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