Monday, May 2, 2011

What's in a Name?

As BRAT's "Tag Lady," I am the one who issues a numbered identification tag to each and every basenji that comes into BRAT care. Because I have been keeping the records for about seven years, I am pretty familiar with the names of all our rescues.

As with names of human children -- John and Mary, for instance -- there are also perennial favorite names for dogs, too. Then too, some names are particularly suitable for Basenjis.

I spent a few minutes recently going through our ID tag database to find the most popular names for males and females, and had a little fun categorizing some of the others. I thought you might be interested in my findings.

Ladies first!
1st place:   Cleo, Cleopatra (26)
2nd place:  Belle, Bella (22)
3rd place:   Lucy  (21)
4th place:   Nayla/Nala and Zoe/Zoey (tied at 17)
5th place:   Chloe (16) 
6th place:   Ginger (15)
Abby (Abbie/Abby), was next at 13, and Isis, Kate (Katie, Katy), Roxy (Roxie) and Sophie all tied at 12 dogs.

And then, the boys...
1st place:   Ben and variations Benji, Benjamin, Benny (a whopping 44 dogs!)
2nd place:  Max, Maximum, Maxwell (29)
3rd place:   Sam/Sammy  (22)
4th place:   Jack/Jax (21)
5th place:   Buddy (19)
6th place:   Rocco/Rocky and Taz (tied at 16)
We have 13 dogs named Tucker, 13 dogs named Jake.  We have eleven each named Cody, Senji, Rusty, Anubis, Kenya, and Franc/Frankie/Franklin.  Cooper, Niles, Pharaoh number 10 each.

The names of other BRAT dogs broke down in some surprising and amusing ways.

FOOD AND BEVERAGES: We  have 33 dog names that are related to food or drink -- everything from Cinnamon and Beignet (a fried dough sprinkled with confectioners' sugar), to Cola, Java and Sprite, to Honey, Cookie, Triscuit, Jello, Whiskey, Chowder and Bento (a Japanese lunch or laquered lunchbox). I suspect that Basenji owners as fixated on their stomachs as our dogs are!

MUSIC:  There must be a lot of music fans among BRAT owners, as evidenced by such monikers as Elvis, Sting, Jerry Lee, Dylan, Jagger and BB King. Then there are the instruments Steinway and Banjo; and music styles, including Jazzie, Yodel and Roo or Barru.

FLOWERS: We must have some very sweet girls: Blossom, Daisy, jasmine, Lily and Freesia!

ANIMALS: Moose, Goose, Bunny, Rooster, Butterfly, Mouse -- and Fox, Tiger and Bear -- oh my!

BIRDS:  Raven, Robin, Ouzel (a waterbird) and Wren. No Vulture? Isn't that odd?

ANCIENT MYTHOLOGY: Titan, Apollo, Zeus, Hercules, Hathor, and Ra -- and previously mentioned Anubis and Isis, of course!

ASTRONOMY: This category runs the gamut, from Hale Bop and Comet to Hubble, Yeager and
Spock. We've got an Eclipse, a Gemini, a Sundance, and Jupiter, Astro and Luna. There are 23 names related to astronomy, cosmology or meteorology!

STATESMEN:  Somebody likes history, too!  Truman, Wilson, Madison, Franklin and Winston are
represented, as well as Plato, Solomon, Caesar and Alexander. 

GEMS:  Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but Amber, Emerald, Ruby and Pearl are also dearly loved!

CARS:  Naturally,  somebody would name their Basenji after a classy machine capable of great speed. We've got Bentley, Maverick, Mercedes, Austin, Neon and Lincoln.

And then there are some "one-offs" that deserve special mention: Atom, Prophet, electric, Kodak, Mahendra, Seiutu, June Bug and Tilt.

My favorite? Basenji Bob. It's simple, it's fitting, and it's easy to remember. And Bob, like most self-respecting Basenjis, probably ignores it, anyway!
-Chey Miller


  1. Jello's mom here! Tickled to see his name in the very clever classification system (not the Dewey decimal system, but ??). Brief explanation of his name; yes, I'm very much food oriented, as my vast belly can document. On the drive home from meeting the last volunteer who relayed him halfway to me (thanks again, everyone!!), he didn't respond to his previous name. Maybe he was just tired from a long day & a lot of changes of people, & he wasn't a resilient puppy @ 6 1/2 yrs. old. He had been rescued twice, once previous to this time, & I promised him (really, I promised myself, he didn't understand, I do know that, but I talk to my 'kids' anyway) he'd never have to be rescued again, 'cuz I'll always have room for Jello. He's definitely not jiggly, very muscular; in fact, one of his many nicknames is 'musclebutt'. He's 11 now, a neighborhood favorite; he loves the ladies! Thanks, BRAT, for everything!

    Vicky Locke
    Fairfield, Ohio

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  3. These are all great names. I think that basenji folk on the whole come up with names worthy of these glorious creatures. As I will write in my post on Wednesday, I am currently fostering two basenjis, one of whom was given the name Crybaby by her previous owner. The fact that such a wonderful little princess was given such a wretched name is just one of many reasons she desperately needed to come into rescue to live the life she deserves.

    I notice that no one uses the various dog names that drive me up the wall such as Puddles, Cuddles, Kisses, Precious, Snuggles,Sweetheart, etc. I don't think any basenji would come on command to such names.

  4. None of the specific Pharaohs like Rameses and Tut?

  5. Yes - 3 Ramses (and variations such as Ramzies) and 10 Tuts (or variations such as Tutt). There are lots of cool names, but I had to draw a line somewhere! :)

  6. And don't forget my late great BRAT boy Marco Polo in the one-off listings. :-)

    Linda Krajewski
    Hemet, CA