Created By: dragongirlhellfire on July 17, 2011 Last Edited By: dragongirlhellfire on July 13, 2016

Universal Pet Names

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

Name Space:
Page Type:
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.

  • All the dogs in Lady and the Tramp. Very obvious, because characters like Tramp had names before they were adopted by owners, and the owners just happened to choose the same name.
  • The animals in Bolt.
  • 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.
  • The Fox and the Hound.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • July 17, 2011
    Common enough that I'd think only aversions would be listed.
  • July 17, 2011
    ^ I agree.

    Good trope.
  • July 18, 2011
    • Justifed in Pokemon (at least in the anime), as most species use Pokemon Speak, making their species names clear.
  • July 18, 2011
    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
    Sounds a lot like A Dog Named Dog.
  • July 18, 2011
    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
    ^^ Actually, A Dog Named Dog will hardly ever overlap.
  • July 18, 2011
  • July 18, 2011
    Does this fit under Namedar?
  • July 18, 2011
    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
    ^^^^^^^ 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
    Bump because this relates to one of my YKTTW.
  • April 23, 2016
    ^ 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

    "Animal Naming Conventions".

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

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