So you don’t want to give your dog an ordinary name like Fido or Spot. And you love books.  So, naturally, you turn to your favorite literary classics when it’s time to name the new puppy. The result? This list of actual canine names inspired by literature (from The Giant Book of Dog Names)


Auntie Em 



Boo Radley



Dr. Watson



Gunga Din






Mrs. Danvers



Sam Spade




A chiwawa named Kafka? A pug named Nietzsche? Well, why not? Still, it takes a very special— or just very bookish—person to name her dog Voldemort. 

Not that I have anything against literary dog names. In fact, we named our own Yorkie-poo Captain Colossal, after a character in a young adult novel by Daniel Pinkwater, thus going with both literature AND irony. Does Captain mind being saddled with a (gently) mocking moniker? Not at all.

He’s probably just glad we didn’t name him Mrs. Danvers. 


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  • Roz Warren July 15, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Stravinsky is a fabulous name for a dog!

  • Cheryl July 10, 2014 at 7:43 am

    …..literature OR music. We named a feisty little wire-haired fox terrier ‘Stravinsky’, (actually, Mrs. Stravinsky).

  • Roz Warren July 8, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Mickey — Loved your list. And Frodo is a literary reference, isn’t it?

  • Mickey July 8, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I read and reread this blog and these comments. We, too, have had our list of dogs and their names and the history of those names. Our current dog (down from 4 a few years ago) started as Brandy, migrated to Dida. To my son she is Devers. To my friend, DeeDee. We’ve had Pasha, Bones, Pudge, Little Guy (oh, I miss him so much! My cuddly Jack Russell terrier), Phat Buoy, Yogi, Shadow, Frodo, Sam (who moved to Kentucky), Dusty and recently departed, Pixie. No literary references except Pasha maybe who was a Siberian Husky mix. Sigh, love dogs. Cats, too, but Dida chases cats.

  • Amy July 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    I once knew a dog named Art History. Also have been engaged in a heated argument over whether it was allowable to give a baby the same name as a current pet.

  • Mark Lowe July 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    Ha! Nice one …

  • Barbara Fertig July 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm

    I think Daniel Pinkwater would be a swell name for my next dog.

  • Roz Warren July 7, 2014 at 8:08 am

    We’d be gobsmacked if Captain ever said his name out loud. Unless we’d changed his name to Woof.

  • Tobysgirl July 6, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    We just adopted a nearly 14-year-old beagle who was named Snapple. She is totally deaf, and my husband hated using a product name for a dog. First she was Cerbera, after Dr Dunbar’s dog training book and the photo of a beagle outside a pit he had dug: Cerberus guarding the gates of hades. Then Cerbie, then Bea, then the obvious: Beatrix Potter! I call her Miss Potter, which is the perfect name for her as she loves to potter about.

    We named our German shepherd of many years ago Aurore after George Sand, and once, when someone asked her name, she said her name aloud, which was quite amazing.

  • Lynne July 6, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    We would have loved to have been more original in naming our dog, but he came from the shelter…so in an effort to not confuse him too much, we made a slight change in his name. But oh, what fun I have had in creating nick names… 🙂

  • Kelly July 6, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    I named my dog Bandit after the cartoon hero Johnny Quest’s dog.

  • Gail Karp July 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Nice piece. Our beloved Retriever, Rashi, was named after a famous French Rabbi…

  • Melissa Senecal July 5, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I never had a literary named dog but I did have a boxer named Bumgard Von Senecal! We just called him Bum for short.

  • Diane July 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Yeah. Looking at our Old English Sheepdog, Aldo, as I read this! He was named, not after the shoe store chain, but after a character from the Sylvester Stallone movie, Oscar.

  • Sue July 5, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Being a plant person, my great danes were named “Seaweed” and “Moth Mullein” but the best pet name was my cat “Existential Radish”, nicknamed
    “X”, by a group of us back in the early seventies as you might have guessed!

  • hillsmom July 5, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    My son has had a few dogs since he left home (we have cats). They were all named “Buddy”. He’s been very successful in training the dogs, too. Years ago, when we still lived in Gladwyne, he brought me an orange kitten which he named “Little Buddy”. Not very imaginative, but a sweetie. This month he and his family will be returning from AU to live in MI. The girls are bring their two beagles, “Summer” and “Buddy”. So it goes… I read a book which had a dog named “Nifkin”. I think “Our Roz” may have recommended the author (I forget and also had to look up the word.)

  • Suzanne Fluhr July 5, 2014 at 10:39 am

    I didn’t know Captain was part poo. I thought he was just a Yorkie. Our dog when I was a child was named Stuart Francis Campbell Moore Fluhr—his first 4 names after a British friend who was visiting when my father brought him home from the pound. We called him “Stuart”—for short.

  • Kim Tackett July 5, 2014 at 10:14 am

    My daughter (who was 7 at the time)named our rescue dog Toby. But we all had our version…Toblerone, Tobywankanobe and The Tobear Report. Ok, so now I am missing him!

  • Doreen McGettigan July 5, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I solemnly swear not to get another dog just so I can give it one of these names.
    The book is a great idea, though..

  • Carol Cassara July 5, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I can’t imagine Riley as any other name. But these are fantastic!

  • Wendl Kornfeld July 5, 2014 at 7:45 am

    What great names! My last dog was named in homage of Kay Thompson’s “Eloise.” One day while walking her, we met a man walking a dog of the same breed. I asked the name of his dog and was told, “Arthur Schopenhauer.”