Saturday, August 5, 2023

What’s In A Name?

 Choosing the perfect name for your dog can be very difficult.  And if you are planning on registering your dog with the American Kennel Club, or AKC, you will need to choose two names!  The first is your dog’s call name, the name that will be used every day to train and communicate with your new best friend.  The second name, is the more formal, registered name.  This name is used to track any titles or awards your dog may win.  The registered name is assigned an ID number, which is used when entering any competitions.

Most purebred dogs have a registered name, but mixed breeds can also apply for a registered name if their owners want to compete in various dog sports, like obedience, agility or flyball.  They can also earn titles like CGC, which stands for Canine Good Citizen, THD/Therapy Dog, or even Trick Dog titles!  They’re so many fun things to try with your dog, and they all start with the AKC registration name.

For purebred dogs, the registration name will include the breeder’s kennel name, followed by whatever name the owner and/or breeder choose.  The names can be poetic or inspirational, funny or dramatic, anything you can imagine.  The name chosen may be something special to the owner, or something created to be unforgettable, to help the dog stand out in competitions.  A really fun name can even inspire the crowds of spectators to cheer for a particular dog at a show.  The registered names are limited to 50 characters, including spaces, so you have to be careful the name isn’t too long.

How do people come up with an AKC registered name? For me, I try to do at least one of two things.  The first, I try to come up with a registration name that reflects the call name in some way.  For example, our Holly had a registered name of CH Accent Marchello Holiday, and both names were chosen because she was born on Christmas Day. The second way I will try to come up with a registered name, is to include or refer back to the Sire and Dam’s registered names.  Our Kori’s registered name is Marchello’s Must Be An Angel, so I named her daughter, Maizie, Marchello’s Littlest Angel. (She was the smallest puppy in her litter.)  But sometimes, like with Addison, Winterberry’s Neverending Story, I just wanted to create something fun.

With the hot and humid weather we’ve been having, I have been spending more time indoors.  With the extra time, I’ve taken to perusing my collection of old volumes of the Collie Club of America’s Library of Champions.  There are currently 8 volumes, starting with volume 1, which begins in 1884 with the very first collie champions.  The 8th volume includes collie champions from the years 2004 - 2006.  The CCA has been working on volume 9, but no one knows when it will be completed, as it's been in the works for many years.  

I love learning about my beloved breed, and these books are such a great tool when researching our history!  I enjoy looking through all the volumes, and finding the names and pictures of our own collies and their sires and dams.  I also find it fascinating, when looking through all the pictures of the past champions, to see what registered names were used and how they have evolved.  For many of the original collie champions, the registered names were very short, often just one or two words.  

CH Christopher - born 4-16-1887

CH Bellhaven Laund Logic - born 1917

CH Sunnybank Sigurd - born 1919

I have found that some names have been used often over the many generations of collies, prefaced with different kennel names, and some are completely unique.  Using a name that was previously used is sometimes unintentional, but occasionally it’s done as a way to remember and honor those past collies who contributed so greatly to our breed.  So when choosing you dog’s registered name, remember that future generations may be looking back and reading about his or her accomplishments, and studying the registered name you chose….so make it a good one!


  1. Great post, we will definitely have to give some serious thought when registering our next puppy!

  2. I have always found coming up with names for things or dogs to be difficult. Having mutts, they only need their call name if since we don't do obedience work.

  3. We agree - choosing a proper name is so important.

  4. I've always wondered what my first registered name would be! I'd want something that sounds pretty and elegant, but not too pretentious- just like the collie breed :) (btw-I love this blog- happy to see it being updated in 2023!)