Cool Name, Dog

Are dogs with human names more human?

By Brian Reynolds

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Photo credit: Gabriela

Should dogs have human names? It’s not uncommon these days to come across a hound sporting a name usually reserved for a homosapien. To some people, this is lunacy–after all, dogs are dogs and people are people, right? In this way of thinking, dogs should only be called dog names, such as Rover, Duke, or even Pepper. A few of my more dogmatic friends (see what I did there?) even gave me some grief for daring to call my dog Buster.

However, almost every dog I’ve come across has a human name. The Veterinary Pet Insurance released a list of the top 10 most popular dog names in 2013 according to their database. They have over 500,000 insured pets and each name from their top 10 list is a human name. In order of popularity we have: Bella, Max, Bailey, Lucy, Molly, Daisy, Charlie, Buddy, Maggie and Sophie. To be fair, I’ve never met a ‘Buddy,’ but I know someone with a pet boasting every other name on that list. As far as I know, dogs have always had human names and probably always will.

tumblr_n5d0fyp7G31r4n8iro1_500Of course, some human names are better than others. I know of a few dogs named after celebrities, like Bill Murray. Isn’t that a great name for a dog? Bill Murray is a legend. I wouldn’t be surprised to find dogs named Dr. Peter Venkman, Steve Zizzou, or other incredible characters he’s portrayed over his career. If there is a person or character you admire, why wouldn’t you name your dog after them? I’ve heard of dogs named Alice Cooper and Foxy (inspired by the Jimi Hendrix song). The rap artist 50 Cent even named his dog Oprah, to pay tribute to the most powerful woman in television. I say, if there is a name you like, give it to your dog.

My dog’s full name is Buster Montgomery Reynolds. I gave him my family name, Reynolds, and named him after Buster Keaton, a vaudevillian comedian, and Sir Bernard Law Montgomery, a British WWII general. I was going to name my dog simply ‘Awesome,’ but opted for a proper name. A small part of me still wishes I had followed through and gone with that name though.

I don’t understand why people take issue with dogs being named after humans. People can name their dog whatever they want. If you’re treating your dog well, then who cares what you call them? A Toronto-based comedian, Pat Thornton, called his dog Chicken. Weird, right? It might be the first time in history a dog has been given that name. As long as the dog and its owner are happy, then really, shouldn’t we all be happy? So I welcome all the Rogers, and Dougs, and Lisas roaming around, sniffing butts at the dog park. More power to you. That being said, someone needs to name their dog Gandalf, because wizards are awesome.