I borrowed the Big Book of Baby Names from my junior high library several times, but not because I was spending my time in such a way that would result in a teenage pregnancy. Far from it. I obsessed over names; I wrote lists with as many names as I could think of (or create) for each letter of the alphabet, and I perused the book of names for hours. So I connected when I read Nina Badzin’s post Please Let Me Name Your Baby, and in a similar fashion, I would like to offer my naming services for canines.
So what does the Big Book of Baby Names have to do with dog names? Well, I like to give dogs people names–no Snowball or Spot for me.
My husband and I have been talking about dog names for years–back in our no-dog early twenties we daydreamed about what we would name our future dog(s). Now we toss around names just for fun: What do you think of a bloodhound named Stanley? Ooh, how about a mastiff named Bernice?
And it is fun. You have a lot more license when considering dog names than you do with kid names. You don’t really have to worry about how it works with your last name–the only time you’ll hear that is at the vet. Nor do you have to worry about the other dogs making fun of your dog’s name. The one thing you do have to consider with a dog that you don’t with a child, or at least I think so, is the dog’s breed.
Below I have listed types of dog names with examples. I also provided pictures in which I “named” the subjects. I used Laura Wattenberg’s book The Baby Name Wizard as a reference but also just my own opinions about the “feel” of a name and how it fits with a certain breed, look, or type of dog. (I’m also not trying to discriminate against mixed breeds; the naming process is more about the look of a dog than its particular breed.) After reading these names, if you’d like to give me the honor of naming your dog, just holler!
My absolute favorite dog names are blue-hair human names. I think out-of-fashion people names gain a new spark when given to a dog. Wattenberg calls these names “Porch-Sitters.”
1. The Blue Hairs/Porch Sitters: Harriet, Edna, Mildred, Irma, Ruth, Ethel, Edith, Winifred, Beulah, Edwina, and Velma and Milton, Edgar, Herbert, Norbert, Grover, Abner, Doyle, Lester, Mortimer, and Melvin.
Our boxer’s name*, of course, sits squarely on this porch: Gertrude. So ugly for a human (sorry, human Gertrudes of the world), but so splendid when applied, especially with the nickname Gertie, to a wrinkly, short-nosed, spunky boxer! I think the porch-sitting names work best when applied to smush-faced dogs, bully breeds and hounds–there’s just something about that so-ugly-they’re-adorable-look that begs for a fusty name–but they could definitely work for other breeds as well (a lab named Doyle, perhaps).
I also like ironic names for dogs. I’m not talking about a Great Dane named Tiny, but rather grandiose, butch, or overly sophisticated names for little dogs, and fanciful or flowery names for huge or brutish-looking dogs.
2. Ironic little dog names: Blanche, Veronica, Tallulah, Delilah, Francesca, Magnus, Igor, and Judd.
3. Ironic brute dog names: Violette, Winifred, Adeline, Penelope, Matilda, Wallace, Sylvester, Solomon, Oliver, Philip, and Peter.
4. Match sight with sound: Or you could do just the opposite and choose a name for your dog with a sound that just fits how they look: a whippet named Winnie, a teacup chihuahua named Pip, a Rottweiler named Bruno, or an elkhound named Gregor.
5. Bright, cheerful, and cute: Poppy, Trixie, Polly, Archie, Milo, and Zeke.
6. Foreign names that match the breed origin: You could choose a name that fits your breed’s ethnicity. Consider a Papillon named Delphine or Claude; an Irish setter named Gwendolyn or Hamish; an Italian greyhound named Alessandra or Salvatore.
What names do you like for dogs? What do you think about my categories and/or the names I chose for the above dogs?
*We didn’t name Duke because he was already six when we got him, and we thought he had been through enough changes. However, if his name had been Killer, or some other heinous name, we would’ve changed it. If I had named him, I probably would have chosen something like Alfred–Alfie for short–or maybe Bernard or…so many names, so little time!
Related Post: DON’T Let Me Name Your Dog