Dog Names – Some Funny. Some Formal. Some Profane.

Guest blogger, author and friend Michelle Stark, shares how she arrives at an appropriate dog name. How did you arrive at your dog’s name?

Shakespeare queried, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other would smell as sweet.”  I find this to be very true.  Our dogs have multiple names; their AKC registered name and the common name we use on a daily basis. They also have nicknames. A lot of nicknames. They’ve amassed quite a few over time.

Tank  - AKC-intended name*, Abrams Bradley. This name was derived from the famous and battle-hardy American military tanks, the M1 Abrams and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. And like these machines, he is slow, low  and rolls over everything. Matt gets all the credit for this one. Tank obeys commands issued to:

  • Tinkle Tank- a name earned during the potty training phase as in “let’s go tinkle, Tank.”  It just kind of stuck.
  • Tank Bear – bestowed after I realized the other two had ‘bear-themed’ names. I didn’t want him to feel left out. I think he’s ashamed of this one, as he reluctantly responds to it. He does, however, resemble a polar bear as he moseys towards you. 
  • Marshmallow/Toasted Marshmallow – so named because of his coloring. He’s white with a brindle mask and when he lies down, he is just a fluffy white blob with what looks like that crunchy, caramelized part of a toasted marshmallow on top.
  • Fat Butt – well, really the ‘butt’ in this name is a non-appropriate three-letter word that begins with ‘A’ but this is a g-rated blog. Fat Butt was given to him by my father in law when he observed Tank sitting as a puppy. All of his rolls and wrinkles seemed to slide to his backside, making Tank look like he had a fat, uh, butt.

*Once upon a time we were novices about buying a pure-bred bulldog.  Due to an unscrupulous breeder, Tank could not be registered. We decided it wasn’t fair that he not have a formal name, even if it’s not registered. Caveat emptor! We have since found a really good, well respected and honest breeder who has become a dear friend!


Missy – AKC registered name, Lil Bit MissChivas of Bullrun.  Missy’s registered name has three parts.  ‘Lil Bit’ since she was just a ‘lil bit’ as a puppy and an adorable one at that.  She was also mischievous, instigating trouble with her litter mates constantly. However, my husband is very good at adding character to a name. Her coloring is a beautiful amber, like a fine Scotch whiskey, hence the MissChivas moniker. Bullrun is a nod to our breeder’s kennel name, which we are proud to represent.  Missy will douse you with her presence when you call her:

  • Missy Bit – an affectionate rearrangement of her registered and common name.
  • Bitty Bear – she resembles a honey-colored bear ambling towards you. It’s very cute!
  • Bitty Bit – she was a bitty bit of bulldog once upon a time, and the name stuck.
  • Missy Bear – another combo name derived from Missy and her Bitty Bear nickname; it’s a nickname born of affection. She responds quite well to this one.
  • Barky Barkerson – Missy has an addiction to barking. She’s been in rehab several times, but she falls off the wagon on an almost daily basis. We’re just grateful she hasn’t mastered tweeting or internet shows yet. I am keeping her away from Charlie Sheen.
  • Chunky Monk – she’s a bulldog and her girlish figure is, well, a little more robust now that she’s full grown.  We use it with affection so as not to harm her self esteem.

Coal – AKC registered name, Hope’s Diamond in the Ruff.  This is one of the best creative collaborations for dog names Matt and I have had. We named him Coal for the simple fact that when held he looks like a burning lump of coal.  He’s dark brindle with a white collar and his coloring is reflective of red embers, white ash and coal black.  The ‘roughest’ form of a diamond is a lump of coal.  Matt’s clever mind suggested the more canine ‘ruff’.  Then I seized on Hope’s Diamond.  It’s a play on the Hope diamond as well as a way to honor Hope, the baby we lost at 18 weeks gestation. It’s perfect for this pup and is perhaps my most favorite of our dog’s names. Coal will eagerly respond to:

  • Coal-y Bear– As a teeny puppy, he looked like a cuddly stuffed animal. It was cute. It stuck. Use of this name will get have him hurling himself at you to get love.
  • Lumpy – Tank has Fat Butt; Missy has Chunky Monk. Coal needed a nickname that exalted the ‘beefier’ side of bulldogs like his older siblings. And after all, he is a lump of Coal.
  • S*** Brick – This name came from a popular teen movie. Common courtesy, and again, this being a g-rated blog, begs that I refrain from elaborating further.  If you’ve seen the movie, you know the nickname given to Finch. If you haven’t, well, you probably aren’t missing much. The nickname was thoroughly earned by the number and sheer volume of solid accidents Coal has had. My husband bestowed this particular designation on him. It is not one I use. Ever.

So yes, Shakespeare was right. While a dog may be a dog, no matter what name you use, he will still grace with you with affection just as the scent of a rose still smells as sweet no matter what you call it.  How do your dogs names fit their personalities?

Related Posts:

Adding Another Dog – Is Three A Crowd?


3 Responses to “Dog Names – Some Funny. Some Formal. Some Profane.”

  1. Ken Perry 15. Mar, 2011 at 10:04 am #

    I always enjoy Michele’s writing. It is clear she is a true dog person, well, OK, a bull dog person.

  2. Elizabeth Deitz 15. Mar, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    It shows, doesn’t it? I just came across a new study that indicates that sperm whales have individual names too!

  3. Michelle S 20. Mar, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Ken – Yeah, they tell you to write about what you know, and what I know is bulldogs. I guess I could write about the cockapoos I had when I was a child, but that was a looooong time ago!

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