As far as popular female dog names go, Coco is always right at the top of the list. Typically more popular for smaller breeds, it’s a cute name to fit a cute dog. When asked to find an origin, however, there are an astounding number of possibilities.
Among the potential answers, France seems to be the country of origin with some citing it as a shortened version of the more popular Colette. Trace this name all the way back to the beginning and we find the original namesake Nicholas. Eventually that transformed into Nicolette and then the first two letters were chopped off entirely to render the name we know today. More recent surges in popularity of Coco remain French as well, with Coco Chanel influencing many dog names.
If we take another branch, we find ourselves with a nickname that is more descriptive of the fur than of the attitude. Coco is a common shortened version of Cocoa for those with brown dogs. This history takes us up the Spanish language tree back to the word cacao, the fatty seed from which cocoa is produced. The Spanish had previously taken the Nahuatl word cacahuatl and made it their own.
Beyond these two main arteries of origin, Coco in and of itself can be a nickname derived from almost anything. Conan O’Brien, for instance, bears the nickname Coco and there are no doubt dogs named after this. Courtney Cox is another noted celebrity that inspired a Coco surge. When not taking into account pop culture, any descriptive term or word used as endearment that has a “co” in it can be transformed into the more recognizable Coco.
Nowadays, when you hear the name Coco, your mind no doubt imagines the tinier, more princess-like breeds. However, that doesn’t mean the name is equal in size in regards to popularity. In fact, two of the top 10 breeds’ preferred female names were Coco. These were the Chihuahua and the Shih Tzu. Other breeds that usually bear this name include dachshunds, bichons, malteses, and terriers.
Though we may never know the official origin of the term Coco, this serves to show how favorite terms transcend one language or another. All across the world there are words that sound exactly the same, and while they might not elicit the same mental image of a fluffy puppy, it nevertheless serves as a small way to bring a bit of unification to such a wide world. With that in mind, it seems Coco will be an endearing name for our beloved pets for years to come, adding to the ever growing tapestry that makes up this pet name’s colorful origin story.