Naming your German Shepherd is a big and exciting step in starting your new relationship together.
It is natural to feel a little anxious about choosing just the right German Shepherd name for your precious puppy or rescue dog.
In this article, you will find plentiful inspiration to help get your creative naming juices flowing.
We also share some helpful naming tips to keep your brainstorming sessions fun and productive.
So now let’s get started on the road to choosing your German Shepherd name!
German Shepherd Names Tips
Choosing just the right German Shepherd name can take some time. You shouldn’t put pressure on yourself.
These naming tips can help make the process of choosing your German Shepherd names easier and also much more fun.
1- Try free-association name brainstorming
This fun technique gives you five minutes to free-associate naming ideas. Just start writing. Allow yourself to jot down anything that comes into your head, no matter how crazy it sounds.
Don’t censor yourself. You can also use a voice memos app to do this. Sit and look at your dog and start recording yourself just saying any naming ideas that come to mind. Then transcribe these names and ponder which ones call you.
2- Choose a short, percussive name that is easy to say
If you are planning to participate in purebred dog competitions through the American Kennel Club (AKC) or other association, your dog may have come to you with a long and involved legacy breed name.
But you don’t want to have to call out a five-syllable name every time you’re at the dog park together.
Short, percussive names are easier for you to say and for your dog to remember.
3- Steer clear of names that sound too much like common training commands
Another helpful tip is to make sure the name you pick for your German Shepherd isn’t confusing.
You definitely want to avoid any name that is a common dog training command or sounds too much like a command you want your dog to learn.
4- Notice which name your German Shepherd seems to respond to the most
Yet another helpful naming tip is to “shortlist” three or five names you like more than the others.
Then try each name out on your dog. You may notice your German Shepherd seems to respond to one name more than the others, which can make it a lot easier to pick “the one.”
5- Avoid names that may be difficult to use in public
Finally, although you and your friends or family may think that off-color “private joke” name you pick is hilarious, strangers on the street may feel otherwise.
In today’s conflict-ready society, it can be smarter to choose a neutral name that won’t ruffle anyone’s feathers, so to speak.
And with that out of the way, let’s get the German Shepherd names brainstorming started!
German Shepherd Names from History
There is only one way to start brainstorming German Shepherd names, and that is with a history lesson of course.
These are the names of six of the most famous German Shepherd dogs in the history of the breed.
If you prefer, you can also watch this short video to learn some of the backstories for each famous GSD and see a photo of each dog.
- Horand von Grafrath: GSD breed founder.
- Strongheart: famous movie GSD.
- Rin Tin Tin: famous movie GSD who appeared in 27 films.
- Chips: a celebrated K-9 military dog.
- Bullet the Wonder Dog: Roy Rogers Show K-9.
- Max the Bionic Dog: K-9 star in The Bionic Woman show on television.
German Shepherd Names Male
Finding great German Shepherd names male dogs can wear proudly begins by considering the most enduring traits of this dog breed.
If you are feeling stumped for name ideas, you might want to use this as a little brainstorming exercise!
Just sit with your new German Shepherd puppy or rescue dog and watch them. Write down everything you see. What color is their coat? How would you describe their gait? What personality traits can you easily observe?
This will not only help you feel closer to your new dog right away, but it can become a great source of naming ideas!
Here are some great German Shepherd names for male dogs to give you more inspiration. Although all of these names are not of German origin like your dog, they all have really cool meanings to help you find naming inspiration.
- Luther (people’s army)
- Manfred (man of peace)
- Helmar (famous protector)
- Donner (thunder)
- Axel (my father is peace)
- Wolfgang (wolf, path, journey, travel)
- Rex (king)
- Maverick (wildly independent)
- Gunner (warrior)
- Ranger (forest guardian)
- Boris (battle, fight)
- Caleb (faithful, wholehearted, brave, devoted, bold)
- Thor (thunder)
- Leo (lion)
- Duke (leader, royal, noble)
- Apollo (destroyer)
- Bruno (brown)
- Luka (person)
- Moose (moss, land)
- Gunther (war, battle)
- Klaus (victory of the people)
- Jet (black)
- Prince (first, principal one)
- Blade (knife, sword)
- Alaric (“noble leader”)
Female German Shepherd Names
As you are trying out different female German Shepherd names for your new puppy or rescue dog, you may want to try saying them out loud and just seeing how (or if) they roll off your tongue easily.
Can you visualize yourself saying that name multiple times each day? How about out in public at the dog park? What about when people ask you what name you chose for your new dog?
You will know you’ve found the perfect name when you just love it and you love telling the story of how you chose it.
If you still feel stuck, try giving yourself a day off to play with your dog and bond and just seeing if any names “hit you” in a sudden burst of inspiration during this time.
These neat female German Shepherd names can all make great picks as well – just see if one seems like a fit for your special new pup. The name comes first and its meaning follows in parentheses.
- Alana (“Lana” for short; little rock)
- Zoe (life)
- Nala (Queen, lion)
- Mia (mine, dear, darling)
- Alexis (“Lexi” for short; helper, defender)
- Abby (joy of the father)
- Emma (whole, universal)
- Aubrey (powerful ruler)
- Audrey (noble strength)
- Greta (a pearl)
- Kaja (alive)
- Liesel (oath to God)
- Sonje (wise)
- Ida (deed, action)
- Matilda (“Tilda” for short; might, strength, battle)
- Sascha (man’s defender)
- Trudie (spear of strength, familiar, loved)
- Vera (faith, truth)
- Griselda (“Zelda” for short; blessed, happy)
- Ava (life, voice, sound)
- Charlotte (“Lotti for short; free man, petite)
- Berta (bright)
- Frieda (peaceful ruler)
- Annika (gracious, merciful)
- Leona (lion, my strength)
Military German Shepherd Names
Because the German Shepherd dog breed was originally developed by a former German cavalry officer named Captain Max von Stephanitz, there has always been a natural K-9 and military association that goes along with this dog breed.
However, as the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) points out, Captain von Stephanitz actually didn’t set out to create a military or police dog. His goal was to create the perfect working and herding dog breed.
It is rumored that the very first registered German Shepherd dog, Horand von Grafrath, may have been a wolf-dog hybrid. Captain von Stephanitz discovered this dog at a dog show, bought him, and made him the founder and father of his new dog breed.
Today, all German Shepherds can trace their breed lineage back to Horace von Grafrath.
Even though Captain von Stephanitz wanted to create the perfect herding dog, when demand for livestock dogs wanted, he quickly found his dog breed a new job to do working in the military, the police force, and in K-9 operations.
Today, German Shepherd dogs are a top pick for search and rescue, service dogs, guide dogs, bomb detection dogs, private protection and security dogs, Secret Service dogs, military and police dogs.
As Les Anges Gardiens German Shepherds breeder points out, these are some of the most famous military K-9 names sourced from real-life stories of working military German Shepherd dogs.
- Lucca (K-9 with the U.S. Marine Corps).
- Brit (K-9 American Police Hall of Fame).
- Tracker (K-9 Sudbury District Service Dog of the Year).
- Dick (Montreal K-9 tracking GSD).
- Lance (Ontario, Canada provincial police).
- Ana (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Senta (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Claire (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Blitz (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Chewbacca (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Mikey (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Osa (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Nutmeg (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Sarge (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Argus (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Quest (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Piper (World Trade Center New Jersey Task Force K-9)
- Kanaka (Ontario Provincial Police Canine Team)
- Thunder (K-9 Police Dog)
- Pascha (K-9 search and rescue for the Oklahoma City bombing).
Top 10 German Shepherd Names
According to VetStreet, these are the top 10 most popular names for male German Shepherds and female German Shepherds, respectively.
If you like any of the names you see on either list but you want to add your own unique twist, consider these ideas:
- Vary the spelling of the name you like (Daisy could be Daisie or Daisey)
- Make a name out of two names you like (Rocky Duke or Princess Sheba)
- Use the formal name instead (Jake could become Jacob)
- Choose a phonetic match for the name you like (Max could become Dax or Daisy could become Maisie)
Top 10 male German Shepherd names
You can see how many of these all-time most popular male German Shepherd names are frequently used for other dog breeds as well.
But you may notice they also conform to the naming tips we offered earlier here – each name is short (one to two syllables), percussive, not too much like common dog training commands, and easy to say and remember.
Top 10 female German Shepherd names
One interesting facet of these top 10 all-time most popular female German Shepherd dog names is how regal and elegant each name is – and some names are quite reminiscent of (canine) royalty.
German Shepherd Names in Movies
You have already met a handful of famous German Shepherd movie dogs. In this section, we take a closer look at 20 other amazing German Shepherds who have made a name for themselves on the silver screen as well as in real life.
In this list, you will see the German Shepherd dog’s movie name first followed by the film or television show that each dog starred in.
- Sam (actually Samantha) (I Am Legend movie)
- Ace (Ace the Wonder Dog movie)
- Bullet (The Roy Rogers Show on television)
- Wolfie (The Terminator movie)
- Rex (Inspector Rex show on television)
- Ace (Ace of Hearts movie)
- Delgado (Beverly Hills Chihuahua movie)
- Hobo (The Little Hobo show on television)
- Jerry Lee (K-9 movie series)
- Rin Tin Tin (The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin movie)
- Won Ton Ton (The Dog Who Saved Hollywood movie)
- Tulip (My Dog Tulip movie)
- Strongheart (White Fang, North Star, and other movies)
- Trakr (famous GSD from 9/11 rescue efforts who was on CNN and in People magazine)
- Rusty (For the Love of Rusty movie)
- Eliot Shag (The Muppets spinoff Dog City on television)
- Charlie B. Barkin (All Dogs Go to Heaven movie)
- Andromeda (The Parent Trap movie)
- Bob (Shooter movie)
- Sandow (Avenging Fangs movie)
German Shepherd Names and Meanings
One particularly neat way to select a name for your new German Shepherd puppy or rescue dog is to choose a name that is symbolic and has a special meaning attached to it.
Since the German Shepherd dog breed hails from the country of Germany, you may want to consider traditional German names that are meaningful in some way.
This list of German Shepherd names and meanings may include that perfect new name for your GSD pup – or at least inspire you to continue your research along these same lines.
We’ve divided this list into two sections – one for meaningful male German Shepherd dog names and one for meaningful female GSD names.
Male German Shepherd names with meanings
This is just a sampling of the many richly meaningful male German Shepherd names that you might select for your own GSD companion.
- Gregor (“vigilant watchman”)
- Agustine (“majestic”)
- Abelard (“resolute”)
- Dolphus (“noble wolf”)
- Fremont (“noble protector”)
- Hubbard (“bright mind”)
- Kort (“bold”)
- Otto (“wealthy”)
- Fonsie (“noble”)
- Alaric (“noble leader”)
- Adel (“fair, just”)
- Adalard (“brave”)
- Adlar (“eagle”)
- Aksel (“peace”)
- Albrecht (“intelligent”)
- Norberto (“brilliant hero”)
- Garon (“mighty”)
- Darek (“ruler of the people”)
- Tab (“brilliant”)
Female German Shepherd names with meanings
You can choose one of these deeply meaningful female German Shepherd dog names or get inspired to continue your own search of German names and their traditional meanings.
- Adal (“serene and noble”)
- Minne (“resolute, protector”)
- Ida (“hard-working”)
- Bathilda (“heroine”)
- Erma (“warrior”)
- Ethel (“noble”)
- Githa (“bright”)
- Adele (“saint”)
- Agathe (“honorable, good”)
- Alarica (“rules all”)
- Alda (“wise”)
- Alfreda (“wise counselor”)
- Nadja (“hope”)
- Norberta (“bright heroine”)
- Galiana (“light”)
- Gerde (“beloved warrior”)
- Tresa (“harvester”)
- Serilda (“battle maiden”)
- Katharina (“pure”)
- Hildegarde (“fortress”)
White German Shepherd Names
Although white is listed as standard coat color in the American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard, there is no doubt that white is a more rare coat color for the German Shepherd dog.
If your new canine companion has a white coat, you may want to select a name that reflects how unusual this coat coloration is in the GSD breed.
While some of these naming ideas are definitely specific for female GSDs or male GSDs, you will notice that other names can be used successfully for either gender of white GSD.
White female German Shepherd names
Some of these white female German Shepherd names reference the color white directly and some are more focused on the traditional qualities of the color white – clarity, brilliance, opacity, purity, winter, and wonder.
- Jasmine (“Jazz” for short)
- Snow White
- Carnation (“Carnie” for short)
- Avalanche (“Ava” for short)
- Magnolia (“Maggie” for short)
White male German Shepherd names
You will find fierceness as well as serenity, nobility and natural beauty in this list of white male German Shepherd names so you can find just the right match for your dog’s personality.
- Iceberg (“Ice” For short)
- Casper (yes, of Friendly Ghost fame)
- Blanco (Spanish for “white”)
- Anjo (Portuguese for “angel”)
Funny German Shepherd Names
German Shepherds as a dog breed may be closely associated with nobility, bravery, strength, and protection, but they can also be playful, funny, and even goofy at times!
This is especially true in the puppyhood and young adult years when your German Shepherd may seem to be all legs and tail and is just getting to know their own size and strength.
Of course, towards strangers, your German Shepherd is going to be all business and perhaps even aloof. Lucky you – you are the one who gets to see the “real dog” who is silly, affectionate and so loving.
These funny German Shepherd names will help you brainstorm the perfect name match for your dog’s most endearing qualities.
- Lady Killer
- Sir (Lady) Whines a Lot
- Stink Doggie Dog
- 50 Scents
- Little Bit
- G.I. Bones
- Big Growler
- Law Dog
- Wags 4 Dollars
- Dirty Hairy
- Howls It Hanging
- Paws Up
- Sonic Poop
- Lady Dogiva
- Deputy Dawg
- Chubby Puppy
- Joan of Bark
So there you have it – more than 200 fabulous, funny, fierce and friendly German Shepherd dog names for your naming consideration.
A great place to start is to simply scan through these lists and notice which names just kind of jump out at you. Jot those down and make yourself a shorter list.
Then just start playing around with each one. Try each name out on your new pup. Keep brainstorming. Soon you will arrive at the name that will be “the one!”