Naming a dog can be a difficult task—especially for the dedicated pooch parents of San Francisco, a city that has more dog owners than parents of actual humans. Though SF has a reputation for being an unusually canine-obsessed city, its owners might not be as creative as they are enthusiastic.
If you named your dog Luna, you’ve got good company in San Francisco: It’s the city’s most common dog name in 2022, according to registered dog data from the city’s Animal Care and Control shelter. Luna has remained near the top of the list since 2017, only swapping places with popular pet names like Bella, Charlie, Lucy and Coco.
And it looks like SF’s dog owners have similar tastes with newly minted parents across the U.S. Luna is the seventh most popular baby name of 2022, while Isabella took sixth. The third most popular boy’s name, Oliver, has ranked in and out of the top 20 dog names list for the last five years.
Some other doggie name choices can be, well, unique.
A few of our favorites that didn’t break the top 10 list include: Nancy Puglosi, an Alaskan malamute named Fat Ass Freedom, a Lab named Chompsky (did the pup study linguistics in a past life?), a Chihuahua called Chimichanga and a French bulldog named Ham.
Many San Franciscans decided to name their dogs after their beloved Bay Area home. There’s at least two Francisco dogs roaming around SF, some geographically minded pups are called Da Bay and Baythoven, and more than a few are named after the city’s famous fog.
San Francisco requires all dogs over 4 months old to be licensed and registered with the city. Animal Care and Control does not often enforce this rule, so its database of over 40,000 dog registrations since 2017 excludes unregistered pets and might show some duplicate applications. Nonetheless, SFACC’s registration list provides one comprehensive look at SF’s most popular breeds and pup names (and it helps that their rankings match up with that of other sites).
Biggest (Tiny) Breeds in San Francisco
San Francisco’s also got a big dog breed problem, and it starts with the smallest mutts out there. Tiny-but-mighty Chihuahuas—most often named Coco, Bella and Lucky—reign supreme in San Francisco as the city’s top dog breed.
Short-haired Chihuahuas, in particular, have remained SF’s most registered primary breed since 2017, consistently outranking larger and nationally beloved dogs like Labrador retrievers, German shepherds, golden retrievers and pitbulls.
This may come as a surprise to dog enthusiasts outside of San Francisco. In 2021, chihuahuas didn’t even crack the top 30 list for most popular breeds nationwide, while Labrador retrievers topped the national list for the 31st year in a row.
Though the American Kennel Club reported that Labs and Frenchies topped the breed list for SF in 2021, locals might scratch their heads at that ranking.
Chihuahuas are just about everywhere in San Francisco. Most local animal shelters—including senior dog rescue Muttville—have legions of tiny Chis waiting for their forever homes, often far outnumbering other breeds. In 2014, animal control officials reported thousands of stray Chihuahuas roaming across neighborhoods in the Bay Area, and the city’s many activities catered toward small dogs speak to SF’s love for tiny mutts.
Other breeds like the Siberian husky and French bulldog have grown in popularity, shooting up the rankings of San Francisco’s most registered dog breeds. Particularly for the pricey Frenchies—one purebred pup can cost you a whopping $7,000—their popularity has become somewhat of a problem in the Bay Area, which recently saw a rash of Frenchie-nappings hit homes across Oakland, Berkeley, Santa Clara and Mountain View.
Liz Lindqwister can be reached at [email protected]