What’s in a name? So wrote William Shakespeare. He should know – his works are littered with excellent appellations such as Dogberry (Much Ado About Nothing), Launcelot Gobbo (The Merchant of Venice) and my personal favourite, Doctor Butts (Henry VIII).
Choosing a name for your pet can be a fraught experience. Do you go for something jokey, such as ‘Sir Fartsalot’? You would only regret it when you’re shouting it in a busy park and attract lots of odd looks from people who don’t get the joke. How about something macho? Nobody calls their pet ‘Ripper’ or ‘Slasher’ and avoids being laughed at. The same goes for ironic names; can you imagine calling your pet Doberman ‘Cuddles’?
If you’ve ever watched Crufts, you may be confused, amused or even impressed by the fancy monikers the dogs in the show seem to have. Contrary to what you may think, these names aren’t made up by the owner after a three day bender – they actually serve a purpose. A kennel name is an exclusive moniker associated with a breeder – a kind of breeder ‘signature’. If you breed show dogs and stud dogs, it marks out your pups from everyone else’s, and can prove lucrative. If one of your dogs is successfully showed, those seeking to buy pups from you can trace you through the Kennel Club. Other dog breeders who want to mate their dog with yours can also easily find you through a stud dog directory.
The Kennel Club have strict guidelines when it comes to granting your dog a kennel name. For a start, the name must have more than one word but not be greater than 24 letters. Kennel names that are deemed to conflict with another registered dog are not seen as acceptable, and the name of the breeder or current owner is not allowed. Punctuation marks are disallowed, as are numbers, and canine terms such as ‘bitch’ or ‘dog’ are also not permitted. Last but not least, the Kennel Club can refuse a name that is deems as offensive or unsuitable.
If you don’t intend on showing your new puppy, you will still want a catchy name for him that stands out from the crowd. If you want to avoid something that is overly popular, it’s worth having a list of the most popular names for dogs. As it happens, Dream Dogs has such a list:
Most popular names for dogs:
And not to be outdone, here are the most popular names for bitches:
It’s interesting that many of the names on these lists are ‘human’ names, some from popular films; so don’t be surprised if, when calling your children in for dinner, you’re besieged by a pack of hounds expecting a treat.