Shout "Bella" in a dog park and there's a good chance a new friend will come running. According to Nextdoor.com, Bella is the most popular dog name in the US ... as it was in 2017 and 2016. At Quartz, Jane C. Hu sets out to explain our attraction to the name, noting it's also the top one for dogs in New Zealand and Australia. It's been most popular among US dogs since 2009, when Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series starring Bella Swan hit peak popularity. "But now that it's 2018 and it's safe to say that Twilight-mania is behind us, there must be something else going on here," Hu writes. Laura Wattenberg of Baby Name Wizard has a few ideas, noting Bella manages to be both classic and trendy, and feminine without being "ultra-feminine."
While "hyper-masculine" dog names like Tank or Diesel remain popular, names like Precious are becoming less so. "Feminine markers are considered almost a pejorative," but Bella avoids that, Watternberg says. Meaning "beauty" in Spanish and Italian, the name conveys femininity and warmth. Like Lucy and Max, it's also classic, short, easy to say, and suits a dog of any dog breed, opposed to Curly or Patches, Watternberg tells Hu. A bonus: It falls under the trend of bestowing dogs with human names, which "probably reflects a change in how people think about their pets"—increasingly as akin to children, Watternberg says. Rather your dog stand out from the pack? Woman's Day lists unique dog names—but please don't pick "Pumpkin Spice." (These names are said to be especially sexy.)