What’s in a name?


Nicolette Els

Choosing that perfect name for your pup can be hard! Here’s help

(Censored) – Singer Pink’s dog Fred was originally named F****r, which tended to cause a few raised eyebrows (he disappeared in a restaurant once and the ensuing ‘name-calling’ caused startled patrons to choke on their entrées). He was later safely renamed Fred by her father.

One of the best parts of getting a new pup is picking a name. But it’s not always that easy – unlike human children, dogs can be named anything from Peter to Popsicle. So how do you go about picking one for your little bundle of fur? Here are some tips.

Like parent, like pooch

What you name your dog is usually a reflection of your personality, not his – from Tequila to Princess to Tjoppie, you can tell a lot about a dog’s owner from his moniker. Think about what kind of name you’d prefer: unfussy, silly or serious? But a word to the wise: don’t get carried away. You might get some odd looks when you check Sir Farts-a-lot in at the vet, or when you’re trying to recall Megadeath at the dog park.

Four-footed citizens of the world

A great place to find inspiration for a pet’s name is his heritage (unless you have a rescue who looks so little like any known breed, ‘dog’ is the closest you’ll ever come to describing him). Once you have determined his nationality, give him a name in that tradition, like Louis for a French Bulldog or Sushi for a Japanese Chin.

Dolly Parton the Dachshund

What are some of your favourite things? Lots of owners simply name their pets after people (or things) they like: fictional characters, celebs, historical figures, TV characters or food. This makes a lot of sense, as the name will already mean something special to you.

Choices, choices, choices

Make use of the internet – it has websites with compendiums of pet names that you can search through by category (‘Cute’ or ‘Tough’), as well as lists with the most popular dog names of recent years. Take caution though: if you’re the indecisive kind, this will just end up giving you more options you can’t choose between.

Are you talkin’ to me?

Your dog’s going to carry his name around for the rest of his life; don’t make it a heavy burden. After all, as amazing as dogs are, they don’t have as good a grasp of English as we do. They do best with words of two syllables, as they’re easier to recognise (and much easier for you to say). So if you insist on calling your pup Frozen Yoghurt, use a nickname he’ll easily pick up on, like Yogi.

Fitz likes to fetch Frisbees on Fridays

Keep in mind that you’ll have to train your dog, and he’s going to get confused if his name sounds similar to a command you’re teaching him, like ‘sit’, ‘stay’ or ‘play dead’. You can’t blame Poppy if she ‘goes potty’ when you were really only trying to get her attention.

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