Why is "Fido" a common name for a dog?

OK, it seems to me that Cecil really did not answer this question at all. He just told us what “Fido” means. i already knew that.

What I do not know, and what the original questioner was also asking, is why Fido has come to be used as a generic or default dog name, and this despite the fact that actual dogs are almost never called Fido (at least, I have never met one).

Does anyone actually know.

According to this, President Lincoln had a dog named Fido which helped bring the name to popularity in America in the 1860’s.

Not to mention that “Faithful” is an obviously doggy sort of name.

I call bullshit on the info in that link.

First, show me that LIncoln had a dog and the dog’s name was Fido. I couldn’t find any contemporary evidence.

The name Fido for a dog first shows up mostly in England, then gets gradually more noticeable in the US. Nothing in newspaper articles about dogs named Fido in the period 1860-1875 that would indicate that Lincoln had such or dog or that it caused people in the US to name their pets such.

This siteis among several with information about a dog that Lincoln allegedly named Fido. Much of the information is credited as coming from The Henry Horner Collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and a Life Magazine article from 1954, Lincoln’s Lost Dog by Dorothy Meserve Kunhardt.

According to the story Fido didn’t travel to Washington with the Lincolns. He was given to family friends when they moved and lived out the rest of his life in Springfield. This might explain how he could have existed but never gained the expected fame and press coverage of a Presidential dog.

Well then Fido got up off the floor an’ he rolled over an’ he looked me straight in the eye. An’ you know what he said?

If I had a dog, I would name it Fido or Rover. Everyone knows those are dog names, but it seems like nobody has ever met a dog with those names!

So Lincoln’s dog Fido is the most famous forgotten dog that ever lived? Sounds like the Shakespeare-deniers’ argument that everybody knew that the Earl of Oxford wrote the plays, and besides, it was a state secret that it was death to reveal.

Available information seems to support the claim that the Lincolns had a dog named Fido. That isn’t necessarily evidence to suggest that it had anything to do with the name being popular for dogs. There are numerous references to dogs named Fido that predate ‘Fido Lincoln’.

The juvenile miscellany, or, Friend of Youth - 1826

Fido, or The faithful friend - 1845

Our neighbor’s dog is named Phidoux.


They could’ve crammed more letters in there: Phayedough.

Used to be an underground-ish dance and live band club in Houston called “Phaideaux”

BTW, stories about the faithfulness of dogs go back a long way. Argos the dog recognizes Odysseus when he returns in disguise after 19-20 years and almost immediately dies of happiness.

Here’s the National Park Service saying Lincoln had a dog named Fido:


Here’s the Lincoln Institute:


One of the best dog names I’ve heard was Deeyojee. Sounds exotic, until you realize it’s D-O-G.

Every single newspaper or magazine article about dogs (or cats) also uses the term “our four-legged friends.” Learning to speak in cliches must be a requirement to graduate from journalism school.

Could be worse. I heard a local news report on restaurant inspections, referred to “four-legged infestations” when talking about cockroaches, flies, and other insects. That one had me laughing pretty hard.

I thought the name’s popularity (or at least its fame) came from the Fido from World War II who kept waiting at the bus stop for his dead master.

In that case all dogs would be called Greyfriars Bobby.

Why not Argos?

The dog that lives in a pub I know is called Deefer. As in Deefer Dog. :slight_smile: