Barbara Fitzgerald is an AKC Breeder of Merit and author of the column "Conversations with Champions" for the BCSA magazine, Borderlines.
Dog Name Ideas for the Majestic German Shepherd
German shepherd puppies are the second most popular breed in the United States. Highly intelligent and fiercely loyal, these noble dogs are loving family pets and protectors. They excel at herding, agility, and obedience and make excellent schutzhund (a German word meaning "dog for protection.")
Police departments, drug enforcement agencies, and military services the world over rely on the versatility and biddability of the German shepherd to protect facilities and sniff out bombs and contraband.
These puppy names have been chosen from German history to celebrate this breed's heritage as kings of the herding group and as the ultimate guard dog and family friend. The ideas are separated into the following categories of names:
- Noble females
- German composers, writers, and philosophers
- Noble males
- Names for puppy geniuses
1. Military Names
Angriff - Attack.
Blitz - The German word for lightning. Blitzkrieg means "lightning war" and was a method of attack using a vast assault of mechanized weaponry with shifting fronts to keep the enemy off balance and unable to effectively respond.
Einheit - Detachment or unit.
Flak - Anti-aircraft artillery.
Flieger - Flier.
Gefect - Combat action.
Harko - Artillery commander.
Heer - Army.
Krad - Motorcycle.
Leon - Means "lionhearted."
Luki - Means "famous fighter."
Mauser - A German gun manufacturer that specializes in bolt action rifles and semi-automatic pistols.
Nebel - Fog or smoke, used in smokescreen units.
Pak - Anti-tank gun.
Panzer - The German word for armor. The Panzer tanks were the backbone of the German blitzkrieg of World War II.
Reiter - Rider, cavalryman.
Richthofen - Manfred von Richthofen is perhaps better known as the Red Baron. Richthofen is the most famous of the German flying aces of World War I, scoring the most kills of any of the German military aviators.
Rommel - Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, known as the Desert Fox, was arguably Germany's greatest tactical general of World War II, and certainly German's most popular general. Ever loyal to the German people, Rommel ended his life following a failed assassination attempt on Hitler's life.
Sturm - Assault.
Toten - Death.
Wach - Guard or watch.
Waffen - Arms
2. Noble Female Names
Ada - The diminutive of Adala, which means "noble" in German.
Agneth - The Teutonic version of Agnes, Agneth means "chaste" or "holy."
Aneken - The diminutive of Anna, it means "favored with grace."
Elke - A diminutive of Adalheid, meaning "noble."
Elsa - Short for Elizabeth or Elsabeth, Elsa means "God is my oath." It is the name of the famous tame lioness of Born Free.
Heidi - Like the heroine of the novel by Johanna Spyri, Heidi means "sweet" and "noble."
Henrietta - Henrietta means "ruler of the home."
Hilde - Hilde means "noble," while Hildegard means "warfare."
Leni - Short for Helene, the Teutonic form of Helen, Leni means "torch."
Marlene - Has the peculiar double meaning of both "child of light" and "bitter."
Matilda - Means "battle maiden"!
Maude - Means "strength for battle." Maude is also the title character of Bea Arthur's 1970s TV series.
Rikki - Means "powerful ruler" and is the title of a great Steely Dan song, "Rikki Don't Lose That Number."
Romey - Although it means "rose," it also means "obstinate" and "rebellious."
Verina - Means "protector."
3. Names of German Composers, Writers, and Philosophers
Amadeus - A child prodigy of the Classical era in Austria, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart began composing at the age of five. During his short lifetime, he composed over 600 works. His operas and symphonies are perhaps the finest in musical history. Among his most recognized works are The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, Requiem, and The Magic Flute. While Mozart achieved acclaim during his lifetime, financial security remained elusive. At his death, which remains somewhat mysterious (118 different causes have been posited), he was buried in a common grave. Following his death, interest in and enthusiasm for his work grew substantially.
Bach - Johann Sebastian Bach was a composer of the Baroque period. During his lifetime, he was regarded as an accomplished organist. However, his compositions were under-appreciated. It was not until a later revival that his works were reevaluated and Bach came to be regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
Beethoven - Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer who developed in the shadow of Mozart's artistic legacy. He is famous for his nine symphonies, numerous sonatas (including the Moonlight Sonata), piano concertos, and string quartets. He was one of the greatest composers in musical history, but in a cruel twist of fate, Beethoven began losing his hearing at the age of 26. By the time he composed and conducted his Ninth Symphony to ecstatic applause, he was profoundly deaf. Name your German shepherd puppy Beethoven if you want a dog with an invincible spirit.
Kafka - Franz Kafka was born in the German-speaking portion of Prague, then the capitol of the Kingdom of Bohemia and part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Kafka was virtually unknown during his short lifetime. Among his most influential works are The Metamorphosis, The Trial, Amerika, and The Castle. Feelings of isolation, mystical transformations, and parent-child conflict are the overriding themes of his novels and short stories.
4. Noble Male Names
Alger - Means "noble warrior" or "spear man."
Deiter - Means "army of the people." It is also a Mike Myers character, the host of "Sprockets" on Saturday Night Live.
Derek - "Ruler."
Emory - "Leader."
Errol or Erroll - Comes from the German word for earl, which is a high-ranking nobleman.
Henrik - Means "rules the home."
Kaiser - "Emperor."
Karl - "Strong and manly."
Klaus - "Leader to victory."
Lewis - From multiple cultures; its Germanic meaning is "famous fighter or warrior." In French, it evolved from the word "wolf"; Welsh, Gaelic, Jewish, and Arab names have also been Anglicized into the name Lewis.
Lothar - "Renowned warrior."
Ludwig - "Famous warrior" and is the first name of Beethoven and Wittgenstein.
Maynard - "Firm and powerful."
Volker - "The people's warrior or guard."
Wolfgang - Wolfgang refers to an approaching or advancing wolf.
Zelig - Also the name of a Woody Allen film, Zelig means "blessed one."
5. Names for Puppy Geniuses
Einstein - Albert Einstein is considered the father of modern physics. His general theory of relativity and discovery of the photo-electron effect earned him a Nobel Prize in 1921.
Heisenberg - Werner Heisenberg was a theoretical physicist and father of the second pillar of modern physics, quantum mechanics. Walter White of the TV Series Breaking Bad assumes the name Heisenberg as his undercover name.
Kepler - Johannes Kepler was a 17th century astronomer and mathematician of great renown. His laws of planetary motion inspired Isaac Newton's universal gravitation theory.
Wilbert, Wilbur, and Wilburn - All variations mean "resolute" and "brilliant."
Need More Inspiration? Check Out These Ideas!
- Military-Inspired Names for Tough Male Dogs
A list of military dog names and their meanings inspired by war heroes, great generals, monster weaponry, and ancient history.
- 40 Cute Names for Female Hunting Dogs
A list of ideas for female hunting dogs, pointers, retrievers, spaniels, and more, from history and mythology as well as film and literature.
- 50 Native American Indian Names for Male Dogs
These meaningful and lyrical Native American names and words make cool names for strong dogs and lapdogs alike.
- Strong Irish and Scottish Dog Names
Celtic history and legend provide a rich pantheon of untapped dog names.
- Male Dog Names: 25 Noble Names For Strong Male Dogs
Check out these meaningful and powerful dog names based on noble titles from various cultures around the world.
adeline pinto on March 15, 2017:
Cindy from United States on May 19, 2016:
German Shepherds are the best dogs in the world. I wished I knew these names when I got my German Shepherd. I would totally want to shout "Richthofen!!" in the dog park.
Barbara Fitzgerald (author) from Georgia on May 28, 2015:
Thanks Rana- Serbian German Shepherds have lovely conformation and working ability! Good luck with your "lady."
Rana Steed from Texas on May 28, 2015:
I just bought a German Shepherd puppy a few weeks ago, she's 9 weeks old. Her name is Dona which means "Lady". She's Serbian, her father being from Germany. These are great name suggestions!