Picking a dog name is one of the first things you’ll do after adopting a dog, but it’s also often one of the hardest. After all, you’re going to be using that name for the rest of your dog’s life and you want to pick something that’s going to fit. While there are certainly a host of generic dog names out there, there are many people who would prefer to find a naming that has a bit more meaning behind it.
One of the best ways to find a good dog name is to look to that of another culture. Whether it’s your own culture or that from the region that the dog’s breed originates, you can find some fantastic names to use if you’re willing to do a bit of digging, say Japanese dog names, Mexican dog names, and more. If your dog’s breed originally comes from Korea, for example, you may want to consider giving your dog a Korean name.
Korean Dog Breeds
Unfortunately, there aren’t many popular dog breeds in the English-speaking world that hail from Korea. That does not, however, mean that this part of the world is short on dogs. There are actually two fantastic breeds that come from this region, each of which might be a prime candidate for a Korean name.
The first breed that comes from the Korean Peninsula is the Jindo. A stocky dog with pointy ears, this is an incredibly popular breed in South Korea and it is even recognized by the AKC . The dog gets its name from Jindo Island, which is located off the coast of the Peninsula and is home to many wild examples of the breed.
The other well-known breed that is native to Korea is the Sapsali. A shaggy dog that has great hunting instincts, these dogs were originally known as ‘ghost hunters’.
Popular Korean Dog Names
As you can imagine, there are many names from which you can choose when looking at Korean dog names. To simplify the process, we’ll break down our list into a few categories.
Unisex Dog Names
Some of the easiest names to look at for a dog will work for both male and female dogs. These unisex names are anything but basic, though, and many of them can go a long way towards helping to summarize your dog’s looks or personality.
One of the more popular unisex names is Hwan, which has a number of meanings but is usually used to mean ‘happiness’ when referring to a dog. Likewise, a name with various meanings that can be applied to a dog is Hyeon, which means shining. Related to Hyeon, at least in terms of meaning, is also Kwang – a word that means light.
Other great unisex names might refer to your dog’s personality. Eun, for example, means kindness while Jae means talent. Jeong means quiet, while Ji means smart. You may also look at names like Gyeong, which means respect, or Maeum, which means heart.
Another popular unisex name is Haneul, which means either sky or heaven. Iseul, or dew, can also be a great name for an early riser. Finally, you may want to think about naming your second dog Duri – a name that means ‘two’.
Names for Male Dogs
Some dog names just tend to work better for male dogs both because of how they are constructed in Korean and because of cultural context. While some of these names can work for girl dogs, these are generally considered fairly masculine names.
Some of the best male names will describe your dog’s personality. Hye, for example, means intelligent while Ji-Ho means brave or wise. Another name that means intelligence is Ji-Hun, while Min-Jun tends to be translated as both clever and talented.
Other very popular male names include Dal, which means ‘moon’ and can be used for a dog who loves to stay up late. Seok, or stone, is a great name for a strong dog, while you might want to call your guard dog Si-woo, a dog name meaning protector.
Names for Female Dogs
Other Korean titles tend to work better as female dog names. These names are feminine and often beautiful, which could make them perfect for your female pup.
Many of the best female names are descriptors. Areum, for example, means beauty while Eun-Ji means a combination of kindness and intelligence. Min, which means clever, tends to be popular, while Da-som is a great description of how much love you have for your dog.
Bora, or purple, might not be a descriptor of your dog’s color but it can describe a shade that you both love. Likewise, those who love lilies might like the name Nari and those who love the beach could prefer So-Ra (conch shell). Finally, you may want to name the oldest female in a litter Hana, or ‘one’.
Names Based on Korean Cities and Landmarks
For some, the best dog names come from cities and landmarks, Choosing these names will help you show off your knowledge of Korean geography while still giving your dog a great name.
If you’re looking at geography in general, there are some great names out there. Hongdo, for example, is an island known for its beauty while Jebudo is best known for being incredibly remote. Jeju, of course, is a great name if you’re looking to honor the home of a near-extinct species of dog, while Jindo is better for those who want to name their dogs after an island famous for a more vibrant dog population. Udo rounds up the island names with a very popular tourist destination, while Taebaek is a perfect name for those who love the mountains.
City lovers have plenty of choices as well. Asan is a city known for hot springs, while Busan is known for being the Korean equivalent of Hollywood. Daegu is the fashion capital of the country, to say nothing of its reputation for amazing apples. Daejon is a better choice for those who want a name that represents the city’s amazing scientific reputation, while Gimpo might be a name better for those who want to honor a city that’s a bit more sedate.
If you’re a traveler, you may already be familiar with the name Incheon from the city’s airport. Jinju, on the other hand, might be more famous because of its ancient roots. Osan is home to a US Air Force base and thus might be a great fit for the dog of a vet, while Seoul is of course the most recognizable city in the country as well as the capital of the nation.
Names Based on Korean Cuisine
Korean food is not just delicious, but it’s incredibly trendy in the United States. If you’re looking for a great name, you might find what you’re looking for on a menu.
Sometimes it’s best to start with snacks and sweets. Bingsu, a dish that’s made of shaved ice and generally topped with fruit, is a cute name for your dog that’s tiny and sweet. Dasik is usually a beautifully decorated cookie. Melona, on the other hand, is a brand name for a popsicle and a name that’s strangely popular for dogs.
Thinking more of the main course? Why not look at Bulgogi, which is a shaved meat somewhat similar to stir-fry or Galbi, which may be better known in the US as Korean short ribs. Hotteok is very popular street food, while Kimchi is simply one of Korea’s best-known exports in the food world.
If beverages are more your speed, you may want to look at Soju, which is a rice-based alcoholic beverage, or Misu, which is a healthy drink. The former’s common accompaniment, Anju, can also make for a very nice name.
Names of Famous Koreans
Finally, there are Korean celebrity dog names. From superstars to politicians, these names have quite a bit of international appeal.
If you’re going to start with famous people, K-Pop seems to be the place to go. BoA is a great name based on an incredibly popular female singer, while Psy definitely has a lot of cultural cache in the West. Onew is both a singer and an actor, while Taeyeon is incredibly famous as a solo act and as a part of Girl’s Generation. Suga is a name that’s better for those who like rap, though, and dozens of other boy band names are out there for fans.
If you aren’t into K-Pop, you definitely still have options. Moon Jae-in, for example, is the president of South Korea. Shin Min-A, on the other hand, is an incredibly well-known actress. Yu-Na Kim is a well-known Olympic figure skater, with a name that is perfect for an athletic dog.
Dog Names from Korean Vocabulary
Finally, there are those everyday words in Korean that make for beautiful dog names. The combination of sound and meaning can turn these common words into great names to call your dog.
Some of the better words to choose from are simply colors. Geomeun, for example, means black while Hayan means white. Noran means yellow, on the other hand, and could be a perfect name for a Golden Retriever.
Some other names might be good descriptors for your dog. Jakda means little, as does Jag-eun. In fact, a dog with those characteristics might even be called Jwi, or mouse. On the other side of the size spectrum, then, could be Saja, or lion. A nice dog could be Dan, or sweet, while a well-behaved animal could be Joeun, or good.
If you’re looking for more general names, you might want to consider Chingu, or a friend. Byeol, or star, can be a great name, as can Gyeoul (winter). Even Nun (snow) can be a fun name for a white dog, but nothing can quite beat just calling your dog Gae (dog).
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is a good Korean dog name?
There are dozens of great names which range from popular artists (Psy) to cities (Seoul) and qualifiers (Joeun, or good). You might even go with something simple like Gae (dog) for your dog.
2. What are cute pet names in Korean?
Cute names really vary by individual. Some include Chingu (friend), Nari (Lily), or Hwan (happiness).
3. What is a badass name for a dog?
This is definitely one that depends on the individual, but names like Spike, Gunner, Caliber, or Rex definitely qualify.
4. What is the number 1 dog name?
The most popular male dog name is Bailey and the most popular female dog name is Bella.