Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Does Your Dog’s Name Fit Their Personality?

By Suzanne Alicie

Pet names are kind of funny sometimes. Most dogs get their names when they are puppies, and once they grow up the name may or may not fit their personality. The same is true for cats. I once named a kitten Chicken because she was scared of everything, but after she got used to the family there was no fear in her! So how do you choose a dog name that your puppy can grow into? It’s a guessing game really, and the idea is mainly to pick a name that he will understand, that you like and that rolls off your tongue easily! Julia Williams has offered up some great suggestions in “How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your New Pet.”

Do you have a really big dog that maneuvers about as well as a bull in a china shop? Was he the runt of the litter and you despaired of him every growing big and strong? If so, he may have a name like Tiny or Baby. You can’t change his name after he grows big so his name may be a bit of a misnomer, but it’ll make a great story when people ask!

Some dogs have such a strong personality when they are puppies that the name you give them based on their personality will fit even when they are grown. Bruiser may be the moniker tacked onto the biggest pup in the litter as he tramples the others to get to his CANIDAE dog food. That “leader of the pack” mentality tends to stick with a dog, and he’ll likely have a personality that matches his size.

Dog owners sometimes name their dogs based on physical appearance, but this can change a great deal as the dog ages. I recall a Pit Bull puppy we had years ago – at 8 weeks of age he hadn’t grown into his feet or his coat, and when he sat down it looked like his pants were wrinkling around his butt! Luckily I didn’t name him Saggy or Clumsy, because although he always ran a bit sideways, he grew into his feet and his coat, and there was nothing saggy about him. His name was Max, and he was loyal, loving and very fit.

Another dog that I met on the beach in North Carolina was a beautiful Samoyed. She was 3 years old and a gorgeous big ball of white fur. Her personality was amazing. She was spirited and fun, yet she was also a bit cautious. She seemed to respond to whatever the people around her were feeling. I was drawn to this dog because she looked so much like my dog Chaos that I’d lost just a few weeks before. I was happy to see her and I couldn’t stop myself from wandering over to the strangers on the beach to see if I could just pet her. She came up to me and let me pet her. I was overwhelmed with missing my dog and about to cry in front of people I’d just met, when she nudged me with her big head and almost knocked me over. I bent over and she licked my face. She just seemed to know. Yes, there is a point to this story; I couldn’t believe it when her owner told me what her name was…Karma! I fell in love with that dog, and I have to imagine that her owners named her after experiencing the intuitive nature of her personality.

Some dogs have names that fit their personality, and some dogs don’t. It doesn’t seem to matter to the people who love them, because at some time the name fit perfectly and they can’t imagine the dog being named anything else. Besides, more than likely the dog has a nickname that fits better. Our dog Bear has several names, the most common being Flop, because that’s what she does when she sits with one of us. Anyone who hears me talking to her would probably laugh because I call her flopadoodle several times a day. Luckily for me, she answers to just about anything I decide to call her.

Does your dog’s name fit their personality?

Photo by Richard Mansfield

Read more articles by Suzanne Alicie


  1. I love the story about Karma, Suzanne! It is true about dogs and cats. They do seem to know when we need to feel the touch of their kindness and gentle nature. They really do give back to us in so many ways.

  2. I loved the Karma story as well.

    My Shih Tzu was named Tazz as a baby. I think it still fits him.

    My dad has had many many cats over the years but refuses to name any of them anything but "Kitty". There have been a lot of "Kitty"s.

  3. It really is true that we name our dogs and cats when they are puppies and kittens and so usually they grow up to be something entirely different. I have a cat that I named Spitters because when he was a small feral kitten, all he did was spit at me and now all he does is purr. You just never know. Too bad we don't all have crystal balls.

  4. When we first met our Sheltie, Dakota, his name was "Tanner" My husband and I HATED that name. It didn't suit him at all.

    Before we brought him home I happened to look up the meaning of the name "Dakota" because I had always loved it when I heard Dakota Fanning's name, etc. One of the meanings of "Dakota" is it is Indian for "trusted friend" I was sold!

    He is....and it is the perfect name!

  5. Oh, definitely. Jasmine is a true princess! :-)

  6. I'd have to say Bella fits... but that's because she's defined the name for me, not the other way around. :)


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