Canine name trend leaves Bello in dog house

Today’s dog owners are well travelled, creative linguists who enjoy a drink - or so they’d like their pet’s name to suggest, as traditional canine names such as Bello are replaced by more individual choices, a new study says.

Canine name trend leaves Bello in dog house
Photo: DPA

Eva Schaab compared 1,000 current dog names with those given to the predecessors a century ago, and found that names like Flocki (Fluff) are losing out to new choices such as Asti.

Her study suggested people were turning their backs on old-fashioned German choices and were looking for more creative, “human” names which reflect how cosmopolitan and individual the owner is – or wants to appear, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote on Friday.

One owner even said her dog was called Max, but “pronounced the English way.”

For her master’s thesis, a student at Mainz University Schaab questioned 1,000 owners about their dog’s names, and compared the results to a list of 1,000 dog names from between 1907 and 1916.

A century ago, man’s best friend would have simply been named after its appearance; Krummbein (Crookshanks) for instance, was a popular choice. Or they were given a solid patriotic name such as “Danube” to show what good Germans the owners were.

But these trends are being replaced, said Schaab, who studies onomatology – the science of names. Topping today’s most popular list are Benny, Sammy and Gina, which show the lean towards a humanisation of dogs and their increased sentimental worth to owners.

Only three of the 1,000 dogs had the name Rex, while traditional German canine names Bello and Hasso were nowhere to be seen.

Alcoholic beverages frequently popped up in the list as well, with owners calling their dogs Jim Beam, Calvados and Asti while city names are also seen as sources of inspiration, with Sydney and Boston featuring on the list.

What the study also outlined was that many dog owners gave their pet a name which they would not dare give their child.

One woman who was interviewed told Schaab that she wanted to call her child Sina – but when her baby turned out to be a boy, she gave the name to her dog.

Another was desperate to give her son the name Merlin, but feared he would be bullied so now has Merlin the dog.

The Local/jcw

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