Having a baby come into your life fills you with a love you never knew before, but for many of us, our first love is for animals — which makes baby names that translate to one of our favorite creatures in another language totally appropriate. We're not advocating that you name your baby Puppy or Kitty Cat (though we're totally cool with it if you do), but instead we love the idea of bestowing a name on your child that means "little wolf" or "tiger" instead.
For centuries, civilizations have looked to animals both domestic and wild for baby names, and it’s a beautiful way to pass on our love for our beast friends with either an animal-themed first name or a middle name. The bonus? So many of these names are totally adorable.
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We’ve scoured baby names from many different origins to bring you the most bold and beautiful animal names there are.
Animal names for boys This Hebrew name means, “lion, eagle” Ari: Averett: An Old English name, this means “brave, strong boar” Meaning “raven,” this name has Celtic roots Bram: This Celtic name means “hound, wolf, high” Conan: A Latin name, this means “raven” Corvin: This Irish name means “like a lion” Dillon: Meaning “bear,” this name is of Hebrew origin Dov: A Hebrew name, this means “dog, tenacious and aggressive” Kaleb: This Old Norse name means “wolf” Lyall: This Old French name means “little hawk” Marlon: An Old French name, this means “caretaker of horses Marshall: This Israeli name means “leopard” Namir: Meaning “like a wolf,” this name has Irish roots Phelan: This classic Greek name means “horse lover” Philip: Sirius: The brightest star seen from earth has another name — the dog star Tiger: This name comes directly from the big cat Tipu: A Hindi name, this means “tiger”
Animal names for girls This Old German name means “noble wolf” Adolpha: A name from Greek mythology of a young woman who gets turned into a spider Arachne: A Hebrew name, this means “lion of God” Ariel: This Welsh name means “white, blessed raven” Branwen: While it means “pure,” this name can be easily shortened to Cat Catherine: This name not only means “life,” but it also means “animal” Eva: This name means “like a cat” Faline: This was the name of a Roman goddess of animals Fauna: Meaning “young lion,” this name has Hebrew roots Kefira: An independent name that comes from Katherine Kitty: This Latin name means “lion” Leona: Mariposa: Meaning “butterfly,” this name has Spanish roots This name means “animal strength” Melisande: Orsa: A Latin name, this means ”little she-bear” A name taken directly from the large, black bird Raven: A name used by an 18th-century poet in reference to a cat Selima: Siria: Of Spanish origin, this name comes from Sirius, the dog star Meaning “tiger,” this name is of Japanese origin Tora: Ulva: This German name means “wolf”
Whether you’re looking for inspiration for that perfect baby name, or are just browsing for your future children, a sweet animal-themed baby name may be just what you’re looking for.
Image: Regina Ferrara/Sheknows
Originally published May 2013. Updated July 2017.