A good dog name will reflect the personality of your dog. You may want to take a few days to get to know your newly adopted dog, try out a few names you like, and see which fits them best.

This list has been completely updated for 2024.

Dogs are very adaptable, they don’t care what you name them, just as long as you are consistent once you do choose their name. Choose a name that means something to you, something easy to remember, and easy to say as you will be using your rescue dog’s name a lot throughout their lifetime.

mixed breed dog standing in the garden.

Meanings of names can vary across cultures and regions, and some names may have multiple meanings. If the actual meaning of the name is important to you, I recommend verifying the specific meaning and cultural context associated with the name you choose.

Some of the names of our foster dogs have been very unique. Fun fact: we have changed every single name of our own adopted dogs (except Symba since he didn’t have a name before we got him). Nala was Midnight, Abby was Angel, JJ was Jeremy, Ginger was Penelope, and Bear was the most unusual… Vince Lombardi (a famous football player).

Teaching a puppy or adult dog their new name is the same as teaching them a new command. In fact, calling their name should be a command for them to look at you. Keep reading below to learn the best way to teach a rescue dog his new name.

Make a statement with personalized dog collars and tags

Fun rescue dog names      

  1. Angel
  2. Bingo
  3. Buddy
  4. Chance
  5. Destiny
  6. Gem
  7. Gypsy
  8. Hope
  9. Lucky
  10. Romeo
  11. Shyla
  12. Tramp
  13. Zest

Rescue dog names that mean LIFE or NEW

It seems appropriate to choose a name for your dog that you have rescued that has the meaning of life… you did save their life, and maybe they even saved yours!

This list of boy and girl rescue dog names means life, new, saved, or rescued. There are some very unusual names that are unique. Some may be hard to pronounce, so an option would be to shorten the name for everyday use.

If you’re looking for something different, check out our full library of fun dog names grouped by theme.

NameGenderMeaningOrigin
AbellaGirlBreath, source of lifeFrench, Hebrew
AchazBoyGod’s way of lifeHebrew
AdamoBoyFirst lifeHebrew
AdemBoyBrave lifeHebrew
AishaGirlAlive, livingArabic
AizzaGirlLifeHebrew, Biblical
AkivaBoyProtect, shelterHebrew
Alba GirlDawn or new life  Spanish, Italian
AltheaGirlHealer, wholesomeGreek
AnnabelleGirlFavored graceFrench
AnastasiaGirlResurrection or new lifeGreek, Russian
AnastasiusBoyRebirth or resurrectionGreek
AnkurBoyNew lifeHindi
AntarbhutiBoyLife or soulIndian
AoifeGirlOne who gives lifeIrish
ApelaBoyBreath of lifeHawaiian
Asha GirlHope or lifeSanskrit, Swahili
AsherBoyHappy life or blessedHebrew
AuroraGirlDawn or new lifeLatin
AusraGirlDawn or new lifeLithuanian
AvaGirlLifeGerman
AvabelleGirlBreathing in lifeLatin
AyeletGirlDawn or new lifeHebrew
BeataGirlBlessed or happyLatin
BeathanBoyLife or existenceGaelic
BeatrixGirlBringer of joyLatin
BerhanBoyLight or illuminationCanadian
BibianaGirlAliveGreek
BindhasBoyEnjoys lifeIndian
BionGirlLifeGreek
BoBoyTo liveScandinavian
Bophelo GirlLifeSesotho
CalianBoyLife warriorNative American
CanBoyLife or soulTurkish
CanerBoyBrave man’s lifeTurkish
CansuGirlWater of lifeTurkish
CarmaGirlFateSanskrit
Chae-Won GirlBeginningKorean
ChaiBoyLifeHebrew
ChaimBoyLifeHebrew
ChanceBoyGood FortuneBritish
ChayimBoyLifeHebrew
ChivaBoyLifeCambodian
Chivy GirlLifeCambodian
DagianBoyDawnEnglish
DawnGirlDawnEnglish
DaxonBoyLife-giving drinkFrench
DestinyGirlOne’s fateLatin
Eba GirlLifeHebrew
Eloma GirlLifeFinnish
Enid GirlSoul or lifeWelsh
ErcanBoyBrave man’s lifeTurkish
EsheGirlLifeEgyptian
EttanBoyBreath of lifeIndian
Eva GirlLifeItalian
Evaly GirlLiving oneHebrew
EveGirlLifeLatin, Hebrew
EvetteGirlLifeFrench
FajrBoyDawn or new lifeArabic
FateGender–neutralFateEnglish
FaustinaGirlFortunate or luckyLatin
FaustusBoyFortunate or luckyLatin
GenesisBoyLifeChristian, biblical
GenovevaGirlFate WeaverGerman
HaGirlKiss of lifeVietnamese
HaimBoyLifeHebrew
HaleBoyHealthy in lifeEnglish 
HavaBoyBreathing, alive or livingHebrew
HayaGirlAliveHebrew
HayatGender–neutralLifeArabic, Turkish
HisaGirlLong-lasting lifeJapanese
HiwoGirlLifeAmharic
HopeGirlHopefulPuritan
ImaraGirlStrongKiswahili
IngridGirlBeautifulNorse
InizioBoyNew BeginningItalian
JanGender–neutralLife or soulIndian
JanusGirlFirst month of the yearLatin
JedidiahBoyBeloved of the LordHebrew
JillianGirlEnjoys youthful lifeLatin
JuroBoyLongevity of lifeJapanese
KarmaGender–neutralFate, DestinySanskrit
Kiena GirlDivine or heavenlyHawaiian
KismatBoyFateIndian
KismetGirlFate, destinyEnglish
Langhuie GirlLong lifeEnglish
LivGirlLifeScandinavian
LizetteGirlLifeHebrew
LuljetaGirlFlower of lifeAlbanian
MirabelleGirlWonderful lifeFrench
NavinBoyNew, freshSanskrit
NeoBoyNew or youngGreek
NiaGirlPurpose or intentionSwahili
NiyatiGirlFateIndian
NoemaGirlNew moonGreek
NovaGirlNewLatin
NurcanGirlBright soul or light of lifeTurkish
NyssaGirlNew beginningGreek
OmriBoyLife and servantHebrew
PhoenixGender neutralRise from the ashesGreek
QadrGirlFateMuslim
QadriyaGirlFateArabic
QismaGirlFateArabic
RenataGirlRebornSpanish
Rene GirlRebornFrench
RénovéeGirlRenewed or rebornFrench
SalvadorBoySavior or savedSpanish, Portuguese
SoteriaGirlSalvation or deliveranceGreek
SulyaBoyBreath of lifeIndian
Sura OighrigBoyNew LifeNative American
TarekBoyMorning starArabic
TsheringBoyLong lifeTibetan, Bhutanese
UmarBoyLifeArabic
VianGender neutralFull of life and energyEnglish
VidaGirlLifeSpanish, Latin
Vidal BoyLifeSpanish
VihaanBoyBeginning of an eraSanskrit
VitaGirlLifeLatin
VitaleBoyLife or vitalItalian
VituGirlLifeLatin
VivianGirlLivelyLatin
WahujGirlNew BeginningArabic
Yeong-SuBoyLong LifeKorean
ZeraGirlNew BeginningHebrew
ZivaGirlFull of lifeHebrew
Zoe, Zoey or ZoiGender–neutral   LifeGreek
ZoticusBoyFull of life Greek

Once you’ve decided on your dog’s new name, make sure to order him his very own name tag!

Make a statement with personalized dog collars and tags

Want more dog name ideas? We have a full library of fun dog names grouped by theme, check out the list and let us know what you decide!


How to teach a dog his name

Teaching your dog his or her new name is easy. Think of teaching your dog his new name like training him a command.

Your dogs name is basically a command to look at you for the next command. For example, Spot Sit. Spot is the command to look and pay attention to you, Sit is the command to sit down. Get it?

Start by using treats to call your dog over to you, using his old name and new name combined.

For example, when we adopted Nala, her old name was Midnight. We called her Nala-Midnight for a couple of days, transitioning to Nala as she started picking it up.

If you do not know the dogs old name, simply start with his new chosen name. A leash can help keep his attention on you for the first few days.

Recommended just for you:

Make a statement with personalized dog collars and tags

Do you have a name you want me to add to the list? I’m always looking for new creative dog names, so feel free to comment below with your favorite dog name.

About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. I’m expecting a female pup tomorrow that was dropped off on the side of the road along with three others. I can only take one bc I have three large dogs. I’m just looking for any names to suit her. I can’t wait to meet her!

  2. My new 4 yr old cutie is a Labradoodle, and is named Lily, but I had a Lily in the past who died tragically so wanted a new name for this sweetie that was close to her current name. So I have renamed her Tillie. She is very very scared and we are taking it slow.

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