On the Internet, No One Knows Derek is a Dog
December 17, 2022 12:40 PM   Subscribe

 
I’ve always maintained that early 20th century presidents and first women make the best dog names. Thus far Herbert, Calvin, and Grace have performed to their titles admirably.
posted by q*ben at 12:51 PM on December 17, 2022 [5 favorites]


bean-plating research for incoming animals companion names is like the day before Xmas in velvet

it is really joyful and exciting and soft and full of mirth. thank you for sharing these.
posted by NoThisIsPatrick at 1:08 PM on December 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


One problem with their methodology is that it doesn't account for nicknames. Abby is a dog name, but I'd bet a lot of those human Abigails are Abby when they're at home.
posted by DebetEsse at 1:10 PM on December 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


Unsurprisingly, Tribble doesn't appear on the list, and Benton is maybe unsurprisingly pretty uncommon in both species: 2 dogs and 3 people in the theoretical stadium of 100,000 humans and 100,000 dogs. Matilda, on the other hand, is pretty emphatically dog-skewed (34 dogs and 9 humans in the stadium). I actually have to wonder if some of that is age-skewed: Matilda feels just about right, as names go, to be about to make a rebound as age-related associations fade into the background, just as Stella did.

I do have to say, one of the reasons I've moved to human names from the other types of names I've reached for in the past is completely unmentioned by the article. I tend to name my animals after characters from stories or references, but "tribble" is apparently obscure enough that I've spent the last ten years explaining that no, I did not name my dog "Dribble" or "Triple" or "Trouble," and often having to spell it. My last name is hard enough to spell as it is! My cats (Peter, Ishka, Arthur, the late Janet) hadn't had that problem, and we've been reaching for characters with much more human-sounding names for that reason: it's way less of a pain in the ass to explain the name to the vet that way, especially over the phone. By the time we named the younger two dogs, that consideration was an active

Dog culture matters, too: dog sport names are their own genre with very, very different common names, stereotypes, and associations, even from sport to sport. Flyball is notorious for names like Riot and Poison and Nova, for example.
posted by sciatrix at 1:22 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


Human DJs are Daniel John or Darlene Jane or Disc Jockey or Donald Jessica.

Our feline DJ is technically Dinner Jacket, because he wears permanent black tie, but he does not know his full name. Does he answer to “DJ”? Yes, as much as any cat answers to anything. There are a number of hit songs in which he seems to recognize himself.
posted by armeowda at 1:37 PM on December 17, 2022 [10 favorites]


One of my friends had a cat named Ben and then met a boy named Ben and then spent the next few years having to preface her cute anecdotes with whether they were about "Cat-Ben" vs. "Person-Ben".
posted by jacquilynne at 1:41 PM on December 17, 2022 [10 favorites]


I absolutely loathe this trend. Dogs are better than humans and therefore require better names.

There are two dogs in my neighborhood with my very uncommon but definitely human name and it freaks me out every time people call them in the park.

I'm of the opinion that all dog names should be two syllables and uncommon. At no time should there ever be two dogs in the same 'hood or park with the same name.

For the record, my dog's name is Shakedown.
posted by dobbs at 1:44 PM on December 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


From the WaPo article:
As it turns out, about 1 in 7 Petfinder dogs had names that also are commonly given to babies. But within this subset of dogs named after humans, there’s enormous variation in the popularity of certain monikers. For example, only about 1 in 2,000 of the Petfinder pooches were named Kevin. But other names — Bonnie, Jackson, Hunter — had substantial overlap between babies and pups.

...

Bella, Max and Luna were the top three dog names across both the shelter dogs and the NYC/Seattle dogs.
posted by spamandkimchi at 1:45 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


F3 Gizmo. Nope. Fail.
posted by Splunge at 2:00 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


People names for dogs (ideally names you'd associate with blue collar white guys in the 80s, like Jim or Bob or Phil)

Food names for cats.
posted by Reyturner at 2:14 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


Humorously, my dog's name comes up as very much a dog name on that chart, but in the UK it's now decidedly human due to a local celebrity's giving their child that name.
posted by praemunire at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


*checks name* Yep, officially not a bitch.
posted by maudlin at 2:17 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


My sister has a small red dog named Rick. Apparently the rescue org named him Rick James, and she kept Rick. As expected, it is more human than dog. It is a weird name. Her other dogs have been Molly, Bella, Reese and Darcy. Darcy was her first puppy and she still tells people I told her to name that one Snorkle. (Snorkle was just one of many great options I offered because she couldn’t decide.)
posted by Glinn at 2:23 PM on December 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


Benefits of human names for pets: hilarious faux pas from friends and coworkers who don't realize "Cindy" is a cat.

Disadvantages of human names for pets: mortifying faux pas from you when you marry into a family where someone is already named "Cindy."
posted by brook horse at 2:36 PM on December 17, 2022 [7 favorites]


My college roommate named her cat after me, long after we stopped living together as a way to "reclaim the name."

I'm still weirded out by that one.

My friend has two cats who are named Monkey and Cricket. She says it's delightfully confusing for toddlers since those are the names of other animals.
posted by edencosmic at 2:45 PM on December 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


The WaPo article that lets you search names for their place on the dog to human name spectrum is fun, but don't sleep on the second link on dog name trends which is both interesting in itself and cites Stephanie Howard-Smith, a pet historian at King’s College London -- which is definitely today's installment of jobs I wish I'd imagined as a possibility.

She has a PhD in the cultural history of lapdogs and seems to cover the corgi beat for Slate, with articles explaining how Newton the corgi is one of many historical anachronisms in the Bridgerton series and discussing the Queen's corgis in the wake of her death. I need Dr. Howard-Smith to get a book contract stat.
posted by the primroses were over at 2:59 PM on December 17, 2022 [6 favorites]


There's only a specific kind of human name that's funny to me when it's a dog's name.
"Henry" or "Lucy" or "William" or whatever are fine, not funny though. But for some reason a naming a dog something like "Diane" is funny to me and I have no idea what the difference is. Or Carrie Fisher's dog "Gary." So funny.
posted by chococat at 3:00 PM on December 17, 2022 [10 favorites]


I have a friend who named her baby after her late beloved dog. I think it's awesome. Love is love.
posted by HotToddy at 3:28 PM on December 17, 2022 [4 favorites]


Roxy was a rescue and very comfortable with her name, so we didn't rename her. I think of it as a human name, but it comes up as very-dog on the site.

When we got another rescue, a pitch-black mostly-lab, we wanted something that would go well with Roxy and chose Rook, which that site doesn't recognize at all.

Edit: Meanwhile *my* name comes up as 29 dogs to 6 humans.
posted by Four Ds at 3:29 PM on December 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


There is a French bulldog in my neighbourhood named Kevin.* I do a double-take every time I hear his owner call him, even though it suits him perfectly.

*This Kevin is very cute.
posted by rpfields at 3:30 PM on December 17, 2022 [4 favorites]


I love pet names and the nicknames/Nicholasnamed that come from them. The second link has loads of great ones.

At home my two cats don't have human names (technically, one of them shares a name with a Roman emperor but that's not what he was named for). Affectionately we add -pie to their names in order to turn them into food. I also call my tabby cat "my little potato".

My parents' cat and my in-laws' dog were both called Rosie- very confusing when we also had a friend called Rosie as well.
posted by Braeburn at 3:39 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


"Many More Dogs is a dog name.

In a stadium of 100,000 people and 100,000 dogs, 5 dogs and 0 people would be named Many More Dogs."

This feels like the setup of a joke.
posted by bigendian at 3:59 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


@Braeburn we have a dog named Rosie as well.

Also have a dog named Huey, who people think is named after Huey Lewis. Nope, Huey from The Boondocks (and by extension Huey Newton).
posted by bxvr at 5:09 PM on December 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


This may be a US thing - very few of the cats and dogs I know personally have human names. The cats include a Mowgli, a Catface, a Spider and a Renfield (a human name, but taken from a book), and the dogs include a Buddy, a Miff, a Curry and a Naan (the last two are brothers).

Also, people I know who give names to inanimate objects, including me, do use human names. I bought a handbag shaped like a T rex as a Christmas present to myself last week, and immediately decided he was called Herbert.
posted by Fuchsoid at 5:18 PM on December 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


All of our cats have had human names. First were brother and sister Sebastian and Viola, then came Diego (as in Juan Diego Florez). The current sibling pair are Maxwell and Tesla (James Clerk and Nikola, respectively). I wanted to name the current pair Edison and Tesla, but my spouse thought that would be asking for conflict. Knowing what I know now, perhaps Tesla wasn't the best choice.
posted by mollweide at 5:29 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


This may be a US thing - very few of the cats and dogs I know personally have human names.

This made me think of an 1890 ghost story by Mary Cholmondeley, "Let Loose", which features a dog named Brian.

So it was possibly plausible as a pet name in the UK in the past or - as the dog's fate suggests - Cholmondeley had an axe to grind with a human Brian.
posted by ryanshepard at 6:12 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


Also, people I know who give names to inanimate objects, including me, do use human names

My egg cooker is named Clarence the Second! (Clarence the First died in a fire.)
posted by brook horse at 6:16 PM on December 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


If you meet a Kevin, he’s probably a human.

We had a dog named Kevin when I was a kid. I still feel bad for ratting him out when he pooped on the den floor. I know, I know, my parents would have noticed it sooner or later but I didn't need to snitch on the poor guy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:46 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


Our feline DJ is technically Dinner Jacket, because he wears permanent black tie

Our cat DJ was short for Duster Jane.

In my family, most pets have people names, except when they came with a pet-type name.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:49 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


My first name is a dog name. Like, not "mostly a dog name", a dog name.

This is hilarious and awful to me because my ex-husband's sister had a dog with my name. I think the dog may have come along after I did, which is typical of my ex-in-laws' treatment of me. (The year we stayed with my ex-SiL for Christmas, my ex-MiL made a big deal about how the boys should get the cinnamon rolls from the inside of the pan because they were the best and had no crust. I got a corner roll that was broken. Getting rid of that entire family was the best part of that split.)

FWIW, in the UK, when I lived there in the 80s, I was regularly asked whether I was originally redheaded, and often told I had a boy's name. Weirdly, despite the fact that I got a for-free name change when I split from the aforementioned ex, I went back to my birth surname and never considered getting rid of my given name. I guess I'm OK being a bitch.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 7:17 PM on December 17, 2022 [4 favorites]


From Reddit, September 2021: AITA for naming my dog Brad? Brad #2 took offense.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:21 PM on December 17, 2022 [3 favorites]


I once had a cat who came with a name that’s a common nickname for my own. My sister took a page from South Park and called the cat “[Nickname] 1” and me “[Nickname] 2,” because “it’s just easier.”
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:48 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


At least three people have told me they have or had a dog with the same name as my daughter and when I plug her name into the widget she shows up as more dog than human.
posted by vespabelle at 9:38 PM on December 17, 2022 [1 favorite]


Going the other way, one of the low key funniest things about the excellent kids’ show Bluey is that all of the anthropomorphized dog characters still have dog names (Bluey, Bingo, Bandit, Chili).
posted by rustcellar at 10:06 PM on December 17, 2022 [2 favorites]


My name is a human and a dog name. Makes sense. I’ve met more dogs with my name than I have humans. Usually black labs.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 6:19 AM on December 18, 2022 [1 favorite]


My name is 100% human; my MeFi name is not in the database. My dog's name shows as mostly dog, but a friend has a granddaughter with the same name. Adopted her from a prior owner and kept the name. Her nicknames - Zozo, Zozer, Zozabelle, Zozy, and Chucklehead, are not listed.
posted by theora55 at 7:00 AM on December 18, 2022 [1 favorite]


In this country, my name is a dog name, but certainly not in my ancestral country. I think there is a problem in using shelter names as a guide, though. As the article states, shelters use batch names, and that skews the data. Also, how many people keep the shelter name? My cat was called "Boogie" and that got changed in a heartbeat.
posted by acrasis at 10:09 AM on December 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


"according to Stephanie Howard-Smith, a pet historian at King’s College London."

Cool job
posted by Sassenach at 12:52 PM on December 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


Now King, that's a dog name.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 1:27 PM on December 18, 2022 [1 favorite]


Judge John Hodgman on Klingon Cat Names [archive.ph]

“it’s obvious this cat should be named Tyler”
posted by bendy at 4:22 PM on December 18, 2022 [1 favorite]


Bonus nerd points for Lieutenant Woof.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 4:54 PM on December 18, 2022 [1 favorite]


My dog's name shows as mostly dog, but a friend has a granddaughter with the same name. Adopted her from a prior owner and kept the name.

The granddaughter? O.o
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:14 PM on December 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


I knew someone that had a Yorkshire Terrier named Richard. That always cracked me up.
posted by marxchivist at 7:18 PM on December 18, 2022 [2 favorites]


My mother's beagles were called Daisy and Sophie. And if TV has taught me anything, it's that Sophie is a horse name.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:30 PM on December 18, 2022 [3 favorites]


My cat Jasper had both a people and pet name, but he was really named after the rock. Another cat had a people name from literature, Caius Merlyn Brittanicus, informally known as Caius, bur no one was confused because there ain't many people named Caius in Texas. My current cat is named Baby Goat and everyone is confused and/or charmed.
posted by a humble nudibranch at 9:11 PM on December 18, 2022 [3 favorites]


I'm personally not a fan of this trend, despite having a dog named Riley. She was adopted, however, and we kept her name.

Food names for cats.
The last time I had the chance to name a pet was Shabu Shabu (same link). Maybe my favorite pet name but she was a fucking miserable cat.
posted by slogger at 8:14 AM on December 19, 2022


I personally would never give a pet a normal human name when one of the best things about having a pet is ability to name it almost anything.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:05 AM on December 19, 2022 [1 favorite]


My husband has a thing that all dogs should have a rock song with their name in it so it can be their theme song. He had Rosie (Whole Lotta Rosie - AC/DC) when I met him. After she passed, we added Lola (Lola - The Kinks) and just recently Molly (Good Golly Miss Molly - Little Richard). Oddly enough, the cat, Finn McPurr, had a very human name when we got him but we changed it cause it felt odd calling him Kevin. But sometimes, when he's a pile of silliness and spite, we still call him Kevin, but more in that "OH Kevin, really?" way.

Personally, all my pets, with two notable exceptions, have had people names. The best was when I had a dog named Ben and my boss's son was also named Ben and he was a friend of my boyfriend. So I actually said once "Ben came over for dinner and Ben would not leave him alone. The Bens are besties now."
posted by teleri025 at 11:07 AM on December 19, 2022 [1 favorite]


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