What your Dog’s Name Says About You

12 Mar

Dog naming is nearly as funny, if not funnier, as naming babies. Baby names are frequently tamed by both social convention and naming guidelines and laws . However, no such laws exist for dog naming, and as a result we’ve seen quite a few bizarre dog names that rival the oddness of their human counterparts and tend to be common to certain breeds and types of owners. See below for a list of what we think about certain categories of dog names:

The “Smarter than You” name: Choosing a name for your dog is not the time to show off your (self-declared) intellectual prowess. Having a dog named “Dostoyevsky” or “Nietzsche” is not going to make people think you’re blessed with a superior intellect or that you are particularly well-read and worldly. Nope. They’ll just think you’re a pretentious asshole, which is probably true. Either that, or you’re a hipster, which ultimately works out to be one in the same.

“My name is Mensa and I only listen to bands you’ve never heard of.”

The Ethnocentrist: Do you know the language your dog would speak if it were a human? These people do, and be damned if they won’t use a name or a word from it to prove they’re more worldly than you. This ethnic cherry-picking is especially common in breeds hailing from east Asia. The main issue that arises along with these names are two-fold. Firstly, as a non-native speaker, odds are good that word doesn’t mean what you think it does. Context is something you won’t find in an online translator, and in terms of names… it’s sort of important. Nouns and verbs are frequently interchangeable and often there is no direct translation that will get your point across. You may think you just named your new Shiba Inu “Blood-balls the Magnificent” and really you’ve named them something like “Tuesday Veins-Play Object of Magical”. Secondly, you’re probably not pronouncing it correctly. Pretentiousness drips off these names but they can be done reasonably with an ethnic coordinator to guide you through the process.

Bloodballs? What’s wrong with you?

The Penile Extension: We’ve all met those dogs with names like “Glock”, “Felony”, “Cujo” and the like. You know, names that just scream “I’m insecure and need a dog with a badass name”. These dogs usually belong to men and tend to be from breeds that already have a hard enough time dealing with breed stigma, such as pitbulls, American Bulldogs, and Mastiffs. It does not in fact make you look tough to give your dogs one of these names. It just makes you look like a sad little man with penis envy.

Those are less obvious than your name.

The Social Statement: Religion, sex, politics and crazy Uncle Gary– anything you were ever told to not discuss at the dinner table is on tap to some people as a name source. I’m sure you thought it was adorable to name your Black *teehee* Labrador “Obama” and I’m sure your neighbor appreciates how much of a feminist you are while calling your dog “Vulva” to come home for dinner. Not only are a lot of these names questionable in taste, they can also be amazingly offensive, so just back away.

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The Self-Appointed Nobility: You will find that announcing your dog to anyone with a title, usually of royal distinction ,will get you a look followed shortly thereafter by a non-committal noise. Anyone who’s worked with dogs will tell you a dog with a self-styled title is a dog and owner combo you don’t want to deal with. Prince Foxy, Lady Dingles, Princess Mary Molly, Sir Charles and so on. Aside from the fact that you’re naming a dog, not the heir of the Luxembourgish throne, these people are typically incredibly high maintenance. They make the dog snobs look like slobs and while that’s not all that hard to do, it’s an impressive feat in micromanagement.

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Toddler Tacky: While we understand the idea behind allowing kids to name dogs, one must consider if they are truly willing to accept whatever comes spewing of out their childrens’ mouths. A mutual friend of all three Dog Snobs made this mistake years back and ended up with a giant dog name “Mr. Pookiehead”. Seriously. (Our friend wanted us to note that the first name her kids suggested was “Mr. Boogerhead”, but that was vetoed). Although this may sound cute when spoken by your three year old, imagine the horror of yelling “Stop humping that Mr. Pookiehead!!!” in a public place.

Mr. Huggles, be nice!

Mr. Huggles, be nice!

Animated Atrocities: A source of particular loathing and likely a sub-class of ‘Toddler Tacky’ category, it can also be attributed to a particularly nostalgic (read: immature) adult. Sometimes the dog’s own age can be guessed at by the release date of the movie. Labs named Simba, Dalmatians named Pongo and one particularly memorable Shih-tzu named Sharpay have graced the grooming tables of many a Dog Snob.

Hakuna Matata, asshole.

Hakuna Matata, asshole.

The Long Lost Relative: Recently lose a great-aunt Myrtle? Have I got the best dog name for you! Yeah, we didn’t think it was a good idea either. Naming pets after dead relatives is weird and we’re pretty sure those relatives wouldn’t appreciate it.

Great Uncle Horace loves a nice hat

Great Uncle Horace loves a nice hat

The Gender-Bender: Got a Dog named Sue? So does this guy and will he ever be offended if you dare assume ‘Sue’ is a bitch. Spencer, Shelby, Muffin, Cupcake (and any other baked goods for that matter) along with numerous others have unfortunately confusing monikers as well as owners misguided enough to get upset about it.

dog-about-to-pee-on-girl

The Mismatch: I think it’s safe to assume that we’ve all met a large dog named “Tiny” or a small dog named “Tank”. Opposites are so clever. Oh wait. They’re not. So the next time you meet a black dog named “Snowflake” be sure to congratulate the owner on being an intellectual giant.

Is

Is that you Fluffy?

Food Names: Naming your dog after foods (think Quinoa, Asparagus, or Sushi) is a quick way to have people think either that you were on a diet when you named your dog or that you simply ran out of ideas so you looked to your fridge for inspiration. Calling out the name “Yogurt” at the dog park will not in fact have people applauding your creativity. Instead, they are far more likely to snicker behind your back and wonder what exactly you were eating (or smoking) when you decided to name your dog after a nutritious dairy treat.

Borscht?!? Really??!!!?

The Luxury: If you name your dog “Mercedes”, “Porsche”, or “Coco Chanel” (or any other luxury brand name) people will immediately assume you have shitty credit and most likely a hovel of a home. Naming a dog after name brands makes you look tacky and pretty much guarantees you will never actually have nice things. You may as well call the dog ‘Things I can’t afford’ and leave it at that.

“Please meet ‘Manolo Blahnik von Furstenburg’ ”

The Aspiring Namer : The Aspiring Namer has high hopes for their dog. Unfortunately. Angel often ends up closer to demon, Sweetie is a total asshole, Cutie looks like she was beaten with the ugly stick, and Darling would gladly remove a finger. When naming your dog, remember that a name won’t do what training can… make your dog less of an asshole.

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Do you have any pet peeves when it comes to naming dogs? What are the worst dog names you’ve ever heard? Share below!

77 Responses to “What your Dog’s Name Says About You”

  1. Donna February 5, 2014 at 1:45 am #

    Ok here are my dogs names that I as an adult have named. All Poodles by the way. My 1st Standard Poodle Ki-Oki Noel, reference I love the Hawaiin coffee Keoke,changed the spelling to represent Chinese power “KI” Noel because I got her at Christmas time. 2nd Standard,Ki-Owa Loki, for my love of American Indian history and Loki because she was crazy fun!!My 3rd SP came withe the name Jasmine mand it just seemed to fit her so I kept it. My 4th SP We(my partner and ) named her Logans Fate, Logans being where we had our first date and Fate because we found her and became a family. Then came our 1st toy poodle(by the way, these are all rescues)came with the name Sugar, and she was sweet as could be so we kept it. Our next was Oscar the blind TP, he came with no name, but he grumbled under his breath all the time, so he became Oscar the Grouch! Then came another SP, he was named Toby and I hated it, so I changed it to Tobias, it sounded much more distinguished! LOL After that we fostered 3 TP’s and so as not to get attatched referred to them as Fosters A,B&C. A and C got adopted , and B got lost, we spent days searching for her and when we finally found her 5 days later I said she wasn’t going anywhere, she was going to be my Baby,so thats her name. Then came my apricot TP from a puppymill bust with no name , just a number. I wanted to name her Lucy after Lucille Ball , buy she refused to answer to it, so one day my partner said she looked brown to her , like Cocoa Wheats , so she called her Cocoa and she responded, so she is officially Cocoa Pop. Ok now comes little black TP, was waiting for her to show us her name , when she was always getting in trouble and I would constantly say to her “now listen here Little Missy am I going to have to spank you?) So by default she became Little Miss or Missy. Ok . now enter teeny tiny white TP(male) we got him from an unsuccessful adoption and he was already named, Dude Mac!!! Well it pretty much fit him, so he is Lil Dude or Mr. Proper because he always lays with his front paws crossed!! And last but not least , our last rescue , a Bichon Frise. She came with the name “Shirley” well that was the name of my dearly departed Mother, so that was not going to fly! Well with her big pretty fluffy face she looked like a happy flower, so she became Daisy Mae!! So we currently have 8 babies and that is enough, so what category do I belong to , besides “One dog past Crazy!!”

  2. Nanci February 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    My pet peeve (pun intended) is people who cannot think of a new name for a new pet. As a groomer, I am on my fifth (!!!) Daisy and third Duchess. Is it really that hard to think up an original name?

    • Elaine April 14, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

      Yes, it IS that difficult when everyone in the family has to agree… . Hence our Daisy…

  3. laurararah February 12, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

    My fiance and I are getting a puppy in 3 weeks from a breeder and naming him “Princeton”. That might put us in the smarter-than-you pretentious names, but that’s fine. My fiance is a professor at Princeton and I’m an alum, so it has a lot of meaning to us. Also, since my fiance is untenured, we’re not planning to live at the university forever. Admittedly, having a puppy named Princeton running around the Princeton campus is going to be a little tricky…

  4. Haley February 18, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Found this site this morning and it has had me laughing. I have a german shepherd named Atlas, a cattle dog named Scout and a Yorkie named Dover. I work at a kennel and I wish I had a dollar for every Bella we have, sheesh.

  5. Jessica C April 1, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

    I guess Boo Radley puts me in the smarter than thou category, although Harper Lee is not exactly Proust lol

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Dog Related Craigslist Ads that Make us go “Huh?!” | The Dog Snobs - March 16, 2013

    [...] claims it has no problems…mmmhmmmm) AND it falls into one of our naming pet peeve categories, “The Mismatch”. Just so much wrong with this ad. Ignoring the numerous spelling mistakes…. they’re [...]

  2. Follow Friday! | The Hair of the Dog - February 7, 2014

    […] The Dog Snobs is definitely not for the easily offended, let me say. They poke fun at both dogs (Dog Breeds: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly) as well as owners (What Your Dog’s Name Says About You). […]

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