Doggie Monikers — What’s In a Name?

When Shakespeare penned "a rose by any other name," he clearly wasn't thinking of racing Greyhounds -- some of whom are burdened with such inglorious names as Full Beer Fridge or Runya Beach. (Say it  out loud.) We certainly hope their kennel names were a bit kinder.


Starz Windmaker became Wynn.
Starz Windmaker became Wynn.

For those who have adopted ex-racing Greyhounds, the question of what to do about their name always comes up. Some new owners keep the kennel name or use some version of the racing name -- Starz Windmaker becomes Wynn and Johnny Jazz becomes John. Others want to remove any memory of racing and come up with something new to ensure their pup is leaving their prior life far behind.


When SHUG brings over dogs from Spain, the same issue comes up. Do we pay tribute to their heritage by keeping their Spanish name or give them something new as a symbol of the break from the past? Borreguito-the-Galgo remained Borreguito even though it doesn’t quite trip off the tongue. (In a pinch, his mom has been known to shorten it to Geets.)


When Chica arrived, she was renamed Bella . . . which became Chica Bella and is more often than not just Chica. Some names just stick! Pilar was temporarily changed, but she was so famous as Pilar and her story so well known her owner quickly gave her back her original name. Mariposa was shortened to Mari, as it quite suited the little butterfly.


Sometimes dogs have to be renamed because they coincidentally have the same name as beloved, previous dog or a human child in the family (although there is some advantage to calling one name and having both kid and dog come running). Sometimes a dog needs a new name if the current one has a negative association – so Trouble becomes Trooper or Chaos becomes Chaz.


In other cases, new owners are quite happy with the name a volunteer gave them. The pretty cream-colored Borzoi was two years old and had no name. SHUG volunteers escorting her to freedom dubbed her Flower – and it stuck. Lego, the Saluki who needed swim therapy to heal his wonky leg, stayed Lego. It was just him. Tazi will always be Tazi. On the other hand, June became Wynter and Fawn became Alma without missing a beat.


Just like with human names, there are trends with dog names. The website VetStreet came out with their list of the “most trendy” girl and boy dog names from 2013. Here is the list:


No. 10 is Charlie for girls and Scout for boys. (In the human world, most Charlies are boys and most Scouts are girls, but whatever)


No. 9 is Maya and Milo


No. 8: Cali and Gunner


No. 7: Athena and Ace


No. 6: Nala and Leo


No. 5: Layla and Marley


No. 4: Marley and King (yeah, this time Marley is a girl’s name)


No. 3: Willow and Dexter (based on the series? Hmmm.)


No. 2: Piper and Thor (based on a recent movie hero? Well, as least Spiderman is not a trendy name -- yet)


And the No. 1 most trendy dog names in 2013 were . . . Luna and Jax


SHUG has already had a Luna and a Leo, but the rest are all fair game. What names are on your list?



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11 thoughts on “Doggie Monikers — What’s In a Name?
  1. Beth (our galgo x from GdS) became Pepita because Beth just did not sound spanish – and there are so many greyhounds called Beth. Pepita fits – little pumpkin seed or bad seed, depending on what she has done. On good days she is Pippi (Shortstocking) or Baby or Galgolina…. so many names and she knows them all. How many names does your dog have?

  2. Speaking of bad track names, my Nina’s original name was I Loves Ya Baby. But her “call name” was Nonnie, so I changed it to Nina; “Nonnie” sounded too much like “NO!” and I didn’t want to confuse her. I’ve found that if you wait a few days after bringing a new dog home, and listen with your heart, you’ll find that your new dog will tell you what her name is. My Maggie came to me as a bounce with the name of Vale, part of her racing name, but I knew that wouldn’t do. I decided to name her Corina. I used it for about a day until Maggie confronted me, looked me right in the eyes and (silently) shouted: “My name is Maggie!!!!! ” Call me the crazy dog lady, but she responded to it immediately, and happily. You just never know…

  3. Zaina quickly became Zeevah. A combination of Z and Diva – which suits her to a T. And the afghan/Ibizan puppy Scarlett is now Stella. Scarlett just didn’t fit her well, but she’s a total Stella. However, I still call her Lumpy or Pumpkin as a nickname.

    My first greyhound, Preakness Prince was called Eden by his previous foster mamma, I believe. We now call him Big Sexy. He’s 80+ pounds of big red loving greyhound. My Roo became Princess RooBee and Mega Faldon was changed to Kimama or Mama for short once she bounced back and ended up permanently in our home.

  4. Our big boy came to us a year ago from his foster mom who worked with the Arizona Greyhound Rescue Organization in Tucson, Arizona… His track name, Kiowa Girls Plan, had been changed to Rob Roy. Shortly after we got him, he let us know that while he liked the character, Rob Roy, he preferred a good old name, since he was a good old boy.. Zeke is very happy now!!

  5. My retired greyhound’s name is Dale…part of his racing name. At first I thought it was a very strange name for a dog, but it fits him. My rescue whippet Gisele also came pre-named, but it suits her just fine since she’s dainty like the model!

  6. My wire-haired white Galga came to Austria called “Sneeuwwittje” after beeing rescued by a NL ogranization. When I first patted her, she lost so much hair I doomed her “Fluse” (meaning “fluff”). That name stuck and now Fluse (aka “Fluffykins”) just grew into her new name.
    And by the way, just imagine me in winter (wearing a woollen cap) calling out “Snowwhite”! in the dog park . yuck!!!

  7. I started out naming my greyhounds after running shoes: Reebok, Puma, and Ryka. Heavy-boned, black&white belted Dutch Denison came along, looking more like a combat boot than a sneaker. The adoption kennel had been calling him Dutch for months, so it stuck.
    Another bicolor with big black dots became Spottacus.

    But I think the all-time best name for a rescued racer would be Fleabiscuit.