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These Are the Biggest Dog-Naming Trends of 2018

Human names top the 2018 list.

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SEATTLE — Rover.com, a network of pet sitters and dog walkers, has unveiled its sixth annual report of the year’s most popular dog names.

Human names for dogs topped the 2018 list, and many of the year’s top baby names are also popular dog names. Pop culture names were once again among the most popular, with names inspired by movies, musicians, and the royal family standing out as trendsetters for 2018.

This year’s data highlights the powerful influence of pop culture. Names inspired by newsmakers like Cardi B, Childish Gambino, “Fortnite,” “Black Panther” and celebrity babies rose dramatically. The name Cardi rose more than 1,000 percent, Nakia of “Black Panther” is up 560 percent, Gambino rose 190 percent and Stormi (daughter of Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott) increased 240 percent.

These trends echo a new survey from Rover, which found that 33 percent of pet parents named their dog after a character from a TV show, video game, movie or book, and another 12 percent took inspiration from famous or historical figures.

“Nine out of ten pet parents consider their dogs full-fledged members of the family. They’re not just pets, but part of the family we choose,” said Halle Hutchison, vice president of marketing for Rover. “Our dogs and what we choose to call them is part of our self-expression, which is why people name their pets after the things they love and admire, from pop culture icons to superheroes.”

The humanization of dog names also continued in 2018, as 36 percent of all dog names are decidedly human.

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Using one of the largest databases of dog names in the country, Rover examined this year’s data to learn where Americans draw their naming inspiration.

Pop Culture Trends

This year pop culture names made up 16 percent of all dog names.

  • Dog owners are enamored with the royal family. The name Harry is up 133 percent and Meghan rose 129 percent.
  • Superdogs: “Guardians of the Galaxy” names rose 97 percent, with the name Drax leading the pack (up 186 percent). Dogs named after “Black Panther” – including Shuri, Nakia, and Zuri – are up 25 percent.
  • Pet parents are also taking inspiration from famous villains. The name Thanos rose 215 percent and Pennywise increased 500 percent this year.
  • “Westworld” characters are more popular this year, with Maeve up 127 percent and Dolores up 87 percent.
  • Harry Potter is celebrating its 20th anniversary and pet parents still love the boy who lived. The name Draco is up 123 percent, Albus Dumbledore rose 200 percent, and Albus Dumbledog increased 29 percent.
Viral Trends

The internet is shaping the culture and dog names trends. This year, pet parents are naming their dogs after trends that went viral.

  • Dog names from the video game “Fortnite” are up 16 percent, with Zoey being the most popular.
  • The popular dance moves, Whip and Dab, increased 40 percent over last year.
  • Following the popularity of the “In My Feelings” Challenge, the names JT, Kiki, and KB are all trending up this year.
Food Trends

Foodie pet parents are picking names from their food and beverage favorites, with five percent of all dog names being food-themed this year.

  • Millennials’ obsession with brunch has crossed over into dog names. Brunchy names like Biscuit, Muffin, and Waffles are up 12 percent.
  • Booze-themed names like Guinness and Whiskey are up 17 percent in 2018, but Rosé has fallen from favor — it decreased 44 percent.
Dog Name Selection Trends

A new survey from Rover also revealed trends in how pet parents select names for their dogs.

  • Three out of four pet parents picked their dog’s name after meeting him or her, so they could find one that was a fit for their dog’s personality.
  • Thirty-eight percent of dog owners chose to change their dog’s name from the name given by the shelter or previous owner.
  • Eighty-one percent of pet parents give their dogs nicknames, with more owners giving their dog three or more new monikers.

For more information, visit www.rover.com/blog/dog-names/

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Since launching in 2017, PETS+ has won 11 major international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact PETS+'s editors at editor@petsplusmag.com.

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The Real Reason Mars Inc. Loves the Pet Care Business

It’s known historically for candy but increasingly makes its money in pet care.

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Mars Inc., which is well known for candy brands such as M&M’s, is staking much of its future to its pet care business, Bloomberg reports.

Pet care now accounts for about half of the company’s business, CEO Grant Reid told the news outlet. Among the McLean, VA-based company’s brands are Whiskas and Pedigree.

The pet care industry may be a good refuge for privately held Mars as increasingly health-conscious consumers turn away from sugary treats, Bloomberg reports.

The company “avoids marketing [its candy] to children and was the first to place nutrition labels on the front of packaging,” according to the article.

That’s “the right thing to do,” Reid said, noting that “we want to be transparent.”

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There’s also synergy in that candy and many pet care products are sold at similar retail points, Bloomberg notes.

Mars has grown its pet care business in part through acquisitions. In January 2017, for example, it announced that it was paying more than $9 billion for VCA Inc., a company that operates animal hospitals.

Read more at the Bloomberg

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Pet Franchise to Open 50 Stores in 2019

It has over 200 units under development.

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PHOENIX — Dogtopia, a dog daycare, boarding and spa franchise, sold 100 units and opened 25 locations in 2018.

The Phoenix-based company now has over 200 units under development, according to a press release. It plans to open at least 50 stores in 2019.

So far, the brand has sold over 30 new stores in January, according to the release.

“Dogtopia is outpacing every pet franchise in North America and we were delighted about delivering another record year,” said Alex Samios, vice president of franchise development for Dogtopia. “Our unparalleled service, support and systems, combined with exceptional franchisees, has positioned us as the leading pet services brand.”

Dogtopia currently has more than 90 locations.

The brand also grew in 2018 in terms of its charitable initiatives with the Dogtopia Foundation, raising more than $150,000 to sponsor training for service dogs for veterans.

The company was recently named to Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list. Dogtopia ranked at No. 204 “as a result of its outstanding performance in areas of unit growth and financial performance with strong franchisee support,” according to the release.

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Petco to Carry Champion Products

Their partnership begins March 4.

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SAN DIEGO, CA — Petco and Champion Petfoods announced a partnership that will bring Champion’s Acana and Orijen dog and cat foods to Petco stores and petco.com beginning March 4.

“Champion is an extremely mission-driven company that’s built a well-deserved reputation for serving up award-winning foods for dogs and cats, and their ACANA and ORIJEN brands align perfectly with the bold nutrition standards we announced late last year,” said Petco CEO Ron Coughlin. “As a leader in providing pets and pet parents with everything they need to live healthy, happy lives together, we’re thrilled to add industry-leading brands for anyone who wants to feed their pets the healthiest foods available.”

Petco recently announced that it will not sell food or treats containing artificial colors, flavors and preservatives for dogs and cats by May 2019.

“We are extremely excited to partner with Petco, a company with such a strong reputation and commitment to ensuring the well-being of pets and peace of mind to pet lovers,” said Champion President and CEO Frank Burdzy. “This new relationship is an important step toward our goal of building trust and making our Biologically Appropriate foods available to more pet lovers everywhere.”

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Petco Chief Merchant Nick Konat said, “Consumer and industry response to Petco raising the bar on our nutrition standards has been phenomenal, and the addition of ACANA and ORIJEN to our portfolio are significant proof points in our ongoing journey to be pet parents’ trusted partner of choice.”

Petco operates more than 1,500 retail locations and employs 26,000 people across the U.S., Mexico and Puerto Rico.

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