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Tough Dog Names:  Great Puppy Names for Big & Little Dogs

By Janice Jones   | Last Updated March 14, 2019

Tough dog names are always perfect for that tough looking dog, but are equally great if you want to make a statement about your small breed dog.

A large breed working dog deserves such a name.  But why do small dog lovers find these names so irresistible?

I’ve already mentioned one reason, but beyond that the cuteness factor comes into play.   What could be cuter than a little black puppy with the name Darth (Vader)? 

Others are just looking for something different.  There are already too many Bellas, Mollies, Maxes, and Buddies in the small dog world. 

Maybe a name like Duke, Tonka, or Talon might be a little more unique.

So are you ready to search?  Need ideas for tough dog names?  We have compiled a list of names that work well with any breed of dog.   

What do All These Tough Dog Names Have in Common?

  • They all work well as dog names—short and easy to say.  
  • None can be confused with common commands such as sit or stay, so dogs won’t get confused.  
  • AND, of course, they all refer to toughness, whether the name is of a real person, a fictional character or just an adjective that means tough.  

Just in case some are not familiar, I’ve added a short description, but feel free to avoid the explanations and concentrate on the names.

Inspiration for Tough Dog Names

Tough Dog NamesTough Dog

Gods and Heros, outlaws and fierce animals all have one thing in common, they all have to be tough, not only physical but mentally robust. 

So these names are picked from lists of ancient gods, movie and television heroes and villains, and some real people who have left their own legacy of toughness. 

We’ve added a couple of animals—mammals, reptiles, birds that we think represent toughness in the animal kingdom.  Then I completed the list with objects that are always tough like granite.  

We Need Your Suggestions

Have a name or names to add?  Want to tell us about your dog who has a great tough dog name?  We want to hear from you.  Use the form below to contact us.

Tough Dog Names

Ares   (Greek God of War)

Ammo   (Short for ammunition)

Armour (protective covering that one wears)

Atlas (from Greek mythology, with the task of holding up the heavens)

Ajax (mythological Greek hero of the Trojan War)

Badger (an animal)

Bandit (an outlaw)

Bane (Batman Villain)

Banshee (a female spirit from Irish Legend)

Bear (any species will be tough)

Biff (as in Biff Tannen, from 'Back to the Future.'

Bomb (gigantic explosive weapon)

Bligh (as in Captain Bligh from Mutiny on the Bounty)

Bolt (fictional character in the movie of the same name)

Bond (James Bond)

Bonnie (from Bonnie and Clyde)

Borden (Lizzie, the ax murderer)

Bouncer (a doorman or security guard employed in bars to keep order and remove those that might break the rules)

Bronson submitted by Eugene West from Canada

Bruiser (novel and movie of the same name)

Brute (also consider Beast, Beastie, Barbarian, Demon)

Brutus (as in Marcus Junius Brutus, a politician in ancient Rome who assassinated Julius Caesar)

Buck (as in Buck Rogers)

Butch (as in Butch Cassidy)

Buzz (Buzz Lightyear is the Super hero in Toy Story)

Caesar (any of them will do)

Cain (brother of Abel)

Cobra (as in King Cobra, the snake)

Capone (as in Al Capone)

Caesar (name of ancient Roman Emperors)

Champ (Short for Champion)

Chucky (From the Horror movie, Child’s Play)

Clint (as in Clint Eastwood, the actor)

Colonel (Suspecting most Colonels are tough)

Cruella - Maybe not the best name for a Dalmatian

Crusher (as the name implies, a large truck that crushes large rocks into smaller sized rocks)

Conan (the Barbarian, the movie)

Darth (as in Darth Vader)

Dewitt (Booker, Bioshock infinite, the game)

Diesel (as in Diesel trucks or cars)

Dire (Dire wolf)

Dozer (Short for bulldozer)

Duke (from the Dukes of Hazzard, a US TV show of the 70s and 80s

Fury (Movie)

Grizzly (as in A huge and fierce bear)

Granite (A very tough material;  Might make a great name for a dog with a brindle coat)

Genghis Khan (either name would make a good dog name – Mongolian Warrier)

Gunner (think person in the armed forces that operate the big guns)

Hades (in Greek mythology, Hades was the king of the underworld)

Hera (Greek Goddess of Marriage)

HAL (computer in the movie, 2001:  A Space Odyssey) 

Han Solo (Use either first or last name, from Star Wars)

Hero (Someone who risks their life for a greater good)

Hulk (from The Hulk, Marvel Cartoon Character or Hulk Hogan)

Hunter (Great name for a dog that likes to hunt or chase squirrels)

More Tough Dog Names

Indie (as in Indiana Jones, character in the movie of the same name)

Jesse (James) (an outlaw from the old American West)

John Wayne (either first or last name could be used as a dog name; Famous Actor)

Kayto ( from the Green Hornet)

Kong (King Kong might make a great name for a tiny dog)

Jaws (from the Movie with the same name)

Jedi (for a strong, powerful and highly intelligent dog)

Joker (from Batman)

Junkyard (Junkyard dog?)

Krueger (as in Freddy Krueger from a Nightmare on Elm Street

Kojak (from the 70's TV series)

Lecter (as in Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lambs)

Lex Luthor (Superman):  Great name for a hairless breed

Mr. T (in the movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs)

Marco Polo (European explorer that traveled to Asia—either first or last name would make a good dog name.)

Baby Face Nelson (Depression-era gangster)

Neptune ( Roman Sea God)

Ninja (fighting mercenary in ancient Japan)

Nitro (Short for Nitroglycerin)

Orca (Large Whale)

Obi-Wan Kenobi (any part of the name would work (From Star Wars)

Ogre (think Shrek, which is also a good dog name)

Outlaw (A fugitive criminal)Panther (Large black wild cat):  Great name for a black dog

Need Still More Tough Dog Names?

Panther (Large black wild cat):  Great name for a black dog
Patton (from General George Patton) WW2 and in the movie Patton

Picard (as in Captain Picard from Star Trek, Next Generation

Rambo (Movie starring Sylvester Stallone)

Ratched (as in Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Rebel (perfect name for an independent dog)

Robin (as in Robin Hood)

Rocky (as in Rocky Balboa, boxer in the movie of the same name)

Rhino (Short for Rhinoceros) 

Samson (from the Bible Story, Samson, and Delilah)

Shark ( a predator)

Sisko (as in Captain Sisko from Deep Space Nine)

Spike (a fictional character in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) 

Sniper (a lone marksman)

Solo (as in Han Solo from Star Wars)

Steel (very tough material)

Talon (claw of a predatory bird)

Tank (Great name for a super tiny dog)

Tarzan (the Jungle Hero)

Thor (Marvel Comic character;  also the name of a Norse God)

Thunder (That sound one hears during a storm)

Tilla (as in Attila the Hun)

Titan (Mythical character)

Tonka (as Tonka Trucks)

Trigger (as in finger)

Trump (if your dog thinks he's tough)

Turbo:  A very fast dog

Tyson (as in Mike Tyson, the boxer)

Vader (as in Darth Vader from Star Wars)

Viper (a type of snake)

Villa (Pancho)

Vlad (as in Vlad III the Impaler, also short for the boy’s name Vladimir)

Wesker (From Resident Evil)

Zeus (Father of Gods)

Zod (as in General Zod, Comic book outlaw--Superman´s enemy)

Zorro (1950s Television Series)

Zulu (Movie)

Have Ideas to Add? 
Do you have a dog with a Tough Dog Name...

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About Janice (author and voice behind this site)

Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, Janice served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu, but she has also lived with poodles, Maltese, Yorkshire Terriers, beagles, English bulldogs, carin terriers, and a Cocker Spaniel.

When not writing, reading, and researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, husband, and family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu and Smart-Knit-Crocheting

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