What’s In a Name? (A Lot, Actually)


Duchess, Lassie, Champ, and Spot are out. Lucy, Maggie, Max, and Charlie are in. Why the shift in the names we give our dogs? Anthropologists posit that the more we consider our dogs our family members, the more we’re apt to give them names that a person might have rather than a cutesy moniker.

We sure have come a long way from medieval times, when people often gave their dogs names for aspects of their appearance. (Could you imagine naming your pet Brown Paw?) The shift actually began in the late 1800s, when breeds began to be codified much more carefully, but it has really taken over during the last several decades. In the 1930s the most popular dog’s name was Queenie, at least according to one data set; in the 1940s, Tippy. In the ’50s it was Sandy; in the ’60s, Lady; and in the ’70s, Brandy. Today, dogs’ names often overlap with the names you’d find in books on what to call your baby.


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