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How to Name Your Puppy

It is customary to register purebred dogs using the name of the kennel from which the puppy was purchased as the first word in the puppy’s official AKC registered name.  In addition, some breeders employ a system of lettering or using themes so that littermates will be easily recognized as such when pedigree information is not furnished.  In the lettering system the name of each puppy will start with the same letter and is usually known as the “A” litter, “B” litter, etc.  For example, “Ducat’s Alice,” “Ducat’s Andrew,” and “Ducat’s Allen” would all be recognizable as being from the “A” litter, hence one would automatically know their parents and age whenever you encountered another puppy from that kennel with an “A” name.  Themes can be titles of books by a particular author, constellations, brands of beer, perfumes, etc. Half the fun is trying to figure out what the actual theme of a particular litter is.

Sometimes a litter is co-bred, i.e. it is a product of a co-owned or leased bitch, and the puppies from these litters will carry two or more kennel names.  Keep in mind that the AKC limits all names to approximately 26 letters.

Frequently a dog’s “call name” bears little or no resemblance to its registered name or it can be a play on words.  For example, Fury’s registered name is “Ducat Watermark’s The Tempest” from the Shakespeare litter but her call name is “Fury.”  Salyran Ducat’s Folly’s call name is easily recognized since it is “Folly.” Having the call name as part of the actual registered name can be particularly helpful in advertising so no one is left guessing who is who by completely unrelated call names. 

Good sources for name hunting are baby name books, the dictionary, and names, words or phrases that have something to do with your hobbies or people and places dear to you.  Be careful in using names of your puppy’s ancestors.  In some instances you may accidentally use someone else’s kennel name.  Since they aren’t the breeder of record other breeders probably would not be very pleased to see their kennel name on a dog they’ve never seen. Also, when copying other names in your puppy’s pedigree you may inadvertently name it after a famous golden retriever. This isn’t appreciated by the famous dog’s owner and breeder, and is downright confusing to everyone else. And if you are looking for a unique name, you might want to avoid “Brandy,” “Goldie,” “Sunny,” “Honey,” and “Amber.”