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Maximus Waffles: How to give your pet a cool name

What you name your pet is important. You are the one who has to stand there at the back door, or in the park, calling the same name again and again until finally said animal returns, perhaps with a stolen sandwich.

Radio 4's Word of Mouth has been looking at the most popular names for dogs and some of the wackiest. Do the words used show changing attitudes? If you're still stuck for a name, Michael Rosen and Laura Wright have discussed five of the top pet-naming ideas...

The top 10 names for dogs in 2016 were:

These names come from an RSPCA survey. Rather surprisingly there has not been much change over the years.

10. Jack

9. Daisy

8. Bob/Bobby

7. Rex

6. Sam/Sammy

5. Charlie

4. Alf/Alfie

3. Poppy

2. Max

1. Ben/Benjamin

Fido and Rover: 18th Century classic dog names

We know a lot about what dogs used to be called in the 18th century, thanks to people placing adverts in newspapers whenever their pets went missing. Here is a small selection of the names - can you spot the quintessential dog names?

Argos, Bounce, Belle, Bob, Caesar, Carlo, Dash, Dutch, Fairy, Famous, Fido, Flora, Fury, Hector, Julie, Mapple, Marquis, Mingo, Muff, Phillis, Pickle, Pluto, Prince, Romeo, Rover, Sultan, Tim, Tory, Venture, Viper...

The most common name template for dogs today: 16th century Spanish Pirate

Yep. One of the main dog name templates today is the 16th century Spanish Pirate. In essence, this means all the dog names ending in -o. Bonzo, Beano, Fido (Spanish 'faithful') and the Spanish names Mingo, Carlo etc. This is because in the 1500s our big enemy was Spain and the dashing, buccaneering criminal caught on as a perfect name for your brave pooch who snaffles sausages from the dinner table.

Five ways to name your pet:

1. Keep it in the family

If you need a name for your new cat pronto (no, not Pronto, although that would work), how about looking to a beloved relative or friend for inspiration? You could name your new hamster Wally after your late Great Uncle, perhaps. Hypocoristic names - diminutive nicknames or terms of endearment typically used by close family members - often catch on for your pet's name. Calling your bulldog Bob after your grandad Robert, for example.

2. Look to history

If you want to add a dash of class to your new pet, how about looking to Greek or Roman fables or history for inspiration. Argos, Caesar, Hector, Pluto...? There's quite an exhaustive list.

3. What do they do?

Perhaps Nibbles, the hamster. Snuffles, the hedgehog. Dash, the dachshund. Or Hang-Upside-Down-From-The-Curtains, the cat.

4. Appearance

The way that some pets look lends itself to a name. Patch. Mittens. Belle.

5. Food and drink

This is the animal-naming trend in fashion right now. If you're getting a pet this year, consider calling them Pickle, Biscuit, Waffles, Brandy, Cinnamon, Flat White...

Frank and Gerald

@cherrymorello tweeted a picture of Frank and Gerald, named after her grandfathers.

Whisky, Guinness and Rosie

@D_i_Y tweeted "all of our cats names have been booze related!" Here's Rosie, named after 'Cider with...'

Minnie Mouse (occasionally Minski or Minnie Moo)

@CarolineUtting tweeted a picture of Minnie Mouse, an inveterate sock thief.

How extensive is your dog’s vocabulary?

Can some clever pooches actually spell or tell the time?

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