Boring Dog Names
Mediocre Names, Mediocre Pets?
I will never understand how uncreative people can be at naming animals. Time and time again I take my beloved dog to the dog park, and we meet such exciting new breeds with exotic hair styles and fancy training and hilarious antics. But time and time again I am disappointed to find that out of every 30 dogs in a dog park, it is likely that they all share one of the same 8 to 10 names.
Do dog owners feel that the animal's title is simply not that important? Do they assume that just because it's a pet, it doesn't deserve a respectable name representative of their individual personality and traits? Dog owners frequently assume that their animal is unique beyond all others, special in every way, a treasure to be protected, a child to be loved, yet they give their "children" such hideously ordinary names. Is it some kind of joke? A commentary on the structures of society, an expression on how even the most average of Joe Blows can surpass expectation and conformity?
Unless you are for some reason trying to name your dog ironically, it would be wise to refrain from such overly used titles as Max, Buddy, Trooper, Cooper, Marley, Sam, Rocky, Bailey, Charlie, Molly, Maggie, Sadie, Sasha, Abby, or...heck, any of the names from these age-old lists of boring titles that make me want to fall asleep.
The Dangers of Boring Dog Names
Common dog names are not only extremely boring, but they also cause countless hundreds hours of confusion in veterinary, daycare, boarding, and park settings. When you have 16 black Labrador retrievers who are all named Sam in a boarding facility, and Sam's owner returns from a long vacation to pick up Sam, why is Sam's owner so constantly offended when the wrong Sam is brought out to him? Don't the kennel workers have more of a right to be offended, working with 16 identical dogs with horrendously identical names? Can you imagine how stressful it must be to keep the food and belongings of 16 dogs named Sam in an appropriately labeled and categorized system?
Is it really so hard to imagine your dog with a designation that is more unique than Sam, or Lucy, or Lucky? With every possible combination of vowels and consonants available to the average pet owner, what draws so many, again and again, to the same conclusion that Buster and Daisy are the best possible choices in the entire world for their new puppy?
Why Should I?
Do you want people to remember your freakishly smart terrier by the ho-hum title of Samson? Do you want your grandly gorgeous poodle to be immortalized as simply Bella? To be just like every other dog you meet on the street? I didn't think so! The benefits to an uncommon name are many.
- Easily identifiable by others in a multi-dog environment.
- Easily recalled by yourself in a multi-dog environment.
- Interesting conversation starters (for all you single dog owners).
- Easily found in veterinary, kennel, and grooming computer databases.
- Representative of the unparalleled awesomeness that is your ace pooch.
How Can I Choose A Good Name?
First of all, if you are naming your dog a name you have heard another dog named as, please stop. It is likely the name you are about to name your dog is Shiloh, Dakota, or Blackie, and those are all grievously terrible names. It is important to think outside the box when it comes to your pup, as he is, I assume, as unique as you are. There are many different ways to come up with unique names, but here are some of my favorites.
Named Derived from Media - Though movies and television shows are a great place to find names for your new best friend, books tend to be my favorite source of media reference. Countless animal characters are found in the works of Rudyard Kipling, Richard Adams, George Orwell, and Felix Salten, whose characters have inspired, enamored, terrified and mystified many. Names such as Akela, Fly, Snitter, Maugrim, Gmork, Remus, Fell, Two Socks, Kiba, Toto, Sirius, Garm, and Arcos are all fictional canines from various literature and movies. I once had a friend who had named her dog Missy Coyote, after the beautifully deadly character from the Hank the Cowdog series. But you needn't limit yourself to canines alone; I once met a dog named Captain Nemo.
Names Derived from Mythology - I find the venue of legendary and mythological names to be a fun one, as back then they used a lot more variety. There is, of course, the typical canine-specific ones such as Cerberus, Amarok, Anubis, and Fenrir, but mythology brings you to an entirely new world of ideas you wouldn't have ever thought of otherwise. Is your dog a mischievous, misunderstood devil? Perhaps the name Loki is appropriate. Is your dog at home in the water, swimming for hours on end? Maybe Poseidon would be a fitting title. If your she-dog is black in color and subdued in personality, wouldn't calling her Nyx make sense? I am particularly fond of Hinkypunk, myself.
Names Derived From Flora - Now when I say flora, I am not talking about Daisy, Rose, or Bud. I'm talking names you most likely have never heard of, unless you are in fact a gardening fanatic. Pennyroyal is a simple plant with attractive flowers, but beware its taste - it is toxic! Mangelwurzel is a type of edible beet, and it makes for a name you will never forget. Lilli pilli, often called myrtle, is a name that suggests playfulness, though being an evergreen tree often used as hedgerows, it represents loyalty and determination.
Names That Are Not Names - I have the peculiar habit of finding particular words to be very appealing when spoken out loud. They are usually words that are not often used, or perhaps are so over-used that they have lost all meaning on their own. Some examples of rarely used words would be Widdershins, Raze, Fleet, and Fallow, while examples of over-used words might be Unless, Entire, December, and Until.
Having volunteered and worked in dog kennels, veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and pet stores my entire life, I have run across a few dogs here and there. After so many years of dealing with thousands of faces, you forget a lot of the ones you meet, but there are certain dogs in my life who I will never forget due to the unique qualities of their names. These dogs included Una, Paper, Bangarang, Domino, Curiosity, Dingle, Koji, Rebound, Beatrice, Yolo, Termite, and Snort.
None of these are names you would necessarily name your child, but that's half the fun of animal names. Humans are restricted to such a bland list of overused titles that have been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. How many Jessicas must I confuse with each other in my cell phone buddy list before I realize I need to stop making friends with Jessicas? Surely, the influx of Nathans and Sarahs will end someday... Is it just me, or have I met enough Justins to fill a moderately sized water silo? With all these common names floating around, at work, at home, in our romantic lives, and even on television, what's the harm with a little spark of originality in the form of your pet's alias?
It is perhaps pointless to dwell on the mysteries of the typical human brain and why they continue to reuse these weathered labels, but I can at least be happy with my lot. I dare you to find another snake named Widdershins, or another tarantula named December. As for my dog, he is named Beowulf, after the legendary hero.