For the first time, the most popular name for a female dog is also the most popular name for a new baby girl. Bella was the number one name for female dogs in 2009, according to Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., in Brea, Calif., which tracks its clients' pet names. Last year, Bella — short for Isabella or Isabel — was also the most popular name for baby girls, according to Parents Magazine, which tracks human names.
The popularity of the name Bella for dogs, humans, and even cats — number three on the VPI list — is also an homage to the popular character, Isabella Marie "Bella" Swan of the Twilight series of novels by Stephanie Meyer.
Chloe, the number two name for cats and the number nine name for dogs in 2009, was also the number six name for baby girls of the human variety.
A recent analysis of VPI's 480,000 insured pets revealed the top pet names for 2009.*
Top Ten Names for Dogs
1. Bella 2. Max 3. Bailey 4. Lucy 5. Molly
6. Buddy 7. Maggie 8. Daisy 9. Chloe 10. Sophie
Top Ten Names for Cats
1. Max 2. Chloe 3. Bella 4. Oliver 5. Tiger
6. Smokey 7. Tigger 8. Lucy 9. Shadow 10. Angel
Source: Veterinary Pet Insurance Co., 2010 Brea, Calif.
Giving pets the same name as human babies makes their rising status to full-fledged family members almost complete.
"Pet naming trends are reflecting the humanization of pets," says Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for VPI.
“When people consider their pet an integral part of the family, they are more inclined to pick a human name for it.”