Dog Names That Mean “Second Chance”: Notable Names For Your Underdog



Kate Brunotts

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Dog names that mean second chance

Is your pooch a bit of an underdog? Many dogs (especially pups from shelters) have amazing histories that add to their unique pooch personalities. 

One thing is for sure — every dog deserves a second chance! If your canine has made quite the comeback, it may be a good idea to find a name that fits his story better than the one on the adoption papers. 

Below, we’ll share some dog names that mean “second chance” so that you can find the perfect pick for your pooch. 

Male Dog Names Meaning Second Chance

"second chance" names are great for rescue pups

Does your heroic hound inspire you? Is he the bravest barker in the land? If so, you’ll want to consider these male dog names meaning “second chance” or symbolizing a new journey or life ahead to honor his spirit. 

  • Agim (“Dawn”)
  • Altan (“Red dawn”)
  • Anastasius (“Resurrection”)
  • Apollo (Greek god of healing)
  • Arata (“Fresh, new”)
  • Ares (Greek god of courage)
  • Asher (“Happy, blessed”)
  • Asier (“The beginning”)
  • Aviv (“Springtime”)
  • Barak (“Blessing”) 
  • Benedict (“Blessed”)
  • Blazh (“Happy, blessed”)
  • Brahma (“Growth”)
  • Carwyn (“Blessed love”)
  • Dag (“Day”)
  • Gojko (“Grow, heal”)
  • Hajime (“Beginning”)
  • Harutyun (“Resurrection”)
  • Janus (The roman god of beginnings)
  • Jason (“Healer”)
  • Kōji (Japanese name meaning “good luck, prosperity”)
  • Kōki (“Bright hope”)
  • Navin -(“New”) 
  • Neo (“New”)
  • Newton (“New town”)
  • Nishant (“Dawn”)
  • Novak (“New”)
  • Raphael (“God heals”)
  • Sors (Roman god of luck)
  • Svit (“Dawn”)
  • Toivo (“Hope”)
  • Tychon (“Luck”)
  • Umid (“Hope”)
  • Veasna (Future, destiny) 
  • Xavier (“Bright, new house”) 
  • Zelig (“Blessed, happy”)
  • Ziyad (“Growth”)
  • Zoran (“A new dawn”)

Female Dog Names Meaning Second Chance

"second chance" names for adopted dogs

If you have a strong sweetheart at home who’s an animal shelter alumni or some other kind of survivor, one of these female dog names meaning “second chance” are likely an amazing fit for your four-footer.

  • Ahuva (“Beloved”)
  • Althea (“Healing”)
  • Alula (“First leap”)
  • Amal (“Hope”)
  • Ami (“Beautiful second”)
  • Anastasia (“Rebirth”)
  • Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love)
  • Apurva (“New”) 
  • Asha (“Hope”)
  • Aurora (“Dawn”)
  • Ausma (“Dawn”) 
  • Ayaan (Somali name meaning “good luck”)
  • Beeja (“The beginning”)
  • Cedra (English name meaning “kindly and loved”)
  • Chae (“New beginning”) 
  • Dagny (“New day”) 
  • Eos (Greek goddess of the dawn) 
  • Esperanza (“Hope”)
  • Fajr (“The beginning”)
  • Fortuna (“Fortune”)
  • Frigg (Norse name meaning “beloved”)
  • Halona (Native American name meaning “of happy fortune”)
  • İlkay (“New moon”)
  • Kanda (Thai name meaning “beloved”)
  • Keeva (“Beloved, dear”)
  • Lykke (“Good fortune”)
  • Maite (“Beloved”)
  • Miku (“Beautiful future”)
  • Nadia (“Hope”)
  • Naomi “Pleasant one”)
  • Navdeep (“New light”)
  • Navneet (“Eternal and new”) 
  • Neema (“Blessing”)
  • Neoma (“New moon”)
  • Oriana (“Another dawn”)
  • Priya (“Beloved”)
  • Raja (“Hope”)
  • Renata (“Reborn, second chance at life”)
  • Renee (“Reborn”)
  • Roxana (“Dawn”)
  • Sahar (“Dawn”)
  • Saki (“Hope blossoms”) 
  • Signý (“New victory”)
  • Spes (Roman goddess of hope)
  • Tariro (“Hope”)
  • Tikva (“Hope”)
  • Tyche (“Greek goddess of luck”)
  • Valentina (“Strong and healthy”)
  • Veasna (“Future, destiny”)
  • Venus (Roman goddess of love)
  • Zera (“New beginning”) 
  • Zerlinda (“Beautiful dawn”) 
  • Zora (“Daybreak”)

Unisex Dog Names Meaning Second Chance 

naming a second chance dog

These gender-neutral names are sure to capture your comeback canine’s spirit. 

  • Benni (“Blessed”)
  • Bonaventure (“Good fortune”)
  • Dagian (“Dawn”)
  • Desta (“Joy, happiness”)
  • Feliz (“Happy, lucky”) 
  • Fortny (“Strong”)
  • Fresco (“Fresh”)
  • Genesis (“Begin again”)  
  • Ipo (“Sweetheart”)
  • Kinna (“Greatest champion”)
  • Kumani (“Destiny”)
  • Matty (“Mighty in battle”)
  • Merritt (“To earn”) 
  • Nouvel (“New”)
  • Nova (“New”)
  • Penha (“Beloved”)
  • Phoenix (Mythological bird that rose from the ashes) 
  • Renny (“Reborn”)
  • Shiva (“Lucky”)
  • Tashi (“Good fortune”)
  • Yūki (“Excellence, brilliance, hope”)
  • Zero “Void, a fresh start”) 

Simple Word Names Inspired by Second Chances

Simple words can often make awesome mutt monikers! Check out these word-based names inspired by second chances.

  • Blessing
  • Bliss
  • Bonanza
  • Bonus
  • Bravery
  • Champ
  • Champion
  • Chance
  • Charm
  • Cherish
  • Clemency
  • Constance
  • Courage
  • Creed
  • Dawn
  • Destiny
  • Dream
  • Earnest
  • Euphoria
  • Ever
  • Faith
  • Felicity
  • Forever
  • Fortune
  • Gamble
  • Glory
  • Golden
  • Happy
  • Haven
  • Hero
  • Hope
  • Jackpot
  • Journey
  • Joy
  • Just
  • Justice
  • Karma
  • Kismet
  • Knight
  • Legend
  • Lotto
  • Love
  • Luck
  • Lucky
  • Mercy
  • Merry
  • Patience
  • Prize
  • Promise
  • Prosper
  • Rainbow
  • Reason
  • Reverie
  • Sunshine
  • Treasure
  • Trip
  • True
  • Valor
  • Verity
  • Victor
  • Victory
  • Win
  • Zest

Non-English Names Meaning Second Chance 

names for dogs getting another chance at life

Want something besides an American nickname for your four-footer? Here are some non-English words related to “second chance” that would make amazing namesakes for your fur baby. 

  • Alku (“Beginning” in Finnish)
  • Anástasi (Greek for “resurrection”)
  • Archí (“Beginning” in Greek)
  • Ávrio (“Tomorrow” in Greek)
  • Bahati (Swahili for “lucky”)
  • Början (“Beginning” in Swedish)
  • Chanceux (French for “lucky”)
  • Começo (“Beginning” in Portuguese)
  • Cras (“Tomorrow” in Latin)
  • Destino (“Destiny” in Spanish)
  • Dolya (Ukrainian for “fate”)
  • Domani (Italian for “tomorrow”)
  • Fe (“Faith” in Spanish)
  • Felix (Latin for “happy/lucky”)
  • Forte (“Chance” in Latin)
  • Glück (“Luck” in German)
  • Hajimari (“Beginning” in Japanese)
  • Homme (“Tomorrow” in Estonian)
  • Jutro (“Tomorrow” in Polish)
  • Kader (Turkish for “fate”)
  • Kāishǐ (“Beginning” in Chinese)
  • Kezdet (“Beginning” in Hungarian)
  • Kikai (“Chance” in Japanese)
  • Kohtalo (“Fate” in Finnish)
  • Mañana (Spanish for “tomorrow”)
  • Moíra (“Fate” in Greek)
  • Morgen (German for “tomorrow”)
  • Nachalo (“Beginning” in Russian)
  • Néos (“New” in Greek)
  • Noroc (“Luck” in Romanian)
  • Nouveau (“New” in French)
  • Novo (“New” in Portuguese)
  • Novus (“New” in Latin)
  • Nový (“New” in Slovak)
  • Nuevo (“New” in Spanish”)
  • Nuova (“New” in Italian)
  • Osud (Czech for “fate”)
  • Pochatok (“Beginning” in Ukrainian)
  • Querida (“Cherished” in Spanish
  • Sorte (“Luck” in Portuguese)
  • Suerte (“Luck” in Spanish)
  • Tychi (“Luck” in Greek)
  • Udacha (“Luck” in Ukrainian)
  • Un (“Luck” in Korean)
  • Unmei (Japanese for “fate”)
  • Yeni (“New” in Turkish)
  • Zavtra (Ukrainian for “tomorrow”)

Names Inspired By Famous Characters Who Got A Second Chance 

movie inspired second chance names
Image from Fandom.

Here are some names inspired by famous characters and movie mutts who got a second chance. If your pooch inspires you, naming him after a favorite hero or icon is a great idea. 

  • Ariel (The Little Mermaid
  • Babe (Babe)
  • Bambi (Bambi)
  • Cinderella (Cinderella
  • Dumbo (Dumbo)
  • Elsa (Frozen
  • Flik (A Bug’s Life
  • Hancock (Hancock)
  • Hercules (Hercules
  • Hiccup (How To Train Your Dragon)
  • Quasimodo (The Hunchback of Notre Dame)
  • Katniss (The Hunger Games series) 
  • Merida (Brave
  • Mulan (Mulan)
  • Nemo (Finding Nemo)
  • Po (Kung Fu Panda
  • Rango (Rango)
  • Rocky (Rocky)
  • Rudolph (Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
  • Simba (The Lion King
  • Scooby-Doo (Scooby-Doo
  • Underdog (Underdog)

Love these name ideas? Make sure to also check out our list of Disney dog names!

How To Pick Your Dog’s Name 

dog name picking pointers

Picking a name for your new pooch can be an exciting adventure. While it’s important to enjoy the process, you’ll also need to take a couple of factors into consideration to make sure it’s a good fit. After all, some names work better for our canine companions than others.

Just remember to keep these pointers in mind when deciding on your doggo’s distinct name: 

  • Make sure it’s a name that’ll last. It isn’t the end of the world if you have to change your dog’s name in the future, but you’ll generally want to avoid changing your pup’s name. Our dogs build important associations with their names, so you’ll want to pick something that sticks now and 10 years down the road. 
  • Names that start with consonants can be helpful. While you certainly don’t have to pick a name that starts with a consonant, these names are typically easier to say loudly which can be useful. 
  • Pick a name that ends in a vowel sound. While constants are preferred for the beginning of your best buddy’s name, vowel sounds are helpful for the end of the name. My dog’s name “Spicy” follows this rule which makes her easy to call when she lunges after every bird she sees at the park. 
  • Two or three syllable names are usually best. There are exceptions to every rule, but two and three-syllable names are typically easiest to use when calling your canine. Shorter names can be difficult to string out, and longer names can be a bit of a mouthful. As an alternative, you can always create a shorter nickname for longer full names. 
  • Pick something distinct. You want to make sure your dog can differentiate when you’re talking to him, so avoid picking a more common dog name or something that rhymes with the names of the other pets in your home. Also, avoid names that sound too similar to common commands. For example, “Ray” may be too close to the command “Stay”. 

You can test out your new dog’s name for a “trial period” of a week or so to make sure it is a good fit. Once you found a name that fits your four-footer, it’s best to keep it consistent to avoid any canine confusion. 


All dogs deserve a second chance in life. If your pooch has an inspiring story, one of these dog names meaning “second chance” is sure to fit your furry family member. 

Looking for more dog name inspiration? Be sure to also check out our articles on dog names that mean “hope”, dog names that mean “loyal”, and dog names that mean “survivor”.

Which name was your favorite? What’s your dog’s story? Do you have any other meaningful name ideas to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

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Written by

Kate Brunotts

Kate is a dog-loving content specialist with over a decade of canine-care experience. She is currently a professional dog walker and pet sitter, with previous experience working at the Heart of Chelsea Animal Hospital in Manhattan. When not spending time with four-footers, she can usually be found crafting top-notch dog-care articles that pet parents can trust. Kate loves dogs of all shapes and sizes, but Bernese Mountain Dogs hold a special place in her heart.

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