What’s in a name?

Interesting reflections by Stanley Coren on the names of dogs. He has written one article on the most popular names in the English language, and another article on the art and science of naming a dog.

I once wrote an article about the names of the dogs I had had in my classes. I put them into subject headings. Unfortunately I lost the article when my hard drive crashed. Don’t speak to me about back ups!!!  

I remember some of the following:

COLOURS  

Rusty, Ruby, Goldie, Amber (as in Red means stop, Green means go and Amber means “go faster” – it’s how Melbourne people drive!), Ginger, Cocoa (chocolate Lab), Baci (brand name of chocolate), Patches, Spot, Blackie, Ebony, Pearl (another black dog), Steel (a grey dog), Blue (in Australia this may be a red dog – go figure – or a Cattle Dog), Snowy, Pickles (a little more esoteric, but she was mustard colour).  

LITERARY REFERENCES  

Shakespeare (hard to call, but there you go), Hemingway (likewise), Bronte, Byron, Shelley, Hermione (Harry Potter character), Tiggy (after Tigger in the Pooh stories – Tigger likes bouncing best), can’t remember the others.  

PETROL HEAD NAMES  

Diesel, Sherman (built like a tank), Axle, Chassis, Prost, Fangio, Schumi, (Formula One drivers, in case you don’t know), Monza (race track), Chevvy, TC (a model of MG sports car), a brand of spark plug that I can’t remember, Honda, Aprila, Harley (Davidson)  

NATURE/HIPPY NAMES  

River and Valley (my first German Shepherds, but named by the breeder), Jasmine, Tansy, Willow, Timber, Savannah, Opal, Rain, Meadow, Summer, Tundra, Sand, Dream, Tarot.

PLACES  

Rio, Paris, Sydney, Alice (Springs), Wally (picked up in Wallan), Elgar (my third GSD, picked up on Elgar Road), Nicholas (my scruffy little mutt, found in the grounds of St Nicholas church).

MOVIES AND TV SHOWS  

Spencer (Tracy), Beethoven (this had a vogue, after the movie, then went out of fashion), Niles and Frazier), almost the entire cast of Star Trek – Riker, Crusher, Spock (a mini Bull Terrier with a long nose), Geordi, Bones, Judzea, Dax, Kira, Nerys and others. I always wanted to call a dog Seven of Nine, if she came from a litter of nine.  

MUSIC OR MUSICIANS  

Otis (as in Redding), named because the owner lived by the beach. A friend had misheard the Otis Redding song as being “The Dog of the Bay”. Satchmo, Pavarotti (he was the fattest puppy in the litter), Tosca (the opera), Aida (another opera), Hendrix, Yascha (Heifitz, owned by a violinist).  

FOOD AND DRINK  

Bundy (Bundaberg Rum), Candy, Liquorice (perhaps should be classified under colour), Brie (also a creamy coloured dog), Banana (but that was more of a nickname.  

FASHION  

Various fashion labels and brand names, which I don’t remember, because I had never heard of them. Fendi, Mambo, Coco (Chanel).  

HUMAN NAMES  

The usual run of Jack, Jake, Harry, Charlie, Max, Jesse, Zack for boys and Millie, Molly, Jessie, Chloe, Zoe and Bella for girls.  

TRADITIONAL DOGGY NAMES  

Fido (yes I actually had one),  

UNUSUAL NAMES  

Pirate (had one eye), Magic (a miracle to get her), Rolex (the watch dog, a German Shepherd), Footsie (or should that be FTSI? Owned by an economist).  Breaker (who actually wasn’t particularly destructive, but that person later got a dog called Fixer).

FAMOUS PEOPLE  

Winston, Einstein, Darwin (a beagle, of course), Siggy (as in Freud, owned by a psychiatrist), others I can’t remember.  

STATUS  

King, Caesar, Czar, Knight, Captain, Alpha, Sieger, Duke, Earl, Queenie, Prince, Princess.  

SPORT AND SPORTING HEROES  

Stackpole (another of my own dogs – Keith Stackpole was a test cricketer, but also named because when I picked her up as a puppy, she was on the front seat of my van. She got carsick and vomited. I involuntarily looked at her for a moment, and at that precise time, the road curved to the right. I kept on going straight ahead, and the van hit a telegraph pole. A car accident is sometimes called a stack, hence stack/pole).  Tyson (a boxer), Mikie (also a boxer), Sticks (a very tall footballer), Dipper (nickname of another footballer), Pele (the soccer great).  

HUMAN OCCUPATIONS  

Sparky, Chippy, Driver.

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About transformational1

I have many interests and I have had a varied career. I am a semi-retired professional dog trainer, specialising in the use of positive reinforcement. I do some consultations, I run instructor workshops and I am setting up a Dogs and Psychotherapy Research Project. I have a law degree from Melbourne University (but have never practiced) and I am passionate about Human Rights. My first degree was in Sociology. I worked as a social researcher on issues such as low income housing, women's refuges and women in the workforce. I live in an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia, and I have a German Shepherd called Chance.
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