Category Archives: naming a pet

How Did You Pick Your Pet’s Name?

jabbersBy Linda Cole

Picking a name for a pet is a ritual all pet owners go through. Sometimes a name is chosen based on the pet’s personality, or a name suddenly pops into your mind. Famous people, pop culture, cartoon characters and sports figures often have an influence in picking a name. Ultimately, it’s a personal preference when it comes to the psychology behind picking a name for a pet.

One of my cats, Jabbers, got his name because as a kitten he was constantly talking to me. He has lived up to his name and continues to jabber for his CANIDAE cat treats, or when he feels a need to correct one of the dogs and also whenever I call his name. We’ve had some interesting conversations over the years. I just wish I knew what he was really saying to me.

I was curious about how my neighbors and friends picked their pet’s name, so I asked some of them to share their story. Here are a few:

pet names wolfy“Our dog, Wolfy, is a toy Yorkshire Terrier. He has extremely large ears for a Yorkie, so when I sent his picture as a little three month old pup to my boyfriend, he came back with the name Wolf because of ‘my what big ears you have.’ Not named for viciousness, just for big ears. We also have a 17 year old tabby cat. When we first got him, we were told he was a girl, but a week later discovered he was a boy. We named him Carrot because he was very orange.” – Kali Armstrong and Buck Lia

“We named a kitten we rescued from a dumpster Minnie because she was very tiny when we found her. She was only 5 weeks old. We also like Minnie Mouse and Minnie Riperton. She was like both of them rolled into one with her personality, so we thought it was very fitting.” – April Paul

“I found my cat in a garbage bin looking for food. I remembered my last cat and how harsh consonants grab her attention. All of a sudden while looking at her, Kiya popped into my head.” – Shan-Lyn

pet names milou and sherlock“Our dogs are Milou, a Shilo Shepherd, and Sherlock, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We seem to name all of our animals after literary characters. Milou comes from the French Tintin comic books. We also have a black and white cat named Watson, and a black cat named Hobbs, who (naturally) had a brother named Calvin.” – Sandra Caldwell

“Mickey got his name because his tiny kitten meow was more of a squeak, like a mouse. I chose the name Rocky for my other boy because although he was in bad shape when I rescued him, I could just tell he had a fighting spirit. I decided to name my other rescue kitty Annabelle because she was essentially an orphan, like Little Orphan Annie from the comics.” – Julia Williams

“We named one of our dogs Big Al because we are huge Alabama football fans and the team mascot is an elephant called Big Al. Our Big Al is a three year old rescue dog, a mixed breed from the bully breed family. He was in pretty bad shape when we got him. He had heart worms, a collapsed trachea and other things, but now he’s as fit as can be.” – Langley Cornwell

“Gunner and Eva are three year old German Shepherd siblings. The first time we saw Gunner, half of his body was in the food bag. When he would come out of his crate it was like a shotgun blast – especially during feeding time – so that’s how he bepet names Gunner and Evacame Gunner. For my other dog Eva, I was looking at a picture of Eva Longoria and I thought they had the same big brown eyes. Eva is so beautiful, but she’s very feminine and I just thought she needed an older name like from the 1940s. It’s sweet, it’s beautiful and has pizazz. We also have three rescued cats. Lucky was found by my son in a junkyard. She was really lucky he found her. Now she sleeps all day, and eats, and is very particular (she only likes to drink bottled water). Max got his name from Mad Max and the Thunderdome, because when he was a kitten his favorite thing to do was to run across the room and throw himself against the wall, and then lie down. He’s crazy! Roy is named after a character in the TV series Arrow. The character is sort of an underling who messes with the main character, so Roy got his name because he likes to mess with Mad Max.” – Michelle Allen

What’s your story? How did you pick your pet’s name?

Photos by Linda Cole
Top to bottom: Jabbers, Wolfy; Milou & Sherlock; Gunner & Eva

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Funny Pet Names

By Langley Cornwell

Most of us put a good deal of thought into what we’re going to call our new pet. Usually, their name reveals something about our own interests or personality. I get a kick out of learning what my friends call their pets. Here are some of the funny pet names they shared with me.


My friend Wendy used to walk with a lady on the beach who named her dog Taxi. Every time she called her dog, people thought she was a nut, going down the beach yelling “TAXI!”

Laurie has two cats that are brothers…Isaac and Figg, you know, the Newton brothers. And Patricia’s mom had a dog named Seiko. Can you guess why?

Sports Themed

Sports related names include Tiffany’s dog Kobe, because she’s a big Lakers fan. Caren’s beagle mix is named Philadelphia: Philadelphia Beagle (her husband is a Philadelphia Eagles fan).

Ken once had a black cat named Demon and the cat’s mother’s name was Deacon – named for the fighting Demon Deacons of Wake Forest University. His current cat is named Kasay after the ex-kicker on the Carolina Panthers football team.

One of our dogs, Big Al, is named after the University of Alabama football team’s mascot.

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The Pet Name Game

By Julia Williams

It’s always fun to hear how people picked the name they gave their pet. For starters, there are plenty of great stories about how a pet got their name. There are numerous tales of the inspiration behind a certain name, and just as many stories of names that fit a pet’s personality or names that just ‘clicked’ when someone saw their pet. Sometimes the name we pick means something to us or stands for something, and other times we just like the sound of it.

Regardless of how a pet got their name, I have yet to hear anyone say they picked the wrong name for their dog or cat and decided to change it later. No matter what name we decide upon, it’s seems as if we just somehow know it’s the right one, and it fits. This reminds me of a story about my own name.

When I was born, my mother named me Julia and put that on my birth certificate. However, a day or so later she changed her mind and decided to call me Julie instead. All through my childhood, I disliked my name. I felt it didn’t ‘fit’ me somehow, but didn’t know why. I wasn’t aware that the name on my birth certificate was different than the one everyone knew me by. I eventually found out, and decided I would rather go by Julia.

Once I decided to be Julia instead of Julie, my name instantly felt like it fit.  Now, you might not think one little letter would make a difference, but it did. What I realized was that my mother had known the ‘right’ name all along! Thus, I believe that when it comes to picking the right name for your pet, all you really have to do is trust your first instinct.

The great thing about naming our pets is that we can choose any name that floats our boat, no matter how oddball it might be. No one’s going to stop you. Well…that’s not entirely true. When I was 4, we had a yellow kitten I desperately wanted to name Blackie, but my family nixed that idea. In my young mind, I saw nothing wrong with the name and was very upset. Now that I’m an adult and can choose any pet name I want, I have two black cats – and neither one is named Blackie! Go figure.

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Does Your Dog’s Name Fit Their Personality?

By Suzanne Alicie

Pet names are kind of funny sometimes. Most dogs get their names when they are puppies, and once they grow up the name may or may not fit their personality. The same is true for cats. I once named a kitten Chicken because she was scared of everything, but after she got used to the family there was no fear in her! So how do you choose a dog name that your puppy can grow into? It’s a guessing game really, and the idea is mainly to pick a name that he will understand, that you like and that rolls off your tongue easily! Julia Williams has offered up some great suggestions in “How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your New Pet.”

Do you have a really big dog that maneuvers about as well as a bull in a china shop? Was he the runt of the litter and you despaired of him every growing big and strong? If so, he may have a name like Tiny or Baby. You can’t change his name after he grows big so his name may be a bit of a misnomer, but it’ll make a great story when people ask!

Some dogs have such a strong personality when they are puppies that the name you give them based on their personality will fit even when they are grown. Bruiser may be the moniker tacked onto the biggest pup in the litter as he tramples the others to get to his CANIDAE dog food. That “leader of the pack” mentality tends to stick with a dog, and he’ll likely have a personality that matches his size.

Dog owners sometimes name their dogs based on physical appearance, but this can change a great deal as the dog ages. I recall a Pit Bull puppy we had years ago – at 8 weeks of age he hadn’t grown into his feet or his coat, and when he sat down it looked like his pants were wrinkling around his butt! Luckily I didn’t name him Saggy or Clumsy, because although he always ran a bit sideways, he grew into his feet and his coat, and there was nothing saggy about him. His name was Max, and he was loyal, loving and very fit.

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Unique Pet Names and What They Mean

By Linda Cole

Naming a pet takes time. You want to see what their personality is like so you can pick just the right name, but it’s not always easy. You want a name that says something about your pet. A name that’s unique yet easy for your pet to learn. When naming a pet, one or two syllables work the best. With the myriad of names available, it’s impossible to list them all, so here’s a brief list of unique pet names and what they mean.

Unique pet names: A through H

Ani – pronounced ah-nee, this is a female name with origins in Hawaii. It means wave, blow softly or beckon.
Audie – an English name meaning noble strength. It’s a female name; however, Audie Murphy was a famous male soldier who became the most decorated American of WW II and a celebrated movie star after the war.
Beamer – comes from the English and is a male name meaning trumpeter.
Burel – a male name from the French that means reddish brown haired.
Codi – English female name meaning cushion or helpful.
Cormic – Irish male name meaning charioteer.
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How to Pick the Perfect Name for Your New Pet

By Julia Williams

Adding a new four-legged friend to your family is such a joy. You’ve chosen “the one,” and now it’s time to have some fun naming your new dog or cat. There is no wrong or right way to name your pet, so you needn’t stress out over what to call them. As long as you provide your pet with what they need to be healthy and happy, they’ll love you no matter what name you choose.

If you prefer unique dog names over traditional dog names like Buddy, Rover or Max, that’s your prerogative. If classic cat names like Fluffy, Princess or Tiger seem to suit your new feline friend better than the latest “it” cat names, so be it. There are literally millions of potential names for your dog or cat. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Pet names based on physical characteristics

This is perhaps the easiest way to name your pet. Names like Bear, Bruno, Hercules, Hulk, Samson, Sumo, Tank and Titan are perfect for big dogs. Some good names for small dog breeds are Ant, Baby, Cupcake, Dinky, Midget, Nipper, Pixie, Squirt, and Tiny. Colors are also popular ways to name pets. For black cats, consider Midnight, Onyx, Shadow or Smokey. Pets with white fur could be called Casper, Coconut, Marshmallow, Pearl, Snowball or Snowflake. Calico cats lend themselves to names like Callie, Patches and Rainbow.

Pet names based on personality

Some good names in this category include Bashful, Blossom, Boss, Butch, Fang, Gypsy, Honey, Mischief, Rascal, Rowdy, Snuggles and Wiggles.

Pet names based on plants and flowers
Names in this category are quite popular, and not just with people who love to garden. Some of the more common pet names based on plants and flowers include Buttercup, Daisy, Fern, Flora, Holly, Iris, Ivy, Juniper, Lilac, Lily, Lotus, Petals, Petunia, Poppy, Rose, Sweet Pea, Tulip and Violet.

Pet names based on food

One of my favorite food-related pet names is Pepper. Growing up, my family had a black-and-white cat named Pepper. During dinner, invariably someone would say “Please pass the pepper,” and one of us would say “Pepper? What’s he doing on the table?” or something similar. Amazingly, the joke never got old. However, my older brothers used to annoy me (on purpose) by referring to Pepper as Salt; I was not amused.

If you have a sweet tooth, you could name your pet after your favorite snack, such as: Brownie, Cadbury, Caesar, Cookie, Cupcake, Hershey, Kit Kat, Lollipop, Muffin, Oreo, Skittles, Snickers, Sugar, Taffy and Twinkie. Other popular pet names based on food products include Chiquita, Ginger, Kiwi, Marmalade, Nacho, Olive, Peaches, Peanut, Pickles, Pumpkin, Taco and Tater. Your favorite beverage could also inspire a fun pet name, such as: Bailey, Brandy, Chianti, Cider, Coffee, Corona, Macchiato, Mocha, Pepsi, Sake, Sprite and Soda.

Pet names based on pop culture

TV, movie and cartoon characters always make good names. Consider Bam Bam, Bingo, Bogart, Brinkley, Buffy, Duke, Gidget, Keiko, Mario, Maverick, Miley, Scarlett, Spencer, Tootsie, Xena and Yoda.

Disney fans might want to name their pet Ariel, Baloo, Bambi, Belle, Fantasia, Gepetto, Merlin, Mowgli, Nemo, Piglet, Pluto, Pongo, Tigger, Thumper or Woody. Bonnie and Clyde is cute if you’re adopting both a female and a male. If you’re into fashion, you might like Armani, Calvin, Coco, Chanel, Juicy or Polo.

Things to consider when naming your pet:

● Don’t feel pressured to name your new pet right away. Give them some time to adjust to their new surroundings, so their true personality can shine.
● Names should ideally be no more than two syllables. If you already have other pets, the names shouldn’t be similar, to avoid confusion.
● Choose a name that can’t be confused with commands or words your pet understands, such as Dawn (down), Pete (treat), Kit and Sid (sit).
● You’ve probably heard the classic story about the guy who got into all kinds of trouble because he named his dog “Sex.” Choose a name you’re not embarrassed to call out loud, such as at the dog park, or when you need to look for a lost pet or call your outdoor cat to come in for dinner.
● If several names appeal to you but you can’t decide which one you prefer, you can “try them on for size.” Use each for a day or two, then select the one that seems to fit your pet best.
● You will use your pet’s name dozens of times every day, so make sure you can live with your choice.

Remember, there are no hard-and-fast rules to naming your pet. Just enjoy the process, and you’re sure to discover the perfect name for your new best friend!

Read more articles by Julia Williams

The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.