Is there anything Italy doesn’t do well? From pizza to gelato, da Vinci to Versace, the Amalfi Coast to the Dolomites, the carb capital of the world is the gift that keeps on giving. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Italian dog names are equally alluring.
Whether you want to honor your family’s heritage, reference a memorable vacation, or pay homage to your favorite pasta, there are plenty of fun Italian names for pups of every persuasion. Read on for some of our favorites, and viva Italia!
Best Italian Dog Names
These best-in-class Italian dog names are simply bellissimo (insert chef’s kiss here).
Bella: Meaning “beautiful” or “lovely,” Bella isn’t just a popular Italian dog name—year after year—it’s one of the most popular names for female pups overall. The “Twilight” character Bella Swan has undoubtedly added to the name’s pop culture appeal, but we think it’s a timeless choice.
Bianca: The Italian word for “white,” Bianca is a great choice for snowy-coated pups—or a fun plot-twist for chocolate Labs! Shakespeare buffs will recognize the name from “The Taming of the Shrew,” in which Bianca is the sweet, surprisingly mischievous sister (sounds like plenty of pups we know).
Carina: This cute name literally translates to “cute”! Carina is one of many Italian terms of endearment—no wonder they call it the “language of love.”
Dante: Short for Durante, the name Dante was first made popular by Italian poet Dante Alighieri, author of “The Divine Comedy.” It means “enduring” or “steadfast,” making it a fitting moniker for your loyal BFF.
Dolce: Meaning “sweet,” Dolce is a popular pup name that always feels like a treat. For a fun reference to the famed Italian fashion house, consider naming Dolce’s four-legged friend “Gabbana.”
Macaroni: “Mac” for short, the iconic pasta makes an absolutely adorable dog name. (Take note: If you call your pup Macaroni, you’re contractually obligated to name another pet Cheese.)
Mario: Derived from Mars, the Roman god of war, Mario is a time-tested name with a strong pedigree. And of course, it’s also the “super” name of everyone’s favorite Nintendo character.
Michelangelo: Looking for a cultured name that turns heads at the dog park? Try Michelangelo, a classy nod to the Italian painter, sculpture, architect, and poet. For casual use, “Mike” is just as cute.
Pavarotti: Is your bestie a eagle who can hit the high notes? Consider naming him after famed tenor Luciano Pavarotti, whose larger-than-life voice spanned five octaves.
Stella: This celestial name means “star” in Italian, and has a certain cosmic twinkle befitting of our canine companions. Its pup popularity is on the rise—some may even say it’s sky high—thanks to Stella the Frenchie of “Modern Family” fame.
Male Italian Dog Names
Mamma mia! Check out these molto buona male Italian dog names.
Donatello: Meaning “gift given from god,” Donatello is a name that will ring true for many pup parents. It’s also a fun reference to the Italian Renaissance painter and, of course, the tech-savvy Ninja Turtle.
Lupo: Lupo means “wolf” in Italian, and is especially fun for breeds that still resemble their wild cousins, such as Huskies and German Shepherds. Harry Potter fans may prefer to go with “Lupin,” a reference to Hogwarts’ half-werewolf professor.
Tesoro: The literal word for “treasure,” Tesoro is also an Italian pet name meaning “darling” or “sweetheart.” When you want to switch things up, try the name’s cute diminutive forms: Tesorino, Tesoruccio, and Tesoretto.
More Italian boy dog names:
Female Italian Dog Names
Ciao bella! When it comes to female Italian dog names, these are simply adorabile.
Contessa: An Italian name meaning “royalty,” Contessa is a regal name that’s perfect for pampered pooches. It’s also a fun shout-out to the Barefoot Contessa (aka celebrity chef Ina Garten), the queen of cheesy carbs.
Luna: If you love your dog to the moon and back, consider Luna. The Italian word for “moon,” it has a certain star quality.
Madonna: Is your pup a vocal diva? Meaning “my lady” in Italian, Madonna was originally a term for high-society women, but is now most closely associated with the mononymous pop star.
Sofia/Sophia: No matter which spelling you choose, your pup will be in good company with this celebrity-caliber name. Legendary Italian actress Sophia Loren made the name popular in the 1960s, and Italian-American filmmaker Sofia Coppola continues its Oscar-winning tradition.
More Italian girl dog names:
Badass Italian Dog Names
Your pup is a total sweetheart, of course. But tough-guy names can be hilarious for dogs—after all, who doesn’t love a Chihuahua named Tony Soprano? Try these goodfellas on for size.
Brando: Meaning “sword” or “fiery torch,” Brando is an Italian male name with macho roots. It’s also a nice nod to film icon Marlon Brando, who played Vito Corleone in “The Godfather.”
Draco: Today, many people associate the name Draco with the villainous Harry Potter character. But pre-Potter, the moniker was just as darkly magical and mysterious—Draco is an Italian name meaning “dragon.”
Rizzo: For a no-nonsense girl name, consider Rizzo. As the leader of the Pink Ladies in “Grease,” Betty Rizzo was the very definition of a tough cookie. The Italian surname means “curly-haired,” making it perfect for a Poodle or Puli.
Rocky Balboa: Also known as “the Italian Stallion,” boxer Rocky Balboa is one of Sylvester Stallone’s most recognizable roles. Stallone has credited his Mastiff, Butkus, for inspiring him to write the original “Rocky” screenplay.
More tough Italian dog names:
Italian Food Names for Dogs
As for food names, the Italian language offers up a buffet of deliciously fun options. Whether your pup is super sweet or a little spicy, there’s something for everyone on this menu.
Cappuccino: Perfect for energetic pups who are always ready to play play play, Cappucino has a certain buzz about it. For a short and sweet nickname, “Chino” is as cute as they come.
Meatball: The Italian word for meatball is “polpetta,” which makes a very cute dog name. But something about a dog named Meatball is simply hilarious, so we’re advocating for the English version of the Italian delicacy here.
Nutella: For sweet brunette pups, the beloved hazelnut-cocoa spread is a fun namesake. And you know what goes great with a pup named Nutella? Another pup named Peanut Butter!
Pepperoni: Or should it be, ahem, Pupperoni? Either way, this pizza-inspired dog name will make everyone smile (and hungry).
More Italian food names for dogs:
Cute Italian Dog Names
If you’re looking for cute, you’ve come to the right place. From sweet terms of endearment to traditional treasures, these dog names are che carina.
Bambino: Literally meaning “male child,” bambino is also an affectionate term for a male in general. For a nickname, you can call your sweet Bambino “Bambi” for short.
Piccolo: Is your four-legged friend on the petite side? Piccolo means “little” in Italian, hence the name of the miniature flute.
Cucciolo: It doesn’t get any cuter than this one. Cucciolo is a blanket term used for any baby animal, and also serves as a term of endearment.
More cute Italian dog names:
- Amore (love)
- Lunetta (little moon)
- Topolina (little mouse)
- Zucchero (sugar)