Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dog Names

Dr. Awesome,

I'm getting a golden retriever this weekend, and was wondering if you had any manly name suggestions.

Bill, Tacoma, WA


First, let me commend you for getting a manly breed of dog. There are lots of dog breeds out there that are almost completely worthless. Pretty much anything in the toy group, anything that can fit in your pocket next to your keys and cell phone, is not good for much. I say no smaller than a beagle or a schnauzer. Is an intruder going to be intimidated by a yorkie? Nope, but a schnauzer with an attitude is a formidable foe. So stick with dogs that inspire at least a small amount of respect.

Now, on to dog names. I can think of 5 main categories off the top of my head. I'm sure there are more categories, which you can feel free to suggest if you wish. Here are my 5 though. The first category includes all the cute names that girls almost always come up with. These would be names like Buttons or Snuggles or Mr. Happy, names that are guaranteed to get your dog beaten up by more manly dogs. You've heard Johnny Cash's song "Boy Named Sue" right? Naming a dog the same thing you'd name a Care Bear is like naming a boy Sue. I really feel sorry for dogs with names like this...you know every time they hear their name called it just breaks their will to live. They are praying that you never drop them off to be boarded while you travel, because other dogs will belittle them relentlessly. And deservedly so. Sunshine wants to respect himself, but you have robbed him of all possibility of dignity and hope in life. Please, stay away from names in this category.

The second type of dog name I can think of is "people names." If the dog is really a member of your family, then you should name it a family-member name, right? You wouldn't name your son "Fluffy," but you might name him "Steve." So why not call your dog Steve? Growing up my dad had dogs named Sam and Fred, and one of my friends has a dog named Richard. And I used to have a lab named Lucy (short for Lucille, after the Kenny Rogers song) (side note, Lucille actually did pick a fine time to leave me, which shows how appropriate her name was). So this category is definitely a contender, just because I'd like to be at the vet and hear the nurse call out for "Dennis Awesome" to come on back. Your dog will thank you if you give him a person name. "Come here Winston!" Very strong.

Category three, names from sports or movies. You can name a dog after a favorite movie character, or coach or athlete. I know of at least three dogs named Baxter after Baxter in the movie Anchorman. I also know one named Ivan Drago (Rocky IV) and one named Aragorn (though that's borderline dorkified). Or you can go with naming one after your favorite team, coach, or player, but you must be careful here. Coaches and players change teams all the time. While you would have been safe naming your dog Favre, how stupid would you feel if you were an LSU or Dolphins fan with a dog named Saban? Exercise discretion if you choose this category.

The fourth category is probably my favorite, and I'm dividing it into two subcategories. The first subcategory is "names you'd expect to hear in the WWE." This includes names like Captain Thunder, Lord Humongous, or Gigantor. The second subcategory is like the first, "names you'd expect to hear on American Gladiators." This includes names like Nitro, Turbo, and Zap. If you think it would be funny to hear "Dennis Awesome" called out by a nurse at the vet, imagine how great it would be to hear "Captain Thunder." Plus I think it would be great for your children to have to present a report about Captain Thunder to their first grade class. The possibilities for names like this are endless.

The fifth and final category is names that you would have thought were funny when you were in college. These would be names like Budweiser or Corona, or names that are dirty words, or really any name you wouldn't feel comfortable saying in front of a member of the clergy. You might think this is pretty funny, and maybe it will be for a couple of weeks. But trust me, it won't take long before you and everyone else realizes what an idiot you are. Don't be a d-bag, stick with one of the other categories.

Those are all the categories that come to mind. There are other possibilities for dog names, but I suspect if you stay within the good categories I mentioned and stay out of the ones I said to avoid, your dog will be a winner. Let me know what you end up picking.

Dr. Awesome


Anonymous June 24, 2008 at 3:15 PM  

My sister and her husband named their dog 'Tagaboo' after Paul Tagliabue the former commisioner, gues they couldn't pronounce his name.

Nicholai June 24, 2008 at 3:32 PM  

We named our Pitt-Husky-Other mix Lloyd Dogler, after John Cusack in Say Anything. Kickboxing is the manliest!

Alison June 24, 2008 at 6:49 PM  

we named our dog (who is also a golden retriever after a literary figure... Chaucer. Very dignified. This might be a category you could delve into in the future. We also have a cat named Iago... can fall into several categories--literary from the works of Shakespeare, or cartoon in the works of Disney (the bird in Aladdin). SIDENOTE: The cat came with the name.

jeremy June 24, 2008 at 11:45 PM  

One of my parents' dog's name is Dutch. Pretty awesome if you believe he was named for Arnold's charater in Predator.

Marcelo July 2, 2008 at 3:23 PM  

About dog breeds. Are french buldogs manly? On one hand they are "buldogs", wich sounds pretty manly, but on the other they are small and "french".

Clifton July 26, 2008 at 10:11 PM  

Here are a few I came up with: Leonidas (Leo for short), Bacchus, Zeus, Captain (cap for short), Sergeant (Sarge for short), Lieutenant (Lou for short), Laelaps (dog from Greek mythology I believe), Alcinder (Al for short), Franklin, Smokey, Frost, Lance, Mack, Dubya, Plow, Cassius (Cash for short), Dingo, Cohmere (as in Come-here), Plex, Jax, Magnum, Caesar, Paunch, Zeppelin, Woodrow, Call, Augustus, Clay Aiken lol jk, Rev, Tex, Cal, Judge, Goliath, Gladiator, Gunnar...probably could come up with more if I wanted to sit here a while.

rajahjames July 27, 2008 at 12:46 AM  

I'm a fan of naming a dog after someone you admire, especially if it's obscure. It also provides a good opportunity to discuss how the dog was named. I met a great dane once named Mingus, after the great jazz musician Charles Mingus.

Anonymous November 11, 2008 at 5:49 PM  

i named the two German Shepards i got after the divine twins Artemis and Apollo. I took a greek mythology class so the next two i get are gonna be named Hades and Ares.

Anonymous July 30, 2009 at 10:16 PM  

There is no dog name better than Justice. I have a Dalmation with that name, and it is the greatest name ever.

blake davis December 7, 2009 at 2:12 PM  

something to take into consideration is the type of dog too; not just which dog is manly, but which manly subgroup you choose from. should a doberman pinscher made of solid muscle would be a good "bruce", or "megatron", i dont think a lab should be named megatron...just personal opinion.

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