After careful consideration and research, your family has decided to celebrate the holidays by making a lifelong commitment to a new dog. Congratulations! I hope you’ll consider adopting one of the many deserving animals waiting for a loving home. Many rescue organizations will help you figure out the best time and way to welcome a new pet during the hectic holiday season.
And you might decide to mark this momentous occasion by giving your new dog a holiday-themed name. If you’ve had your tree up since Thanksgiving, exterior lights you can see from space, and It’s a Wonderful Life on an endless loop, then naming your pup after the holiday makes perfect sense. Plus, you’ll get a sweet reminder of your favorite time of year every time you call him or her.
With that in mind, over at DoggieNames.com I have compiled fun, festive — and out-of-the-gift-box — seasonal names worth considering. Most of these monikers fall under the guidelines recommended by trainers and experts. First and foremost, your pet’s name is a safety and training tool. You want her to alert to the name as soon as she hears it, immediately stop and follow your command. This prevents your dog from getting into dangerous situations such as darting out into traffic.
That’s why it’s important to make the name easy for you to say and for your fur kid to understand. So try not to make the name too much of a tongue twister — one or two syllables is best. A name starting with a hard consonant, such as “r” or “t” or “d,” and ending in a vowel sound, such as a long “e” or “o,” makes a great choice, as it grabs your dogs attention and signals the end of the name and beginning of the command.
Here are a few of my favorite holiday-themed names:
Of course, your pup is as “cute as the dickens,” right? Plus, if you’re looking for literary inspiration, you could do worse than Charles Dickens. The author’s A Christmas Carol remains a worthy holiday favorite, with lots of wonderful ideas for dog names. There’s Tiny Tim, Marley, Humbug, and ‘Neezer for Ebenezer. Scrooge could even work for a grumpy-looking French Bulldog or Pug.
There are a couple of minor characters in the story that have great names, too. Scrooge’s nephew is named Fred, and the folks he visits on his trip to the past are his kindly first employer, Mr. Fezziwig, and his neglected fiance, Belle.
Not only is Tinsel a pretty darn adorable name for any puppy, but it fits the criteria of having just two syllables and starting with a strong consonant sound. Some other festive monikers you might consider are Jingle, Belle, Joy, Kringle, Merry, Holly, Jolly, and Noel, with the last one working for either a female or a male. And let’s not forget Santa himself — Nick, as in St. Nick, is an excellent choice.
Think about your family’s favorite holiday treat and go from there. Besides figgy pudding, you’ve got Chestnut, Tamale, Fudge, Cinnamon, Cookie, Ginger, Cider, and maybe even Ham. As far as food goes, though, you’d probably do well to stay away from Fruitcake, Turkey, or Egg Nog as names. You don’t want to be yelling those at the dog park.
Out of all of Santa’s trusty transports, the best for year-round use as a dog name might go to Dasher, which is great for any speedy dog, such as an Italian Greyhound or Border Collie. But while I’m on the subject of famous sleigh pullers, the beloved TV special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has tons of fantastic names in it. Of course, there’s Rudolph — or Rudy — as well as Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen for a male. And don’t forget Hermey (the elf) and Bumble (the Abominable Snowman.)
As far as the female names go, there’s Dancer, Prancer, and Vixen, as well as Dolly from the Land of Misfit Toys. I’m on the fence about the name of Clarice, the adorable little deer who caught Rudolph’s eye. It’s cute, but doesn’t make for the best call name.
The holiday of Hanukkah itself might not roll off the tongue the way a good dog name should, but related names like Dreidel (a spinning top), Latke (potato pancake), and Maccabee (the warrior heroes) certainly do.
National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation still holds up as one of the funniest holiday movies ever made. You could name your pup after the dad, Clark, or Chevy Chase, the actor who played him. But Griswold is cooler, plus it lends itself to the great nickname “Grizz.” Other ideas from that movie are the Griswold kids’ names, Audrey and Russ, or Rusty, which is perfect for an orange or rust-coated dog such as a Rhodesian Ridgeback, Vizsla, or Basenji.
Speaking of holiday classics, the great ’80s movie A Christmas Story provides plenty of worthy candidates, too, such as Ralphie, friend Flick, and evil bully Scut Farkus. Or if your family prefers It’s a Wonderful Life, that film favorite offers up names such as George, Bailey, Clarence, Bedford, and Zuzu. For the slightly more edgy movie fan, there’s Will Ferrell’s Buddy from Elf and Bad Santa’s Thurman Merman. In fact, actress Rachel Bilson named her terrier mix Thurman after that sweet young character.
Games your family likes to play together may inspire names, too. Jenga makes for a great dog name, as does Trouble, Boggle, or even Scrabble. Classic toys are an excellent source for monikers too — Slinky, Nerf, Lego, and Tonka are awesome, and for the high-energy, bouncy pet, there’s Pong.
Not only is this one of the most popular dog names of all time, it’s also the name of the put-upon pup in the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Of course, Grinch is a pretty cute name, as is the story’s heroine, Cindy Lou Who. Dr. Seuss’ real name was Theodor Geisel, and if you’d like to honor the author and his work, giving your pooch the name Theo will do exactly that.
Finally, if you’re celebrating a White (dog) Christmas, there are some excellent wintry names to choose from, including Frosty, Snowy, Winter, Flurry, Marshmallow, Powder, and Snowball. For the very large (or very small) white pup, Yeti is an excellent name that’s sure to stir up plenty of dog-park conversation.
Did I leave any out? Please add to the list in the comments section. Happy holidays!
Read more about dog names:
About the author: Atlanta’s own Toni Perling is a writer and web content provider, mostly about dogs, hence her blogger name, Doggienista. 🙂 And hence, her two beautiful rescue dogs: Daisy Jo and Bud Earl. She tweets for them at DaisyJoBudEarl, and shares her collection of dog names and trends at DoggieNames.com. Toni started asking her parents for a puppy pretty much the minute she learned to speak, but they held off until she was the ripe old age of 10, when the family welcomed a Miniature Schnauzer named Truffles. In between, she inhaled every book about dogs ever written and can pretty much identify any breed by sight. She’s also a longtime supporter of spay/neuter/rescue, and adopted her first dog, a sweet lovable mutt named Sophie, from an Los Angeles County shelter.