The name game


03 May 2013


There's a lot to think about - would you be happy calling it out in a field or busy training class (Sir Fluffyton Barkalot is out then)? Does it suit your dog? Will you still like it years down the line?

Will your dog's name affect his training?

Trainer Elizabeth Kershaw says: "I certainly think that what you call a dog can have an effect on his behaviour. Whether this is due to other people's perceptions of what the name means, or the owner's skill in finding an all-too-appropriate name,
I don't know, but I avoid names that may indicate unruly or aggressive behaviour.

"I once owned a Bearded Collie called Cracker. His kennel name was Briaridge Crackerjack so at the time this seemed like a good idea. However, people soon started calling him Crackers and he started to behave accordingly. I later felt quite strongly that if I had named him Jack, life would have been very different!

"Since then I have chosen quite old-fashioned Victorian names. The current crop are Charlotte (Lottie), Augusta (Gussie), and Algernon (Algy) - as you can see I agree with the two syllable theory!"

Behaviourist Jackie Drakeford says: "It's important that the name you choose doesn't sound like a command - for example, Dawn and ‘down' are very similar. And while it might seem cute to give dogs similar names, if you have more than one dog, each name should be quite different to avoid confusing them. Keep away from any name that might cause an inadvertent malapropism - try saying "Shane sit" and see where it gets you - and anything that shortens to something that you would be embarrassed to call out in public."


Rachael Buzzel owns Giant Schnauzer Archie, whose kennel name is Bellguard Baroque. She says: "Boroque is an artistic style that was popular in the 17th century. It is characterised by exuberance, drama, and is very grand - much like Archie!

"My husband, James, chose the name Archie. It was either that or Captain, but a little research found that dogs named Captain seemed quite accident prone - so Archie it was! And, touch wood, he's always been very healthy."

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Editor Sarah Wright owns Norfolk Terrier Bertie, whose kennel name is Kinsridge Trouble Brewing. She says: "Bertie is primarily my daughter's dog and she chose the name Albert, which was quickly shortened to Bertie. His kennel name, Kinsridge Trouble Brewing, couldn't be more apt - it's the perfect name for him."

Commercial sales manager Becky Kane owns Chinese Crested Henry and Dobermann Spigit. She says: "I chose Henry's name simply because I thought he looked like a Henry. His kennel name is Sealindy Little Star - which is what he is!

"Spigit is one of a litter of puppies I bred in 2006. I registered the affix Purplekane (a combination of my favourite colour and my surname), and all of the puppies were named after songs on the ‘Blues Brother Soul Sister' CD. We've got Purplekane Harlem Shuffle, Purplekane Green Onions, Purplekane Soul Man, and Spigit, who is Purplekane Ain't No Sunshine."

Feature writer Kelly Felstead owns Cocker Spanial Henry, whose kennel name is Sonhawk Leo Carrillo. She says: "My fiancé, Tom, and I loved the name Henry; it's a very royal name and I think it suits him to a tee - he certainly has a regal bearing when he sits up straight with his nose in the air. When looking at Henry's family tree, we realised that royal names seem to run in his family - his great-grandad and great-great-grandad both had the name Harry in their kennel names. As for Henry's kennel name - I'm not sure it suits him at all."


Top tips

It is believed that a name with two syllables will be most successful when training your dog as you can really put emphasis on it - especially if it ends with the sound ‘ee'.

Think about the connotation linked with your chosen name - if your dog is called Fang, people may be forgiven for wanting to keep their distance.

One-syllable names can sometimes sound harsh and can be difficult to say in a welcoming tone.

Some pedigree dogs will have a registered kennel name. It is an exclusive name given to puppies by their breeders - making their puppies immediately recognisable as theirs.