Police officer with German Shepherd

95+ Tough Dog Names [Origin+Meanings]

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Choosing a name for your dog is no small thing. Some people will pick a name that suits the dog's personality, where others will name them after something tor someone they love. While it's easy enough to name a fluffy Pomeranian something cute, how do you find a name for those tougher looking dog breeds, like German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Dobermans, Bulldogs, and American Pit Bull Terriers? We have a list of 95 tough dog names to help get you started!

Top 10 Tough Dog Names

After going through many lists of tough dog names, we found the top 10 that people choose for their tough dog, along with their meanings.

Doberman Pinscher
  1. 1
    Fender~ defender
  2. 2
    Dutch~ from the Netherlands
  3. 3
    Damia~ chestnut
  4. 4
    Sora ~ Goddess of force & nature
  5. 5
    Mauser~ firearms manufacturer
  6. 6
    Marine~ U.S. Military forces
  7. 7
    Arya~ Game of Thrones character
  8. 8
    Samson~ one of service
  9. 9
    Gunner~ armed forces members
  10. 10
    Hunter~ one who hunts

Tough female dog names

If you are looking for tough girl dog names, you can find some inspiration below for some tough sounding female dog names.

  • Bonnie: from the outlaws Bonnie & Clyde
  • Banshee: is an Irish spirit who warns of death by its piercing wail
  • Cruella: the villainess from 1001 Dalmations, but probably not a good one for an actual Dalmatian 
  • Harley: can refer to the brand of motorcycle or the villain Harley Quinn from Batman
  • Kahlan: a character from the TV series “The Sword of Truth”, she is a fierce leader
  • Kitana: one of the characters from the game Mortal Kombat
  • Rogue: can refer to the character of a rogue, who has a destructive nature, or the character Rogue from the X-men
  • Storm: can refer to the strength of a storm or the character Storm from the X-men
  • Ursa: the Latin word for bear
  • Valkyire: refers to the Norse winged females who carry fighters who have died to Valhalla

Tough male dog names

What’s great about tough dog breeds is the variety of names you can choose from. Here is some inspiration for tough sounding dog names for males.

  • Ajax: a Greek figure from the Trojan War
  • Archer: means bowman or hunter
  • Brutus: is a Latin word that means “heavy” or “muscular”, a really great pitbull name
  • Dane: is often given to the Great Dane breed and means “God is my judge”
  • Magnus: comes from Magnus Carta, Latin for “house of might or power”
  • Hale: old Saxon name that means “hero”
  • Jet: is often given to black dogs and refers to the black gemstone
  • Knox: means “from the top of the hill”, and can also refer to Fort Knox
  • Ryder: means “one who rides”
  • Scrapper: means “one who fights”
  • Stone: refers to the strength and hardness of stone
  • Sirius: the brightest star in the sky
  • Sheriff: a really good choice of a tough boy dog name - and a peacekeeper.

Dog names inspired by some of the greatest leaders of all time

If you haven’t found something intriguing in the categories above, perhaps a leadership inspired name from history will do. Many owners choose the name of a strong leader in history as a name for their tough dog. Here are some of the popular ones:

  • El Cid (Cid): refers to a Spanish national hero and means “the Lord”
  • Caesar: a Roman politician who led the rise of the Roman empire
  • Churchill: a great British leader during World War 2
  • Cleopatra (Cleo): was an Egyptian Queen
  • Titus: a Roman military leader and Emperor
  • Grant: refers to Ulysses S Grant, who led the Union Army in the Civil War, and became president of the U.S.
  • King: refers to Martin Luther King Jr., a strong advocate for non-violence
  • Napoleon: refers to Napoleon Bonaparte, who was a military leader.
  • Thatcher: as in Margaret Thatcher, a British stateswoman who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 
  • Khan: refers to the leader of the Mongolian Empire, Genghis Khan
  • Roosevelt: American politician who served as the 32nd president of the United States
  • Attila: a ruthless and fierce leader of the Hunnic Empire, centered in present-day Hungary
  • Augusto: as in Augusto Pinochet, a ruthless former leader in Chile

Tough dog names inspired by Greek mythology 

If mythology is something you have an interest in, there are many names to choose from for a tough dog breed. Here are our examples of the top 10 Greek mythology gods/ruler names.

  • Hades: God of the Underworld in Greek mythology, a scary name for a scary dog
  • Loki: the trickster God of Norse mythology
  • Poseidon: Greek God of the sea, great tough name for a water dog breed
  • Zeus: Greek God of War
  • Thor: Norse God of thunder, a great tough sounding name for a male puppy
  • Odin: Norse ruler of Asgard
  • Athena: Greek Goddess of war, strategy, and wisdom
  • Nike: Greek Goddess of victory
  • Artemis: Greek Goddess of animals, the hunt, and the wilderness
  • Eris: Greek Goddess of discord and strife

Dog names inspired by tough movie villains and heroes

There is an endless supply of tough dog names that you can use from heroes and villains from movies. Here is some of the most popular movie character dog names

  • Thanos: the villain from Avengers Endgame
  • Neo: from the Matrix
  • Blade: a vampire hunter from the movie Blade
  • Cap: short for Captain America
  • Fury: named after Nick Fury in the Avengers
  • Joker: the villain from Batman
  • Balrog: the fire demon in Lord of the Rings
  • Trinity: from the Matrix, can be used for both boy and girl dogs
  • Hawkeye: hero from the Avengers
  • Hela: Goddess of Death on the movie Thor Ragnarok
  • Django: hero from several western movies of the same name
  • Malekith: Villain and ruler of the Dark Elves in Thor
  • Gamora: played both villain and hero in Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Riddick: antiheroic protagonist of the Chronicles of Riddick series
  • Katniss: the heroine from The Hunger Games
  • Bane: the villain from The Dark Knight Rises
  • Logan: Wolverine's real name in the X-men
  • Drax: also known as Drax the Destroyer from Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Falcon: one of the heroes in Captain American
  • Lucian: also known as Lucian Asher (Asher would make another great name), who was a villain in Dr. Strange
  • Stark: named after Tony stark from Ironman

Dog names inspired by tough sports and athletes 

For those of you who are sports fans and are looking for some tough dog names for your new furry family member, here are a few to try:

  • Shaq: Shaquille O’Neal, a basketball superstar
  • Bronco: the name of a Denver NFL team
  • Ronaldo: one of football's legendary icons, Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Ali: named after legendary boxer Muhammad Ali
  • Tiger: named after golf-pro Tiger Woods
  • Brady: another legendary football player, Tom Brady
  • Jordan: named for basketball legend Michel Jordan
  • Jeter: for baseball fans, named after the legendary Derek Jeter
  • Maverick: the name of Dallas' NBA team 
  • Nike: a top sports brand worldwide
  • Serena: for Serena Williams, one of tennis' top players
  • Knick: named after the New York basketball team
  • Spark: Los Angeles' WNBA team
  • Raven: named for the Baltimore NFL team
  • Bolt: named after Usain Bolt, one of the Olympics' fastest runners
  • Boxer: named after the sport itself
  • Brock: from Brock Lesnar, professional wrestler and a real tough guy

There are also a number of sports-related terms that can make some good tough dog names:

  • Rookie: a term for someone new to a sports team
  • Homer: informal name for a home run
  • Blitz: a term used in football for a defensive move
  • Slugger: someone in baseball who tends to hit home runs
  • Ace: a tennis serve that isn't returned
  • Gunner: refers to a player in football

9 of the Toughest Dog Breeds

Now that we have a list of tough dog names, I thought we would take a look at the 9 toughest dog breeds that tend to get these names. Many of these breeds are bought for protection of the home, family, or business.

Guard dogs, police dogs, and military dogs require a special kind of hardy breed.

Let's see what those breeds are!

  • German Shepherds

The German Shepherd tends to be the top choice for law enforcement, security, and any other field where a powerful and strong dog is needed. Originating in Germany, this is one of the top purebred dogs in the U.S. 

Related Reading

  • Siberian Huskies

Huskies are an old breed that became well-known during 1925 for a 258 mile trip through Alaska. A group of huskies, led by Leonhard Seppala, was used to deliver a life-saving treatment for an epidemic of diphtheria in just under 6 days. Huskies are known for their bravery, love and protection of the family, ability to pull large amounts of weight, and their ability to cover extremely large distances, in even the harshest conditions.

  • Rottweilers

Many people are afraid of Rottweilers because they have been bred as attack dogs, with a few other breeds. But this isn't really in their nature. They were bred as working dogs for centuries. From the time of the ancient Roman empire, this breed was used for guarding and herding livestock. They have a powerful look to them, which is why many are used as guard and police dogs. They do have a playful side too.

Related Reading

  • Alaskan Malamute

Similar to the Siberian Husky, this smaller version has an even stronger and more muscular physique. They were used by Western Alaska's Inuit tribes for hunting and hauling freight through deep snow. They have a mischievous and independent nature and need a lot of exercising.

  • Great Danes

Also referred to as gentle giants, these dogs tower above others. They were used for bear, deer, and boar hunting originally. They can weigh up to 175 pounds and are all muscle. They are very gentle dogs though who adore their families.

  • Doberman Pinschers

Another breed that is often used in law enforcement and as guard dogs, Dobermans are very powerful animals. They originated from Germany and have a very elegant look to them. They are also extremely fast and considered to be one of the world's strongest breed of dog.

  • Newfoundland

This muscular, big-boned breed is not only strong but can also swim long-distances. This is partly down to having webbing between their toes. Newfoundlands are good-natured dogs and devoted to their families, making them a good dog for protection.

  • Saint Bernard

Saint Bernards originate in Switzerland and are trained for saving and rescuing those who have been lost in avalanches. They can dig through a massive amount of snow and drag those in danger to safety. These dogs are incredibly loyal and rely on their brute strength, toughness in harsh conditions, and are quite affectionate.

  • Mastiff

The Mastiff breed is believed to go as far back as Caesar and was bred as hunters, guardians, and war dogs. They can weigh more than a grown man and have thick muscles all over their bodies, giving them an incredible amount of strength. They are also kind and patient when trained in a positive way.

Last word of advice on dog names, try not to give your puppy nicknames...

They may learn to respond to these but it can get confusing to them and be less effective over time.

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