Manly Rules for Naming Man’s Best Friend

by A Manly Guest Contributor on December 16, 2011 · 480 comments

in Friendship, Relationships & Family

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Jon Finkel.

Presidents are notorious for giving their dogs politically correct names (See: Bill Clinton re: Buddy or Gerald Ford re: Liberty). Lyndon Johnson even had a pair of beagles he simply named Him and Her. But our manliest president, Teddy Roosevelt, would have none of that. Not only does he have a dog breed named after him (the Teddy Roosevelt Terrier) he is also responsible for perhaps the two coolest Oval Office dog names around: Sailor Boy and Blackjack. Since you don’t have your own dog breed named after you and you’re not likely to become the leader of the free world, we thought we’d provide you with a little assistance when it comes to the art of picking a manly name for your dog.

1) When it comes to female dog names, if you’re a single guy, steer clear of naming her after your favorite actress or supermodel (unless you want to end up like Michael Rapaport’s character in Beautiful Girls). Your buddies might think it’s funny, but grown women will think you’re fifteen.

2) Ironic names are like somewhat clever/funny voice mail recordings; they’re usually not as funny as you think they are, but even if they work, they’re only funny once, so don’t use them. Introducing your 10-pound Maltese named Bear might get a smile from some people, but then again, it might not. Also, if you’re a man, why do you have a Maltese? The only thing with the word “Maltese” in it that should be in your house is a copy of the Dashiell Hammett novel.

3) No car names for dogs. If you can’t afford a Lexus, don’t name your dog Lexus. If you can’t afford a BMW, don’t name your dog Beamer. It makes you look ridiculous. If you can afford these cars and you name a dog after your car, that’s probably the reason people don’t return your phone calls.

4) Dogs named after brands of alcohol are hard to pull off. As a rule, the more masculine the drink, the greater chance the name might be a success. Also, liquor names tend to work better than beer names: A Doberman named Johnny Walker? Possibly. A black lab named Guinness? Maybe. An Irish Setter named Jameson? You might be on to something. A Weimaraner named Corona or Michelob? Doubtful. Even Budweiser’s own canine mascot was named Spuds, not Bud.

4a) Age is a big factor with this rule. You have to go with your gut and trust your friends. In college, I thought my friend’s dog Jäger, as in Jägermeister, was the coolest thing ever. At the time, it probably was. Now that my buddy is 32 and has two daughters, the name feels a bit dated.

5) Piggybacking on the last corollary to the last rule: Never forget that many dogs live well beyond ten years–which is well beyond the few years of fame most pop stars enjoy. Letting your 14-year-old daughter name your new dog Bieber might make her happy now, but when your child is 24 and Justin Bieber is in rehab, nobody will be happy–least of all, the dog.

6) You really can’t go wrong with dogs named after great literary characters or old-school Presidents. Some examples: Lincoln and Jackson are great dog names. Huckleberry, Gatsby, and Buck (even though the character in this last case is an actual  dog) are solid as well.

7) Be careful about naming your dog after famous authors. You might be tempted to name your dog Hemingway or Twain or Cormac, but half the people won’t get the name and the other half will probably accuse you of being pretentious. That doesn’t leave many people besides you to appreciate it.

8) Never, ever name your dog after a current player on your favorite sports team. It may seem like a good idea, even if he just signed a 10-year, $127 million contract, but it’s not. Even if you never in your wildest dreams pictured Player X playing for another team, don’t do it. It’s not worth the agony when all of a sudden your favorite player somehow becomes a team cancer and decides he wants a contract extension, or more catches, or more playing time. Once that happens, you’re in trouble. Then, of course, there’s free agency. Sweating out a free agency period with your favorite athlete on the line is tough enough already, no need to make it worse.

8a) If your wife surprises you with a dog as a gift without reading this article, and she names the dog after Player X without your knowledge, or your kids absolutely love the name and you can’t turn them down, and Player X gets traded or signs elsewhere, you have every right to change your dog’s name. Think about how many dogs named “LeBron” are walking around Cleveland right now. Not a pretty sight.

9) Naming a dog after your favorite retired athlete isn’t the most unique idea, but if you do it, you absolutely have to take into account whether that athlete might do something insane in retirement that will make you want to change the dog’s name. There must have been several dozen people in the Buffalo area with dogs named OJ or Juice who were scrambling for new names for their pets in the mid ’90s. Retired players are good. Dead players are better. Same goes for actors, actresses, politicians, celebrities, artists, etc…

10) Dogs named after college coaches are a bad idea — too much insecurity and uncertainty about the character of the coach and how long he’ll be there. Would you want to have a dog named Paterno right now? Didn’t think so.

11) As for naming a dog after a stadium or arena, proximity to that stadium or arena is a major factor in whether you should do this. A dog named Fenway in Boston will be a dime a dozen and most likely looked upon as an uninspired nod to your Red Sox fandom. Same for a dog named Wrigley in Chicago or Lambeau in Green Bay. The farther you live from where your team plays, the more chance you have of the dog’s name coming off as original. A dog named Lambeau in Baton Rouge, Louisiana will probably be just fine. For large fan bases, it’s safer to stay away from these names, because chances are if you live near a major metropolitan area, there will be lots of transplants.

12) Dogs named after colleges or mascots in general are okay, but like stadiums, proximity is a factor. How many dogs named Gator are there in Florida? How many dogs named Bama are in Alabama? Hundreds. Avoid them. Better pick something original about your college experience and go with that. The street name your fraternity or sorority house was on, your favorite sandwich at your favorite sub shop–something like that is always good and gives you a great story.

13) Fido, Spot, Toto, Lassie, Snoopy, Buddy, etc…are all unacceptable.

14) Names based on a dog’s physical traits are also unacceptable: Fluffy, Snowy, Midnight, Brownie, Whitey… In fact, if your dog’s name could in some way be misinterpreted as an outdated racial insult, avoid it.

15) When in doubt, remember two things: simplicity and originality.


Jon Finkel has written for GQ, Details, and the New York Times, among others. For tons of manly advice about how to name a child, interview for a job or even decide which actor played the most believable real-life boxer, check out Jon Finkel’s The Three Dollar Scholar: Awesome Advice for Acing Life’s Major Decisions and Mindless Debates today! Follow Jon on Twitter: @3dollarscholar

What did you name your dog? What names have you admired or disliked in the dogs of others? Sound off in the comments.


{ 480 comments… read them below or add one }

101 Doc December 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm

My favorite pet was a German Shepherd. Her name was Schatzi which translates “sweetheart”.

102 Bert December 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Liza – Shar Pei
Luna – Presa Canario

103 Jerry December 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

My female Irish Terrier is named Brighid, the Cletic goddess of writers, and when anglicized is one of the patron saints of Ireland.

104 Justin December 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I don’t know what the deal is with all the haters of men having little dogs. I’ve had some great big dogs, but also great little dogs. In fact most of my dogs have been in the 15-40 pound range. I currently have a 14 lb “mutt,” mixed with I don’t know what, but she has the most spunk of any dog I’ve known and at night when she crashes from going 100mph all day, she lays right up against me or my wife.

You guys should give it a whirl. Don’t worry about what your friends say, you know you want one.

105 Jake December 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm

Female boxer named Leala. As in Ali. Funny.

106 Steven December 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I understand that living celebrities would be a bad idea but I am partial to the names of some real classics. Katy for a female and Montgomery for a male. The former of course a nod to Ms. Katherine Hepburn and the latter Montgomery Cliff. I think they make great dog names and you get to show off your knowledge of real cinema.

107 Justin December 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm

As far as name advice, a few years ago we adopted a female mix and I named here Chloe. I thought it was a fine girl dog name, but not right for an actual little girl (sounded like a stripper or something). Now it’s one of the most popular girl names in the country and people look at us like like we are trying to insult their daughters by giving our dog that name. Be careful with actual human names.

108 George Franke December 16, 2011 at 5:01 pm

My thought is: Don’t ever (and I haven’t to this day) name your dog something that you won’t mind yelling at 2 am downtown when he’s out and about and your wife has you go looking for him. Although the dog might be Shitforbrains, you might attract a lot of unwanted attention hollaring that…at least if you lived in my town you would.

109 George Franke December 16, 2011 at 5:03 pm

oops…I meant, don’t name your dog something you would mind yelling at 2 am.

110 John December 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

when my dad (he was born in 1933 on a farm) was a kid, his first dog was named Butch. when that one died, his second dog was named…. Butch, or “butch the second”. When THAT one died some years later, his next dog was “Butch”, aka “butch the third” aka “poikey” (Poikey was his nickname even though Butch was his name, according to Dad’s explanation). later on he had dogs named Norman Dinklepuss, King (who was a FEMALE shepard), and Petunia (who was a MALE golden retriever) Petunia got his name from the old, old song “a lonely little petunia in an onion patch”. His full name was supposedly Petunia Butterscotch Bonaparte Tanglefoot The Third (even though there never was a first or second, he was the only Petunia ever)

111 Jon Finkel December 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm

John – Petunia Butterscotch Bonaparte Tanglefoot The Third

Definitely the best use of a flower/dessert/military leader name I’ve ever heard.

112 Frank Dashwood December 16, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Don’t worry too much about what you call your pets. It’s far, far better to give your dog a stupid, trendy, faux-unique name than it is to give your child a stupid, trendy, faux-unique name.

113 E December 16, 2011 at 5:21 pm

“Honey, I don’t think that parts of the body make very good names.”

“But thats what you call Uncle Richard.”

- Beethoven

114 RJ December 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm

The guy above with the little dog ‘ could not help but recall the commercial ‘ the two mechanics who ‘ think they are rich enough to have a small dog rich’. commercial. Not sure if that is in all places.. but still.. they are manly seeming men working under jacked up car and talking between then on their Dog groom being a Genius. I know that a small dog is not by itself less manly.. but in some places it just can’t help but lend to the Fru fru look. I have had a PIT named KODI after the Kodiak Bear,I Lived and worked On the Island of Kodiak for a while.. and a Schnauzer mini named Pepper ( Dr. Peppers lonely Hearts club ) We also called Him Sergeant Pepper as he acted like a military Commander. I am looking into adopting again.. very interesting Piece.. Stronger names work for me.. Harrison is one idea.. Hemingway was a thought.. lots to think about. My Grandpa’s name was Chauncy — Nicked :Chance. I thought of giving that a Try.

115 Marty December 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm

My grandpa has had a succesion of three white retrievers, all named Buckshot, or Bucky for short.

116 Culper December 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Some of the best I’ve ever heard are Spec, Bear, and Baron.

117 Jasper December 16, 2011 at 5:39 pm

I have data relevant to this article.

This may be a personal thing, but I hate to see dogs named after dogs in current popular culture. The park I walk my dog (Sudo, black lab, since you asked) at is teeming with dogs called Marley. First thing I think when I see a dog called Marley is “sorry, fella, your owner has no imagination (and probably never saw that movie to the end)”.

I spent ages thinking about the name for my (wife’s, but he’s mine really) dog. I always loved the idea of calling a dog Sudo, but I was concerned that only nerds would get it, so I made sure to have a viable fallback, and I think that’s important. If someone doesn’t immediately get your dog’s name, something simple and cute to explain is very helpful (Sudo is a contraction of “Super dog”. I haven’t encountered a single person who didn’t go “awww, that’s cool” if they didn’t get the primary reason!) otherwise you could end up explaining the fundamentals of Unix to a 60 year old woman in the park who has very little interest in that. It doesn’t make for a smooth social exchange.

This may be an incident isolated to proud geeks like me, but hey, my dog’s got a cool name!

118 Peter Hernandez December 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

My brother’s and I had to name our dog 4 years ago when we got him as a pup. the three of us sat down around this tiny white puppy and shot each other’s names down.

After we told our baby brother that the dog’s name wasn’t going to be “snowball” we were stuck at an impasse. I wanted a formal name, my younger brother wanted to name him something ironic, like tiger. After we settled our differences and rubbed our bruises we sat down again and met with a compromise. Now my dog, Simba, is chilling by my lap as I type this, completely unaware of how much trouble we went through to name him. Simba is not the greatest of names… and I’m not sure if it doesn’t break the “ironic” rule still, but meh, it works for us

119 Conor December 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm

So about the whole not naming dogs after cars. My brother and I each had a German Shepard from the same litter and they were named Mercedes and Porche and there Mom was named Harley and every one that heard that liked it. But it’s true that if you named your dog after a car because you were too poor to get it then that’s lame.
But over all i think that if the name fits then who cares what it is

120 Seth December 16, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I had a lab/chow/retriever mix back in the day. Named her Junoe. Not after the capital of Alaska, I just didn’t want to have it confused with the goddess, so I added the “e”. My parents had a schnauzer named Tululah and another named Danny Boy.

121 Bill December 16, 2011 at 6:48 pm

I DID NOT appreciate the disrespect to Coach Paterno.

Try not to be so smug.

122 Joe December 16, 2011 at 6:52 pm

We picked our pit/lab mix from the litter when she was about a week old. I looked them over for about a minute, pointed and said “That one, and we’ll call her Wedge.” Named for a marking on her head, it really came to fit later on, she sleeps between my wife and I.
We have another pet named Gitchie Bird and how she got her name is a story in itself.

123 PCD December 16, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Our brindle, female, Queensland Heeler/Pit is named, Nandi.

Our female Jindo, is called Siva.

124 brendan December 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm

My first dog was named Reeb (beer spelled backwards). Xander is the name I went with for my current pup

125 Tadd December 16, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Vizsla named Reilly … after Reilly’s Daughter in Chicago .. the best damn bar to ever be … and I’m not talking about the Midway travesty.

126 PapaWhisky December 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm

I did not get to name our two dogs. When I met my wife I inherited her German Shepherd–already named “Gimp” because he’d been run over twice while he was a puppy. Yeah, I just love calling him when the neighbors can hear…. Our other dog, an all white Siberian Husky, is named “Tsunami.” We adopted her when she was 9 years old because the family who had her was getting evicted and was going to put her down. After 9 years we figured she knew her name–so she kept it.

My brother’s Corgi’s name is “Falcon Buscuit Goosefoxen.” I have to give him an “A” for originality.

As an aside, I grew up on a ranch and rescued a kitten from the neighbor’s barn in the dead of winter in Wyoming. The next day I returned to the barn and found the mother and siblings all frozen to death. My step-dad named him “Clod Balls.” He turned into a pretty manly cat….

127 Bill Pickford December 16, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I’ve only ever had two dogs of my own.
The first was a Lab/Setter cross called Roy – a good, strong masculine name for the biggest softest lump you ever saw, so agile he could catch a rising pheasant out of mid-air.
The second was a Boxer bitch who, really, named herself – when my daughter and I went to select the pup my daughter exclaimed, “Oh, she’s a little beauty!”
So Beauty it was.
My father always had Boxers, and he always gave them German names – we had Fritz and Hansi for the boys, and Helga and Asta for the girls.

128 Paul December 16, 2011 at 7:48 pm

My friend’s had to Dobie’s named Jekel and Hyde. True to form were their personalities as well. One mean as hell and the other would lick your face off..

129 My Dog Twig December 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

For god’s sake, don’t go with a name like Prufrock or Bernoulli.

There are 583,497 dogs named Scout in California alone, most of them border collies.

Actual names of real dogs, from Henry Chappell’s East Texas joint: Maggie, Molly, Chance, Smoke, Whitey, Tiger, Junior, Cate, Red, Ranger… squirrel!

Names of actual working border collies:

130 Glen Tickle December 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I have an English Pointer named Elvis. He had the name when we adopted him, but was named after Prestley. Now we tell everyone he’s named after Costello because he’s English.

People seem to agree it’s a good name.

131 Andrew December 16, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Female black lab, answers to “Chicory”.

132 Kory December 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Our Weimaraner’s name is Gilligan. It’s fairly fitting as he’s a total goof.

133 Daniel December 16, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Our German Shepherd is named “Lobo”, after my grandfather’s infamous German Shepherd from long ago. It doesn’t bother me that she’s a female, despite one person telling me I should have named her “Loba.” No – her name is Lobo.

134 Steven December 16, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I’ve got a Australian Cattle Dog named Grendel. Thought it was easy to say and a cool literary reference.

135 RB December 16, 2011 at 8:37 pm

We named our dane Waylon in honor of Waylon Jennings..

136 Eric December 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

The only dog I ever had of my own I named Bruce, an old chihuahua with one bottom tooth sticking up and out of his lip. He was peppy on walks, lazy enough the rest of the time; very obedient when he should have been and stubborn as all hell when it was amusing. Somebody threw him out of a car window in front of my apartment one day and I stepped up to the plate of “small dog” ownership. Never regretted it.

137 SSBV December 16, 2011 at 9:14 pm

We named our white boxer Winston because his little wrinkly face looked JUST like Winston Churchill… especially if he was carrying a chew stick, like a stogie, in his mouth.

138 B.E. December 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I was given a king shepherd pure bred by a friend of mine in the police corps after my military days. The dog sustained a major injury and never fully recovered. So They had to get rid of him, I took him. His name was Nero, named after an ancient roman emperor. It fit him perfectly. It’s perfect for me aswell due to my interest in roman history and, coincidentally, my admiration for Nero (emperor), whom was my favourite of the roman leaders. My dog was big, strong, brave and the most loving creature I’ve ever known. He’s saved my life twice on hunting trips. God rest his soul.

139 Alex December 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

My ex-girlfriend’s father had three Irish setters named Colt, Winny (Winchester), and Remy (Remington). Now that’s manly.

140 Steve McConnell December 16, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Had an english setter when I was a kid we called “Dog” when he got older, we called him “Old Dog”. We liked to keep it simple.

141 Nate December 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm

My first dog was a White Shepherd named Grizzly
Dog I had the longest was a Terrier/Poodle barking machine named Brandon (He had the name when we got him)
My last dog was a German shepherd/Akita named Apollo. I miss having a dog!

142 M.C. December 16, 2011 at 9:31 pm

And that why I named the dog Sig. If one Sig doesn’t defend the home, the other will.

143 Jun December 16, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Sorry to disagree, but malteses are awesome. I don’t know why you think men shouldn’t have one.

144 MarkJ December 16, 2011 at 10:09 pm

I had a German Sheppard pup named Schaefer, which is German for Sheppard.

Now I’ve got a female Shar Pei, which I named Amica. Amica is the female Latin word for friend. Man’s best friend.

I also like the name Puppy. I call her that nearly as much as I call her Amica.

145 Ed Sagen December 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm

We got a new Brittany pup from a bitch named Shawnee. We agreed, I get to give her the official name but my wife got to pick her kennel name as long as it was a good hunting name. I told her she had to name the pup after a gun (Remi, Winchester, Colt) or a type of Pecan tree (Shawnee, Pawnee, Tejas, etc., we had a Pecan orchard as well as the kennels at the time). That is how I ended up with a Brittany (spaniel) named Daisy!

146 Jim December 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm

As a kid I had a german shepherd named STARSKY. Loved that dog but the show petered out.

147 Aaron December 16, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Best part about being a man? I don’t need a list to tell me what I can or can’t name my own dog. I’m smart enough to pick a name I like and that matters to me alone, so I couldn’t care less what others think.

148 Jeremiah December 17, 2011 at 12:10 am

Every Labrador I’ve ever met was some kind of thief so I named my dog Saint Dismas. You might have to google that one. He goes by Diz, Dizzy and Dismas.

149 John December 17, 2011 at 12:37 am

My dad’s litmus test for naming a dog is, I think, a good one: How does the name sound when you shout it across a crowded park?

150 Chris December 17, 2011 at 12:56 am

In the days before the Internet reigned and Wikipedia ruled from the shadows, my family took in a female black Lab pup. With four kids and two parents all looking to “help” name her (along with a sordid assortment of friends, family and opinionated outsiders), we ended up agreeing on naming her Coda, in the mistaken belief that “Coda” was a song on the Led Zeppelin album, “Black Dog”. It wasn’t.

But, it called well (yes, even at 2 am.), was cute and somewhat unique (we never met another Coda, at least), fit her personality (she was constantly chasing her tail (HER “coda”) and so, for ten years, it stuck.

And I absolutely miss her now that she’s gone.

151 Mike December 17, 2011 at 1:06 am

Always wanted to name a dog “Dammit.” Can you picture it? “Sit, Dammit!” “Dammit, get off the couch!”

152 lwh December 17, 2011 at 1:20 am

We coon-asses gotta argue for Fido; you just spelled it wrong… its Phydeaux!

153 Josh Calkin December 17, 2011 at 1:31 am

Our Great Dane’s name is Roosevelt. Yes, after TR. His full name is “Dynamite’s Teddy Rough and Ready.”

154 rob December 17, 2011 at 1:40 am

Bigfoot’s Rebel Yell, “Belle”
Roughwater’s Alamo Hero, “Bowie”

155 Brian December 17, 2011 at 1:51 am

my 150 lbs Pyrenese/Malamute was Dakota. I didn’t name him but it fit. I always liked the name Sundance (sundance kid) or Eastwood (clint). I never liked when a dog is named after a common human name! “britney” “jenni” “carl” “jonny” ugh … “You stepped in who’s poo!?! Or your dog” … Lame!

156 barry December 17, 2011 at 2:20 am

i have a friend that named his dog stain, so he could yell, “come, Stain”. funny, but not a park or at 2 am.

157 Jonathan December 17, 2011 at 2:34 am

My wife surprised me with a chocolate lab mix puppy and she had a name tag that read “Denver”. Tributary to John Denver.
ACCEPTABLE and EXCEPTIONAL, if you ask me!
Although, my wife is cooler than most.

158 willblake December 17, 2011 at 3:02 am

I’d long figured to name my first dog “Lefty” in honor of Steve Carlton and Lefty Kreh. When I got the dog, a smaller herding mix (Aussie/Sheltie/BC), she was white with a brown left ear and left front paw, so it was easy to stick with the name. Still have to explain to the occasional “Lefty is a boy’s name” comments, but after over ten years I still dig the name and it works easily for commands, etc., plus lends nicely to either “Left” or “Leftydog” depending on my mood and her behavior. I’m looking to add a variety of Belgian sheepdog to the family that will likely get stuck with Eddy (for Eddy Merckx); maybe a bit cliche, but as others have mentioned it’s good to have a name that is relatively uncommon and works easily with commands.

159 Josh December 17, 2011 at 3:04 am

Sometimes things just come up that are beyond your control and end up making you look like a fool. Example: my mom adopted a very sweet mutt several years ago. She named her Bella. It was a great name, until those horrendous Twilight books came out.


Anyways, great article and solid words of advise.

160 Buck December 17, 2011 at 3:30 am

Our German Short Hair goes by Uncas

161 Patrick December 17, 2011 at 3:48 am

We named our German Shepherd ‘Kodiak’ and he answers to Kodi for short… the reason? Because as an 8-week old puppy, he looked like a bear cub.

We’re looking to get another shepherd this coming year, and if we get a female, we’ve decided to name her ‘Sheila’ in honor of the fact that we’re currently living down under and it seems appropriate.

162 Evan M December 17, 2011 at 3:52 am

I got to name my sister’s daschund Maximus, we just call him Max. Her other dog is a chihuahua/terrier mix my niece named Peanut but my brother in law likes to call him Virgil Green, which is an awesome name.

My parent’s mini schnauzer is named Bella after the Twilight character because it was the only way dad was going to convince mom to get a dog. Not a manly book for sure but not a bad name for a female dog.

163 J W Carter December 17, 2011 at 5:55 am

Saw a yellow lab named Krugerand. I always thought that showed good imagination.

164 Ty M December 17, 2011 at 6:03 am

When I was younger we had a half Australian Shepard half blue heeler. I named him after my favorite book at the time. Hank the cow dog. I did this because that’s exactly what he was breed for and I like the name simple and easy to say.

Dog’s are man’s best friend and I wouldn’t want to tell someone my best friends name is snowy or coco. manlier the better.

165 Peter December 17, 2011 at 6:05 am

As John said,,, never give a dog a name that you would not be comfortable shouting out loud in public.

If you do not have naming rights to the dog, ensure that the dog knows the nickname that you give it. It is far better to be heard calling “Stinker”, than “Tinkerbelle”.

166 Jules December 17, 2011 at 6:29 am

@John , Peter (165)
Beat me to it. If you sound like a complete goose shouting it out loud -then don’t use it as a dogs name.
Like that chap on the viral video when his dog (Fenton) takes off after some deer.

167 GardenStater December 17, 2011 at 6:43 am

A fine article, and I enjoyed reading the comments, as well.

However, I must take issue with you regarding the name Fido:

1) It comes from the Latin for “faithful,” which is a commendable trait in any companion.

2) TR was indeed one of the manliest men in history. But Abraham Lincoln, arguably our greatest president who was not a little macho (railsplitting, anyone?) owned a dog named Fido.

3) I would wager that you never, in your life, have actually met a dog whose name is Fido.

That’s why it’s my dog’s name,

As to the big dog/little dog thing: I’ve owned a St Bernard and several Scottish Terriers, and they were all fine dogs. I think where men can cross the line is with the “toy” breeds and/or small dogs that are too fussy. But hey–get the dog you want, and love it like crazy! (And by all means, adopt. Go to, and you’ll find thousands of great dogs!)

168 Kosta Dimitrov December 17, 2011 at 6:52 am

I don’t know about you guys, but I seem to have a bit of a fondness towards the name Dante, and I have given this promise to my self, if I ever get a dog, it will be a Husky and it will be known as Dante throughout the lands!

169 Aaron December 17, 2011 at 7:22 am

I currently have a Corgie/Sheltie mutt who came from the rescue shelter pre-named Daisy. Previous dog was a Border Collie, another shelter mutt, named Lily. We named our daughter Rose… do I smell a theme?

But my favorite name I ever gave a dog was a Rottweiler/Black Lab puppy I called Berlin.

My first dog was a collie named Buffy – long before the vampire slayer.

170 Bill R. December 17, 2011 at 7:51 am

I named my dog after the dog in the John Wayne movie Big Jake. “Dog.”
My second dog was named “Rooster” from True Grit.

171 Kyle December 17, 2011 at 8:04 am

2 German Shepherds , Rex and Cody. Male
Black Lab, Dakota. Female, girlfriend’s dog
Old dog was a Great Dane named Bruiser. Reason behind that was because he never learned to not jump up onto people’s shoulders so if you weren’t expecting it you ended up flat on your ass with him just lying on top of till he was done licking your face. Best dog ever. Jump a couple of my past girlfriends and gave me a good chuckle cause of it.

172 Kyle December 17, 2011 at 8:05 am

2 German Shepherds , Rex and Cody. Male
Black Lab, Dakota. Female, girlfriend’s dog
Old dog was a Great Dane named Bruiser. Reason behind that was because he never learned to not jump up onto people’s shoulders so if you weren’t expecting it you ended up flat on your ass with him just lying on top of you till he was done licking your face. Best dog ever. Jump a couple of my past girlfriends and gave me a good chuckle cause of it.

173 Patterner December 17, 2011 at 8:12 am

“Jäger” is german for hunter, so it is still
a good name for a dog. Well, maybe not
for a Chihuahua…

174 SteveL December 17, 2011 at 8:18 am

I’ve had Siberian Huskies for many years and because they are wolf like I have given many wolf names from wolf packs that have been in the media. So the males Lakota and Wahots and females Isis and two were already named when I took them in Shasta and Bella(Chicken killer). “Walk your own trail, live your own life.”

175 Dennis December 17, 2011 at 8:18 am

German Shepherd- Odysseus, Ody for short. Badass name for a badass dog.
Beagle- Oghren. Fitting, because he’s small, clumsy, incredibly lazy, yet sweet and dedicated.

176 Stephen December 17, 2011 at 8:46 am

I’ve had two German Shepherds.
One was named Frazier after Joe Frazier (although everyone always asked me if he was named after the tv show). The other was named Stanley have the Stanley Cup.

177 David B. Schlosser December 17, 2011 at 8:59 am

Never – and if you doubt me on this, ask a veterinarian – never name a dog Lucky.

178 Darren December 17, 2011 at 9:03 am

I had a friend with a three-legged dog named Manfrotto. Photographers will find this humorous.

I traded a kayak for a purebred show dog, a two year-old German Shorthair who already had the name Winnie (Winterwood Kurzhaar Dual Wins was her real name – freaky). I had to call her Winnie. It was okay. Miss that dog.

Current dogs:

A black lab puppy we rescued from someone who named her Hermione. Try yelling that at 2:00 AM. We changed her name to Gracie (Amazing Grace). Easier yell.

A Great Pyrenees puppy. That was a hard one. I wanted to name her Blanche after my grandmother and because she’s white and French. I thought it was too ugly to yell (“blaaaaaaanche!) so we went with my wife’s grandmother — Alice. Then it was Big Al. Now it’s just Al.

Careful. Things morph.

P.S. Agree on the hating of small dogs. Not a fan myself, but a friend had a really cool mutt of Australian Cattle Dog and some small dog, maybe a dachshund. Not sure how they did the deed but the result looks like a dachshund that was put through a car wash. Bad ass dog. Honey badger-like.

P.P.S. If you have a mutt and want to know its breed history, there’s a test.


179 Jon December 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

Cocker Spaniel – - – Jackson. no reason, I just like the name

180 Caleb December 17, 2011 at 9:21 am

I have two dogs; Charlie and Elvis

181 Josh December 17, 2011 at 9:34 am

Weimaraner = Spartacus.

… yes, he is valiant.

182 Steven December 17, 2011 at 9:34 am

We’ve been adopting dogs for many years from shelters or rescue organizations so generally we get the dog with a name, which is hard to change. We had a Golden Retriever once that we named Tasha, but for her registration papers her name was Princess Natasha of Wixom, Wixom being the street we lived on. When I was a kid we had family friends who owned a Bassett Hound they called Useless, she really was.

183 Brian O'Keefe December 17, 2011 at 9:42 am

My kids named our big dog Saddie despite my attempts to convince them otherwise. When my wife and kids decided that we also needed a small dog, I got outvoted but negotiated for naming rights. I choose Karch. It’s unique enough to be a conversation starter. He’s named after the greatest volleyball player in history, who’s still alive (he’s still only 50), so I violated at least one of those rules.

184 Nathan Zeigler December 17, 2011 at 9:44 am

My parents never wanted a big dog when I was young so they got a cairn terrier. Its the same as the rat from the Wizard of Oz named TOTO. that is what my mom wanted to name him. Toto was a female dog, so I could not let this fly. That dog had about 9 generations of papers on him, and 9 of 10 of his ancestors names were musician names. Most of those names were ignorantly formatted because they were show dogs, but to keep with the musical jive I named him Ringo after Ringo Starr. We didn’t put him in dog shows just like I don’t put my 4 year old son in a fashion magazine. I let it be a dog (although it was more like a 19 pound rat).

185 B December 17, 2011 at 9:46 am

Girls get girl names and Boys get boy names. Makes it pretty simple. ALthough I suppose one day I’ll end up dating a woman with the same name as one of my dogs, and in that case I’ll have to get her a new name (the woman of course).

If you name your bird dog Jägermeister it is very fitting. The literal translations is Hunt-Master, however being a ignorant college kid with no knowledge of this and naming your adopted bulldog it, not so fitting.

186 Konrad December 17, 2011 at 9:56 am

German Shephard – Gabriel or Gabe mostly
Black Lab – Gus

187 Matt December 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

I have a louisiana cur named Jake. Not an original name by any means, but I named after the character from the Dark Tower series. Epic!

188 Rufus Magnus December 17, 2011 at 10:14 am

Two Bichons Frises, both boys.

One called Douglas (Doug the Dog)

The other called Arthur (he’s ‘alf the size and he’s Doug’s ‘alf-brother. And he says “arf.”)

189 Pete December 17, 2011 at 10:39 am

I agree with the article and most of your readers. Don’t name a dog anything you can’t shout out your window. I’ve always been partial to sharp powerful names that get the dog’s attention. Boomer, Chip, Dodger, Buster, etc.

190 Brian December 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

Ogre, Porkchop, Goggles, Czar, Elvis (a hound mix I got in Memphis), Moko, Ponch, Grizz, Newton and Al were my best names. Other than Porkchop they were all mutts and all shelter dogs. They were also all heart. No matter what you decide to name them, give shelter dogs a chance. The vast majority of them are only there because their previous owners couldn’t keep them, not because of something wrong with the dog.

191 Ty December 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

I agree wholeheartedly that naming a dog is a great manly responsibility. My Granddad had a bloodhound named Banjo. It was a fitting name for a great dog that sat with him on his porch in rural Mississippi. My first dog was an Australian cattle dog that I named Scout.

192 Ward December 17, 2011 at 10:54 am

Could go with the original name John Wayne’s dog in “Big Jake”….Dog. Have always like that name.

193 Darcy December 17, 2011 at 10:55 am

Jack Russell, male- Asta
female -Nora
From The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett
Great movie too!

194 octopussoup December 17, 2011 at 10:56 am

I like using older names that are a little too old fashioned to use for a kid. I’ve had Otto and Rufus. Next pup maybe Rolf or Rudolf. Maybe I’ll use Teddy for TR or use his dogs name Blackjack.

I knew a guy who had one dog (german shepherd) at a time and gave them all the same name.

195 Matt December 17, 2011 at 11:11 am

We had a large all black shepard/collie/huskie/sumpthin’ mix we named Walter. We called him Walt most of the time. The funniest thing is when people would hear his name and say something like “my grandpa’s name is Walter” As he got older most people called him “Big Walter” after they saw him in his sled dog harness. Loved to pull, loved the snow. The name just fit.
Now we have a female Weimeraner that’s the fastest dog i’ve ever seen outside a racetrack. We named her Stella. Perfect name when you’re yelling for her from across a field.

196 Mike December 17, 2011 at 11:15 am

Growing up one of our labours named his dog Sarge. He was career man in the military convinced he would never rise above the rank of Coporal so dog became the NCO he order around.

197 Jon December 17, 2011 at 11:34 am

A good friend named his artic/timber wolf hybrid Roscoe, an old slang term for a revolver. I’ve always wanted a german sheppard named Kaiser, german for “King”.

On the whole “small dogs aren’t manly” debate. Just yesterday I saw a guy get on the bus with his chihuahua, obviously on the way back from the vet (little guy had a cone around his head). Now, I live in the city, and most folks aren’t allowed pets at all, let alone full sized dogs. That little dog, silly as I think they look, was still his dog, his “best friend”. When it comes down to it, that’s the point, to have you best friend be it large or small.

198 Benjamin Gibson December 17, 2011 at 11:38 am

I bought my wife for her birthday a chihuahua. The first time she saw him he had a piece of food in his mouth and it look like a tiny cigar. Thr first thing she said was he look like Winston Churchill with his cigar hangin out. And the name has hung with the little guy. So im pretty sure the name Winston for a Chihuahua is fairly unique.

199 David December 17, 2011 at 11:50 am

Just keep it simple – no need to complicate naming or to try and be trendy or cute. My two girls; a black & tan mixed breed named “Bandi” and a pure-breed Blue Merle Aussie named “Nikki” – they seem to like their names just fine. Now giving cats cute and funny names, that’s a whole other story and very acceptable!

200 Chris Reno December 17, 2011 at 11:58 am

With hunting dogs, labs in our case, it’s good to have an easy to call, 2-3 syllable name. In our family, we have a theme of naming our labs after something to do with the Sierra Nevada mountains: Lassen (yeah, he was white), Sierra, her son Carson (Kit Carson), Heather (Red Mountain Heather; a flower), her daughters Foxy and Fern, and Fern’s kids: Bear (big boy of the litter) and Sequoia (small, but has a Giant personality).

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