What's in a Show Dog Name?

Ever wonder how dog's get those long, fancy names in the show ring?

By | Posted: February 8, 2014, 8 a.m. PST

Tibetan Spaniel. Photo by Jack Grassa

Tibetan Spaniel,  GCH Kan Sing's Tenzin

Show dog names can seem long and unnatural to people unfamiliar with the dog show world.They often have longer names than most people!

Although those fancy names you hear at the dogs shows may seem strange, to seasoned dog exhibitors, they can tell a complete story of a dog’s origins.

Let's break it down!

The first word in the name is usually the kennel name of the breeder of the dog.

This name is chosen when the breeder first starts breeding and is given to every dog produced over the breeder’s career, which could span 40 to 50 years. The kennel name is often a made-up word that means something to the breeder, such as a combination of family names, names of other beloved pets, place names, names of other favorite activities and so on. My kennel name is "Heronsway,” a combination of two family names, one of which is also the name of the birds we love to see flying by our home.

Students of a particular dog breed can tell you where a dog was born and what his background is just by hearing his kennel name. Many kennel names are very famous and instantly associated with a particular breed, such as Vin-Melca (Norwegian Elkhounds), Salilyn (English Springer Spaniels) and Covy Tucker Hill (German Shepherd Dogs).

The next part of the dog's name is unique to that dog alone and there may be many reasons behind it.

Often puppies are named for what is happening on the day they are born. A puppy born on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day might be named "Free At Last”. A puppy can also be named after a combination of his sire and his dam’s show names. In my kennel, Heronsway Daydream Believer bred to Heronsway Some Fine Day and produced Heronsway Day By Day. Day By Day’s son was named, Heronsway Time After Time, a continuation of the repeated word separated by a preposition. See how much fun this can be?

No matter how fancy the name of a show dog is, he is probably called just plain old "Max” at home!

Here's a fun experiment to create your own dog show name!

  1. Take the name of the street you've lived on
  2. And  's
  3. Next add your favorite hobby
  4. Followed by the name of your first pet.
Our dog show name is "Viginia's Singing Huggs" What's yours? Tell us in the comments below!


-Dog Names Home-


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MistyLab   International

10/30/2014 2:23:54 AM

Awesome way to naming a show pet. Mine would be Tawny Street's Running Milo ... kinda cool. Milo is my first and current pet

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karen   newark, Delaware

2/19/2014 5:27:24 PM

Mine would be Bach's sewing buster

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Agschnauzer   hamilton, ON

2/14/2014 7:43:14 AM

This is fun! Mine would be Center's Drawing Pitah!

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Melian and Tiny   E, CA

2/9/2014 12:09:02 AM

Using the fun experiment my dog's name would be Forest Walk's Riding Ember. Kind of a fun

However her real registered name is DoubleTime's Fire of Arien.

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