Half of Pet Owners Give Pets Human Names


(The Associated Press 7/6/09):

So much for Rover and Fido!

Almost half of American pet owners gave an animal a human-like name, such as Jack, or Sophie, according to an Associated Press Petside.com poll of more than 1,000 pet owners released Tuesday.

Some of the more unusual names: Holly wood and Chichi Mittins, both cats; Vegas the Labrador Retriever; Jibber Jack, the dog; the Beagle named Talulublue, and Louis XIV, the Yorkie.

In all, 49% of respondents including 51 percent of dog owners and 50% of cat owners, had given at least one of their pets a human-like name.

The most popular? Max got more mentions that other names in the AP Poll, but not enough to give it any broad claim of popularity (less than 2% of mentions). One database of pet names, maintained by Veterinary Pet Insurance, also finds that Max pops up more frequently than any other name.

There has been a move away from classic dog names such as Spot and Lassie, according to VPI spokesman Curtis Steinhoff. There were 13 Fidos in FPI’s database in 2008, placing the name at No. 2,866. Rover was No. 2,534, behind names like Grendel, Ginger Snap, and Munchie.

Steinhoff said the trend reflects a stronger bond between people and their pets.

Pet owners who give their pets human names are more likely to see them as full members of the family, said Wayne Eldridge, Veterinarian and author of “The Best Pet Name Book Ever!”

But he cautions against reading too much into pet names. Many people choose names based on the animal’s appearance, he said. One of the most unusual names in the VPI database was Snag L. Tooth for a cat with a “snaggle tooth” that protrudes.

And some people don’t know why they chose a certain name for their pet.

Like Beth Hart, 63, of Houston, who started naming her dogs Sassoon for the hair salon Vidal Sassoon. Her current Shih Tzu is Sassoon the Third. Her husband named their Lhaso Apso, “Dawg,” their second dog with that name.

Daniel Rivera, 23, of Lansing, Mich. said his four year old daughter named their pit bull lab mix Little Fella. He said he guesses the name fits since the dog has very short legs.

For some, it’s all about being creative. Susan Jacobs, 45, of Long Beach, Calif., named her black poodle Kingston for her best vacation ever.

“It was beautiful, the people, the music, the warm weather,” she said of her trip to Jamaica a decade ago. “Now whenever I say his name, I think of that time in my life.”

Dogpawfile definitely reflects the trend to give pets “people” names. A lot of our members have human names, such as Millie, Brad, Ellie, Bella, Dylan, Harry, Brady Thomas, Nina, and so many more. We have dogs named for their appearance, too, like Tiny Girl, Bambi, or Khan, and pets with creative names, like Twink, Skye, Kismet, Tonka Toy, Spike, Storm, Liberty, Justice, to name just a few. Whether we chose a “people” name, or a more creative name for our pets, we chose them because we love them.

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4 responses to “Half of Pet Owners Give Pets Human Names

  1. very interesting!!!

  2. Amber Fire Water gang

    Our names are a mix of both human nad creative. Mom just liked them and said they suited us!

  3. BARBARA+SUSIE LOBO

    GREAT ARTICLE.

  4. The Texas Team

    And some dog names can be house hold items! For instance Suka! If anyone speaks japanese they should know that means sugar! I dont speak Japanese but my brother learned some and he told me thata

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