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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, April 20, 2006

Deciding on dog's name no longer easy

By Jim Shea
Hartford (Conn.) Courant

Naming a dog used to be simple.

You either gave your dog a traditional name (Fido, Rover, Old Blue), an appearance-based name (Spot, Rusty, Socks) or a name derived from behavior (Digger, Bones, Nippy, or, in my experience, Howl, Chew and Pee).

Nowadays, because dogs are viewed as members of the family, the trend is toward giving them human names.

According to various Web sites, among the most popular dog names are Max, Jake, Buddy, Casey, Cody, Maggie, Molly, Lady, Lucy and Sandy.

When it comes to dog naming, no one takes it more seriously than owners of purebreds, who tag their pampered hounds with such appellations as Walsing Winning Trick of Edgerstoune, Whisperwind on a Carousel, and Darbydales All Rise Pouchcove.

While these names sound fancy, they would never cut it in the real world. I mean, can you imagine yelling: "Here Walsing Winning Trick of Edgerstoune," or "Darbydales All Rise Pouchcove, sit."

The other thing to remember about aristocratic dog names is that they are still attached to animals who lick themselves in all the wrong places, enjoy sticking their noses into the business ends of other dogs and don't always get their drinking water out of their water bowl, if you catch my drift.

Men, of course, prefer to give dogs tough-guy names like Spike or Rocky or Killer, which, while sounding intimidating, do lose a bit of their edge when attached to, say, a Pekingese.

Which brings us to another thing men try to do macho-up their mutt's breed:

"So, what kind of a dog you got there, pal?"

"This here is a French fighting dog, a Pit Poodle."

"What about your dog?"

"Attack, Bichon Frise."

Women, on the other hand, go in the opposite direction, emasculating muscular dogs like shepherds and Dobermans by saddling them with names like Crocus and Piggy Wiggy.

And if you don't think dogs blush, you have never been introduced to a great Dane called Pookie.

After spending more time than is probably necessary or normal, I have decided upon the name I want for my next dog. It was a tough choice, such possibilities as Mafioso, Xena, Burp, Brewskie, Uranus and Bob being eliminated along the way.

And the winner is Stella.

And the reason is I want to be able to go out on the back porch and, in my best Stanley Kowalski voice, scream, "STELLA! STELLA!"