The Southeastern Guide Dogs most popular dog names list concludes with the top five.
Here at Dog O’Day we recap the Southeastern Guide Dogs most popular dog names, digging into the etymology when possible with help from Bruce Lansky’s 1998 book The Very Best Baby Name Book in the Whole Wide World.
No. 5 – Jake
Jake is a shortened form of Jacob, which is Hebrew for “supplanter” or “substitute,” according to Lansky. It comes from the Biblical character from Genesis who was the son of Isaac and Rachel, brother of Esau and grandson of Abraham. (He was the trickster who stole Esau’s birthright.)
That doesn’t seem like the greatest heritage, but Jake also sounds like an action hero, which is fun, and there are actors like Jake Gyllenhaal (October Sky, Donnie Darko, Spider-Man: Far From Home), in addition to the team-famous NFL quarterbacks Jake Plummer (Arizona Cardinals) and Jake Delhomme (Carolina Panthers), adding to the positive side.
No. 4 – Liberty
This makes sense, because the purpose of a guide dog is to enable a blind or visually impaired person more freedom to go about their lives, whether that be work, school, or socializing. And the English word “liberty’ comes from the Latin root “libris,” which means freedom. It’s where we get the word “library” from, as well as the academic discipline of “Liberal Arts,” which is basically how to think well and clearly, in the sense of being able to gather, analyze, evaluate and deliver information free of fallacies.
(Sorry to nerd out there. I was an English major whose degree was technically in Liberal Arts, and I studied Latin in both high school and college. And as a visually-impaired person myself, I like this association.)
No. 3 – Buddy
Buddy has been a synonym of “friend” since at least sometime in the nineteenth century, and many dogs have gotten that name as well, sharing it with actors like Air Bud himself, as well as Bud Abbott of Abbott and Costello, actor Buddy Ebsen of The Beverly Hillbillies, and 1970s NASCAR driver Buddy Baker.
So it makes sense that many guide dogs would be given this name as well, especially as it was the fourth-most popular male dog name of 2019.
No. 2 – Charlie/Charley
According to Lansky, Charlie (sometimes also spelled Charley) is a shortened form of Charles, which comes either from German, meaning “farmer,” or English, meaning “strong and manly.” Considering that many breeds of dogs were developed to help in the fields, this seems like a noble and worthy moniker to bestow.
Charlie, however you spell it, can work for a male or a female dog, just as in real life it can be a reference to actor Charlie Sheen (Eight Men Out, Major League, Two and a Half Men) or the title character of Charlotte “Charlie” Duncan (Mia Talerico) in the underrated Disney Channel sitcom Good Luck Charlie.
Also, the main character of the All Dogs Go to Heaven franchise is named Charlie Barkin (voice shared by Burt Reynolds, Sheen and Steven Weber in the first movie, second movie and TV series, respectively).
No. 1 – Maggie
Maggie is traditionally a short form of Margaret, which Lansky says comes from Greek and means “pearl.” Maggie as a nickname is thought of as more Scotch/Irish, but either way conveys a pleasant association, which is probably why it ranked No. 10 in the top female dog names of 2019. Maggie can also be short for several other names, all of which are fairly uncommon.
Famous real-life Maggies include British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and actress Maggie Smith, and there was a recurring Buffy character named Professor Maggie Walsh.
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