Quiz: Can You Tell the Dog by its Name? (Round 2!)

Feb 23rd 2012

I've had pet names on the brain this week, so it seemed like time to revisit they way we name dog names, breed by breed. Last time, we saw which dog breeds received names like Shasta, Pebbles, Chi-Chi, Gus and Rocky. But what about Colby, Brutus and Gizmo? 

Below you'll find "name clouds" representing the most popular names for five breeds of dog. The bigger the type, the more popular the name. Can you guess which name cloud matches each breed? (And more on what the various styles of names tell us soon!)

Breeds: Corgi, Golden Retriever, Poodle, Saint Bernard, Shih Tzu







Images created with Wordle.

Answers to come tomorrow in comments!


By Amy3
February 23, 2012 12:36 PM

Yay! No one else to influence me. :)

A. Shih Tzu
B. Golden Retriever
C. Corgi
D. St. Bernard
E. Poodle

There's a corgi in my building named Zach.

February 23, 2012 1:17 PM

I agree with you, Amy3. The Shih Tzus and Poodles might be reversed, but the "E" names do seem more like traditional poodle names to me.

February 23, 2012 1:24 PM

I am stumped for most of them, but B has to be beagles!

By lcd (not verified)
February 23, 2012 1:26 PM

a. shih tzu
b. golden
c. corgi
d. st. bernard
e. poodle

when we had a shih tzu, i called him 'gizmo' all of the time even though it was nothing like his official name! hah! :) *

By Amy3
February 23, 2012 1:27 PM

@Elizabeth T., I went with the poodles for E because of the French names (Remy, Pierre, Coco) plus Doodles.

By Blythe (nli) (not verified)
February 23, 2012 1:44 PM

Definitely agree with Poodles for E!

I'll go with:
A. Corgis (quirky dogs, quirky names)
B. Golden retrievers (standard)
C. Shih Tzus (small/cutesy)
D. St Bernards (massive/musical)
E. Poodles (fancy/French)

Fun end to the afternoon! I like the juxtaposition of Buddy and Holly, too :)

February 23, 2012 1:54 PM

A. Corgi (too bouncy for a shih tzu)
B. Golden Retriever ("Goldie" is the giveaway)
C. Shih Tzu
D. St. Bernard ("Patches" and "Goliath")
E. Poodle (Most French, "Doodles")

February 23, 2012 1:54 PM

A. Corgi
B. Golden Retriever
C. Shih Tzu
D. Saint Bernard
E. Poodle

By Guest-2011 (not verified)
February 23, 2012 2:41 PM

DIrect guess without looking at the others ...

Corgi, A (Princess. This breed is associated with the british royals)
Golden Retriever, B (Many clues: Finnegan, Rusty, Ginger ...)
Poodle E (Curly ...)
Saint Bernard, D (leftover. but both Goliath and Angel are very fitting names)
Shih Tzu C (Panda ...)

By Joni
February 23, 2012 2:56 PM

A. Shih Tzu (Panda)
B. Golden Retriever (Buddy, the quintessential retriever name)
C. Corgie
D. St Bernard (Brutus)
E. Poodle (Curly, Doodle)

By hyz nli (not verified)
February 23, 2012 3:25 PM

Didn't look at the other posts before deciding:

A. Shih Tzu (Gizmo and Chewy are dead giveaways)
B. Golden (tough choice between B and C here, but C has Panda, which is not a great name for a Golden, and B has Goldie, which I thought might be a red herring, but I guess people are that literal)
C. Corgi (B had me going for awhile because of all the Irish names--not that Corgis are Irish, but many people might think it's close enough)
D. Saint (the big dog names, with Tiny for irony)
E. Poodle (the French names)

By hyz nli (not verified)
February 23, 2012 3:33 PM

Now looking at others' guesses, it seems A and C seem to be split between Shih Tzus and Corgis, so I'll add another thought about these. Although Corgis are quirky little dogs, I think they are much more like Goldens than they are like Shih Tzus - i.e. they are big dogs in little bodies, and the same sort of people would find them appealing. A seems to be filled with "little dog" names that are more cutesy (i.e. gizmo, chewy, princess, mimi, mister), while C has more emphasis on solid/human dog names (esp. the antiques that have moved over to kids), and that shows a lot of similarity to the Goldens, and even the Saints.

I do love the dog quizzes!

By Melanie1 (not verified)
February 23, 2012 3:47 PM

Without looking at the other guesses:

a. Corgi
b. Golden Retriever
c. Shih Tzu
d. St. Bernard
e. Poodle

February 23, 2012 6:38 PM

I guessed these without looking at the comments, but we're in agreement!
A Shih Tzu
B Golden Retriever
C Corgi
D Saint Bernard
E Poodle

February 23, 2012 7:07 PM

I didn't look at the others, until I finished

A. Shih Tzu
B. Golden Retriever
C. Corgi
D. Saint Bernard
E. Poodle

By Blythe (nli) (not verified)
February 24, 2012 6:38 AM

I had much the same thought process as you, Hyz, but managed to come to the opposite conclusion-- the A cloud has Buddy, Rosie, Colin, Chester, and Pandora, which seem to fit with 'big dog-small body' and British-ish image of the Corgis; Holly, Honey, Casey, Lacey, and Lily seemed to fit the more dainty Shih Tzus. The names in the C cloud seemed a lot more mainstream, too, and I'm under the impression that Shih Tzus are a more popular breed than Corgis, so you'd end up with more 'normal' names. Can't wait to see the answers, now!

Also off to go investigate popular dog breeds in America :)

February 24, 2012 9:56 AM

A: Shih Tzu (based on Princess)
B: Golden Retriever (Goldie)
C: Corgi (based on Reggie)
D: St. Bernard (Brutus was key)
E: Poodle (Fifi was the giveaway)

This is timely because our family is considering a dog (it's a long process though). We really have no idea what we will get (or when), but my son was thinking about names and said "I need to see what kind of dog it is before I give it a name". So breed matters!

By hyz nli (not verified)
February 24, 2012 10:28 AM

Blythe, I do see your point, and I agree that Shih Tzus are more popular here. I don't think I noticed Colin on the A list the first time around--that seems like an odd name to be popular for any dog, but maybe especially a Shih Tzu--I would think it'd fit a Corgi better. Maybe, when it comes down to it, it was mostly just the Gizmo and Chewy that seemed so strongly Shih Tzu, and then the rest fell into place for me. Looking at images of the original Gizmo and Chewy (assuming Chewy refers, at least in part, to Chewbacca), the resemblance is pretty striking, from the flat face to the button nose, and Chewy even has the fu manchu and beard. Anyway, looking forward to the reveal! And I'd love more of these quizzes, but I don't know if everyone is as much of a dog fan as I am. :)

zoerhenne, how fun that you are looking at getting a dog! Have you been looking at petfinder.com for your area? That's how we found our sweet pups this time around, and it is very helpful, I think. You can even set it up so it will email you every day when new dogs meeting your criteria are listed (I still haven't cancelled mine, because it's too fun to get pictures of cute pups in my inbox). I definitely agree you have to have a specific dog in mind before you can get to far with naming, although lists are still fun beforehand! Looking forward to hearing about it. :)

By Angela Dawn (not verified)
February 24, 2012 12:53 PM

Alright - I'll try not to peek at the other answers.

A. Shih Tzu
B. Golden retriever
C. Corgi
D. St. Bernard - Brutus must be a St. Bernard. Just watch, I'll be wrong.
E. Poodle - I didn't realize so many were named Lucky, but Fifi and Coco seem so obviously poodle. Watch, I'll get this one wrong too. This was a trick category, wasn't it?

February 24, 2012 2:16 PM

hyz-yes I have been looking at the local shelters and also have been browsing through petfinder and CastawayCritters (a local org). The actual acquiring of a pet is still pretty far off though. The house is not quite ready for one yet (as far as clutter) and the children need a little more focus on following through with chores. I take care of the two hermit crabs we currently have-Rocky and Luna, named because of their shell qualities.

February 24, 2012 2:40 PM

1. Shih Tzu. The giveaway here is Gizmo, a character from the '80s movie Gremlins. For the uninitiated, here's Gizmo:
and here's a Shih Tzu:

2. Golden Retriever. There's an overwhelming sense of sunny, affectionate warmth in these names, from the dominance of Buddy to warm color names like Goldie and Rusty.

3. Corgi. With names like Colby, Riley, Lacy and Kendal, Corgis are front runners as the world's preppiest dogs.

4. Saint Bernard. Brutus and Daisy pretty much say it all. (Plus Mozart, a twist on the Hollywood Saint Bernard Beethoven.)

5. Poodle. Allow me to say it in verse:

Coco and Pierre,
Curly and Doodles,
These are the names
That will always spell Poodles.

February 24, 2012 3:55 PM

ok without looking, here are my guesses:

A. Shi Tzu (because of Ewok and Chewy)

B. Golden Retriever (because of Comet, the dog on Full House)

C. Corgi (honestly this was the hardest one.)

D. Saint Bernard (because of Mozart, the sibset to Beethoven)

E. Poodle (for all the French and prissy naems)

February 24, 2012 4:02 PM

First, cute poem :) The French names were a dead giveaway, making Poodles tied with golden retrievers for the easiest category.

Second, even if Goldie, Rusty, and Ginger had not been in cloud B, it would still have screamed "golden retriever" due to the inclusion of "Comet". Full House homage, anyone? (Oh! Esther E got that mention in while I was typing!)

Third, am I missing something? What is with all the shih tzus and corgis named Panda?

February 24, 2012 4:01 PM

oh Lauren! I wish I would have looked because now I feel silly to have posted right under the answers. I guess this was a lot easier than the sibset one. Please do more of these, they're so fun.

By hyz nli (not verified)
February 24, 2012 4:15 PM

Karyn, I think it's because both Shih Tzus and Corgis often have a white muzzle and face stripe that goes up between the eyes, with dark markings around the eyes. These white stripes are wider in puppyhood, accentuating the panda look. For example:



Like Angela Dawn, I was suspicious that some of the categories must be tricks. Do people really name so many Goldens Goldie? And Poodles Fifi and Pierre? Where's the imagination, people? But, maybe a lot of people don't try to be original in naming their pets--maybe there's something comforting in the cliche?

By hyz nli (not verified)
February 24, 2012 4:21 PM

Also, in googling for those images above, I came across this:

Apparently it is a trend in Japan to trim and dye dogs to look like pandas? Oh my. Some of the Chows are pretty convicing. Kind of awesome, but also more than a little ridiculous.

February 24, 2012 4:24 PM

Okay. NOW it makes sense! Thanks, hyz :)
I knew that I was missing something.

(And grooming/dying your dog to look like a panda...? So silly. And yet, some of them are undeniably adorable.)

February 24, 2012 4:29 PM

There was an incredible Golden that lived down the street from me. His name-Molson. Yep, as in the beer, for the color. He was so sweet but has since passed on. RIP Molson.

February 24, 2012 4:34 PM

hyz nli wrote: "Do people really name so many Goldens Goldie? And Poodles Fifi and Pierre? Where's the imagination, people?"

...and people Isabella and Jacob?? :-)

Just to be clear, the dog name clouds represent the most common names. Names that occur only once in my name list for a breed don't show up.

By hyz nli (not verified)
February 24, 2012 6:30 PM

Laura, absolutely! :) I did think about that before typing my last comment, but it still seems a bit different to me, particularly Goldie because of its doubly obvious nature--it is both part of the breed name and the color of the dog. Jacob and Isabella have some of the same comfort factor of being traditional, likeable, non-controversial, etc., but I think Goldie takes it to the next level.

I do wish there were something like the SSA to really get a good survey of what percentage of people pick these names, and how it compares to the percentage of kids that get the most popular names. I'm guessing the clouds above come from the AKC breed registry records, or something like that? If so, that's probably the best source that's out there, but of course it's skewed because I think it only covers people who get an AKC registerable dog and then commit the time and money to register it.

Anyway, I digress, but I'd be very interested to learn if people tend to be more stereotypical in their dog name choices than in child name choices. From personal experience and intuition I tend to think they would be. Some names seem to transcend breed (somewhat) and appear everywhere--e.g. Max, Maggie, Molly, Jack, Buddy, Riley, etc.--and some are SOO common for certain breeds--e.g. Dalmatians named Pebbles and Domino, Bernese Mountain Dogs named Bear and Kody (for Kodiak), Huskies named Misha and Nikita.... So assuming the above assumption is correct, my next question is, do dog owners share parents' general impulse to give unique and interesting names, but just don't do a great job of it, OR is there a more widespread acknowledgement that Buddy and Max (for instance) are as cliched at this point as Fido may once have been (was Fido ever a really popular dog name, I wonder)? If someone is getting a Golden and calling it Goldie, there can't be much illusion there that it was a unique or original choice, right?? And if people are knowingly choosing very common names for their dogs, is there actually an appeal in having an overtly popular name--i.e. it's solid, familiar, seems friendly and traditional and maybe a bit nostalgic, which are all adjectives one might use to describe dogs themselves? Does it shoehorn the animal into the image or stereotype people were hoping for when they bought the breed (this element of choice is one clear way that pets differ from kids)? Or is it just that everyone likes these names, and they don't care if others have them, because it's not like their dog is going to have to deal with being called Maggie W. at the dog park?

Well, that's a lot of rambling, but I do find this stuff interesting. :)

By hyz nli (not verified)
February 24, 2012 6:34 PM

Karyn, glad to help. :)

zoerhenne, that's the kind of descriptive naming I can get behind--it's at least a level or two removed from using the literal name or color of the breed as the name of the dog--and Molson has a good "namey" sound, although personally I would've picked a better quality beer (Dogfish Head, anyone? Hmmm... maybe not). ;)

February 24, 2012 6:49 PM

hyz, I *think* that some of the obvious, stereotypical naming of pets can be attributed to the fact that kids are often given more input when it comes to naming animals than people.

By Guest1238b (not verified)
February 24, 2012 7:14 PM

I'm glad I never had any girls, now. The names I had picked out all showed up there, especially the name I'd have used for my first daughter! (Well, the nicknames.)

I know it's not a general rule, but everyone (EVERYONE) I know with pets uses quirky, odd names for the boys (Curiosity, etc.) and then more traditional names for the girls (Zoey, etc.) with two exception, my sister named her dog Pemberley and shortens it to Pem, and my neighbors who named their dog after the dad (he goes by his middle name and they gave the dog his first name, I guess because he only had daughters and couldn't pass it on). When one family was piking a name for their second daughter, they kept ruling names out simply because that was a pet name in a family they were close to.

By hyz nli (not verified)
February 24, 2012 7:24 PM

Very good point, Karyn--being, uh... picky when it comes to name choices, and only having younger kids who have not tried to assert their will in this respect, I forgot about people letting their kids pick the pet names (it's hard enough for me to cede power to *DH* on names, much less a kid who's going to pick Princess or Snowball or whatever).

February 25, 2012 2:41 AM

I just went to the vet to pick up food for our cats, and the receptionist said, "Milo! I have a cat named Milo, too!"

So, naturally, I'm very curious as to whether cats and cat breeds have similar stereotyping. I suspect that there's just more diversity for cat names since cats don't ever come when called regardless, so there aren't as many constraints on names that are easy for an animal to learn or to shout across a yard. Also, I get the feeling that more cats than dogs out there are "just" mutts/regular cats not belonging to any particular breed.

We have a Persian (Priscilla, named for her wide-eyed, goobery, overly-face lifted resemblance to a certain Mrs Presley) and an exotic shorthair (basically a shorthaired Persian - the aforementioned Milo). He was named thusly because although the Spouse had loved the name for a child since reading The Phantom Tollbooth, I vetoed the name for a child on the grounds that it is too much of an energy drink for me... but happily, is a perfect name for our very energetic cat. We got him about a month after our youngest was born and I've spent a good deal of time feeding the baby with Milo also on my lap thinking about the fact that their names could have been so easily switched if I'd had just slightly different associations!

Petfinder is great, and if you're looking for a particular breed, also consider breed rescues (how we got one of our cats) as well as your local shelter (how we got the other one - he just happened to be a purebred, though we picked him for personality). Good luck in the hunt, ZR! May the perfect dog to fit your household come along!

As for kid input in naming -- my eldest has greatly been helped in his creativity in assigning names for toys by the books "So Many Bunnies" and "Hooper Humperdink", both of which we got after posters here recommended them. If anyone has any other name-featuring picture books, I'll gladly take them into advisement!

February 24, 2012 9:04 PM

lucubratrix-Ahhh, So Many Bunnies was one of our favorites. So many memories! Chrysanthemum is the only other story I can think of off the top of my head that has to do directly with naming.

hyz-I think the naming of pets is many-sided. You have the child factor, the breed factor, the laziness factor, and the coloration and look of the animal (much like a child). You however do have a certain leeway that you don't have with a child. You have the flexibility to name the pet a word name. You could name a Golden Retriever Marigold and get a totally different feel than naming your child that. Your friends might not bat an eye at your pet being named that but depending on your personality may think your child being named that to be a bit odd.
Re the laziness factor-if a dog has a large litter of puppies many take a theme to an extreme (think similar to the Duggar's). They may do flowers and thus have Rose, Lily, Marigold, Iris, etc but they would not be so matchy with children. Plus, when a shelter finds an abandoned pet they might give it a name on the spot relating to the situation (named Bridger because it was found on a bridge for example). I would guess you don't have that situational naming as much with children either.

By hyz
February 25, 2012 12:30 AM

Too funny--So Many Bunnies was one of the kids' books of choice tonight and last night. It's fun that O is for Ollie. :)

With dogs, I wonder how many people keep the name given by the shelter or by the breeder. I always assumed most people changed those, unless you are adopting an adult who has always gone by that name, and even then, sometimes you might change it. When I got them, my adopted pups were Max, Rosie, and Casey (well, K.C., but...), which all appear on the lists above. But they weren't attached to the names, and I changed them quickly after adopting. And regarding the breed/descriptive/situational naming, that's related to my point in a way. To some extent, this can lead to very stereotypical names (Goldie, Rusty, Curly, Goliath)--it seems like people used to do this more for kids, too (e.g. all the names meaning fair, or red-headed, or dark, or born on a certain day, etc.). As we also know, there used to be less diversity in kids' names, with a greater percentage being named after a smaller set of relatives, religious and historic figures, etc. I wonder if pet naming is following the same track a bit, but behind the human trends--if pet names are more standardized, but are moving towards more variety over time. Obviously this is only a part of the picture, because people also feel at liberty to play with pet names, yielding things like Pickles or Noodle or whatever, and adding some variety.

By Blythe nli (not verified)
February 25, 2012 8:54 AM

Ah, 80s pop culture strikes again. Googling first seemed like cheating in this instance, but now it does seem rather obvious :)

I was wondering the same thing about people keeping vs changing the names their dogs are given by the breeder/shelter. In my own group of family and friends it's about 50/50. My aunt and uncle stuck with Laddie for their sheltie- the shelter automatically called him Lassie before they examined him, and then went with Laddie. That shelter was particularly uncreative with naming the animals in their care- there were always cats called Mittens, Tabby, and Snowball, usually a black lab-like dog called Shadow.

Zoerhenne...I grew up in a neighbourhood with a Goldie called Molson. His brother from the same litter lived a few streets away and was called Brodie. Both are gone now (they'd be about 17 if they were still alive). How weird is that?

I kind of like the giving pets themed names. For a long time as a teenager I wanted to give dogs philosopher's names (specifically, I wanted a bearded collie called Socrates). The same fantasy had me nameing cats for Roman rulers and their spouses- Octavian, Caligula, Agrippina, Scipio. I'm not sure whether I'd go for a theme now, if I ever have my own home and the budget for pets.

Maybe board games would make an entertaining theme...Catan, Ludo, and Chess (cats); Trivial, Dominion, and Cranium (dogs).

February 25, 2012 10:12 AM

Blythe-those are sure interesting names. I would love to meet a dog named Socrates but doesn't it seem more fitting to name a cat that?
Is it fun that we both knew a Golden named Molson :)

P.S. For those wondering about the book So Many Bunnies that has been mentioned, here is a Youtube reading of it:

February 25, 2012 10:48 AM

In my experience most of my friends whose kids have fairly common (top 20) names have given their pets fairly stereotypical names. More unusual kids names tends to lend to more unusual pet names (even if the pets were named first this seems to hold true).

I like silly themes with pets. Our cats are named Mulder and Scully. Hardly original but not patches or whiskers. The alpacas have South American names, which fitted well with their heritage.

By Penny in Australia (not verified)
February 25, 2012 11:08 AM

love the cats named Mulder and Scully, Chimu! Cute.

my dog came from a litter where all the puppies were named by the kids of the house, for gemstones. So there was Diamond, Pearl, Emerald, Ruby, etc.

I bought Ruby and thought the name was great - snappy and cute, and to my naming style, so I kept it! My Ruby is now a 15 year old poodle :)

By Yet Another Guest (not verified)
February 25, 2012 1:44 PM

Growing up, we had a Nicky, Brandy, and Luther. They were all the same breed dog. Any guesses? Then we had a Cody (German Wirehair Pointer).

I think I mentioned this here before, but if I ever have a cat, I want to name it Mordecai.

February 25, 2012 4:20 PM

YAG-As far as your dog names, Brandy says Golden to me but Luther says Black Lab. Could even be beagle? Umm, I'm gonna guess Lab.

February 25, 2012 4:37 PM

OT but really funny thing to read BEFORE you get pregnant (or after to remind you of the good old days j/k):

and this about namer's regret:

February 25, 2012 6:39 PM

We just got a Shepherd/Chow mix puppy last month. His shelter name was Jones, so it was obvious to my geek hubby that he HAD to be named Indiana. We call him Indy.

I've been hanging onto my oldest's Kinder name list from Valentine's Day, meaning to share it with y'all. From deep south Texas (Rio Grande Valley):

Diego B.
Diego P.

Sofia V.

I thought it was interesting that only one Sophia/Sofia had an initial after the name. I asked my daughter about it and she says they say their last names too. There used to be 2 Davids until the second semester. It's fun to hear how my English-speaking daughter pronounces all of the names, especially last names, by the way. All of the Kinder teachers are native Spanish speakers and you hear it in the words and phrases she picks up in school.

By Amy3
February 25, 2012 7:13 PM

Today at the Apple store the 20-something Hispanic guy who helped my husband and me was named Elmer. I love that! I left wondering if it was his actual name or just what he puts on his nametag to preserve his privacy.

February 25, 2012 11:47 PM

Delurking for a bit.
I'll have to share this post with my mom; she absolutely adores corgis!

I'm not a dog person, but my cat is named Lucy (not at all original, but I was nine when I got her and couldn't think of a name, so my mom named her). I believe I've mentioned this before, but I want to name a future cat Cholera. (I don't immediately think of the disease, but of a pretty scarlet-like color because I used to connect cholera and scarlet fever in my head because of the All of a Kind Family books, so it's not actually insane.)

Interesting sibset I heard on the train the other day: Maya and Tessa. I love the name Tessa and have only heard it once before, but I know a bunch of Mayas/Maias/Majas.

February 26, 2012 12:00 AM

*waving to A Rose*
go back and read the last thread-you missed Mya and Maiya LOL!

February 26, 2012 11:58 AM

I just had a realization. We can't have a Sylvie and a Simon, because then we'd have an "S" set. And I don't know that we could have a Sylvie and a Xavier, because they sound surprisingly similar. I didn't even realize that before. Am I wrong? Suddenly our few options feel even more meagre. It'd help if we knew ahead of time what genders we'd end up with total, but alas, that's not an option.


By Amy3
February 26, 2012 1:48 PM

@PennyX, I can understand wanting to avoid Sylvie and Simon, but I don't think Sylvie and Xavier are too close.

As for the topic at hand, it seems most dogs in my building have human names - Cavalier King Charles spaniel (Charlie), French bulldog (Nathan), cocker spaniel (Abby), golden retriever (Toby), and the aforementioned corgi (Zach). Among my family members, there is a German shepherd (Clark), Cavalier King Charles spaniel (Becket), two Shelties (Sasha and Elijah, nn Eli), and a mixed breed (Sabrina). Growing up I had a mixed breed named Agatha (nn Aggie) and later there was a Boston terrier called Susie.

I think the least inspired among these is the dog named Charlie. It never even occurred to me until I typed this up that he's a Cavalier King *Charles* spaniel called Charlie. I bet there are a lot of those.