A German Shepherd baring its teeth.

Badass Dog Names in 2021 (Tough & Gangster)

Like many people these days, you are expanding your family with a new furry friend!

You have everything ready for your new dog: space for roaming, a fashionable collar, a new leash, the right type of food, tons of toys… but something is missing. You realize you have forgotten the most important part: a name! Picking out the perfect name for your precious pooch can feel like an extremely daunting task.

With the millions of choices you have, how will you ever find the right one for your special friend? Don’t fret, we’ve got you covered with an extensive list of the top badass dog names for 2021.

Classic Badass Dog Names

Sable German Shepherd Close up head portrait

A German Shepherd is an excellent candidate for a badass name!

So, you’re all about tradition? A safe and smart choice, going with a classic badass name for your pup will always be in style. It is likely you have come across a number of dogs with these names but perhaps you were unaware of the deep meanings these names can have.

Some of these tough puppy names have remained among top favorites for years and are seemingly here to stay, but we aren’t complaining. There is a good reason these pup names remain adored despite changing trends. Trends may come and go, but these timeless classic names will give your pup a lasting tough exterior. 

Tough dog names for your bad boy:

  • Inferno: inspired by Dante’s epic poem Divine Comedy, this fiery name might be fitting if you are a literature buff, or maybe you just like fire
  • Onyx: the name of a beautiful gemstone, but once meant “nail” or “claw”, perfect for a Doberman
  • Fang: referring to vampiric qualities or, in Chinese, relating to “fragrant, virtuous, or beautiful”
  • Gunner: a Scandanavian name meaning “bold warrior”
  • Spike: a classic tough name, best paired with a spiked collar, perhaps
  • Blaze: another fiery name for your fiery pup, meaning “bright flame, torch, shining”
  • Butch: meaning “illustrious”, a manly classic
  • Diesel: a macho name that comes from the German language, but we know it to be a fuel for big vessels
  • Ajax: though this name sounds badass, its meaning “of the Earth” is quite beautiful
  • Jinx: perfect if your pooch is a bit of a trickster as this name relates to magic, meaning “spells”

Tough dog names for your bad gal:

  • Harley: an Old English name meaning “hare meadow” 
  • Roxy: coming from Old Persian, this name means “dawn”
  • Sassy: the perfect name for a spunky pup, can mean “bold” or “full of spirit” 
  • Rebel: much like Sassy, rebel can be used to mean “bold” or even “defiant” 
  • Shadow: a mysterious name, perfect for a darker-coated pup
  • Zoey: this pet classic comes from Greek, meaning “light”
  • Blitz: a fun variation of Blaze and is the German word for “lightning”  
  • Diva: despite the connotations, it may have colloquially, this beautiful name means “goddess”  
  • Diamond: another gemstone name for your brightly shining pup, but also means “invincible”
  • Sloane: an Irish name meaning “of arms” or “raider”

Greek Mythology-Inspired Dog Names 

If you are looking for something a bit more historical and poetic, Greek mythology is a perfect place to find a badass dog name. Greek mythology is a large collection of stories known for its powerful and unique figures.

These captivating tales of the Greek gods and goddesses have been around since nearly 3000 BCE and remain the inspiration for many modern tales, so no need to worry about contemporary relevance. Each character in Greek mythology has a highly meaningful name, which will translate effortlessly to your tough pup companion. 

Greek god names for boy dogs:

  • Zeus: The king of gods, god of sky and thunder
  • Apollo: god of archery, music, and dance
  • Poseidon: god of the sea  
  • Ares: god of war
  • Atlas: god of endurance and astronomy
  • Kratos: titan god of strength 
  • Hercules: half-god of strength, courage, and intelligence
  • Hades: god of the underworld 
  • Hermes: god of dreams
  • Helios: god of the sun

Greek goddess names for girl dogs:

  • Athena: goddess of wisdom
  • Aphrodite: goddess of love 
  • Hera: queen of the gods 
  • Persephone: goddess queen of the underworld
  • Eris: goddess of discord
  • Hecate: goddess of magic
  • Nike: goddess of victory
  • Nemesis: goddess of revenge 
  • Artemis: goddess of wild animals 
  • Gaia: Goddess of the earth

Badass Russian Dog Names

It is possible you have overlooked borrowing names from other countries, but it can be a beautiful and unique way to give your dog a badass and gangster name. Russia is known for breeding a tough and strong character. The Russian language can be characterized as being simultaneously beautiful and harsh, so it’s no surprise Russian names are just the same.

Like Greek mythological names, Russian names also tend to have strong meaning. Whether you have some Russian blood or just find its rich history enthralling, a powerful Russian name compliments any pup. Though, if your furry friend happens to be a Russian breed, like the Husky, a Russian name is most suitable.

Names for your male Comrade:

  • Maxim: sure to make any dog stand out, this name means “greatest” and is easily shortened to “Max” 
  • Alexei: a strong name meaning “man’s defender” or “warrior” 
  • Boris: a common but powerful name, meaning “fighter” 
  • Igor: known to mean “warrior” or “warrior of peace”
  • Sergei: a popular Russian name meaning “servant” or “protector”
  • Sasha: like Alexei, this is another meaning for “defender of man”
  • Dimitri: follower of Demeter, the Greek goddess of harvest 
  • Nikolai: meaning victory of the people, this name is easily shortened to “Nick”
  • Viktor: quite literally meaning “victor”
  • Yuri: interestingly, in Russian, this name means “farmer” but in Japanese, it can mean “lily”

Names for your female Comrade:

  • Irina: a beautifully badass name meaning “peace”
  • Katya: a warrior-like name meaning “pure”
  • Svetlana: a classic Russian name that means “light” and the short version is “Sveta”
  • Anastasia: perhaps a bit long-winded for a pup, but a strong name meaning “resurrection” and can easily be reduced to “Ana”
  • Sonia: this name goes perfectly with any pup and means “wisdom”
  • Katerina: like the name Katya, also meaning “pure”
  • Anya: a version of Ana, meaning “grace”
  • Inna: highly common in Russia, this magnificent name means “strong waters”
  • Kira: this name gives serious boss energy and means “leader of the people”
  • Olga: an old Russian name meaning “holy”

Badass Viking Dog Names 

Vikings were a group of people from Scandinavia and were known for being among the toughest in the world. Traveling the seas and lands for nearly 3,000 years between the 9th and 11th centuries, Vikings were known for their strength and power, making them good inspiration for badass dog names. Their language, Old Norse, has a magical and imperial sound. Furthermore, Old Norse names are usually associated with certain meanings, so you can choose one to perfectly fit your pup’s personality. 

Viking names for your warrior:

  • Ulf: or “wolf” in English
  • Magnus: a name given to numerous kings, meaning “powerhouse” 
  • Bjorn: This is a strong name meaning bear, pronounced “byorn” 
  • Arne: or “eagle”
  • Erik: though commonly a human name, this powerful name means “always ruler”
  • Sune: for the biggest pup star in your life, meaning “sun”
  • Frey: “free” or “lord”
  • Thor: a bold name meaning “god of thunder”
  • Ivar: the name of an influential Viking leader, meaning “archer”
  • Ragnar: another legendary Viking leader, meaning “warrior” or “army”

Viking names for your warrioress:

  • Astrid: meaning “beautiful”, this name has a powerful celestial feel
  • Helga: sadly, an overlooked yet mighty name for a pup, meaning “sacred” 
  • Nanna: the name of the goddess of the moon, peace, and happiness 
  • Birka: the name of a female Viking leader and great warrior, related to “birch”
  • Runa: an incredible name that has many meanings, a few being “secret”, “moon”, and “strength”
  • Freya: the female version of Frey and the name of the Viking goddess of love
  • Hilda: coming from the Norse word for “battle”
  • Magna: a female version of Magnus meaning “large” and “strong”
  • Ysra: perhaps coming from the Latin “ursa”, meaning “she-bear”
  • Sigrid: or “victory”, has many variations and shortenings including “Siri”

Badass Dog Names Inspired by Movies and Television 

If you’re a movie buff or a television series lover, you’ll love these pup names inspired film and TV characters! There are plenty of badass and powerful figures on the silver screen, each with their own highly unique names and personalities. Naming your special friend after a fictional character is a fun way to incorporate a built-in badass attitude while also paying homage to your favorite films, shows, and characters. 

Fictional character-inspired male dog names:

  • Sparrow: as in Captain Jack Sparrow 
  • Rambo: inspired by the Rambo movie franchise 
  • Solo: a Star Wars favorite, inspired by the character Han Solo
  • Vader: another Star Wars-inspired name, but on the darker side… 
  • Sherlock: originally a character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that has since been adapted into several movies and television shows 
  • Optimus: inspired by a badass character from the Transformers movie franchise, but also means “best” in Latin 
  • Bane: a supervillain-inspired name from DC Comics
  • Flash: another DC Comics favorite, The Flash character has superhuman speed
  • Hulk: a long-time favorite for muscular dogs, inspired by Marvel 
  • Rocky: people love to hate this name, but there is no denying this is a great badass option inspired by the famous movie character Rocky Balboa

Fictional character-inspired female dog names:

  • Hela: known in the Marvel world as the goddess of death 
  • Cersei: from the Game of Thrones television series
  • Xena: inspired by nineties TV show Xena: Warrior Princess
  • Leia: perhaps the most famous of all Star Wars female figures
  • Buffy: from the nineties TV favorite Buffy the Vampire Slayer 
  • Storm: female superhero from the Marvel comics, but also just a cool name in general 
  • Raven: a DC Comics character known for her dark yet cool nature
  • Quinn: inspired by the famous Harley Quinn character  
  • Rogue: a superhero from Marvel Comics, but can also mean “unpredictable”
  • Moon: a fun way to pay homage to your favorite anime character, Sailor Moon
Beautiful American Pit Bull Terrier dog running on the field

American Pitbull Terriers look badass even if they aren’t named as such!

Why Does it Matter? 

You might be tempted to give your dog’s name little thought and choose the first one that comes to mind, but you should know a dog’s name is more significant than may you think. This is especially true if you plan to do any sort of training with your pooch, as most dog owners desire to do pretty early on.

Dogs learn a slew of words and commands in their lifetime, their name being among the most important. It is a word that will be repeated several times each day and is likely the first thing others will learn about your precious pup, so choosing a meaningful name is crucial. Furthermore, and perhaps most importantly, selecting the perfect badass name will automatically give your pup some built-in badass personality. 

How Do I Choose the Right One? 

Choosing the right name for your precious pet can seem impossible. A dog’s name can say a lot about both you and your dog, so the pressure is on. However, overthinking your pup’s name is the last thing you want to do! Go for something that is meaningful to you, easy to say, and clear to your dog. Pet names are also customizable, so if you find yourself torn between a few, try mixing them!

Don’t let the big dog breeds have all the fun, either. Even tiny teacup breeds deserve a badass name! Maybe your dog already has a tough exterior and needs a name to match, or perhaps your dog needs that added “oomph” of a badass name to gain some toughness. Whatever it may be, your dog’s name is important as it will be a part of your family for many years to come. 

Some owners like to base their dog’s name on the nickname possibilities. For example, though Anastasia might seem too long, it is beautiful on paper and can easily be shortened to “Ana” for the purpose of calling your pup. Furthermore, do not be confined by gender!

The great thing about pet names is that they can easily be interchanged and used universally, so most names can be used for male and female dogs. It’s all about finding what fits your dog and its aesthetic, but you will grow to know and love your pup nonetheless!  

How NOT to Choose a Name for Your Dog 

Choosing a name that is both easy for you to say and easy for your dog to understand is key. This means steering clear of names that are too long and names that can be easily confused with other words, especially important commands. For example, the name “Dawn” might be easily mistaken for the command “down”, making your pet seriously confused.

Furthermore, a name with hard consonants, such as “T” or “K”, are good ideas as they are easily said and understood. Be sure your dog has a name you won’t mind saying often and in front of others, including children and strangers. There is also some evidence that dogs more easily understand two-syllable words.

While a dog’s name is highly significant, try not to stress over the process of finding that perfect badass tough name. Once you are physically united with your furry friend, you may find the process of selecting their name to be much easier and a bit more natural. Observe your pet’s characteristics, physical appearance, and personality. This will give you a good idea of what may fit your pet.

Final Verdict

Your badass buddy needs a badass name. Every dog deserves a great name that is just as beautiful, badass, and wonderful as they are! This list consists of some of the most classic tough and gangster name ideas for your new puppy, as well as some trendy and creative ones.

So whether your soon-to-be companion is a rottweiler guard dog, a statue-esque german shepherd, or maybe even a mix, such as the popular French Pitbull, these strong dog names are sure to give any dog breed, big or small, some badass character.

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Sarah Wagner

Sarah Wagner

Sarah Wagner is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.