Good dog names come in two varieties: the ones that come to you immediately, and the ones that take days or even weeks of painstaking research. Anything in-between – any name you’ve simply “settled on” – is probably a mistake. After all, you and your dog are going to have to live with the name for a decade or more. It’s got to be perfect (no pressure).
The good news is, there are tons of articles and even whole websites to help you with your (obsessive and possibly unhealthy) dog name research. The bad news is, precious few of them are terrier-specific. Terriers have unique origins, looks, and personalities – and that means that many of the standard dog names simply don’t hit the mark.
General Dog Naming Advice
That said, there are a few guidelines that apply when naming any new puppy. Dog experts generally agree that you should pick a name that:
- is one or two syllables
- rolls off the tongue (so you grab your dog’s attention quickly)
- doesn’t sound too much like a command (sit, come, stay, etc.)
But above all, you should choose a name that reflects your dog’s personality, even if it means ignoring those rules or the terrier-specific suggestions below. Like people, dogs don’t always turn out the way their breeding would suggest. Fortunately, unlike humans, they can be named weeks or even months after they’re born – giving you plenty of time to get to know them before you make a decision.
One final note: You get bonus points for originality when naming a dog, though you should be careful not to take it too far. It’s advantageous if you can call out the name at the dog park and only have one dog come to you. On the other hand, it’s problematic if the name is so weird that you hesitate to even speak it in public. Remember, what might seem clever at first can get tiresome after awhile, especially if you’re constantly having to explain the name to other people.
The ideal terrier name suggests all the qualities that make these dogs unique – from their small, compact appearance to their feisty personalities. Of course, you’re unlikely to find a single name that does all that, so focus on the one or two things that really stand out in your dog. It could be a scruffy mustache that reminds of you a bygone era, an impish nature, or just a weird habit the dog has. Here’s a list of name to kick off your brainstorming.
The Boston Terrier has been nicknamed “The American Gentleman” due to his distinctive tuxedo-like markings. But despite the formal wear, these dogs are actually the jokers of the terrier family.
Jack Russell Terriers
The Jack Russell Terrier is a tenacious little scamp that’s known for causing trouble and generally being a handful. Consider a name that suggests intensity or toughness.
The Miniature Schnauzer is a scrappy, very vocal little dog with a gruff appearance. Unlike most terriers, which originated on the British Isles, Mini Schnauzers were first bred in Germany.
Many people choose to give their Scottish Terrier a Scottish name – which makes good sense, and leaves plenty of options. Scotties are also associated with the Good Old Days, as they were the most popular dog in America in the early 20th Century.
The Yorkshire Terrier is more delicate and “fancy” than other types of terriers. Think about giving your Yorkie a name suggesting glamor and fabulous looks.
What did you name your terrier? Share in the comments section below. It might be a great help to other terrier owners out there.