COVID-19, ‘The Mandalorian,’ ‘Friends’ inspire top pet names for 2021

If it feels like the COVID-19 pandemic has invaded every single facet of everyday life, stop reading now.’s ninth annual report on the year’s most popular pet names indicated that not only the virus but the activities many people gravitated toward during sporadic quarantines and increasingly remote lifestyles are now influencing the naming process of beloved pets.

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“Each year our annual top pet names report showcases what cultural moments made an impact and clearly, the pandemic was a big factor. From sports to the TV shows we binge-watched, our pets’ names were shaped by a truly unique year,” Kate Jaffe, trend expert for Rover, said in a prepared statement, adding that “with the continuation of work from home, our bonds with our pets have grown even deeper.”

Of course, old standards appear to continue their reign in the top 2021 lists. According to the website, the top 10 U.S. dog names for 2021 are Bella, Luna, Charlie, Max, Lucy, Daisy, Bailey, Coco, Zoe and Milo.

Many of the names that appear at the top of Rover’s lists are also some of the leading human baby names of 2021, including Bella, Luna, Lucy, Zoe, Max and Leo, People reported.

For felines, the most popular names for females include Luna, Bella, Lily, Lucy, Nala, Kitty, Chloe, Stella, Zoe and Lola, while the most popular male names include Oliver, Leo, Milo, Charlie, Max, Simba, Jack, Loki, Ollie and Jasper.

According to USA Today, however, pet owners found inspiration from their daily lives throughout the pandemic, with the name Fauci’s popularity up 270% compared with 2020, the year it debuted. Meanwhile, the name Covid has increased 35% in popularity since last year, and the dog name Zoom increased 443% in popularity, reflecting endless hours of doggone video conferencing.

Meanwhile, binge-worthy serials such as “The Mandalorian” and “Friends” offered other avenues for naming inspiration.

According to People, Grogu, aka Baby Yoda from “The Mandalorian” is now the top-trending dog name of 2021, increasing in popularity 4,000% year over year. Likewise, the 2021 “Friends” reunion special revived a fondness for the name Phoebe Buffay, which saw a 963% spike.

Meanwhile, sports-themed names remain popular.

The cat name Gronk, inspired by Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski, increased 276% in popularity, becoming the top-trending football-inspired feline name, while the dog name Suni increased in popularity by 113% after Olympic gold medalist and gymnast Sunisa “Suni” Lee dominated the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, held in 2021, People reported.

Visit to see a variety of breakdowns for top dog names and top cat names for 2021.