Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What's in a Name?

EverythingDogBlog #7
EverythingDogBloWhat's in a name anyway?
by Skye Anderson, MS
What's in a name, anyway?
A rose is a rose is a rose, right? What ever happened to all the Rovers and Rustys and Chiefs and Fidos and Spots and Patches and Kings of yesteryear? Now our dogs are named Hannah and Sam and, . . .  ahem! -  Cuddles. (Well, better to be a Cuddles than a Puddles.)
According to BARk magazine ( which writes that according to, the top ten canine names of 2011 were mostly human (why am I not surprised?) and included Max, Daisy, Bella, Lucy, Molly, Charlie, Jack, and Sadie, rounded out by two monikers that can belong to either humans or canines - Buddy and Rocky.
Of course you know that there are only three possible names for a dog:
1. Beethoven, so you can say, "Roll over, Beethoven!"
2. Achilles so you can say "Achilles! Heel!" and
3. Johann Sebastian Barque.
In my training classes, I tend to call all the dogs, Sweetheart or Sweetie Pie (and call them all 'hims'). Imagine my surprise when one little one WAS actually named Sweetie Pie! Fortunately that class also had a Helix whose human was a geneticist like me. At last someone who could speak my language!
And I hear Christian Slater doesn’t have a fish called Wanda but does have a dog called Fish!
One of the families I dogsit for in Columbia even has a pooch named Poochie (how original is that?), probably named by the former child who is now a teen. . . . a real Poochie ‘Moochie.’
In the world of show dogs (think Westminster Dog Show in Madison Square Garden every February), one names a dog several times, the first of which is the kennel name (e.g., Lazyriver) followed by the dog name (Star in the Skye) for Lazyriver Star in the Skye, or Skylar/Skye for short, the call name, which should not rhyme with 'no' or 'sit' or 'stay' or 'come' or 'heel' or 'go potty' . . . . for obvious reasons.
As a matter of fact, the American Kennel Club (AKC) actually has a list of rules for naming dogs, one of which is that a name cannot be more than 30 characters long. The AKC must also approve each name and no more than 37 dogs of the same breed can share the same name. But you can give your dog a number instead of a name!
Having said all that, I want three more labs and a golden retriever since I already have their names picked out. My black labrador retriever will be called Goldie, my yellow lab will be named Spot, my chocolate lab will be Whitey and I will call my golden retriever, Blackie (or maybe Labbie). That way they will never answer to anyone else! (I can always pretend they aren't mine, too!).
I might also get a male dog (a dog) and name him Lassie, and get a female dog (a bitch) and name her Laddie. But my favorite name for a dog will forever be Deogie (D-O-G) or just, "Hey You! You in the Fur Coat!"
On the other hand, I also want a Rottweiler (a Rottie) whom I shall call Sweetums (I once had a teddy bear that I called CocoaButterHoneyBrownSugarTeddyBear) and a pit bull named Princess who shall always wear a pink collar. Except when she's wearing flowers or ribbons-and-bows.
My best buddy has a Cutie and a Chewy – easier to identify who is the canine in that family.
Or maybe I'll get a Yorkie and name her Bear! After all, aren't we programmed to live up to our names? (Which is why I changed mine! Unfortunately, people often think Skye is the dog partner of this human-canine team.)
Shown in the photo are Moose, an Old Gold, and puppy Tyson, a boxer. What a pair!
(Photo courtesy of SBrown)

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