Let’s Talk: How Do You Choose Names for Your Dogs?

Some people can be ridiculously unimaginative when it comes to naming their dogs. Others have turned it into an art form. How did you name yours?


Most of us choose the names of our dogs very seriously. It’s like coming up with a name for your child. There are plenty of books and websites that list popular names of dogs. You might choose a name that reminds you of a dog you had as a child. Your new pup might be named after a family member who looks or acts like your dog. It could even be a name that’s handed down from litter to litter, like Beauregard Stansfield Jr. or Mr. Dithers III.

However, I know people who aren’t as attached to their dogs and simply go with DOG. If the dog is a particular color, they might just call him Black Dog. This is something I would never do, but it made me wonder: How do we go about choosing the names of our dogs?

For me, choosing the names of each of my dogs was very personal. My first dog, Bandit, was a Collie-Shepherd mix. He was brown with black markings around his eyes when he was first born. He looked like he had a mask around his eyes, like a thief in the old cartoons I used to watch. Or you could say he had the eye markings of a raccoon. It seemed like an appropriate name, though the dark markings around his eyes would fade away as he got older.

My wife, Kim, named our first dog. Neecie was a red-and-blonde Pomeranian who looked like she had a copper coloring when each of the colors blended together. Her colorings and markings had nothing to do with the name. Her name came from a combination of the street that we were driving by on our way home and the city we were living in. New York + Muncie = Neecie. It wasn’t an exact science in selecting the name, but it was a unique name.

Our next dog was an older black-and-white toy Pomeranian who was dumped outside of the apartment we were living in. She was in pretty bad physical condition and soaking wet from the rain. Someone took her to the complex manager and eventually brought her to us since we already had Neecie. We tried every name we could think of to see if it would spark her interest and get her to come over to us. The only name that worked was Baby. So from that point forward she was called Baby.

Our next dogs were Schnauzers who were brothers from the same litter. Buzz and Woody were named for the two main characters from the movie Toy Story. Their names were chosen by the breeder who had them before we adopted them. She called them Buzz and Woody for the first nine months of their lives. At that time, they were getting too old to sell so she dropped them off at the nearest pound. They were rescued by a woman named Jennifer, who visited the local animal control shelter weekly to rescue cats who were scheduled to be euthanized.

Jennifer saw Buzz and Woody within a day of being put down. So, though she typically only focused on rescuing cats, she wasn’t about to let two handsome, purebred Schnauzers be put down. She rescued them, placed them at her cat rescue facility, which was her home, posted them on Petfinder, and within days we spotted them and knew they belonged in our family. Jennifer is now known as Jennifer’s Pet Rescue, and we are forever grateful to her for rescuing our boys.

We named our little snow-white Schnauzer Dusty. It could’ve been because she was born in the dusty plains of east Texas. However, that was not the case. I simply looked at her and asked her what she wanted to be named, and the word Dusty came back to me loud and clear. It’s a fitting name, since she runs everywhere she goes. I like to say she is Dusty in the wind.

Our most recent addition to the family came to us with the name of Kramer. We kept the name since he seemed to respond to it. He does resemble the look of the character Kramer from the Seinfeld television series. His hair is sort of going in every which direction. He has one uplifted ear and one floppy ear, giving him a disheveled look.

So, it seems that we name our dogs based on many different factors, including how they look, how they act, what dogs we’ve had in our past and names they come with when we adopt them.

Then, of course, there are nicknames. In my case, I’ve given numerous nicknames to each of the dogs in my life. When I was growing up, I was told that the more nicknames one has, the more you are loved. I totally agree with that statement, as long as they are positive nicknames.

How did you name your dog? What nicknames does your dog have? Share your stories and pictures in the comments!

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