Created By: dragongirlhellfire on July 17, 2011 Last Edited By: Pichu-kun on July 27, 2016

Universal Pet Names

Humans call their pets by the same name as the pets call themselves.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Needs a better title, needs more examples.

In animal stories especially, pet animals' names are inexplicably universal. That is, what they call themselves is the same as what their owner calls them, despite certain language difficulties.

This may be explained by animals in such stories often being able to understand humans, so they may be able to understand what the humans are calling them. But if they were named by their parents when they were born, this makes no sense. Occasionally it is stretched even further by having the pet go through numerous owners, all of whom call it the same thing, despite not all having met.

Maybe an Enforced Trope due to too many names being complicated. Potentially justified if they are named after a particular physical feature.


Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Justifed in Pokémon (at least in the anime), as most species use Pokémon Speak, making their species names clear. This gets interesting when you realize that it doesn't sound like Pokémon Speak to the Pokemon themselves.

Comic Books
  • Subverted in a The Far Side comic where it turns out that dogs' own names for themselves are things like "Thundara, Princess of the Universe".

Fan Works

Film - Animation
  • Lady and the Tramp subverts this trope. Tramp is called by many names by many owners. He is "Butch" to Tony, "Mike" to an Irish family, and "Fritzi" to a German family, and it is implied that there are many more. As for being called "Tramp" when he's adopted by the Darlings, this is never shown in the movie, although it might be present in the comics and the sequel. Even that mildly subverts it, as he is called "Tramp" at the end instead of "the Tramp".
  • The animals in Bolt play this straight.

Literature
  • Perhaps averted in Black Beauty in the case of the titular character - despite the title, only one of his various owners ever calls him Black Beauty. His other names include Darky and Blackjack. However, we don't really know what he calls himself, given that it is narrated from first person and the other horses don't call him by name, so he could regard his name as being Black Beauty. However, Ginger definitely fits in with the trope, and so does Merrylegs.
  • Averted in Windrusher. A cat named "Tony" is abandoned by his owners. Other animals call Tony "Windrusher" instead of "Tony".
  • Averted with Firestar from Warriorcats. He was a "kittypet" named "Rusty" who ran out of his house chasing mice. He came across Thunderclan cats who accepted him into their group. He was originally given an apprentice name of "Firepaw" but was later renamed "Fireheart" and then eventually "Firestar". Other kittypets similarly changed names. Harry became Sol, Tiny became Scourge, Hutch became Shortwhisker, etc.

Live-Action TV
  • The Lone Gunmen: The LG rescue someone who has contacted them for help, who turns out to be a sapient chimpanzee who communicates via email and voice synthisizer. He complains of the name he's been given, "Peanuts."
    Chimp: Please stop addressing me by my slave name.
    Yves: How do you prefer we address you?
    Chimp: By the name I have given myself: Simon White-Thatch Potentloins.

Video Games
  • Implied aversion in Pokémon Black and White. N, who can speak with Pokemon, address your Pokemon by species name, not their nickname.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • July 17, 2011
    GuesssWho
    Common enough that I'd think only aversions would be listed.
  • July 17, 2011
    BuckRivera
    ^ I agree.

    Good trope.
  • July 18, 2011
    bwburke94
    • Justifed in Pokemon (at least in the anime), as most species use Pokemon Speak, making their species names clear.
  • July 18, 2011
    TonyG
    Lady And The Tramp actually has a subversion. Tramp is called by many names by many owners. He is Butch to Tony, Mike to an Irish family, and Fritzi to a German family, and it is implied that there are many more. As for being called Tramp when he's adopted by the Darlings, this is never shown in the movie, although it might be present in the comics and the sequel. (Someone please confirm.)
  • July 18, 2011
    Hadashi
    Sounds a lot like A Dog Named Dog.
  • July 18, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The Lone Gunmen: the LG rescue someone who has contacted them for help, who turns out to be a sapient chimpanzee who communicates via email and voice synthisizer. He complains of the name he's been given, "Peanuts."
    Chimp: Please stop addressing me by my slave name.
    Yves: How do you prefer we address you?
    Chimp: By the name I have given myself: Simon White-Thatch Potentloins.
  • July 18, 2011
    BuckRivera
    ^^ Actually, A Dog Named Dog will hardly ever overlap.
  • July 18, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
  • July 18, 2011
    FerdinandtheBull
    Does this fit under Namedar?
  • July 18, 2011
    PaulA
    Subverted in a The Far Side comic where it turns out that dogs' own names for themselves are things like "Thundara, Princess of the Universe".
  • August 21, 2011
    dragongirlhellfire
    ^^^^^^^ Ah yes, I'd forgotten about Tramp's other names, but his eventual owners do end up calling him Tramp in the sequel I know, so he still fits.

    ^^ I think this must be somehow related to Namedar, due to the nature of the trope.
  • April 22, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    Bump because this relates to one of my YKTTW.
  • April 23, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ which?

    The right word wouldn't be "universal", btw.

    Humans Know Animalese Names is the clearest I can make, but also somewhat awkward.
  • June 29, 2016
    Pichu-kun

    "Animal Naming Conventions".

    This seems pretty omnipresent though.
  • July 13, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    Wait, no, I misheard the line.

    Anyway, isn't Fox and the Hound justified? Tod was named by a human.
  • July 13, 2016
    Vicky125
    Averted with dolphins in The Penguins of Madagascar. People called Doris Dotty and Dr. Blowhole Flippy.

  • July 26, 2016
    DAN004
    So the inherent part of this trope is that the pet must have a name before becoming a pet?

    Idk, in many cases animals lack a name before becoming pets.
  • July 26, 2016
    Pichu-kun
    This is likely I Was Named My Name.
  • July 27, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ yay discard?
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