US pet insurance company Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), one of the largest and oldest providers of pet health, has revealed the top pet names over the past year. Bella tops the names for dogs, Max for cats, while Charlie was the most popular choice for exotic pets.

This was the second year in a row that Bella topped the list of names for dogs, something that can most likely be attributed to the popularity of the lead character of the same name in the Twilight series of books and movies.

The boyish and rather common moniker Max topped the list of cats' names, while Bella again made an appearance, this time in second place. More traditional cat names such as Tiger or Tigger appeared further down the list in eighth and ninth place respectively.

The name Bella was also included in the top ten list of exotic pet names, at number seven. However the most popular name for birds, lizards, hamsters and other exotic pets was Charlie, while less usual names such as 'Kiwi', 'Bandit' and 'Gizmo' were also popular.

In a January 3 press release Curtis Steinhoff, Director of Corporate Communications at VPI tried to explain the trend for calling pets common human names, stating that "given that pets are considered family members, it makes sense that pet owners are selecting human orientated names..."

Pickle Van Corndog and some more of the creative pet names selected for VPI's ten most unusal pet names of 2010 can be found at:

The top ten most popular names for cats, dogs and exotic pets in the United States according to VPI are:

Dogs  Cats            Exotic 
Bella Max Charlie
Bailey Bella Baby
Max Chole Sunny
Lucy Oliver Jack
Molly Lucy Kiwi
Buddy Smokey Bandit
Maggie Shadow Bella
Daisy Tiger Max
Charlie Tigger Sammy
Sophie Charlie Gizmo