Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Picking a new name for your dog is an important task. The name needs to be short enough for the dog to respond to, fit with the dog's personality, and also have a special significance to you. Just calling your dog Max or Charlie simply won't do. Find something special!
This list of dog names is special for a lot of reasons. Some of the names are famous (even the posers that hang out in front of your local gallery will recognize them) while others are odd enough to be unique.
Take a look and see if one of them is good for you and your dog.
- Chagall (Marc, the French modernist. This is probably best for a modern, new world breed—either that or a progressive French Bulldog.)
- Dali (Salvador, the Spanish surrealist. Unusual artist with an unusual name for an unusual dog. Is there a theme here?)
- Degas (French, maybe realist, maybe impressionist. Don’t ask our dog—you decide, or ask a ballerina.)
- Gauguin (French post-impressionist. He actually painted a few dogs in Tahiti, but of course they were all odd colors. This would be a good name for a poi dog, no matter what the color.)
- Hopper (Edward, the American realist—a good name for a puppy that acts somber and looks off into space!)
- Matisse (Everyone is familiar with this French artist, but no one seems to agree on what he did. Good name, but I would be confused if I used it.)
- Monet (French, founder of the impressionist style, maybe. A good name for a dog, though Monet would probably disagree.)
- Pablo (Picasso—this Spaniard needs no description. A lot of people will not know his first name, so this is a good choice.)
- Pollock (Jackson, the American abstract artist. A good choice for an abstract dog—are there abstract dogs?)
- Rembrandt (Dutch painter. The best of the best, and an artist whose name will be recognized by almost everyone, even the troglodytes at the dog park.)
- Rockwell (Norman, the popular illustrator. This artist was “all-American”, so an “American” breed like the Beagle seems like a great choice.)
- Vincent (van Gogh, the Dutch post-impressionist. Most of us think of van Gogh's ear and various visits to the insane asylums of the day. This name really only fits a puppy that acts crazy most of the day—either that or a dog with cropped ears.)
- Warhol (Andy, the King of Pop Art. Every time I hear this name I think of David Bowie. It is probably only good for a weird dog.)
- Whistler (American painter, portrait artist. For some reason, I think this would be best for a dog that likes to lie around in front of the fireplace.)
Lesser-known artists with great names:
- Bacon (No, not the meat. The Irish-born existentialist.)
- Bansky (English graffiti artist. Only the dead-heads will recognize this name.)
- Cézanne (Famous among other artists, this French artist was an impressionist, a cubist, or…?)
- Georgia (O’Keefe, modern American painter.)
- Goya (The Spanish romantic painter.)
- Grandma (Moses, the American primitive painter. I would have a hard time naming a puppy something like this, and would be more likely to use it when telling my dog to hurry up.)
- Manet (French impressionist.)
- Rodin (French sculptor. Even if your dog does not fold himself up like “The Thinker”, this is a good name for a thoughtful dog.)
- Rothko (a Russian-American abstract expressionist. This artist was interesting but I would hate to stick my dog with this name.)
- Savage (Anne, the Canadian painter.)
- Vermeer (The Dutch Baroque painter from the 17th century.)
- Yeats (Jack, the Irish landscape artist. Good name, but of course most people will assume you named your dog after some poet.)
- Winslow (American landscape painter.)
Brutnbroek (pronounced brun-brook)
Dogs in Virginia
Art-Inspired Names for Puppies
You probably do not need those discussions of the great artists, and you may not even have cared about my list of art media, but you still might need some help in finding a great dog name. Follow a few rules when it is time to give him a name:
- Avoid the overused dog names. They are sort of like buying one of those paint-by-numbers kits at Wal-Mart. Do you really want to stick your dog with a name like that?
- Leonardo da Vinci may have been a great artist—his name, however, is not appropriate for a dog. Use the names on this list, or if you have another favorite artist only use that name if it has two syllables and is easy to pronounce. (If you really MUST use a name like Leonardo teach your dog a simple nickname, like ‘Nardo. See what I mean? Stay away from those great artists with odd names.)
- Do not pick a name that sounds like a training command (e.g. sit, stay, come). Puppies get confused easily. Do not make it any harder on the little guy than it already is.
- When you have decided what to call your new puppy, try it out and see how he responds. If it works for you and it works for the puppy, go for it! Enjoy your new dog.
© 2013 Dr Mark
Megan on October 28, 2016:
I named my first dog Filbert (after my favorite type of paintbrush)! Looking for another artsy name for the next one. I can come up with plenty of male names, but it's harder to find one that suits a "her."
ana on October 19, 2016:
Can't believe you didn't include Frida (Kahlo), who my dog is named after.
Elizabeth Parker from Las Vegas, NV on July 07, 2013:
Good suggestions. My favorites were Dali and Winslow. Very entertaining to read. Voted up!
Judy Specht from California on July 07, 2013:
Very creative and fun read.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on July 06, 2013:
This one was fun to put together,too, which makes them that much easier to do! My dog "Moldy" even volunteered to pose with a few tubes of my acrylics (actually she hated it--you should have seen the picture I didn´t use!) Thanks for stopping by!!
LKMore01 on July 06, 2013:
Nicely done, Dr. Mark. A truly unique offering of artfully crafted canine names. I especially enjoyed your own witty research comments and the video of the clever drawing spaniel. Voted up and funny!