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After picking out your pup, picking out a name can be a big decision. If you leave it up to the kids, you could get stuck with something ridiculous like Snickers or Princess. If you get lazy, your dog could end up with the same name as every other Lab at the hunt test. Inspiration for a hunting dog name can come from anywhere, but the best ones follow a few simple rules.

Above all else, says dog trainer and bird hunter Web Parton, naming a hunting dog requires that hunters consider brevity and clarity.

“There’s the popular wisdom that a dog name should be one syllable and it shouldn’t interfere with any commands,” Parton says. “If you have a bird dog and that bird dog is going to be whoa-broke, you probably don’t want to call the dog Joe.”

black lab hunting dog
Don’t confuse your dog by naming it something similar to a command. Zack Cunningham / Adobe Stock

But you should also let the name come to you after spending some time with the dog, Parton says. A pup’s characteristics and quirks will rise to the surface, which can make for great inspiration. 

“It can be kind of comical sometimes. There’s the German Wirehaired Pointer that shows up with a hard mouth and chews on birds, and his name is Gator,” Parton says, referring to some clients he’s seen over the years. “Or there was one proctologist who had a German Shorthaired Pointer male, and his name was Anus. And his wife would baby-talk to the dog, ‘my good little Anus.’ So I’ve seen just about everything.”

While we don’t exactly recommend naming your dog after body parts, it’s pretty hard to go wrong as long as you follow this advice. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Gun Names

These names are a fine choice if you want every passerby who asks your dog’s name to know that you eat, breathe, and bleed hunting. Your wedding ring might be made of antler and you probably keep your calls on your rearview mirror.

  • Benelli (Nelly)
  • Browning
  • Boomer
  • Colt
  • Gauge
  • Kimber
  • Nitro
  • Remington (Remy)
  • Rigby
  • Ruger
  • Shooter
  • Trigger
  • Scout
  • Smith
  • Weatherby
  • Wesson
  • Winchester (Winnie)
Black lab hunting dog
Make sure the name you pick for your dog fits their personality. Jonathan / Adobe Stock

Nature Names

If you’d rather get lost in the backcountry than christen yet another bird dog “Rigby,” these new-age nature hunting dog names might be right for your pup.

  • Aspen
  • Cedar
  • Creek
  • Coulee
  • Cypress
  • Desert
  • Fern
  • Flint
  • Forest
  • Fraser
  • Maple
  • Mesa
  • Pine
  • River
  • Sage
  • Stone
  • Storm
  • Summit
  • Terra
  • Willow

Read Next: The Most Underrated Hunting Dog Breeds

Popular Reference Names

From literary characters to presidents, this list of dog names casts a wide net. Maybe you name your dog after a favorite musician, Western character, or the author of your favorite book to throw in your pack.

  • Abe
  • Aldo
  • Butch
  • Cash
  • Clifford
  • Clint
  • Doc
  • Elmer
  • Ernest
  • Finn
  • Hank
  • Huck
  • Louis
  • Oakley
  • Ringo
  • Ronnie
  • Sawyer
  • Teddy
  • Wyatt
  • Zane
hunting dog
There are plenty of authors, singers, and cartoon characters to get hunting dog name ideas from. maywhiston / Adobe Stock

Place Names

These hunting dog names are for the folks whose water bottles, coolers, and back windshields are plastered with stickers from all the spots they’ve hunted, hiked, or lived. If nothing on this list speaks to you, think of your favorite town, mountain range, or national forest.

  • Bridger
  • Casper
  • Cheyenne
  • Cody
  • Dakota (Kota)
  • Denver
  • Indiana (Indy)
  • Kenai
  • Homer
  • Maui
  • Minne
  • Moab
  • Nash
  • Ozark
  • Reno
  • Teton
  • Tex
  • Vegas
  • Zion

Refuge Names

If you want to take it a step further and name your bird dog after your favorite National Wildlife Refuge, check out this list. Just don’t hot-spot yourself.

  • Baca
  • Bayou
  • Cache
  • Delta
  • Hopper
  • Merritt
  • Monte
  • Rocky
  • Quivira
  • Sabine
  • Sutter
  • Wheeler
hunting dog in woods
If you have a favorite wildlife refuge, that could be a good place to look for a name. Jonathan / Adobe Stock

Animal Names

These are good hunting dog names if you’re the master of irony. You’ve probably been accused of Dad jokes and puns, and if you have teenagers, they roll their eyes at you a lot. 

  • Bear
  • Billy
  • Bird
  • Buck
  • Caddis
  • Drake
  • Fox
  • Gaddy (Gadwall)
  • Grizzly 
  • Goose
  • Moose
  • Rabbit
  • Raven
  • Toad
  • Teal
  • Tiger
  • Trout
  • Wolf
  • Woody (Wood Duck)

Kitchen-Sink Names

Here are some hunting dog names that don’t quite fit any category but still seem to pop up here and there. They could be inspired by anything, from hunting gear brands to the truck you drive.

  • Chevy
  • Cowboy
  • Dodger
  • Harley
  • Hobe
  • Filson
  • Ford
  • Ranger
  • Rider
  • Sitka
  • Skipper
  • Trapper
English setter hunting dog
If you’re stuck on a dog name, get some inspiration from your favorite gear brands. Lunja / Adobe Stock

Classic Names

We had to save the most popular for last. These hunting dog names don’t really require much explanation. Maybe you’re the type who only eats vanilla ice cream. Maybe you know someone else who named their dog off this list and it seems like the safest bet. Now pick a name already—you’ve been calling the dog “Dog” for a month and your kids are getting antsy.

Read Next: Your Retriever Will Teach You These 5 Life Lessons

Female Hunting Dog Names

  • Bella
  • Dixie
  • Frida
  • Lady
  • Missy
  • Molly
  • Ruby
  • Sadie
  • Tessie

Male Hunting Dog Names

  • Blue
  • Boone
  • Buddy
  • Duke
  • Gunner
  • Lucky
  • Max
  • King
  • Red
  • Rex
  • Tank
  • Tucker
beagle hunting dog
You can never go wrong with a popular name for your pup. androsov858 / Adobe Stock

There’s no doubt about it: Picking a hunting dog name can be really difficult. When in doubt, aim for something with one or two syllables that won’t interfere with the standard commands you plan to teach your dog. Avoid common words you’ll use in a hunting situation, too, like “Duck” or “Rooster.” Beyond that, wait for the dog’s personality to shine through and surely something will come to mind. Besides, the dog will end up with at least a dozen nicknames anyway.

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