January 13

Top dog in Greater Portland: a Lab named Bella

The breed and name match the most common in the country as well, with Max the top male dog name.

By Leslie Bridgers lbridgers@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Thinking about getting a Lab and naming her Bella?

You’re not alone. There are nine of them in the town of Cumberland.

The breed and name top popularity lists in Greater Portland, according to a Portland Press Herald database of 16,000 dogs registered last year in nine Cumberland County cities and towns.

They match the most common in the country, too, with Max coming in as the No. 1 male dog name both locally and nationally, according to Rover.com’s list for 2013.

Molly, Lucy and Daisy are among the top five most popular female dog names here and everywhere in the U.S. For boys, Buddy, Jack and Charlie make both lists.

Although some dog trends are universal, others are specific to the state.

Baxter came in at No. 33 for male dog names in the country, but was among the top 10 for males in local towns – not surprising, since the name is shared with a Maine state park and the former governor who created it.

Several dog owners paid homage to other natural landmarks in Maine by naming their pets Katahdin, after the state’s highest peak; Acadia, after the national park; and Allagash, after the river – if not the beer.

A few Maine icons got shout-outs on the dog list, too. There’s a bichon frise in Falmouth named Chowdah and a Walker hound mix in Windham named L.L. Bean. Moxie made it into the top 50 names, with 47 dogs in Greater Portland sharing the moniker of the state’s official soft drink.

Other references range from the historical, like Napoleon the toy poodle; to the literary, with three Gatsbys; to the musical, from J-Lo to Mr. Bojangles.

Popular culture clearly has its influence on dog names. Although no Fidos made the Greater Portland list, there are six Frodos, including two pugs, named for the hobbit from “The Lord of the Rings.”

Sports references in dog names tend to reflect the local favorite teams. Living in the area are 24 Fenways, for the Boston Red Sox ballpark, and 15 Bruschis, after the former linebacker for the New England Patriots.

Brady, the last name of his old teammate Tom, cracked the top 30 names in the Greater Portland towns, and also made the top 75 for male dog names in the country, three spots ahead of Brody.

Kobe, the first name of another nationally celebrated athlete, came in at No. 87, but in Greater Portland, only eight dogs shared a name with the L.A. Laker Bryant – the same number as Kobi.

As far as breeds go, most of the same varieties appear at the top of lists for both the area and America, with Labradors, golden retrievers, German shepherds and beagles among the most popular.

Shih Tzus, however, have a bigger following here, while Rottweilers, which are in the top 10 nationally, according to the American Kennel Club, don’t rank high in the area.

The Kennel Club tracks only purebreds, which skews some of the rankings. In local towns, the second most common dog registered is a Labrador mix and the fourth most common is an unspecified mutt.

Locals also seem to like the various designer cross-breeds, from the increasingly popular Labradoodle – there are 230 – to the lone chi-weenie, a mix between a chihuahua and a dachshund, living in Scarborough.

Whatever breed or name dog owners choose, it’s getting harder to be unique.

So don’t think you’re different by getting a cock-a-poo; they’re among the top 10 most popular breeds in Cape Elizabeth and Falmouth.

And if you’re trying to be clever by naming your new dog Tater Tot, know that there are already two others nearby.

Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at:

lbridgers@pressherald.com

Twitter: lesliebridgers

 

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