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Why Are Dogs Called Fido? Meaning & Origin

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

dog sitting on the floor and looking up to its owner

Why Are Dogs Called Fido? Meaning & Origin

When most Americans hear or see “Fido,” they immediately know that the name is referring to a dog. Fido is an extremely common name for dogs, and it’s up in the ranks with Buddy, Spot, and Man’s Best Friend. Dogs started being called Fido due to the word’s meaning. In short, Fido means “faithful” and “trustworthy.”

Fido has a fun and interesting history. So, keep reading to satiate your curiosity and learn more about the origins of this name.

What Does Fido Mean?

Fido is a variation of the Latin word fidus. Fidus has several meanings that revolve around loyalty and trustworthiness. It can also refer to trusted confidants and a sense of safety and certainty. Fidus is the root of words like “fidelity” and “fiduciary.” It’s also the root of the Marine Corps’ Latin motto, “Semper Fidelis,” which translates to “Always Faithful.”

Dogs are often viewed as trusted companions, and many dog breeds are known for their strong loyalty to their families. Dog breeds known to be extremely loyal are German Shepherds, Chihuahuas, and Labrador Retrievers. Some dogs take on the safety aspect of Fidus and make excellent guard dogs and security dogs. Such breeds include Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.

Overall, Fido highlights wonderful traits that many dogs possess. Along with being loyal companions, they can be trusted confidants that can work alongside people and protect them as well.

male owner hugging his dog
Image Credit: Lizardflms, Shutterstock

How Did Fido Become Popular?

Sources give credit to Abraham Lincoln and his dog for popularizing the name Fido. Lincoln was known to have several different kinds of pets during his lifetime. One of his most well-known pets is Fido, his trusty dog.

This first famous Fido was a yellow mixed-breed dog. He was a large dog with floppy ears, and his appearance resembled a Labrador Retriever. Lincoln’s Fido was known to be at his side constantly. There are reports of Lincoln being seen walking through Springfield, IL, and Fido would be following closely behind him while carrying a parcel in his mouth. Fido was also known to wait patiently outside Billy’s Barber Shop whenever Abraham Lincoln stepped inside for a haircut.

Fido gained national popularity during Lincoln’s first presidential campaign. Lincoln’s campaign managers worked to create a public image that portrayed him as a trustworthy and relatable candidate. They highlighted his strong work ethic and intelligence that led him to become a railroad lawyer.

Lincoln’s campaign managers also made sure to feature Fido to make Lincoln even more relatable to the people. Fido helped to humanize Lincoln, and his name started to become popular amongst the American people.

Unfortunately, Fido didn’t follow Lincoln to the White House due to concerns about him not being able to adjust well to a new life there. He was entrusted to the care of John Eddy Roll, a local carpenter in Springfield. While Fido wasn’t present at the White House, he was seen at Lincoln’s funeral in Springfield. One of Roll’s children took Fido to the funeral procession, and a photo of him was taken shortly afterward. Copies were distributed as a means of memorializing President Lincoln.


Even if Fido is now a cliché name for dogs, it still has a wonderful meaning that accurately describes the special bond that dogs can share with humans. So, it’s an excellent and fitting name to bestow on dogs. It serves as a good reminder of their loyalty and companionship and how they’re capable of becoming beloved family members and best friends for many people.

Featured Image Credit: smrm1977, Shutterstock

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