7 Unusual Dog Names and Their Meanings

Forget about “Buddy” or “Bella.” Yawn… When you want something a little more clever, think about giving your pet one of THESE names.

Yep, this little guy is definitely a “Beowulf.” By: Saya Muncil

Have you ever wondered where some pets get their names? Coming across a Buddy or Bella may not be very uncommon, but how many dogs named Khaleesi have you met?

The origin of many names may surprise you. From pop culture references to ancient hero inspirations, pet names can be fascinating and sometimes even may require an explanation.

These 7 dog names are unusual, but they’re not without their own stories.

1. Tripp

The dog is a cute, bright-eyed and rambunctious hound mix who spends hours mingling with other dogs at the park. And his human is a friendly retiree with a white handlebar mustache and an ability to carry on endless conversations.

That’s how I learned about the name Tripp.

When Tripp’s dad first told me his dog’s name, I thought it was great. There is something so attractive about that simple, staccato word. But then he told me what it means: Tripp is a nickname given to people (men, mostly) who are the third generation of that name. For example, John Smith III could be referred to as Tripp. “It’s a shortened version of triple,” Tripp’s dad told me.

2. Satchmo

Have you ever met a pet named Satchmo? I have and thought it was brilliant and original. And while many of you may already know where Satchmo originates from, I initially did not.

As it turns out, Satchmo is a shortened nickname of Louis Armstrong. The original nickname was “Satchelmouth” and was contracted by a British magazine editor to Satchmo. Armstrong was, apparently, very fond of the nickname.

3. Khaleesi

This pop culture reference has become a popular name for female dogs and even baby girls. It’s a reference to the hit TV series Game of Thrones and is a title of royalty for one of the main characters.

Another trendy name from the series is Tyrion and, from what I’ve seen, it’s starting to pop up in pet households as well.

Balto is a popular name for Siberian huskies. By: bearmann

4. Balto

A popular name for huskies and other cold weather breeds, Balto was the name of a sled dog credited with leading his team through the bitter cold to save the children of Nome, Alaska. In 20 hours, Balto crossed 674 miles, delivering the medicine that was needed after diphtheria struck the city in 1925.

His courage hardly went unnoticed, inspiring an animated movie and 2 sequels. You can find a statue of Balto in New York City’s Central Park. And if you actually want to visit him, you can — after his death in 1933, Balto was mounted by a taxidermist and is on display at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

Now Balto’s legacy also lives on through the dogs who were named after this canine hero.

5. Lupin

This is another pop culture reference that’s inspired by Latin. Remus Lupin is a character in the Harry Potter novel series (and movies). If you’re curious why anyone would name a dog after this character in particular, it might help to know that he was a werewolf in the stories.

That’s also where the Latin inspiration comes from. The Latin word lupus means wolf, and the word lupine means wolf-like. Lupin is an apt name, then, for a werewolf. And a clever name for a dog.

Listen to why these New Yorkers decided to give their dogs unique names:

6. Beowulf

Calling all English majors and literature junkies. Beowulf sounds like a pretty rad name for a dog. I mean, it has the word “wolf” in it — sort of. But where exactly did the name come from?

Beowulf is the name of the oldest piece of English poetry penned by an anonymous author and written in the language of the Saxons. Beowulf is also the name of the monster-slaying hero in the poem.

Aside from being an ancient piece of literature, Beowulf was recently a blockbuster hit in the 2007 film starring Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie (among other big names).

Beowulf is a legend. No wonder so many awesome dogs share the name.

7. Woodstock

Whether based on a music festival or a cartoon bird, the name Woodstock dates back to the 1960s. But you don’t have to have been there to be able to appreciate the cute simplicity that Woodstock offers as a pet’s name. Charles M. Schulz didn’t. The Peanuts artist named his iconic yellow bird after the music festival.

You have to admit, Woodstock is a great name for a pet — whether that pet has feathers or fur.

The list of unusual names could go on indefinitely. Sometimes the choices are a perfect fit, and sometimes they just have a few too many syllables. Regardless of how unique a name sounds, the pets are really what make the names special.

Allison Gray

View posts by Allison Gray
Allison Gray gained a wealth of knowledge about animal welfare issues and responsible pet care during her nearly 5 years of work for an animal shelter. She is a writer, photographer, artist, runner and tattooed remedial knitter. Allison also has been researching, testing out and perfecting nutritious pet treat recipes in her kitchen for Petful since spring 2017.

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