The Best Names in Literature to Give Your Dog


Dogs get a bad intellectual rap. Sure, they’re considered the friendliest of the major pet groups. We love our dogs. But it’s cats who get the respect when it comes to brain power. I blame the Egyptians for putting our feline overlords on their original pedestals. When you come home from work, it’s the cat who you expect to have conspired to booby trap the house; the dog you figure has probably gotten his head lodged into the trashcan. But at least he still wags his tail when he sees you!

Still—did a cat have his own book series and TV show based on his reading adventures? Nay, it was Wishbone, the literate wonder dog! Let us reclaim the mantle of the canine intelligentsia—by stealing back the best literary names. We can’t let those meddling kitties have all the fun. Just open your favorite book, and there’s bound to be a great fictional moniker for your loyal, furry friend. Here are some options to get you started:

Fictional Characters:

Captain Ahab (Moby Dick, by Herman Melville)
For the dog who won’t rest until he has pried the family hamster from its rubber ball.

Mr. Bingley (Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen)
For the affable, delightfully dandy, and somewhat dimwitted gentlepooch.

Wizard Howl (Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones)
Especially apt if you own a persnickety, yet comical pomeranian.

Mrs. Hudson (The Complete Sherlock Holmes, by Arthur Conan Doyle)
For the long-suffering tidy dog who spends all of her time dealing with your personality issues.

Sancho Panza (Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes)
A paunchy, loyal, enabling sidekick. I have personally owned at least three Sanchos. For the quixotic female hounds, try Dulcinea on for size.

Princess Buttercup (The Princess Bride, by William Goldman)
1) There’s probably science out there that says giving your pup a name with nobility increases her self-esteem.
2) As a dog owner, half of your life is spent saying “As you wish.”

Fictional Dogs:

Argos (The Odyssey, by Homer)
For the dog who knows the true you, even if you’ve been gone for multiple decades. Note: for your dog’s sanity, please do not be gone for multiple decades.

Tock (The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster)
Punctuality is a virtue, and one most dogs possess around feeding time. They don’t even need the built-in body clock.

Old Yeller (Old Yeller, by Fred Gipson)
Never mind. Still too soon.

Fang (The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)
Works for either big, cowardly dogs or tiny, ferocious ones. Drool optional. For your large-and-in-charge mutts, definitely go with Fluffy.

Cerberus (The Inferno, by Dante Alighieri, Aeneid, by Virgil, et al.)
Look, no one’s here to judge. Sometimes when you spin the roulette wheel of pet ownership you get Lassie; other times, you wind up with a bit of a hellhound. Embrace the deft way your pup can shred some toilet paper or soil your carpet, and then be thankful he doesn’t have three heads.


For the DIYers out there, there’s no limit on the ways you can canine-ify your favorite author’s name: Pawbert Louis Stevenson, Bark Twain, Nathaniel Pawthorne, Doglas Adams, Virginia Woof, Ray Barkbury, Fido Dogstoevsky, and, of course, Kurt Vonnemutt, just to name a few. So it goes…

What’s your favorite dog name in literature? 

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