Cutesy to Cowboy
BRIAN THE DOG
Many owners see their dogs as humans with four legs and fur, and so naturally give them human names, including multiple favorites Misty, Heidi, Angel, and Rusty, plus rarer choices Emily, Brian, Chrissy, Ralph and Tammy.
BIG, MEET LITTLE
Big dogs tend to have names that suggest bigness, including 13 Bubbas, three Magnums, six Simbas, six Bucks, four Mooses and a Rottweiler named Tyrant.
But bigness is not always a prerequisite for toughness, an adage apparently responsible for the DeLand Chihuahua named Hercules and a DeBary Shih Tzu named Thunder. Or were there owners expressing irony?
More common were small dogs called Little Bit (seven), Pixie (four), Tiny (seven), PeeWee (two) and Mousey.
I'M OK, YOU'RE OK
Animal rights advocates might be concerned that names could hurt dogs' self-esteem, which seems a possibility for a Labrador named Nuthin, a beagle mix named Nobuddy and a Jack Russell terrier named Zero.
COME AND GET ME, COPPER
Some names evoked an outlaw spirit, including 19 dogs named Bandit, three pit bulls and a schnauzer named Killer, a golden retriever named Skuzzy, two Rulers, a Rottweiler named Al Capone and Bad Andy, a Brittany spaniel.
TURN IT UP
Some names are only rock and roll. There's Cabowabo, after a Van Halen song, five Ozzys, two Ringos, three Shanias, two Marleys, a Madonna, a Metallica and a Mariah.
THE WILD WEST
Want to play cowboys and Indians? Then round up Cheyenne, Cherokee, Geronimo, Navajo, Trigger, Apache, Ranger, Chief, Kemo sabe and, of course, Cowboy.
OOOOOH, MY LITTLE POOKIE
People apparently enjoy bestowing pet names upon their pets. Twenty-one were named Precious, 22 are Baby, nine are Honey, two are Darlin, three are Sweeties, two are Sweetums, and then there's Lovey, Pookie and Puddin.
COMPANIONS OF THE GODS
Greek and Roman mythology - or was it comic books and science fiction - inspired 11 Zeuses, six Thors, five Brutuses, four Xenas, three Herculeses, two Maximuses, a Mercury, Apollo and Loki.
Fiction and film inspired Australian Shepherds Sherlock and Watson, as well as a husky named Frodo Baggins. Two dogs were named Tigger, and to their owners, they must be wonderful things. But although they might be fun fun fun fun fun, neither, evidently, is the only one.
CUTE AND COURTLY
Cuteness was the obvious inspiration behind names like Scrappy (six), Cuddles (four), Fluffy (four) and Wiggles (three).
Some names suggested a regal bearing, such as Precious (21), Princess (16), Tiffany (five), Prissy (five), Fancy (four), Pearl (four) and Lexus. There were no prima donnas, at least in name.
Who's your BUDDY?
Locals love Labs, and fun pet names
Published in the Daytona Beach News-Journal on March 1, 2004
Who loves ya?
If you're a dog owner in Volusia or Flagler counties, there's a good chance it's a Labrador retriever. And odds are good, too, that your best friend's name, no matter what the breed, is Buddy, Max, Jake, Bear or Molly.
On the other hand, if you own a Portuguese water dog, you and your faithful companion stand alone.
How do we know this? By analyzing the American Kennel Club's tally of registered dog breeds in the two counties and Volusia County's database of licensed dogs. The investigation revealed no disturbing findings, unless you consider the daily self-esteem issues suffered by Bad Andy, a Brittany, to be an owner's cruel prank.
The probe also revealed enough dogs named Zeus to roam Mount Olympus, enough Bandits to rob a train and enough little sweetums named Precious to populate a block in Beverly Hills.
But in the end, say Lab lovers, there's nothing quite like the most popular breed.
"They're probably the most loyal, lovable, kind dog, but they're also very protective of you, too," said Marylyn Dance, a Flagler County breeder who has raised Labs for 17 years.
Her current companion is Buddy, a name shared by at least 52 other dogs - about one of every 100 licensed by the Volusia County Animal Control office - that ranks first on the list.
Although the county's database includes the names and breeds of 4,510 dogs licensed in unincorporated areas of Volusia last year, it is hardly comprehensive. The list excludes dogs living in most cities, which handle their own licensing. Also excluded are 90 percent of dogs that, according to Animal Control director Becky Wilson, are never licensed.
But the list provides a sense of local residents' tastes in pets.
Among breeds in the county's records, "mix" topped the list, showing up 313 times, followed by Labrador retriever (277) and Labrador mix (172). Rounding out the top 10 were pit bulls, Rottweilers, dachshunds, poodles, Shih Tzus, Jack Russell terriers, German shepherds and Chihuahuas. The Portuguese water dog was one of 194 breeds or combinations listed just once each.
Labs are also the most popular dogs in the nation, according to a national AKC tally that counts only recognized pure breeds. That probably won't change anytime soon, Dance said.
"They're so good with kids, and very smart, too," she said. Dance's first Lab, five canine generations ago, watched her young children so closely at the ocean that "when she thought they went too far out into the water, she'd swim out and pull them back by the arms," Dance said.
Dance named her current dog, Buddy, after a character in a television show.
But Dance's sister, Carole Smith, an officer of the Greater Daytona Beach Dog Fanciers' Association, guessed a lot of owners named their dogs Buddy for a simpler reason.
"Because that's their buddy," she said. Smith and her husband, Bill, own 10 Rhodesian ridgebacks, including Lola, Missy, Olivia, Sofia, Abbey, Rose and two that Bill named after his personal love of guns: Colt and Magnum.
Names on the county's list were inspired by a wide range of human interests, from music and mythology to firearms and popular fiction.
Many were obvious choices: A Chihuahua named Taco. Five Jack Russell terriers named Jack. Fifteen chows or chow mixes named Bear or some variation of the word.
At the Holly Hill Dog Park last week, Drew Helgemo said he kept Goldie as the name of his new golden retriever mix, a Humane Society rescue, because he didn't want to confuse her.
"It's too obvious," he said of Goldie. "I would have given her a clever name."
Like the Smiths, more dog owners are giving their pets people names, according to Port Orange dog trainer Jean Jodice, perhaps reflecting dogs' bigger roles as members of families.
Some dogs on the list were named after sports heroes, including Kobe and Shaq.
David Stout of Ormond Beach chose Tomac for his rat terrier in honor of pioneer mountain biker John Tomac.
A lot of names suggested personality traits: Sassy (13), Rascal (five), Rowdy (five), Mischief (four), Trouble (three) and Nasty.
Carmine Fiorisi of Ormond Beach named his husky mix after the dog pulled on his pant leg during a walk. His kids couldn't agree on a new name, and Fiorisi didn't like his former name, Demon. "So I said, 'OK, it's Tugger.'"
Shortly after getting his sheltie/Lab mix, Jack Higgins returned to his Ormond Beach home to discover the dog had "stripped the family room." So he named her Gypsy, after famous stripper Gypsy Rose Lee.
And who could imagine Volusia County without several "Harleys"?
The breed tally revealed a few, um, interesting parental pairings. Bubba, from DeBary, and Shadow, from Ormond Beach, are Rottweiler/beagle mixes. Zeus of DeLand is a basset hound/blue heeler. Little Girl of DeBary is a St. Bernard/shepherd mix.
Cornwallis, a pug/Chihuahua mix from Ormond Beach, sounds like a tough customer.
Perhaps the most intriguing-sounding combination is Katch, a combination Shetland sheepdog and dachshund from DeBary.
Finding names for such unusual spawn could prove challenging, but anyone who's really stumped could resort to the name chosen by owners of six dogs on the list: