If popularity is a measure of greatness, then the most common dog name in Framingham lives up to its ancestral meaning.
Max, which comes from the Latin names Maximilian and Maxwell, means “the greatest;” and according to records of 3,251 licensed dogs from the town clerk’s office, it is the most name most frequently given to Framingham canines.
Max was also the most popular dog – and cat – name nationwide last year, according to Calif.-based Veterinary Pet Insurance, which analyzed its database of more than 466,000 insured pets to find the most popular dog names of 2008.
In Framingham, trailing the 46 dogs called Max on the town’s list of licensed dogs, are Molly with 42, Buddy with 38, Maggie with 33, Bella with 29, Bailey with 28, Daisy and Jake tied with 27, Brady with 25 and rounding out the top 10 is Rocky with 24.
Eight years ago, Framingham residents Laurand and David Bryant and their son Spencer named their Jack Russell Terrier puppy ‘Max A Million,’ “because we thought he was one in a million,” said Laurand Bryant.
Now, the Bryants refer to their family dog just as Max, but they did not realize how popular the name is among dogs in Framingham and across the country.
“We had no idea [the name is so common],” Laurand Bryant said.
“I can’t imagine him ever being called anything other than Max,” she added. “He’s really grown into his name.”
Framingham dogs six months or older are supposed to be licensed annually by the dog’s owner with the town clerk, and doing so costs $10 with a certificate from a vet stating the dog is neutered or spayed or $15 without a certificate. So far this year, the town has licensed 225 males, 137 females, 1427 neutered males and 1460 spayed females and collected $34,325 in licensing fees.
Max is also the most popular dog name in another of Boston’s western suburbs, Waltham.
Meanwhile, Newton’s top canine is Lucy while Bailey is the most common dog name in Natick, Needham and Wellesley, and the most common overall with 202 Baileys counted in the six communities.
Two Natick residents said they named their dogs Bailey after the Baileys Irish Cream liqueur beverage.
Lucy, at a count of 181, is the second most common name overall in the six towns, followed by Max at 176.
There are 2,707 dogs registered in Newton, 2,701 in Wellesley, 2,664 in Needham, 2,555 in Natick and 1,876 in Waltham, according to records from each of the town clerk’s offices.
Bailey and Max and are in the top 10 for all six communities and in the top 10 nationwide. Daisy and Maggie are also in the top 10 nationally and are in the top 10 in every town except Waltham.
Overall, the Veterinary Pet Insurance’s national data indicates that classic pet names, such as Fido, have taken a back seat to “people names,” like Max.
In fact, some of the most popular dog names – Bella, Chloe, Sophie and Bailey – also rank among the Social Security Administration's most popular baby names.
Like in other nearby towns, local sports teams – namely the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots – are well-represented in Framingham
There are four dogs named Fenway, Remy and Wally and one named Sox.
For the Patriots, besides the 25 Bradys, there are seven dogs named Bruschi.
Other area dogs sharing names with celebrities include Frankie Sinatra, Kobe, J-Lo, Sharkira, Einstein, Shrek, Amadeus, Elvis, Scooby and Harrison Ford.
South of Boston, the most popular dog names in Scituate and Hingham combined are Sam (or Samantha, Sammy, and other variations), followed by Max, Lucy, Lily and Bailey.
Molly, Buddy, Maggie, Bella and Bailey are also popular.