, their personality or your hopes and dreams for their characteristics. Let’s start off by looking at those Labrador names that are related to color.
Chocolate Lab Names
We have taken a look at some fun words to describe the brown shade of our chocolate Labradors. I have divided the chocolate Lab names into male and female categories, but of course there are no hard and fast rules for this, it’s simply a matter of taste.
Black Lab Names
Black Labradors are the most common color of Labrador Retriever, but fortunately there are loads of great names which work really well for them.
Yellow Lab Names
Yellow Labs come in a range of shades, from palest cream that is almost white to a rich dark red. So we will look at the fox red names separately, as they can describe quite a different color, even if it does officially come under the same category.
Remember, the exact shade of your puppy may change as she ages, which is something to bear in mind when picking a color based name.
Fox Red Labrador Names
Although fox red Labradors are technically yellow Labradors with a darker shade, this shading can be very distinctive. You may well want to make use of your tiny puppy’s unusual color in their name, by using a descriptive word.
As well as using names to describe your Labradors color, you can pick names which described their personality or attributes. Either those you have, or those you would like them to have.
Strong Dog Names
The names below are either associated with strong people or have the route word of their names originating in strength.
Cute Dog Names
Your new Labrador puppy will be adorable. So you might be inclined to give him or her a name to reflect just how cute your new dog is.
The chances are your Labrador will love to retrieve. There are some great Labrador names around for working Labradors, bred and used in partnership with human companions in the field. These are often themed around the tasks carried out, game found and the equipment used for them.
Traditional Dog Names
There is nothing wrong with going with an old favorite when it comes to naming your Labrador. With the wealth of people looking for more modern or unique dog names, it actually leaves a gap for people to go back and look at the more traditional dog names for Labradors too.
Names To Avoid
Whilst no one can tell you what to call your puppy, there are a few things to take into account when you make your decision.
Joke names, rude names and especially offensive names are probably best avoided. Whilst they are funny now, will they be funny in five years time? Will they make your Grandma blush or your get your toddler into trouble at nursery when she repeats it? Will they hurt someone’s feelings or get you nasty looks when you call it out in the woods on your daily walk?
The other names to avoid are those which are very similar to any command word you might want to teach your dog. Words like ‘sit’, ‘heel’, or ‘down’ will probably be used by you on a daily basis. You don’t want to add confusion into the matter by having a name which sounds too much like one of these words, and risk diluting the command.
Can You Change A Labrador’s Name?
If you are bringing home a new puppy, chances are your Labrador breeder won’t have given that puppy a name. The puppy may well have a formal ‘Kennel Name’ if they are a pedigree dog registered with a Kennel Club.
This will be an amalgamation of the breeders official name and a word chosen by the breeder. Often this word won’t even be a name by traditional standards, but will instead be a word used to describe the litter as a whole. Some breeders do it alphabetically, or by genre or category.
The only purpose of this Kennel Club name is to register your dog, and it will only be relevant on paperwork if you show or compete with your pup later in life. Their actual name is yours alone to chose.
Can You Change Your Rescue Labrador’s Name?
If you are adopting an older Labrador, then they will quite possibly already have a name. Either given by the previous owner or by the rescue organisation who were looking after them. You can keep the name that your Labrador was assigned by someone else if you like it, but there are several reasons you might want to change it.
You may already have another dog or family member with the same name. It might be a word you find it hard to say, a bit of a mouthful or just totally not to your taste. You could even feel that with a fresh start your dog needs a fresh name. But there is another reason you might want to rename a rescued dog, and that’s if they only sometimes respond to it.
If you want to use your dogs name as a recall command or a way of getting their attention, you want the name to be a command that they respond to. Getting a dog to learn to respond to a new word is far easier than getting them to respond to one which has already been diluted by inappropriate use in the past. It can also make you feel like you are truly giving your rescue dog a fresh start and a new beginning.
Although we have a sentimental attachment to our names, your dog will not draw an identity from it and therefore we believe it is okay in these circumstances to change your Labrador’s name if you want to.
The Labrador Site Founder
Pippa Mattinson is the best selling author of The Happy Puppy Handbook, the Labrador Handbook, Choosing The Perfect Puppy, and Total Recall.
She is also the founder of the Gundog Trust and the Dogsnet Online Training Program
Pippa's online training courses were launched in 2019 and you can find the latest course dates on the Dogsnet website