Tess, Spot and other stupid names for dogs

Meet Tess.

A bad ass she is not. Not that a dog has to be a bad ass, mind you. But I prefer a dog you can, you know, hold a conversation with. Tess, like D-sis dog Chance, is of the spaniel-setter sort and I'm going to be honest. Those dogs are just a bit odd.

Put D-fav Jake in the backyard and he wanders around and sniffs things and generally explores the neighborhood. Put Tess in the backyard and she points. She points at the fence. At the birdfeeder. At the shed. Oh yes, Tess. Thank you. I was afraid I might miss the shed, but there it is.

Tess is not a good dog name. I'm fairly disappointed in D-bro for that one. D-bro wasn't always a poor dog namer. He had a dog named Blackjack. In fact, the dog's full name was Blackjack Dog. He won her in a poker game. Now that is a good name. Then came Max. But now...Tess? Come on. Then he tells me about his daughter-in-law's dog...the one the parents let the kids name....called Spot. For Christ's sake. Spot? What is wrong with these people? Parents are supposed to delicately say to the kid, Spot seems good now, but why don't we think of another name like Scooter. You like your scooter, don't you? And before you know it, the kid thinks they named the dog Scooter.

So for those of you without a clue about how to name a dog, I'm going to offer some guidelines.

1. A dog falls into a great dog name. It just fits. You'll know it when you find it. So don't rush it. You need to learn the dog's personality. It will come to you. Don't worry. Try out a few before deciding on one for sure.

2. You can name dogs after things. States. Trucks. Brands of Beer. As long as it's manly beer, like Fosters. Not Heineken. You can name them after cities. Austin. Denver. Boston (better if it's a terrier). Just please, no Sacramentos or Peirres. You cannot name them after candy bars. How many poor chocolate labs have I met named Hershey or Nestle? No, you aren't the first one to think of that. Why don't you just put a pink tutu on the dog and sign it up for obedience school? Sheesh.

3. Great male dog names should have one or two HARD syllables and start with a hard consonant.


4. The name should be solid. It should be short and to the point. In general, don't name a male dog a popular kid name, but feel free to use people names that are currently out of fashion.


But there is little you can do if retarded parents begin to name their kids good dog names. Take my first dog Dakota.

5. You can name dogs after famous people, but do I really have to point out that HITLER and STALIN are probably not the best names, even if it's a pit bull. You can name them after scientists, but only if you are careful. So DARWIN and WALLACE are okay, but I don't ever want to meet a dog named ASA or DOBZANSKY or HAECKLE. Humboldt is not okay, but if shortened to BOLT,you might pass. KIMURA is marginal even though K-names in general are usually not bad. Save that shit for cats.

6. Never, ever, ever give them a Latin name for a plant or animal. First, it exposes you as a geek, but it also isn't fair to the dog to be named Violaceous euphonia.

7. Bitches can have more delicate names, and more fun names, but they, too, should be solid. You can go three syllables. I like a two-part name. One part state, the other part color: Dakota Red, Nevada Blue. But think on these for a bit.

Pat (the dog)

7. Stay away from things like Baby or Sweetie, Bubbles, Wiggles, or Princess. Also cast off as unacceptable all uber fashionable names like Bailey, Madison, River, Rain, and now, sadly, Dakota.

8. Avoid foreign names for your dog. I don't care that it's a Chihuahua, Jesus isn't a great dog name. No Jean-Paul's for poodles either. Celtic names for border collies are popular, but I'm not fond of them. Jake's originally name was Keifer. I knew I couldn't live with that and neither could he. In addition, weird spellings make no sense for dogs. THEY CAN'T SPELL. So no to Raen and Ryver. Irish setter named Kelly. Oh what the hell, go ahead. Just please, don't spell it Kaeli.

I hope that these guidelines offer you some help in fielding an appropriate name for your companion. Let's hope the days of Tesses and Spots are few. If you can't decide on a name for a while, give your dog a nickname. I called D-friend Bek's dog Moo-moo for a while because it had spots like a cow. The dog is now more appropriately named Dixie. But if you have gone days or weeks without finding an appropriate name for your dog, there is one last option. You can call your dog what I call every dog whose name I don't know.



  1. I know a dog named K-So Dilla. Both foreign and spelled funny (though I'm not sure about the spelling of the Dilla part).
    Good thing she's a girl, because its a two part name with three syllables. I like the name, easy to say and funny.

    I have a snake named Nyoka. Its a foreign word (means "snake" in Swahili), but I think that's ok for a snake because snakes are kind of exotic. I also have a tarantula named Araña (spider in Spanish). I don't suppose this nomenclature would transfer to dogs very well though (i.e. Perro).

    What do you think of a dog named Dee-O-Gee? I've known several (various spellings).

  2. These guidelines apply only to dogs. If you can get your pet tarantula or snake to answer to a name, maybe we should reconsider.

    I like K-So. Starts with a K. Short, fun, fits the personality of the dog. Is acceptable.

    Dogs named Dee-O-Gee. No. No. and No.

    That's just wrong.


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