What’s Your Dog’s Name?

I apologize that this post isn’t full of great information, but every blog has it’s “fluffy” posts, right? This is one of those.

Having been in the dog world and having owned a couple of dogs, I am always asked by friends and clients alike, “What should I name my dog?” or “How’d you come up with that name?” Usually, people are trying to think of a cute or clever name to go along with the cute puppy they just adopted – names like Max, Bella, or Baby are just so over-played.

Image (C) Vetstreet.com

Would you believe me if I told you that I did not name any of my dogs? I am horrible at coming up with names, and I refuse to name a dog Lucy, Molly, Cooper, or Charlie (no offence to those of you who do have dogs by those names, but I also named my daughter a traditional boys’ name to avoid her falling into a sea of Emmas, Amelias, and Emilys).

Howie was named by the friend I got him from, and I hated his name at first. My significant other and I toiled for days trying to think of the “perfect” name for him. Once we got him home, he was most definitely a Howie – he just embodied the name. And no other dog was named Howie, he was an original – in more ways than one. We don’t talk about his registered name because, well, it was my first attempt, and a pretty poor one at that.┬áLater, after we started to compete in dog sports, it was copied, but I try not to have a grudge over it!

Jax’s name originally fit with his original registered (show) name – Cross’s Son of Anarchy (apparently, “Jax” is a character from this show. I don’t watch it to know). I did not like this name. Luckily, his breeder didn’t care one way or the other what his registered name was, and I changed his registered name to Cross’s Home Run Hitter – I’m a big baseball fan – and I justified his call name because Austin Jackson is an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers. Voila! No need for me to toil and think of a new name!

When asked for my opinion on names, my standard response is, “Live with the dog for awhile. They’ll tell you their name.” I suppose this is shorthand for, “I am not good a thinking of names, one will just eventually come to you if you wait long enough.” Though, I supposse I do believe there is some truth to them “telling” you their name – I never felt any overwhelming urge to change Howie or Jax’s name.

Of course, this doesn’t always work for me, either. I once had a cute little female pit bull that came to me with the name of “Sassy”. I hated this name, even though it fit her perfectly. I was determined this was not going to be her name and tried to think of something cute, clever, and girly. I loved the show name I had picked out for her – Cross’s Littlemisscan’tbewrong – but I was not about to name her “Spinner”, either. My significant other wanted to name her Kitty, so he could hear my yell out “Here, Kitty!” during training sessions. He has a cruel sense of humor. Three weeks later, she still had no name and it was quickly looking like she was going to be forever bound to the name of “Puppy”; but maybe this was fate, because she was not fated to stay with us much longer than that. She still taught me some very valuable lessons, but that’s a story for another time.

I love thinking of clever and original registered names. Just don’t ever ask me for a clever and original call name to go along with that registered name. That’s all on you!

But, this time around it’s different. I am getting a puppy. She was born on January 6th and should be coming home at the beginning of March. Her name is GSR’s Top40 Keep ‘Em Talkin’ and her call name will be “Rumor”. Her call name in itself is becoming a pretty popular name, but it “fits” with her registered name. I am not using “Gabby” because someone I know just got a puppy named Gabby, and I don’t like the way “Gossip” sounds when I say it aloud. Her name should be pretty self-explanatory.

Enough about my dogs. Tell me the story behind your dogs’ name!

33 thoughts on “What’s Your Dog’s Name?

  1. Greta was in the shelter as Dolce, for Dolce and Gabbana. As I care very little about fashion and it was also the name of my MIL’s former cat, I just started running through the name bank. I wanted something that could yell well so not a lot of syllables or sibilant sounds. Somehow Greta popped up in my head and I convinced my husband it was perfect. Now even my mother says “She totally is a Greta.”

    Greta’s full name is also a bad fish pun. We were fish people first and the Latin name for the Siamese fighting fish, the betta, is Betta splendens. So her full name is Greta Splendens, which fits her belligerence in the face of others of her species.

  2. My puppy was always going to be named after a football player, presumably one of my favorite players, but in a nod to buttering up my husband, I suggested Ray-his favorite football player.

  3. I work at a vet clinic, and see some very interestingly named animals come through the door. My favorite is “Layla Princess Sparkles” who was named by her 5 year old human. :)

    When I got Coal as a puppy his name was Dufus. That wasn’t going to work! After a few weeks of having a black puppy laze about on the floor like a lump, “Coal” popped into my head. (He’s like a lump of coal!) Probably not the most original name, but it was perfect.

    Dio was a rescue who came with the name Hector. It absolutely did not fit him, but my SO and I were stumped on what to call the fluffy, shy puppy. Soon the hair that stuck up all crazy on his ears and head gave us an idea – he looked like an 80′s hair band rock star! The first name that came to mind was Ronnie James Dio, and lo! Dio had found his name.

    Last April when we decided to add a third dog (we must have been drunk). We found a Carolina Dog at the same rescue we got Dio from. Her name was Kasey, but in her two years on the planet she hadn’t enjoyed a great life, so we wanted to give her a new start. We hemmed and hawed, throwing out names, and then looking at her going “naaaah, doesn’t fit”. Finally we settled on Beatrix, Bea for short.

    • I love that the dog’s 5yo human named her :) During my short stint of working in a boarding kennel, I can’t tell you how many times we had dogs named “Diogee”…

      • It was really cute. When they come into the hospital and we say “hi Layla!” the 5yo will say, “PRINCESS SPARKLES!” When she is around we make sure to use her full name. ;)

        I have yet to come across a variation of D-O-G at work. I’m actually surprised…

    • My horse, who has the unremarkable registered name “Silver Panther”, uses the extensive sobriquet “The Right Reverend Sir Edgar (Lucky) Panwaffles (retired)” around the barn. Don’t ask. Pan, for very short, or Panwaffles (or Pandemonium, or Pandemic, or Panopticon, or sometimes Pan-seared if he’s naughty) for not-so-short.

      Previous horse (registered name “Raise A Fund”, and a more apt moniker there never was) answered to Regis, after the Marion Zimmer Bradley character not that Philbin person.

      The dogs have generally carried “people” names (Sam, Noah, Katie, Lindy, Jack). More recently, the dogs have acquired the names of fictional characters from books or TV. Ranger was supposed to be Marcus (from Babylon 5), but he looked like a Ranger. Caris was a warrior character from a fantasy novel.

  4. I have Pembroke Welsh Corgis. My first was Monty. When I was researching Welsh names, I found too many with double consonants and no vowels, so I decided to go British, in honor of Field Marshall Montgomery. Plus, we had just seen the movie, “The Full Monty”…Rosie was named for my Aunt Rose, since they both were beautiful, had black hair and were very funny. Now I have Dakota, who came to me with her name already, and I like it, so it stayed. I used to have Siberian Huskies. Ralph was a big dufus, Sassy was just that, and Abigail was sweet and shy. Sometimes they do tell you what their names are!

  5. I spent a few hours trolling through the internets for a name for Kane.

    I was originally going to name him Duke, but just as I’d settled on it, he tripped over his EARS, and it was right out, lol. Then, I found the name Cain and it had such a nice ring to it, though I didn’t like my cute wittle puppy being named after the first killer in the bible, so I switched the spelling around. (Of course, now 3 years later, I’ve put $7000 and a lot of heart ache into him, so maybe it would have been fitting, lol.)

  6. I can totally understand not coming up with your dog’s own name. Dahlia came to us with her name. The shelter named her. I like to pretend it’s because she’s pretty, like the flower. But the reality is she’s black. So she’s the Black Dahlia.

    I was intending to change her name. I really was. But when I transported her, she was called Dahlia. When people off the transport asked me about her they called her Dahlia. The foster Mom called her Dahlia. And by the time she came to us, a month after I first met her, I couldn’t imagine another name for her.

    I did, however, come up with her AKC name. I thought you HAD to come up with some schmancy name for it and so never thought I could just put down “Dahlia.” So I thought long and hard and registered her as Spanley’s One of the Seven.

    What does it mean?

    There’s a great movie (originally a book) called Dean Spanley. In it, he says there are only seven great dogs alive at any one time. Dahlia surely must be one of those seven, right?

  7. Molly came to me already named and quite familiar with her name. i didnt have the heart to try to change it when she answered to it so happily. it wouldnt have been my choice. though i have been known to call ‘Molly Molly oxen free!’ on occasion.

    Puppy came to me with the name Murphy, but he didnt know it, didnt respond to it. and it didnt suit him. but if you called ‘Puppy’ then you had his full attention every time. or, as full attention as a super hyper 8 month old puppy dog can give. and Puppy thinks its fabulous that wherever he goes, everyone already knows his name! “oh look at the cute Puppy!” *wagwagwag*. he’ll be 8 years old this spring, and strangers still greet him that way. everyone warned me that it’d be a terrible name once he grew up. but he still embodies it. its been the right name for him all along.

  8. Our dog is named “Kirby,” after the Nintendo character. This leads to conversations in which it is necessary to distinguish between “Kirby the poodle” and “Kirby the pink thing”. Kirby the poodle is fluffy and bouncy, so we all think his name fits.

  9. I’ve been having a ton of trouble just coming up with a good name for my new cat. Even with taking suggestions and doing a poll, I still don’t know what to name him…

    Then again, my mom’s cat is named grey kitty, and called kitty. So, maybe my family isn’t too original when coming up with names.

  10. Well, his registered name is Prince Alfred Maxmillion Martin Hauser. I call him Fred, I guess I could’ve called him Max, or Prince, but he really is a Fred, and when people ask what his name is, they smile when I tell them it’s Fred. Yabba Dabba Doo!

  11. Our first pittie was Waterbug when we got her from the shelter, but we quickly renamed her Juno (after the Roman goddess, not the movie character). The second one was Princess Dove Lady, and we went with Percy (short for Persephone). Percy’s registered name is Persephone’s On The Ball, though sometimes I think I should have made it Persephone’s Balls to the Wall instead. Next in line will be a boy dog of some sort, and I have no idea what we’re going to name him, though there are plenty of good male names in mythology if we want to continue that theme.

  12. I work at a doggy daycare. We have at least 50 dogs (each) registered in our computer system with names like Bella, Max, Bailey, Riley/Rylee/Reilley, etc. I hate generic names! I want to go to the dog park and shout my dog’s names and have one dog come running!

    First we have Qwill, he was originally Speckles at the rescue since he has heavy black and white ticking on his face. I named him after the main charater in “The Cat Who” mystery novel series, James Qwilleran, whose main defining feature is his large salt and pepper mustache. His full name is Brokenbutt’s Declaration 1776 as he was my first dog when I moved away from home, and thinking of a Qwill pen fits the full name.

    Then was Shiner, I didn’t name him, he was named by the rescue (Ruff Mutt Border Collie Rescue). I was going to change his name, but after 2 weeks of owning him I gave up. Shiner’s not that common of a name, so it’s ok. His full name is Brokenbutt’s Dimond In Da Ruff. As a nod to his rescue.

    Trophy, was originally named Apostrophy, a name I had picked out prior to getting him with the full name Brokenbutt’s Grammer Nazi, but after his clutzy nature came out as a two year old we changed his name to Catastrophy, Brokenbutt’s Law of Murphy – cause if it can go wrong it will when Trophy’s involved!

    Then I adopted Baxter, I wanted to change his name to Blooper, but he became very attatched to my dad and my dad refused to change his name. Baxter’s full name is Brokenbutt’s Born to Fly as he loves to chase frisbees, and also as a nod to the horrible life he was set free from when I pulled him from the shelter.

    Then we have Demo, short for Demolition. Demo was an owner rehome and was called Buckeye by his first family. (Growing up in ohio and going to ohio state I can’t tell you how sick I am of ohio state themed dog names!). I wanted a name to go with the theme of Catastrophy, I liked Apocolypse, but couldn’t come up with a quick and easy call name, then after he had liquid diarrhea all over my bedroom I instantly landed on Demolition. Full name Brokenbutt’s Total Annihaliation. He has lived up to his name many, many times.

    My sister jokes I should name my next dog ‘Perfect’ so maybe I won’t have so many problems!

    One more dog name story! My sister loves Greek history/mythology. So when we decided to adopt my foster dog (named Dolly), we wanted a Geek name. We played around with Delphi, but it just didn’t fit. Then at the exact same time we said ‘Pandora’ out loud. It fits in so many ways, we were opening up a whole lot of mischief by adopting her, my sister’s favorite Disney Movie is Peter Pan, we call her Pandamonium sometimes. Full name is Mythcreant’s Jar of Mischief.

  13. :D

    Delilah: I adopted her from animal control. She was called ‘Duchess’. Um, no way, no how. So, I figured we’d find something else. In the car, on the way home, while talking to my husband about it – the song ‘Hey there, Delilah’ came on the radio.

    And we looked back at her, and I just said, hey there, Delilah. And it stuck. It fit her so well… It got abbreviated to just ‘Lilah’ a lot, or sometimes I called her ‘Lilah-bells’ but, it was well suited to her.

    Cozmo: He was born in 98, when I was 13. I played video games. My favorite game is Final Fantasy VII, and my favorite character comes from a town called ‘Cosmo Canyon’… so I started calling him Cozmo :D

    Thunder: Came to me named, and it fit him so I left it.

    T.A.R.D.I.S. – I had a LIST of names for future pups, and I had to practice if I wanted to name him this – I was super afraid of it getting shortened to ‘Tard’ or some variation. It actually stands for ‘Time and Relative Dimension in Space’ and is the time-machine from Doctor Who. I figured… what better companion than the TARDIS itself? So, he became TARDIS. His full name is Shenanigan’s Don’t Blink, to keep it tied with both her kennel, and Doctor Who :p Most days I call him Tar, Tarby, or Pino (yeah, lol)

  14. I have yet to name a dog or horse I owned. Herbie was named by a 13 year old boy because she was such a Love Bug and nobody ever mentioned that the white car was a boy while the white dog is a girl.

  15. Did you ever tell us the breed of your new puppy? I want to squee. :) I love her registered name!

    Elli is called a million names a day. She listens to most anything I call her, even if it’s totally out of the blue. Common ones these days: Munkah, Munks, Spotses, Ladyloo, Ellibelly, Boobear. It changes by the day.

    Elli is short for Ellipses (the ‘…’ punctuation mark). She has two ‘…’s on her body. I am a writer, so I called her Ellipses. Her registered name has nothing to do with her call name, unfortunately. I wish I’d been that creative. Houdini’s Static Cling is mainly about her ridiculous need to be touching me at all times when we’re laying around being lazy. Even if it’s just a foot, she MUST be touching me. And the Houdini part is because she can and will jump 6.5′ fences and wiggle out of seatbelt harnesses and manage to get into the front seat of the car despite the additional dog barrier. Heh. Crazy girl.

    • I’m Lindsay, and I’m getting a Golden Retriever.

      But Kelsey announced her new member of the family first, and I don’t think she has announced the breed yet – which is what I believe you’re thinking of :)

      • Oh, it wasn’t a secret: Futurepuppy is an American Staffordshire Terrier, bred by TU’s Merissa, out of my favoritest dog-that-doesn’t-live-with-me of all time. His name is probably going to be Widget, though I have been batting around ‘Cedar’. I don’t know what his breeder wants to do with his registered name, but if I get carte blanche, I think he’s going to be Gekko’s Wingardium Leviosa.

        Only one of my two dogs has a good naming story: when Nellie came to the shelter, they named her ‘Ellie’, though they later found out that her first name at her Bad First Family’s house was ‘Nala’. She became Nellie–a portmanteau of the two original names–because I wanted her name to be both a reminder of where she’d come from (and thus how far she’d come) and a reminder of the first people that had ever loved her (the shelter people, who were awesome.)

        Lucy I just named because my ex-boyfriend thought she “looked like a Lucy”. In retrospect, since every third dog is a Lucy, I wish I’d thought a little harder about it. Her registered name is cool, though: she’s Four Forces (my made-up ‘kennel name’) Don’t Call It A Comeback. Nellie is Four Forces Whoa Nellie, which is obvious but fitting.

  16. My mom named heart dog Casey…I hated it, I wanted her name to be Josie (I had a cat and I wanted to have “Josie and the pussycat”. When Casey finally came to live with me, I liked the whole “K” theme…I’m Kim, my dog was Casey…so I worked on naming my next pets with “K” names. I have 2 cats, Kya and Kettle as a result…Kya was named from the wife of the main character in the movie Willow…I thought the name was beautiful. Kettle was harder to name…she’s named after Tea Kettle Mountain in Glacier National Park…but at least she is all black and it really suits her.

    Now enter my dog Holly…I know, not a “K” name, right? But she came to me as Holly, and try as I did to find her a new name, AND a “K” name, I couldn’t. Holly really suited her, so she’s the odd girl with the “different” name ;)

  17. Kibeth – first dog, named for a favorite character from one of my favorite book trilogies by Garth Nix. In Lirael, she becomes prominent as a big, black dog, a best friend to a lonely girl who doesn’t fit in.

    JoJo – her race name was Phoney Jonie, but her foster family shortened it to JoJo. It totally fits her and her amazing personality.

    Dolce – not for fashion, but for the Italian word as it refers in music (being a musician and all!) – sweet. Fits him to a T when he’s with me. :) Ever since we met at the shelter, he’s only ever been a love bug to me.

    Zenzi – I actually named a violin this years prior. I wanted to have a border collie, and I wanted to name him/her Zen. I loved the irony, and was on a soul-searching voyage at the time. I came across a YouTube channel that was fairly popular, and it featured a border collie named Zen. I knew I couldn’t copy, so I altered it to Zenzi. The name is German, and it means ‘to grow and thrive.’ I found this fitting, considering how we came to get her. :)

  18. All my permanent pets have mildly insulting names. Foster pets always get nice normal names (other than Gremlin, because nothing other than “Gremlin” could ever have suited that dog), but the ones who stick around get to be a little bit weird, a little bit imperfect.

    My first and most beloved rat was named Ugli.

    My first dog was Pongu, which is Korean for “fart.” I stopped translating that one after the first few horrified looks and now just let people mistakenly think he’s named “Pongo” like the 101 Dalmatians character… but his name is really Pongu and, well, it suits him. ;)

    Our second dog was Crookytail. He has a crooked ear and a crooked facemask and a crookedy way of tilting his head while he listens to you — and, of course, a crookedy tail besides.

    Their registered names are the same as their call names because I steadfastly refuse to play the “craft beer or purebred dog?” name game.

  19. All my dogs have come to me with names attached (except my brother’s corgi puppy). I’ve had Kelly, Galahad, and now Roscoe. Kelly had a name that suited her, and it was a good name for a collie. Roscoe, my husky, is definitely a Roscoe – the name is a tough guy name and he IS a tough guy, but a real cuddle-bug underneath. Galahad was named for the knight of Arthur’s round table, but it didn’t suit him. He was timid and a coward, but he was a sweetheart.

    My mom named my brother’s puppy “Grendel,” after the monster in Beowulf. It fit.

  20. Monster has a collection of names and a history. When she was first in rescue as a probably year old dog with four puppies, she was Mama. Then, when she was adopted to the family who returned her, she was Mia. When she came back to rescue a few months later, she was Mama-Mia by proxy. As soon as she arrived at my house as a foster, I knew there was no way in hell I was calling out “MAMA-MIA!” (though, really, ABBA..it’s at least semi original..[;) I changed it to Maya, to reflect my interest and my academic background in Anthropology & Archaeology. Maya is originally from Mexico anyway, and I thought Maya (Riviera Maya) was a great way to sum her background up. The spelling of Maya also means “illusion.” She was an absolutely AWFUL dog when I first adopted her, and she has grown into my heart dog, who is actually mostly wonderful. When I moved in with E & her pack of dogs, there was already her Maia in the house, and Maya went through a stage of euthyroid sickness that caused a lot of aggressive behavior, and thus she became and has stayed The Monster. Monster actually suits her, considering she is a three legged, tri-coloured, ridiculous dog with a lot of attitude. Shark-face is also a common nickname of hers. She loves to lie upside down with her mouth wide open, revealing all her pearly whites.

    Dennis bounced through rescue his whole life with his name. He has always been Dennis, and when I met him I wasn’t a huge fan of his name (I’m not really big on common people names for dogs) but he sort of knew it. Briefly he had his name changed to Kesler, but it was from the woman who adopted and returned him. However, the more you get to know Dennis and see his personality shine through, the more he suits Dennis. In fact, he is affectionately known as Dennis the Menace, because he is always doing something whacky or troublesome, and he is actually kind of an asshole dog. He steals the ball, he barks his fool head off at everything, he growls and tries to bite strangers if they come too close. He is troublesome, but he grows on you like a barnacle. I pretty much adore him.

  21. Alfie got his name because it was a joke truly, I wanted a black shepherd, I’d name him Batman — my boyfriend wanted a corgi, and one day I said, “well if we got your corgi we’d have to name him Alfred, or Alfie”, and that was it. We are big comic book nerds so it worked. There are times I wished I had named him Bowie, but Alfie the Fluffy Corgi works.

    Mena? Well Mena came to me with that name. Originally named “Minikota’s It Aint No Thing”, Mena means Thing in swedish. When she was rehomed to home number #2, that person hated the name, renamed her “Minikota’s I Got My Game On” and named her Keno. When I got her, Lori referred to her as Mena. I wanted to name her Kismet, because it was fate I got her. But she was Mena, and that’s her name. Mena also means Woman or Mother Goddess in Sankrit, and because she’ll be my brood bitch it’s fitting. However, if we had gotten her as a puppy, her name wouldn’t be Mena.

    And Roddy? Roderick. Was originally going to named Stark, because his AKC name is “Minikota’s Iron Man”, he’s dark red in color, the biggest in his litter and was born to a litter of all boys. When the “man theme” was made for his litter I demanded the puppy that wasn’t even mine yet was named “Iron Man”, he was not a Stark though, not at all. Rod is Swedish for red and Iron turns red when exposed to the ear. I liked that Mena had a swedish name and Roddy should too. There was also “Hot Rod Rowdy Roddy Pipper”, a pro-wrestling legend, who my boyfriend and I love. Also another wrestler Roderick Strong, an indy guy we liked. He’s a Roddy.

    For the future female puppy that’d be out of Mena, she’s gotta have an “Ah” sound. And we’ve decided a female grey puppy out of Mena would be “Pandora”, and she’d be “Minikota’s Girls For Pandora”, a handle of mine forever, and a red girl out of Mena would be “Thora” — and she’d be “Minikota’s I Bring the Thunder”, a play on Thor, and I seriously hope that this red girl comes out of Roddy, for the Avengers reference.

  22. Our dogs name is Kane. And it fits him to the T!! He is an Razors Edge Blue Pitt.. And I know what the what the thing is that pops into everyone’s mind … Is that Kane is this some kind of mean vicious attack dog… But he’s the totally opposite… He is the most loving and compassionate dog I have ever been around!# and watches over the kids like a body guard!!

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