When naming a dog:How do you determine the best one?

Is it better if the name has less than 3 syllables? Didn’t sound like a command like sit? Can dogs learn more than one name like say a nickname ie Tim or Timmy?

I should say. My dog goes by a half dozen nicknames and pet names. Her real name is only brought out when she’s being naughty.

First rule on naming dog: A name that can be shouted with ease – something short and snappy - Butch or Jip or Belle, for instance. You don’t want to find yourself out in the front yard some warm summer evening shouting “Here, Tootsie Whootsie” at the top of your lungs.

If you have a Chihuahua then calling it “Fang, killer of all living creatures” ould not only be a tad long but a bit of a misnomer.

Similarly “Cheeky chops” would go down the same road if you had a Pit Bull. :smiley:

One syllable is best for training, calling the dog, etc.

My dog has many nicknames - she answers to all of them. She even “answers” me when I’m talking to the baby, not her!

Our current Newf is AKC registered, so his “real” name is Bachannal’s Cabernet. It’s a bit much to shout out at the dog park, though! :wink:

His “call name” is Angus. No nickname.

I have found a few things are important when naming my dogs:

  1. If you will be shortening the call name even further, keep the nickname similar, like Dexter and Dex. It’s easier for the dog when learning commands early on. Later on, it won’t matter as much, as he will be responding as much to you as to his call.

  2. For a good dog name, keep in mind what the dog will look like as an adult. Angus was cute and fluffy as a puppy, but a cutesy name would have seemed a bit odd when he was running at 170 lbs… it might have been pretty funny though. :wink:

  3. For a purse-sized dog, I have always liked “Disembowler” or “Emasculator.” :smiley:
    Another thought- we almost named our dog (and our son, actually) “Noah,” but we were afraid that having the word “no” in the name might get confusing!

Do you have a picture of Angus? I love newfies. I think angus is a great name for a large black dog

Since I compete in obedience, I like to have a name for my dog that rolls off the tongue easily with a command :“Nick COME !” “Kharma HEEL”. My first Papillon was named JC when I got him, and “JC COME” just didn’t flow, so I shortened it to Jay.

My dogs all have their own little nicknames, most of whch have nothing to do with their REAL names. And they know them and answer to them.
Baby Jay


Kharmalita, which has shortened to

Ace (If y’all remember my American Idol obsession, you will understand this one. :o )

We had our dog first, and then when we got our kitty, we named him ‘Nomar’ - I was concerned that the “No” sound would confuse the dog, but she seems to understand the difference. (She is a border collie, so maybe that is why. :smiley: ).

Best dog name I ever heard was a big grumpy-looking bulldog named “Judge”.

Followed closely by a yappy little poodle named “Phil”.

I wish I did! He’s damn near perfect. Really big, with a big square head- no pointy nose on this dog! Good eyes and ears, too.


Yeah, I’m a dog mamma…

Dont be in too much of a hurry to name a dog or cat. Given time they will name themselves. I have a beagle that gets in trouble all the time but is a sweet temperered baby. She means well but breaks things and nothing comes out right . I named her Nordberg after the OJ Simpson character the naked Gun Movies. If I waited longer it might have been different. In the park one day she jumped over a hill and landed on a groundhog. She grabbed it by the tail and a fight ensued. It slipped into the river to escape. After that i would have named her Hypertension because she never growled or barked during the fight. The silent killer.

You don’t have to use “no” as a correction, anyway. I rarely say it, because I want it to mean something when my dogs hear it. “Hey!” works just as well-- it’s the tone, not necessarily the word.*

Names are the same. Your dog will not take the name you give him as a personal identity as humans do. Dogs respond to the beckoning tone that humans use when calling them, not the sound of the name. (As an example, I can call “Fred!” and my dog, Bean, will come running.) Listen to the inflection of your voice when you call your dog. With most people, it’s sort of a sing-song tone, which is why many dogs won’t come if you suddenly shout their name in anger or panic. They’re not hearing their “name-sound”. They’re hearing the “correction sound.”** Once the dog is familiar with that beckoning tone, you can call them anything and they’ll respond to it.

When chosing a name, let the dog’s personality suggest it to you. They’re not like babies who need a name for the birth certificate-- you can wait a while with a dog until the right name suggests itself. My two younger dogs have star names. Polaris got her moniker because of the white star on her forehead and because there is a Polaris missle and the dog reminds me of a rocket when she gets excited. Sirius was named after the dog star, but it’s also a play on words because he has a very “serious” demeanor.

  • With my dogs, I most often use a sound which can best be phonetically rendered as “YAT!” You hear people using that around here. I think it comes from our German heritage.

** You should always, always train your dog with an “emergency recall”. Get them used to hearing their name shouted. Stand in the kitchen and bellow their name the same way you would if you saw them dashing away through the park. When they come to you, give them an extra special treat, like a piece of meat. Practice this periodically to make the dog understand that it’s a good sound. If he comes, he’s going to get a hell of a reward, something which will outweigh the temptation to chase that cat.

If I got a squeaky dog, I’d name it Anthrax. Maggie the wonderbeagle got her name beacuase that was the first thing I yelled when she slipped her leash in the SPCA parking lot.