Category: pet names
By Mikita Brottman
Ideally, we should wait until we’ve got a sense of a dog’s personality before picking out a name, but puppy-owners, like would-be parents, often have a name in mind long before they lay eyes on their new arrival.
Grisby is the first and only dog I’ve ever owned, and I had his name picked out before he was even born. One evening, my partner David and I watched a French movie from 1954 called Touchez Pas au Grisbi (translation: Don’t Touch the Loot). The film was about a band of world-weary French gangsters who sit around in a bar planning a heist and mumbling about le grisbi (old-fashioned French criminal slang whose equivalent is something like “loot” or “booty”).
As I recall, we both thought it would be an appropriate name for the dog we were planning to acquire not only because it was French (though we’ve Anglicized the spelling), but also because it’s a tough, macho way of saying “treasure,” perfect for a little French bulldog.
There’s less and less difference between pet names and baby names.
The most popular puppy names of 2013, according to the website Vetstreet, include a lot of names trendy for babies: Bella, Daisy, and Sadie for females; Max, Cooper, and Jack for males. Kitten names are also trending increasingly toward the human: Chloe and Nala, Oliver and Charlie.
All kinds of pets from hamsters to goldfish are more likely to be called by baby names these days than by a moniker like Fluffy or Fido.
Dog names have become indistinguishable from baby names, with virtually all the most popular and stylish dog names coming from the human lexicon.
Cities like New York and Seattle as well as smaller towns such as Wellesley, Massachusetts and several dog-oriented websites publish yearly tallies of most popular dog names. Top choices these days include Bella and Max, Molly and Jack, Sadie and Cooper.
One detailed rundown of the most popular dog names in New York City includes a really cool map of the top dog names in different neighborhoods. Residents of the tony Upper East Side, for instance, prefer Lucy, while denizens of the bohemian East Village like Lulu and dog-owners in a tough section of Queens favor Rocky.
Noted dog expert Stanley Coren has even written for Psychology Today about the art and science of naming dogs. A dog’s name is vitally important, Coren says, since it’s one of the few words he understands.
What about the human psychology of choosing dog names? You don’t have to be Freud to surmise that the current taste for human names is evidence that our dogs have become our babies, deserving of the same consideration and treatment as little boys and girls.
And now we want to know about your dogs’ names — and cat, hamster, fish, iguana, and parakeet names. We want to hear about the names you’ve chosen for your pets over the years, from childhood animals to pets you own now.
Do you give your pets people names? Names, maybe, that you love but are not brave enough to use on actual children? Or maybe baby names that, for whatever reason, you’re afraid you’ll never get to use?
When Mike Myers named his son Spike recently, there were several comments on our Nameberry facebook page along the lines of: “Did his wife have a puppy?” and “Bit doggy for me.” Not very kind, perhaps, but it does raise the subject of the blurring of the line between human and canine names, when babies are being named Buster and Buddy, and pups are commonly called Chloe and Mia.
So little Spike won’t be alone in his name zone. Other celebs have provided him with a number of comparably-named prospective (if older) playmates. There’s Michelle Hicks and Jonny Lee Miller’s Buster, Rosanne Barr’s Buck, Jamie Oliver’s Buddy Bear and Alicia Silverstone’s Bear, Justine Bateman’s Duke, Damon Dash’s Lucky, Gerard Way’s Bandit and Robert Rodriguez’s Rocket, as well as the poodle-ready Coco (Courteney Cox & David Arquette), Gigi (Cynthia Rowley), Fifi (Bob Geldof) and Zuzu (Tania Peterson).
But are these still the kinds of names that are actually given to dogs today, when pups are considered more family members than pets? The answer is a resounding no! Traditional canine monikers like Fido and Rover, Spot, and Champ have virtually disappeared, having been replaced by popular people names. In fact, looking at the most recent list of top names for dogs might make you do a doubte-take as it’s so similar to the top babies’ names lists.