What Not to Name Your Dog

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You can call me superstitious or call me crazy, but I stand firm in my belief that certain dog names should be completely avoided. Yes your new pup may be just as sweet as sugar, but call her “Sugar” and you can just about be guaranteed that she will develop sugar diabetes later in life.  Thinking of calling your dog “Lucky”?  Really? Are you kidding me?!  Every “Lucky” I’ve ever known was lucky enough to get kicked by a horse, run over by a truck, lose an eye in a dog fight, fall off a cliff, or develop every serious disease known to dog-kind. 

If you feel compelled to name your new dog after the dog you just lost, consider some serious self-introspection. When I meet Bart II, Bart III, or Bart IV (yes, I’ve met every single one of these Barts), I sense that my client never fully embraced the grieving process.

I’m a believer in freedom of speech, but name your adorable new pup “Satan”, “Killer”, or “Hitler” (yes, I’ve encountered all three) and don’t count on developing a warm and fuzzy relationship with your veterinarian.

And finally, if you happen to get two pups at the same time (generally not a good idea, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog), please avoid any of this “Bonnie and Clyde”, “Mickey and Minnie” or “Pinot and Noir” business.  Inevitably, one of your beloveds will precede the other in death and the matching name thing is only going to make the loss feel all the more painful.  It’s awfully hard for a “Batman” to stand on his own two feet (make that four feet) when “Robin” is no longer part of the dynamic duo.

Google “dog names” and you’ll come up with almost five million hits. C’mon now, no excuses!

What is your dog’s name and have you been pleased with your choice?

Now, here’s wishing you and your four-legged best friend abundant good health!

Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association 2009 Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, 2009 Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, 2009 Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life

Website: http://www.speakingforspot.com
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on Facebook    

Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, or your favorite online book seller.

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78 Responses to “What Not to Name Your Dog”

  1. Marika Ujvari Says:

    My Tibetan terrier’s name is Tashi, and he and I are very satisied with that name. It fits him perfectly.

  2. Linda Says:

    I named my dogs Scooterbug and Cranberry– both Pekingese, brought into our family at different times. I still love the names. I’ve also had: Coffeecake, Sweetpea, Mocha, Coach, Max, Ty-Ty, Starlight.. (I still have the last three, plus Scooter and Cranberry). I still love all the names. 🙂

  3. Claire Says:

    My dog’s name is Bobby-his registered name is Fine Creek’s Simple Twist of Fate, after my favorite Bob Dylan song. Bobby came into my life after a very cruel instance of “wrong place, wrong time”. A few months before Bobby was born, my dog Barney and I were attacked in our driveway by a pitbull that had been trained for dogfighting. Barney was killed and I suffered some pretty extensive wounds to my hands. It was a horrific experience.

    When I decided to get another dog, I pondered the registered name/call name and made the decision. I think that it was a good decision-it honors both Barney and Bobby.

  4. Jani Says:

    My Gordon Setter’s name is Ronan which is Gaelic for seal. He looked like a baby seal when I got him. I also had a Gavin, Gemma, and Daphne.

  5. Mike Says:

    My dogs name is Freedom. His full name is Sweet Freedom Burks. I have never regretted the name.

  6. Liz Gebhardt Says:

    Great post. Dog names are important. For me it’s having something meaningful and that carries a punch when you say it in recalls. 🙂

    I had two Polish Lowland Sheepdogs. The oldest named Sona – which is “happy” in gaelic, “gold” in Hindi, and “prayer” in Persian. I only knew about the gaelic when I named her, but the others were equally true.

    My second Polish Lowland Sheepdog was Zoe, Greek for Life. I guess during the time that the lives of Sona and Zoe intersected I could say that I had a “Happy Life” with them.

    My current Australian Labradoodle is Shiloh – “shai” is ancient Hebrew for gift , and Shiloh translates loosely into “gift that is given”

  7. Megan Drake Says:

    I’ve heard when you give a middle name to you pet that you consider them your child. This is true for me… my first born is a dog named Avatar Schnickle-Fritz. You should have seen the rolling eyes the name Avatar generated 12 years ago! Now everyone assumes I named him for the movie.

    My second is Oscar Mayer – the reason being so I could call him ‘balogna-boy!’ He is a real handful.

    My third is Rozaida Chiquita, a not so little Chihuahua who came to me with the name Rosie. Zaida means lucky or fortunate on in Spanish and Chiquita is little girl. I added ‘Ro’ to Zaida for familiarity in her transition to adopted life.

    My only cat is Shonali Sophetta; being ha;f Bengal cat Shonali means ‘golden one’ in India and Sophetta is in deference to the name her foster mom gave her of Sophie.

  8. Joellen Says:

    Ah, and coming from the behavior and training point of view, name your dog Angel, and she will be anything but. Name your dog Damien and he may well fulfill the name to the fullest! So, be careful what you ask for when you name your dog, because you may well get quite the opposite, or, heaven forbid, have a prophecy fulfilled!

    I am in the process of renaming a newly ‘acquired’ 6 mo. Rottweiler pup. There are MILLIONS of names out there. I have narrowed it down by sex, by country of origin (Germany), and by meaning……….and I’m still looking.


  9. Debi Says:

    We have a chihuahua named George Busta Move Jones (commonly called George) and a pug named Buddha San. We like both names and have always gotten positive comments on our choices. We hate when people do the obvious and name chi’s Paco or Peppe or name pugs pugsly … please have a little originality.

  10. Jessica Says:

    My dog is named Tesla, and she has not yet developed a coil, an earthquake machine, or starred in her own big-haired rock band. Though she is a Great Pyrenees, so I’m certain she’s developing some sort of doomsday machine under the bed and has a secret desire to dye all that white hair an electric green 🙂

  11. Maria Whittle Says:

    I’ve two wonderful dogs, the oldest is Little Lord Montagu, Montagu for short, and our sweet adopted from the shelter girl, Chloe. Their names fit their personalities!

  12. Clare Ann and Britney Ann Says:

    Hi Dr. Kay,
    When Britney Ann adopted me at 5 years old she came from San Francisco where she was born to Best Friends in Kanab, Utah, where we met. Being born in SF in 2001 I assumed she was named after a famous “Britney”(with one “t” instead of the usual 2–Brittney). I liked her name and, seeing as though she was called that for 5 years, I could not change it….so I modified it —giving her part of my name, “Ann”–thus she goes by “Britney Ann”. She is so much a part of me—and I of her—that it was a natural thing to do!
    (P.S. As you know, she signs our e-mails as “Brit” and I call her “Britsie” for short, but the melody of “Britney Ann” is music to my heart!

  13. Clare Ann and Britney Ann Says:

    Clare Ann and Britney Ann says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    August 14, 2010 at 1:42 pm
    Hi Dr. Kay,
    When Britney Ann adopted me at 5 years old she came from San Francisco where she was born to Best Friends in Kanab, Utah, where we met. Being born in SF in 2001 I assumed she was named after a famous “Britney”(with one “t” instead of the usual 2–Brittney). I liked her name and, seeing as though she was called that for 5 years, I could not change it….so I modified it —giving her part of my name, “Ann”–thus she goes by “Britney Ann”. She is so much a part of me—and I of her—that it was a natural thing to do!
    (P.S. As you know, she signs our e-mails as “Brit” and I call her “Britsie” for short, but the melody of “Britney Ann” is music to my heart!

  14. Joyce Miller Says:

    We currently have three dogs: Hannah, Neisha and Kate. I think that the naming of a puppy is very interesting: for example, Hannah was a sweet gentle puppy and Hannah seemed the perfect name for her. She also had to travel 2000 miles with us to get to our home, and Hannah seemed to fit since so many Hannahs immigrated to America in colonial times. Hannah has truly been the settling tone for every dog we have had during her time with us; she is the wise mother, now granny, and she exerts a calming effect on all the other Airedales we have and have had in our home. Neisha means five-pointed star in Armenian. I knew she was going to be a star in my life, but I didn’t know that she would get just five points (5 pointed star!) in conformation before I decided I really didn’t want to show dogs any more. She is the best trained and most responsive dog I have ever had (and I have always had very responsive dogs). Kate, our youngest, is named for Hepburn, and she is a star, no doubt about it: she is outgoing, funny, determined, and everything else that I think of Hepburn as being. Both Neisha and Kate work with me teaching children safety around dogs and responsible pet ownership.

  15. Anne S. Says:

    I have an Australian Cattle Dog named Kylie, and I really like her name. It has a couple of meanings in Australian aboriginal terms, one is ‘boomerang’ and the other is ‘little girl.’ She is on the smaller side for the breed, is very loyal, has the best recall of any dog I have ever owned: Kylie is basically a very good little girl!

  16. Cinder Kenner Says:

    We have Nilla (the cookie), Nitro (Aussie, who came with that name, gee, why do you think his first home rejected him! 😉 and Myrtle, the pit/bulldog mix. I named Myrtle in the litter, which was a whole crew of little, wrinkly faced grumpy whiners, born in the MO 500 emergency shelter. We decided to give all of the pups little “old people” names, Myrtle, Edna, Agnes, Earl, etc. Myrtle has been a great name for her, she’s a clown, and it just suits her pudgy, square self. Of course, her AKC mixed-breed registry name is “She’s Myrtle-icious!” because she is!
    The worst pairing names I ever encountered were a pair of cats I used to pet-sit. Their names were Meat and Potatoes. Of course, Potatoes passed away, and they were left with Meat. The same thing happened to me in college when I named my black and white cats, “Yin” and “Yang”. There is nothing worse than a cat-energy imbalance! 😉

  17. Barbara Says:

    I adopted Daisy after she was rescued from 8.5 yrs breeding in a puppy mill. Needless to say, she had problems. I went through all kinds of names, consulted with friends, lists, etc., but nothing seemed to “fit”. Then one day I decided that we both needed some help relaxing and adjusting, so I named her for a lovely black lab I lived with who died a number of years ago. I think “Saint Daisy the Lab” used some positive energy to help little Daisy, now ruling the house.

  18. Jett Wyatt Says:

    For some reason, I can not name a pet with a human name. It’s just a “thing”. My dogs are Kiva (a Native American meeting or religious house) because I liked the sound and I had just been on vacation in New Mexico before he came to live with me. Jester, who came from rescue with the name “Jagger” but I wanted to connect with his kinder, gentler nature (didn’t work!) and he can be quite a clown when he is not channeling Cujo. Sometimes I think he should go back to his original name of “Bounce” which is also quite fitting. Lastly, there’s Rowan, again because I like the sound and because the Rowan tree has quite a mythology behind it.

    Aspen, the cat, is named for his light green eyes. I’ve also lived with cats Bear (who named herself), Taz (came with the name & I didn’t change it), Yankee (after a rock band) and Tucson (after another vacation!).

  19. Small Dog Training etc Says:

    We were adopted by a 6 month old Chow Chow Sher-pei mix and his name was Charlie but it did not fit him. He had short yellow hair and a black tongue and was full of energy. His new name just came to us and fit perfectly – Taz. He provided many years of love and protection to our family.
    Our daughter bought a tri colored Pomeranian who, when jumping from the couch appeared to be flying. While trying to name him we were watching a Star Wars movie and there he was Ewok. We have always felt these names fit our companions looks and personalities.

  20. Leslie M. Says:

    I adopted A Bonnie and Clyde duo and they were the light of my life. When Bonnie passed before Clyde, it hurt terribly, but not because of their names. Had I been there to name them, I would have called them Nick and Nora Charles. In fact, I frequently did call them Nicky and Nora. In recent years, all of my dogs and cats have come pre-named, so I add in a middle name or two and tons of nicknames. My black dog, Venus, did not seem like a Roman sex goddess, so she now is called Gladys Venus Iris, a suitably zesty name! One thing I would recommend is naming your dog/cat something adoptable-sounding, lest you get sick or foreclosed on or predecease your animal. Recently I helped rehome two dogs and Brutus and Loopi were not the easiest names to “sell” to people. Finally, I think there is no way to change (or open) the minds of those who have one Coco dog after another. They are like George Foreman, naming two or more of his sons George. Limited imagination!

  21. Barbara Says:

    I have a Gordon named Niamh (pronounced Neeve) which is Irish for sheen or luster. My puppy’s name is Ambrose, usually shortened to Brose. I think their names suit them.

  22. Amanda Says:

    I have the best-named dog ever! He is a pug and his name is…. Pug.

    He came to me as a foster and I figured someone else would give him a “real” name. He was a 6 month old little pug at the time, so I just called him Puglet. He ended up staying and by that point, the name had stuck.

    Puglet’s kinda outgrown the -let part of his name, so most of the time we just call him Pug. People either think it’s funny or stupid. Pug likes it because when people say “Aww, look at the pug!” he thinks the whole world knows his name.

  23. Barb Stanek Says:

    I like the registered name and the call name to connect. My 9 year old PWD is named CoZe’s Lord of the Dance and his call name is Rudy after the Russian ballet dancer. My 3 year old girl is Marshview Harmony and her call name is Trio. Love my dogs’ names!

  24. Rachel Says:

    I have three pugs – Diesel, Makayla and Gracie Lou Freebush. Diesel came to us at 8 weeks old and is named after Vin Diesel – my hubby’s favorite actor at the time. The name suits him to a “t” – he fully believes he’s 100 pound rottie and likes to show all the big dogs how tough he is! Makayla was adopted from the pound and we had no idea her name (if she had one) since she was dumped there when she was obviously used up from breeding. We couldn’t agree on a single girls name other than Makayla so we went with it. Though she’s more often known as Sister! Gracie Lou Freebush was named Jasmine in rescue. I liked it and want to shorten it to Jazzy. Hubby hated it; we reeled off girls’ names and he liked Grace, so Grace it was. Right away I said “Gracie” and it came out as Gracie Lou Freebush (Sandra Bullock’s character in “Miss Congeniality”) and it stuck. It fits her like you wouldn’t believe – she is personality plus and definitely needs a big bold name like Gracie Lou Freebush!

  25. Skye Says:

    There are only three names for a dog. Achilles, so you can say, “Achilles, Heel!”

    Beethoven, so you can say, “Roll over, Beethoven!”

    And Johann Sebastian Barque!

    Having said that, my next black lab will be Whitey, my next yellow lab will be Blackie and my next golden will be Spot.

  26. Kathleen Dillon Says:

    Hi Dr. Kay,

    Thank you for this entry on a very interesting topic. We have four dogs. Buddy, an Animal Care patient, is our golden who acquired his name by default. George just kept saying to the little pup, come here little buddy. Our veterinarians whose pup he was did not approve of my plan to name him Simeon after the beach we love; they thought it was too close to “sit.” Hrmph. The next three dogs all have the names they had at Marin Humane Society when we fostered and then adopted them. Our young grandson baulked at the idea of renaming them, insisting that they had had a hard enough time already and would be sad to lose their names. Hence: Pepper, Rodney, and Tucker.

  27. Cleo Parker Says:

    I like “people” names for dogs and like to pick ones that I think match their personalities. I show my dogs and breed occasionally, so every litter needs names, I mostly use characters from my dear departed soap opera Another World, knowing that most will change when they leave home. I currently have two AN names at home, Ada, the matriarch of the current brood, mom to Anna Nicole, who was born around the time the late Anna Nicole Smith’s show launched and I watched WAY too much of that show while I was home with the puppies. Of course, I thought I would sell her and the name would change, but I became completely infatuated with her and kept her and the name. She is quite the character so it fits. Anna’s daughter, Marley was one a of a set of red girl “twins” that I named after Marley & Vickie Hudson on AN. The other girl is now Ruby although my husband and I call her Ruby 2 as Anna also had a sister named Ruby.

  28. The Daily Tail - Daniela Caride Says:

    I believe the names we choose influence the lives of our pets, too. Lola, Geppetto, Frieda, Gaijin, Phoenix, Crosby, Graffiti – these are my pets.

    I wrote a story on their names and how they influenced my pets’ lives: http://www.thedailytail.com/nonfiction/a-pet%E2%80%99s-name-a-pet%E2%80%99s-fate/

  29. Esther Says:

    My Schipperke, named Sugar, will be 14 in two weeks. No diabetes! AND she’s lived up to her name every day of her life. Deaf, blind in one eye, many senior moments, and you can do anything to her with never a cross word.

    Now, my Elphaba, is a little wicked witch!


  30. Jennifer Hack Says:

    Kujo is another one I don’t care for– why name your dog anything with a negative connotation? Other terrible ones: Felony and Convict. I have trained all 3.

    Try to keep names clear sounding and limited to 2 syllables. A popular dog name “Bella” it is easy to say, and clear to the dog.

    I personally like names that are original without being weird, and without being TOO human-like. Names like Emily, Missy, Sarah, Chloe– those are too “human-like” to me. But Braxton, Briggs, Otis, Ralphie, Boscoe, those seem more appropriate to a dog. My newest puppy was from an “A” litter, so I named her “Allegra”- meaning joyful and jaunty, fits her perfect.

    Joellen- for your Rott pup, if you want German names, I have a few. Hans, Griswald, Otto, Claus, Baldwin, Axel

  31. Amy Says:

    On behalf of “Lucky,” my former foster, I object! He survived xylitol poisoning, liver damage from something else he got into, and a broken back. His doting owner nursed him through all of these maladies and doesn’t resent a penny of the thousands of dollars she’s spent on him and she loves him to pieces despite his mischievousness. I’d say he’s lucky, indeed!

  32. Jackie Says:

    Thank you for an posting on an interesting topic. I agree a name can be important. It it my feeling that dogs come to us with their names. It is up to us to discover them. That said, since the early 80’s our dogs have had musical theme names, like A Cappella Anja for a singleton, Diva for a girl who seemed to very much enjoy her voice, not overly vocal, she seemed to enjoy her range, depth and quality of voice, as a pup discovering her voice she rolled the sounds around in her mouth before letting them go, Jukebov FullofHits for our show boy, and yes, he did very very well in the ring and out, Jellyrolls Jazzemup, names after Jelly Roll Morton, the famous jazz musician. All had and have many names, Buzzle, BoBoLinkie, etc, and answer to all.

    Agreed, Killer, etc set the dog up for an immediate negative reaction from people. Silly to apply a name like that to someone you will spend (hopefully) many years of quality time with. Such a name denotes a complete lack of respect. Again, thanks for bringing it up.

  33. Erin Says:

    I have two dogs at the moment. The elder one is Dakota, and came with the name, as it’s part of her registered name. I usually call her Kota, or any number of nicknames. The dog I got from the pound (a black Lab) I named Irish. Why? He’s black! If I ever get around to getting him ILP’d, I’ll call him Black Irish Lad. I didn’t like Lad as a call name, and Black just doesn’t work for me, so Irish it was. Most people like it once they get used to it, and I like to think it’s fairly original. I’ve seen two horses named Irish (both after I named him), but never a dog. I’ve also had a Kraus (registered name CCI’s Kraus CD, and I tack on the CGC usually, as he had both). He was a golden, and a great dog. And I’ve had a Trudy, who I named after a guide dog in a book I’d read. Cats have been everything from Trouble (he wasn’t), to Buddy (he came with it, but it suited.). The cat I’m adopting is currently being fostered by one of my Physical Therapists, and I’ve named her Zoe. I also liked the name Bug, but my fiance hates it, so… I may just hyphenate. Or call her Bug anyway, but I do also like Zoe. I suspect she’ll end up being Zoe-Bug. 🙂 Which is a cute nickname in itself She’s a lovely longhaired cat with Lynx markings. I don’t know why I want to call her Bug, I just sort of do. If anyone wants to comment on the Zoe/Bug issue, I’d welcome it!

  34. Jana Rade Says:

    Our dogs’ names are Jasmine and J.D. aka Jasmine’s Dog.

    Just curious, any health implications related to the name Jasmine you’d know of?

  35. Claudia Says:

    Hi: I have a 3 year old Shih Tzu whom I named Sarah from the Bible. WHen she was 6 months old she was paralized for 2 months from being over vacinated while on an antibiotic. She is now the strongest little girl, so sweet and loving and very connected to me and Sarah was a strong beautiful person from the bible. I think her name helped her to get well. She is my 2nd Shih Tzu and they are very lovable, and her name was Krystal and she was the light of my life and came to teach me unconditinal love.

  36. Sue Says:

    I adopted a beautiful sweet border collie named Slugo. The name had to go, he didn’t seem to know it anyway. He almost became Hobo since he had traveled quite a bit in his four years, and was inclined to hightail it down the road if given the chance. But he became Myles, learned that name in minutes, and has become an fabulous pet who no longer wants to run away.

  37. Anyse Says:

    I had a white miniature poodle named Arthur He was such a good companion to me through his first year (the breeder gave him a bath after I had him for a month and, as he was, it turned out, drunk, he brike my dear Arthur’s front left leg straight across!) when he had to be kenneled so much and had 3 surgeries and many vet visits that the breeder paid for (over $2000). Then, I became ill and he stayed with me after I got out of being in the hospital for 10 months 24/7. He was such a devoted fellow. He died at 10 from kidney failure (had to put him down – I still cry about him to this day). Then, 3 months later, Dante, another miniature poodle came into my life and is with me today. He is so different from Arthur! He is more timid. Arthur chased skunks many times (got skunked too! LOL!) while Dante is afraid of bugs and anything bigger! One thing though. After 2 years with him, I tried something. I just moved out in the beginning of a horrible divorce into an apartment. Well, I feed him at the same time every day, 2 pm. I used to call food “Roo-Roo” with Arthur. So, I started to use this same word with Dante and, the first time I said it, he “knew” what it was, Any time I said that word, he would head to the kitchen right away from the first time! I don’t know why he knew this as I did not do this because I would remember Arthur. Now, it is an honor to call Dante’s food “Roo-roo”!

  38. sandi umble Says:

    i have two toy poodles , bernie and bellarina who are brother and sister..i have to admit i did name bernie after another toy poodle that had passed away several months before at age 16 yrs…he weighed 5 lbs and was the most loving boy in the 8 yrs that i had him to love and care for..he was rescued from a puppy mill at age 8..he was the breeder dog, so had not been neutered until i adopted him..he also had never been house trained either..so you can see ,his pathetic existence was unbelievable! he must have thought he had died and gone to heaven when he became our family member..i still miss him so much..he let me know every day with his kisses and suggleling just how much he loved my husband and i..i named my next dog after him , but my new bernie also gives us so much joy and love..my teo dogs keep each other company when i am gone, and they play together and sleep together..we take them to the vet together and also grooming every 8 weeks…they are now 7 yrs old and in good health..i try to educate myself more every day on how to better care for my “kids” ,for they truly are our family members…

  39. Jane Eagle Says:

    I had a flame point cat once: he was surreally beautiful. I named him Lucifer because it seemed to fit; and boy, did he live up to that name! He did more damage to my house than all my huskies combined have ever done! Moral: be careful what name you give because they probably will live up to it!
    My first white Siberian was Denali. I hit on her name but thought it was perhaps too many syllables. So I asked 3 people what they thought I should name her, and all 3 came up with Denali! Apparently, that was her true name! I do believe that dogs have a true name, and it’s a matter of waiting for them to tell you.
    My second white Siberian came from an excellent breeder; his mom’s name was Polar Jewel, PJ for short. I named him Polar Moon, Pomo for short, which is also the name of the original inhabitants of where we live. I had him at a pow-wow once and was talking to a child. When I told him my dog’s name was Pomo, he said very excitedly “I’m Pomo!” I said, yes, he was named in honor of your people. He really liked that.

  40. Pat Says:

    Koa, the world’s friendliest Golden Retriever, came to us with her name firmly in place. She was originally adopted by a couple who lived in Hawai’i: and the name comes from the Acacia Koa tree, which is native to the islands. It has a reddish wood (appropriate!) and the word itself means “brave, bold, fearless, warrior” (not as appropriate). People love her name and never forget it.

  41. Merrill Says:

    One of my dogs came from a litter of two, that the breeder had homorously nicknamed Ben and Jerry after the ice cream guys. We brought Jerry home, and kept the name. His registered name is Austlyn’s Cherry Garcia, call name Jerry. When we had our new refrigerator delivered, Jerry barked and barked until I yelled “JERRY! SHUT UP!” The delivery man had this horrified look on his face, and said “What?” Seems his name was Jerry, too.

  42. Marge Says:

    Your words ring true for me. Volunteering at the shelter, I cringe when I see a new arrival with fear/behavior issues tagged as Devil, Barky, Killer, etc.

    My dog, Lola, has been blessed with one of the more “regular” names compared to my previous furry friends. She’s a Geman Shepherd rescue & it really fits her. She’s actually a girlie/girl & seems to favor pink toys! Of couse, the song, “Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets”, is very appropriate. I actually named her over the phone, when a friend called to see if I would foster her. The shelter called her Rebecca, but Lola popped into my head and it stuck. I think she likes her melodic name.

    Now – what my others thought of their names: Trouve, Cest-Ci-Bone, Ananda, Afaar, Beau (called Prasad initially), Panda (named by former pet parent) and Lady (named by people in her former neighborhood), I don’t know. But they all seemed to capture their essence.

  43. Eileen Salmas Says:

    I’ve always named my dogs after characters in mythology. Currently my Doberman mix is named Isis (she has huge ears and looks like the hieroglyphic of Anubis so I had to give her an Egyptian name. My Papillon/Spaniel mix is Hermes because his ears look like Hermes’ helmet and he’s a little speed demon. Past dogs have been Loki, Balthazar, Calliope and Kismet. I brought home a little black stray one time and my husband said he was going to name her. “She’s black – Midnight.”

  44. Sunny Says:

    I have 3 French Bulldogs.

    Pierre, 7 years old………..LOVE his name.

    Sammi, 6 years old was named by his breeder and his full name is Samurai because he was born dead and was a fighter. He fits being a Sammi.

    Marley, 4 years old and named BEFORE the movie Marley came out. I love his name because he was named for Bob Marley. He did not turn out mellow and easy going as his namesake but he is Marley, through and through.

  45. Diane Blackman, CPDT-KA Says:

    I currently have four dogs: Hershey (a shepherd mix that thankfully I refused when my ex-husband wanted to name her Patches); Skye, Eagle (Two Under Par) and Duncan (King of Scots). I apparently have a kick for naming my dogs after other animals as I’ve had a Tiger and an Eagle.

  46. Melissa K Says:

    Thank you so much for spreading the news! I’m a dog trainer and behavior counselor and have felt for years that naming a dog Monster, Satan, or any other derogatory term is going to lead to trouble. I have gone so far as to recommend changing the pups’ names to a couple of clients who had severe aggression issues with their young dogs. Consciously or not, one is not likely to have the warm-and-fuzzies for a dog named Terror.

    My dog’s name was Autumn. She was a gray terrier mix who I adopted in the month of September. I feel the name fit her and never have regretted it. I have a list of about 6 names to choose from for my next dog and I would only regret it if the name I pick doesn’t seem to be her.

  47. Pam Rose Says:

    We always like to live with our animals for a while before we choose a name. We need to get a sense of their true personality, which doesn’t really come to the fore until they’ve adjusted and become comfortable in their new home.

    When we brought home our beautiful 5.5 month old Caucasian Ovcharka (Georgian type), we struggled to find a name that fit. Her ears had been docked – part of the breed standard and done by shepherds for thousands of years – and since her breed was Georgian, we found ourselves looking for Russian names. We discovered ushy was Russian for ear, and since she had no ears, we stuck an
    in front of it and tried it out –
    ushy (totally grammatically incorrect of course, so apologies to Russian speakers!). A bit more research turned up the Georgian word
    usi (pronounced with an sh), which means almond or nut, and further research discovered that Nushi was actually a Hungarian female name diminutive: Anna = Annush =Nushi. Since our girl was actually born in Budapest, we felt the name Nushi (we preferred the i to the y) fit her perfectly.

    Our most recent dog, a Bernese Mountain Dog, came home at 8 weeks, and we began the process all over again. At first I called her Polliwog, because she had lots of black and wiggled just like one (also Polly, which we considered but dropped). We tried out Bonnie and a few other female names, and finally one day as we went through or ever shortening list again, we came across Sophia. We rather liked that, and it fit her because she’s has such beautiful face and is so sweet. We also remembered that our oldest grandchild’s middle name was Sophia. Since we have 4 grandkids, we decided to name her after all of their middle names, so she is: Sophia Rebecca Laurel Danielle Rose – aka Sophie (and I confess I still us Polliwog occasionally!). Since we chose the breed mostly for them (a good family and kid temperament), it was fitting, and they of course were thrilled.

  48. Jackie Jurasek Says:

    I agree that the name of an animal is very important. As a dog trainer, I also try to steer people away from names that contain the long “O” sound. Most dogs understand the human language by the vowels in the words. All training commands have a different vowel sound so that they can be easily understand by the canine student. Save that long “O” sound for the command “NO”. This is such an important command that will help your dog be a much better canine citizen that it is worth avoiding those long “O” names.

  49. Laura Says:

    My bulldog’s name is Boo-Yah. It fits his theory on life and shortens to Boo, which is a wonderful endearment when he’s being adorable.

  50. Natalie Says:

    Zoe, pronounced with a long o and a long e, came with her name and it always seemed to suit her–She’s very pretty, graceful and rather exotic mix of black and tan with white accents, high chest and attractive feet. Boda was also a great name for Zoe’s predecessor, a ridgeback rescue mix who had been called Botta Bag–BAG? puh-leeze! She loved the Boda part and it stuck because she was self-contained, rather reflective and aloof. I like two syllable names–good for calling.

  51. Belinda Says:

    We lost 2 of our 3 beloved Dachshunds this year…Dutch Dieter,was 17 years old and our Harley Davidson was only 10 years old and had congestive heart failure. We have one 16 yr.old Dachshund left, named Heidi Mae. I was grieving horribly for “my boys”, when I decided to go to a pet expo where there were several rescue dogs needing new homes. I was almost through the whole expo without spoting a dog, when I turned the corner and there was BRODY! A beagle/pointer mix. It was instant love. When I brought him home to my husband, 2 adult children and 2 grandsons we all decided to keep the name he was given by the rescue group because it just seemed to fit him. BUT, he needed a middle name! After about a month of getting to know his personality, we decided on the middle name GUMP…as in Forest Gump…lol…so his name is Brody Gump and it’s more then fitting of his comical and somewhat clumsy personality! We couldn’t be more happier with the new member of our family!

  52. Sherry Carpenter Says:

    I never name my own dogs leaving that up to the breeder. Last litter–Cooper was the sire, Cagney was the dam and the all girl litter was Bacall, Hepburn, Monroe, Grable. Sigh!!
    This is not a name comment but an older dog concern. When I give my Springers Advantix I find they are depressed and lethargic. I separate them because sometimes the girls groom each other and I wonder how wise this spot on medication is to lick? I also wonder about dogs used in pet therapy after a dose and nursing home residents and/or children petting them? But, to return to 13 yr. old Cagney– she has successfully battled a number of health issues–pneumonia, congestive heart problems and arthritis and is doing well for all of that (she also has epilepsy) I do not want to give her AdvantiX as I doubt this has been tested on older dogs. In fact, I wonder how many medications are tested on older dogs.

  53. Polly Wrightman Says:

    Bonnie, Fifi, and Rikki Tikki. All boxer dogs.

  54. Miria Yarden, B.Sc.,MS,APDT Says:

    My Bearded Collie was Sir Bedivere, my Samoyed/Golden was Ygraine (King Arthur’s mother), my Whippet is Niniane (Merlin’s girlfriend) – I guess I was in the Arthurian mode. My 11-lb Terrier-x was Mr. Smidgeon because of his size and my Grayhound-x was Circe because of her ability to charm. The cats are Casper the friendly ghost because of his ability to apppear silently (he is white) and Serendipity who appeared at a time when I wasn’t looking for her – she is black. They all live in perfect harmony. Lots of luck and lots of work but oh! so worth it!

  55. Leslie McGill Says:

    I think it is also a good idea to try your new dog names with other words you will be saying before and after it. I often use the cue “Off” when my dogs jump up on me or the counter. I recently adopted a new dog who was named Jake from the pound, but because I have ason named Jacob I cleverly changed the new dog’s name to Jackson. Jack for short. Much to my suprise Jack jumps up on everything and my son is quick to yell at the top of his lungs “Jack off!”

  56. Melissa K Says:

    I have to share this because I think it is so ridiculous. I work at an animal shelter. We just received a 10-month-old Rottweiler mix weighing in at 85 pounds. He was surrendered for being too large. His name? Biggie. Hello!!

  57. Erin Says:

    I mostly let my animal companions “name” themselves. My cat is Robin Goodfellow, for his small size (all of seven pounds, so he’s one of the “wee folk”) and his delightful, Puckish sense of humor. The other cat, Felicity, came with our “new” house, so her name means happiness and good fortune. My dog Ceilidh is full of joie de vive, and her name is Irish Gaelic for a lively dance or a gathering of friends. The newest addition my husband named, after a dear friend, a gentle soul whose last name was Tucker. So far the pup shows promise of living up to his namesake.

  58. Is your dog’s named Killer or Satan? - Dogasaur Says:

    […] If you would like to respond publicly, please visit http://speakingforspot.com/blog/?p=1154. […]

  59. Donna Says:

    I named my Rottweiler/Austrian German Shepherd mix Esther Grace….she weighed all of maybe 2-3 pounds when we got her a little over three years ago. Her mama had weaned all 10 pups and would not let them suckle, so I took one the “runt” and gave her a home. She now weighs about 70 pounds and is the absolute joy and love of our home! Big, beautiful, smart, and has a vocabulary you would not believe!

  60. Nikki Says:

    Bubba- HUGE black lab/St Bernard mix, Dogzilla- half pug/ half jack russell… and completely lives up to his name, and Lacey, a silvery dapple long haired doxie.

  61. Heather Says:

    Having previously adopted a kitten back in 2006 and kept his name – Tot, upon adopting my rescued pup (unknown mix – perhaps Chow with some sort of collie/shephard) I suggested re-naming her Tater (as opposed to the Midnight she came with) as a joke but it stuck and I now have a solid black set of Tater & Tot

  62. Lisa Says:

    Barbara Woodhouse wrote that dogs like sounds with hard consonants, like b, t, p, and k, and that their names should be a happy sound for them, never connected with punishment. (ie, say “bad dog,” but not “Snoopy, bad dog!”) She wrote that they hate and S sound, perhaps due to snakes. I hadn’t read her book with my previous dogs, named Hans, Daisy, Sophie and Olivia, but when we got my now-senior citizen, I decided to give her theory a try. Well, Babette (lab mix) not only loves her name, but actually knew it and came when called in less than a day of our bringing her home! I’ve never seen anything like it. (Babette was PROBABLY between 6-8 weeks old when he got her from the shelter, but we aren’t sure because she’d been abandoned and abused.) She is old now, and we cherish whatever time we have left…I can tell you, though, all future dogs will be named in the Woodhouse fashion, that’s for sure.

  63. Shai Steiner Says:

    We named our mini schnauzer/ min-pin cross Lemon. After Liz Lemon on 30 rock, but also because she is cute – AND not exactly friendly to people she doesn’t know!
    Mosty I call her Cheeto – just lately…

  64. Anne Says:

    I have a fox terrier and his name is “Kafezinho” translating “coffee”, and here we are all very happy, including his own Kafezinho.
    For he has gone through several names when small (Bidu, Snoopy, Alfie, etc.), until he chooses this.

  65. Veronica Says:

    My Husky was named Skye, for her blue eyes. One cat is Floyd, named after Raymond Floyd the golfer. Another cat is Bitty, because she is tiny. And Bob the cat got her name because someone cut off her tail and made her a bob-tail cat. We just got a new dog and named him Sir Henrik von Zetterberg the Great, after our favorite Detroit Red Wing. We call him Zeek for short.

  66. Sonia Says:

    My Brother & his wife has a Shephard named Stephie (Stefie) she’s a beautiful dog and mostly well behaved but she becomes a big pain whenever FOOD is around even after she has already eaten & snacked! She can’t get enough and when she’s not drooling around the dinner table she is chewing on things to get our attention (mainly our shoes) or paper or whatever happens to be laying around! They did not raise her from a puppy she was a year or so when they “rescued” her from the previous family whose children abused her! We love her very much and she is very teachable we just all work alot and she needs more attenion than we can give her sometimes. But all in all she is well loved, healthy & happy!

  67. Sonia Says:

    I knew someone once who named her dog …\Dogma\!

  68. Mayte Says:

    My Shitzu’s name is Kiwi, the name came to me before I even saw him in person, when I saw him online he was Jolly, which had nothing to do with him since he was born in October for some reason Kiwi came to mind. Everyone loves the name and it fits his personality (he is a little fruity) fresh,unique,exotic, but most of all very very sweet.

  69. Mary Says:

    My youngest (of 3) dogs, a chihuahua, was found at the dump when she was 6 to 8 weeks old. She weighed less than a pound, fit in one hand, and showed obvious behavioral signs of having been mistreated. We kept trying out different names and nothing stuck until somebody said Chloe. It wasn’t until a year or so later that someone told me that the name Chloe means “blossoming one”—In other words, I’ve got a “bloomin’ chihuahua”!!!….Now, a few years later, she is still a little crazy from her bad start in life, but she has blossomed–She is a beautiful, loveable member of the family. They say that one person’s trash is another persons treasure–but to this day it amazes me that someone would thow away such a wonderful little living creature. They could have easily found her a good home (even sold her). I’m just lucky that she was found and found her way to me.

  70. Tricia Elliott Says:

    I have the privledge of being owned by 3 dachsunds. Ladybug and Chili Dawg are red/sable longhaired dachsunds and Harley is a black/tan shorthaired dachsund. They are the loves of my life(along with my husband) and we can’ imagine our lives without them

  71. Diane Says:

    We have three Jack Russels all adopted at different stages of life. Our first “Molly” came along and was lonely so we adopted “Ozzie”. Both were rescue dogs that were already named. We decided that three could live as easily as two so we adopted a baby boy. We were perplexed on what to name the new addition until one day it came to us……..Molly Hatchet, Ozzie Ozborne, and of course Iggy Pop! The three of them are now making beautiful music together! Woof Woof!

  72. Chris Bever Says:

    We named our longhair Doxies littermates, DESI and LUCY. She is a beautiful redhead and he is a diluted cream, so the names really fit.
    Lucy is the boss and Desi is a laidback, handsome fellow. I don’t ever want to think of life without both my little dogs. They have only been apart once, when Lucy had to spend the night at the vet after her “operation”.
    Today is their birthday. Happy Birthday, DesiLu..Momma loves you.

  73. Deborah Dean Says:

    We named our two Cocker Spaniels Macy and Vicki. The blond, Macy is after the department store giant, and the black, Vicki, is for (who else?) Victoria’s Secret.

  74. Tammy Says:

    I have two Italian Greyhounds My male is named TJ and my female is named Jorja. both are named for a couple of my favorite actors. TJ Thyne from Bones and Jorja Fox from CSI

  75. Amanda Says:

    My doggies names I love and am very proud of! Starting with the oldest which was my dad’s dog and has outlived my dog. His name is Rufus, his nickname is Barry Bonds due to his usage of steriods for a skin disorder. Originally his name was Jerry Only, named after a member of the band The Misfits. Once he became dad’s that name had to go because his former best friend’s name was Jerry. So now we have Rufus and to look at this dog you would think his name should be Eeor.

    *NOTE: all our dogs have nicknames and sometimes these nicknames get used more than their real names*

    Next we have JFK’s Rose Kennedy (a.k.a Kennedy) she is MY first dog! She is a minpin and i got her before all the celebs came out with these dogcessories. That was my plan for her. To have a lil Jackie O’! What i have is a very very very loyal, loving, dog who has been with me through so much that she NEVER leaves my side. Yet, she has no problem sharing my side with our other dogs…just the limelight. Nicknames; Kenbug, Kennly
    Then we have Lexe Ann Staley, she’s a mini dachshund and a rescue. I got her for my husband as a 6 mth wedding ann. gift. She was roughly the same age so we gave her birthday the same day as our wedding day. The name came with her so we just added on. My husband had never owned his own dog so i thought this would be a perfect gift! Lexe has her own song ” How can you deny me, I’m Lexe, I’m sexy” and that pretty much defines her.
    Another rescue is our pitbull Karu, which means black in hindu. His full name is Operation Hindu Freedom Karu. That came to us on our ride to get him. We were told he was a puppy and i’m sure he was…just a big puppy lol. He’s a sweet heart who is terrified of thunder, fireworks, gun shots and women yelling. I’m very happy to have rescued him. With him his name goes every which way. When going for rides he’s Karuzin’ or Karu and Karusiers, get the idea.
    Finally we have our newest Lil Rebel Mudflap and like Lexe she is a mini dacshsund. Her name fits her to a tee!!! TO A TEE!! Lil’ she is! Rebel, ugh, you should see her paths of destruction and the look she gives you is just daring you to say something lol. Mudflap, that’s all on my husband. lol!! Her nicknames is mudders, Mudflip (a lady in Petsmart misunderstood me and kept calling her that so she got stuck with it), Flippers, Flap, Flappers, MF and our personal fave. mudflap you little shit, while repressing a laugh

  76. Melissa Says:

    I confess: I’ve committed at least two of the sins of dog naming. My childhood companion was Lucky the dachsund, who was run over on the first night of Chanukah. In high school and through college, my sister and I loved two toy poodles named Honey and Cher, named for a favorite singing duo (that sure dates me!). My son was far more sane and deliberate in his choice: he named our Australian Shepherd “Austen,” for several reasons that were carefully explained: his nickname can be Aussie, and he IS an Aussie; it’s spelled with an “e” instead of an “i” because we don’t want it confused with a place in Texas which might be associated with then President Bush. And besides, Mom loves Jane Austen (he’s promised me the next dog will be named “Darcy”).

  77. Donna Says:

    I worked in the veterinary business for several years and always thought the way that you do – a dog named Bear will not always be the nicest dog, nor will a cat named Satan. I also believe that if you give them a little time an animal will let you know its name if you are open to the suggestion. Otherwise, I would never have chosen the name Henry for a parrot or a cat that started out as Diana became LadyBug.

    Three of the 4 dogs I have now came to me already named. Roxie was about 12 weeks old when I got her and the breeder had called her that because she acted as though she had rocks in her head. JoJo’s formal name is Baldassare but his call name is JoJo (or Jo). He came to us at age 2. When I started doing rescue work Charlie was my first foster dog. He never made it to another home. The names did not change even though I have family members named Joe and Charlie. My latest addition is Linguini. He’s from the breeder’s “L” litter and she uses Italian names and I thought that was perfect. His registered name is Dolce di Giorno (sweet of the day) but he’s still Linguini to me! These are all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. My very first Cavalier was from a “W” litter and I named her Wallis (for Wallis Simpson). The next one was a rescue we called Tibby because the vaccination record we got with her said Name – TBA and it stuck.

    I could go on and on as I’ve had birds, cats (7 at one time), helped my daughter with her dogs’ names, and rehabilitated wildlife, naming most of the raccoons we got. But I will stop here.

    I love the stories of how some of these critters got their names.

  78. debbie Says:

    We have a very handsome “rescue” dog named Chance. He’s a 90lb. pure white colored lab/great pyranese mix. While signing his adoption papers we simply had to change the name the shelter had given him…Snowball! No way did this big gentle giant resemble a snowball. So our son suggested “Chance”. “After all”, he said, “We’re giving him a second “Chance.” Perfect don’t you think?

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