Barbara Fitzgerald is an AKC Breeder of Merit and author of the column "Conversations with Champions" for the BCSA magazine, Borderlines.
Military Dog Names From Ancient Warriors
Atilla – Atilla the Hun ruled the Nomadic Hunnish people from 434–451 AD; they were descendants of migrants from the Central Asian Steppe. The Huns were a fierce people who waged war constantly and were rarely subdued by defeat. Attila and his brother Bleda each ruled a portion of the Hun Empire until the death of Bleda unified the Huns under Attila. So ruthless was Attila’s reputation, that he is suspected of engineering his own brother’s demise.
Attila led his people to invade Persia (unsuccessfully), parts of the Roman Empire and they plundered the Balkans on more than one occasion. While not always successful in conquering the citadels they attacked, they always returned with substantial booty, and were able to exact tributes from the Romans as well as peace treaties favorable to the Huns. As such they were the most feared army of the era.
Charlemagne – Considered the Father of Modern Europe, Charlemagne brought Christianity to his European empire via his own personal conversion. Known for his red hair and beard, Charlemagne makes a great name for any red-coated dog.
Drake – Sir Francis Drake, of the Elizabethan era, was instrumental in defeating the Spanish Armada. He also piloted the second circumnavigation of the world in the late 1500s.
Genghis Khan – Genghis Khan created one of the world’s largest empires by conquering most of modern-day China and Central Asia, to create the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century. While his forces are remembered for their wholesale slaughter of the locals as they subjugated the peoples newly under their control, the softer side of Genghis preached religious tolerance, and he was a practitioner of merit-based promotions. Genghis Khan is considered the Father of Mongolia and the prototype of the modern Project Management Professional. Genghis makes a great name for a pit bull or any of the Tibetan guard dogs.
Joshua – Joshua famously captured Jericho, wherein the walls came tumbling down. Additionally, he captured Canaan around 1200 BC.
Khan – Whether we are talking about The Wrath of Khan or Genghis Khan—we are talking about a powerful leader and physically superior specimen. Khan is Turkish, Mongolian and Persian for Lord.
Saladin – Muslim General who successfully fought off three European Crusades, leaving Jerusalem in Muslim hands.
Spartacus – Spartacus was a Thracian gladiator who was one of the escaped slave leaders in the Third Servile War, lasting from 73–70 BC. He was a charismatic leader that inspired a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic.
Tamerlane – A charismatic leader, from the area of modern Uzbekistan, that united Muslim, nomadic and Christian warriors to conquer regions of Western Europe and Asia in the late 1300s and early 1400s.
Modern Warrior Name Inspirations
Murphy – Audie Leon Murphy joined the US Army at the age of 17 to fight for the allies, and escape the poverty of an orphaned sharecropper’s life. As a soldier he became one of World War II’s most decorated soldiers, receiving the Medal of Honor at the tender age of 19. His heroism included singlehandedly holding off a company of Germans for an hour as a sharpshooter, and then leading his men on a charge to victory while wounded.
Murphy returned to become a Hollywood star, typically starring as a cowboy. Later in life he bred and raised Quarter horses and wrote songs. However, his life was far from idyllic. Murphy suffered from PTSD, sleeping always with a loaded weapon beside him, regularly requiring the aid of powerful sleeping pills.
Murphy died in a plane crash near Roanoke, Virginia at the age of 45. His grave can be visited at the Arlington National Cemetery.
Patton – General George Patton may have been a great general in two lifetimes. Certainly, he was one of the most respected generals of World War II. However, while on a battlefield in France, Patton was suddenly overcome by a strong sense of Déjà vu. He recollected the lay of the land and a battle that he had fought there as a Roman soldier. He recalled clearly how the armies had flanked, and where they had buried their dead at the edge of the fields centuries earlier.
Pershing – U.S. General John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing held the highest office of any living US General. Appointed General of the Armies, only George Washington has held a higher rank, which was granted posthumously. Pershing was a mentor to the next generation of American generals including Patton, Bradley, Eisenhower, and Marshall. Pershing served in the Apache Wars, Sioux Wars, Spanish American War, Battle of San Juan Hill, Mexican Revolution and World War I on the Western Front.
Ulysses – Roman name for Odysseus, King of Ithica, whose long journey home after the Trojan war is known to us through Homer’s Odyssey. Ulysses is also the name of one of the United State’s greatest strategic generals as well.
Born Hiram Ulysses Grant, Ulysses S. Grant would become the future General and President’s name due to an error made when completing his nomination to West Point Academy. Grant was a great horseman and held the high jump record for over 25 years at the Academy, however, he was not nominated to go into the Cavalry. Instead, Grant spent four years in the infantry.
As a general, Grant employed dogged determination and brute force to accomplish his victories. Known for his hard-drinking and frequent money troubles, Grant’s reputation throughout his lifetime and beyond have waxed and waned. He currently enjoys a renaissance as an accomplished general and skilled leader of men.
Tough Tank Names for Powerful Dogs
Bradley – The Bradley Fighting Vehicle is named for U.S. World War II General Omar Bradley. Two Bradley models were designed. One was an armored troop transport that could carry up to six soldiers in addition to its crew. The other was designed as a scout transport, armed with space for additional TOW missiles. The Bradley has been in production since 1981.
Sheridan – A light tank designed to be parachuted into action, the M551-Sheridan first entered service in the Vietnam War. Named for U.S. General Phillip Sheridan of the Cavalry Corps of the US Civil War, it was the predecessor to the Bradley fighting vehicles. Sheridan, knick named Little Phil, presided over the Confederate defeat at Shenandoah, and implemented the first use of scorched earth policy in the South. His hot pursuit of Robert E. Lee’s forces brought a swift end to the Confederacy at Appomattox.
Sherman – The Modern Tank M4 was the workhorse of the American Army during World War II. It was the second most-produced tank after the Soviet Tank the T-34. The British dubbed the M4 the “Sherman Tank” after the Civil War General, William Tecumseh Sherman, and his steady march through the South.
Merkava – The Israeli tank which was designed for rapid repair and redeployment. The Merkava’s rear “clamshell” style doors provide unique protection to its occupants while up and offloading supplies. It has been in service since 1979.
Panzer – Panzer quite simply means armored vehicle in German. The Panzer Army was the backbone of the German Blitzkrieg. Panzer makes a great name for a powerful German breed such as the Rottweiler or Doberman Pinscher.
Flying Fortress Names for Tough Dogs
Antonov – The Ukrainian-built Antonov AN-225 Mriya holds the world’s record for liftoff with the heaviest payload, at a mere 545,000 pounds. Designed to carry the Soviet Buran space shuttles to space, it is currently being used in commercial applications and for carrying oversized loads.
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Clipper – The Boeing C-40 Clipper is a transport plane based on the Boeing 737 that can carry 70 passengers and three cargo pallets on the main deck. Put into production in 2001, only 19 have been built and are in use by the US Navy and Airforce.
Havoc – The Douglas A-20 Havoc was a light bomber used in World War II. The A-20 was used as an attack plane, bomber and night fighter depending on its variation. The Bomber went by the nickname Boston, and the night fighter was known as the Havoc. The Havoc was used by the USAF, RAF and Soviet Air Force during the war.
Hudson – The Lockhead Hudson was another light bomber built for the RAF prior to the US entry into World War II. The Hudson was used to transport troops, as an anti-submarine aircraft, for reconnaissance, and as a light bomber. Produced for just 5 years during the war, over 2900 Hudsons were put into service the USAF, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Australian Air Force, and Royal New Zealand Airforce.
Hercules – The Hercules has been in production for over 50 years fulfilling military and civilian humanitarian functions. The current Super Hercules model C-130J has a cargo bay 9 feet wide and 41 feet long and 10 feet tall. Over 300 of these flying beasts are in use over 13 nations.
Puss Moth – The De Havallind Puss Moth was a monoplane built from 1929–1933. It could fly at speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour, making it arguably the highest performance plane of its day. We include it here because we can’t believe they named their plane the Puss Moth. Other De Havallind Moth models include the Fox Moth, Leopard Moth and of course the Moth Minor. Oddly, the Moth Man did not get a namesake plane.
Salute to Military Dogs Four Legged Warriors!
Unique Dog Names From Military Terminology
Bang Bang – Army term for any pistol or rifle.
Jawa – Name used for any soldier stationed in desert terrain. A Star Wars reference!
Mustang – Name for an officer promoted from enlisted personnel.
Radar – RADAR makes a cute name for any breed with large prick ears, that look like a satellite dish.
Semper Fi – Latin, Semper Fidelis, translates as "always faithful," the motto of the US Marine Corp.
SNAFU – Snafu is a cute name for a puppy that makes a lot of mistakes early on in training. Snafu means a mistake, mix up, or disaster. It stands for Situation Normal All F*'d Up, and typically refers to orders from the chain of command.
Swoop – Marine term for a weekend off base
Zoomie – Anyone who operates a flying machine. Zoomies are the crazies dogs get when they suddenly run around helter-skelter to expend excess energy.
More Dog Name Inspirations!
- 76 Name Ideas for Therapy, Emotional Support and Service Dogs
Here are over 70 unique, meaningful names for our companions who provide comfort, love and support as therapy and service dogs.
- 66 Cosmic Names for Dogs From the Cosmos and Science
Here are some other-worldly dog name ideas from the stellar bodies of our solar system and universe. Many unique cosmic names are based on Greek and Roman gods, heroes and heroines.
© 2014 Barbara Fitzgerald
Elle Aych on July 14, 2018:
Thanks for this, although I never found a name here for my GSD, I loved the history lesson... ;)
Madison on June 02, 2018:
Can dicide on a name Apollo,Titian,Odin for my elite chiman pit bull ?!?
Barbara Fitzgerald (author) from Georgia on July 02, 2015:
Hi Bill: Thanks for dropping by. I have a lot of fun thinking up unusual dog names.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on July 02, 2015:
I don't know why I love this series but I do. I think because it is so unique and creative, two qualities I admire. Well done!
Barbara Fitzgerald (author) from Georgia on June 03, 2015:
Thanks Fitzy - I am a Fitzy too!
jefitzgerald40 on June 02, 2015:
Great article, lots of awesome names!
Wyatt on March 04, 2015:
Great page for German shepereds