A Dog Named Dog YKTTW Discussion

A Dog Named Dog
When an character, usually an animal, is named after what it is.
(permanent link) added: 2011-05-23 22:14:02 sponsor: SparkyLurkdragon (last reply: 2011-05-27 00:26:58)

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Some completely uncreative owner has decided the family pet will be known as Dog. Or, perhaps, a similarly creative author names their feline character Kitty. Alternately, the creature in question does have a less Shaped Like Itself name, but for whatever reason, Alice the Pig prefers to go as Piggy. Usually but not always applied to animals; robots imaginatively named Robot and the like are part of this trope, too. Remarkably common in children's shows, despite the obvious problems it should theoretically cause.

One might show a touch more flair by naming something what it is in a foreign language, like a lion named Leo. A common subversion is to name something it's not, eg. a dog named Platypus.

A subtrope of Shaped Like Itself and Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Pokémon Speak is a closely-related trope where something's named for the sound it makes. Everyone Calls Him Barkeep is another closely-related trope where a character is only known by their job title. See also Species Surname ("Dog Smith" is A Dog Named Dog, "Bob T. Dog" is Species Surname), Namedar.


[[foldercontrol]] [[folder:Anime and Manga]] [[/folder]]

  • Farmer Hogget names Babe Pig for the sheep-herding competition. Everyone's in stitches, thinking it's a dog named Pig, until he actually shows up.
    • Also applies to the name "Babe" itself. According to Babe, it's what his mother called all her children; that is, she called her babes Babe.
  • Draco the dragon in Dragonheart. Given a droll lampshading: "So instead of calling me 'Dragon' in your tongue, you'll call me 'Dragon' in some other tongue?"
  • Jake's dog in Big Jake is named Dog.
  • Played with in Terminator 2, where the dog's real name is Max, but the name Wolfy is used as a identity check.
  • E.T. the extraterrestrial.
  • A rare human example: Kid the kid in Dick Tracey. By the end of the film he chooses the name "Dick Tracy Jr." but is still called "Kid" out of habit.

  • In The Princess Bride, Buttercup's horse is named Horse.
  • Raptor Red: The titular character - a Utahraptor of the Red-Snout species - comes from a species with no names or real language, so the author gives her this nickname for reference. Other characters have similar "names" like "Raptor Red's sister" and "the old dactyl".
  • Winnie-the-Pooh: Piglet, Owl, and Rabbit. Played with via mother and joey kangaroo pair Kanga and Roo, and narrowly averted with Tigger.
  • The Wind in the Willows - Mole, Rat and Badger. Mr. Toad himself is a borderline case between this and Species Surname; we're not sure if he has a forename or not.
  • The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness features a wolf called Wolf.
  • Shows up in The Island Of The Blue Dolphins, where the protagonist calls the wolf she has tamed Rontu, which means "wolf" in her language.
  • In The Animals of Farthing Wood, the Farthing Wood animals are all called by what animal they are such as Fox, Owl, and Badger; animals in the past, when things were more plentiful, had names like Lean Fox. But when we meet more animals, they're given different names of their own.
  • In Breakfast at Tiffany's, Holly Golightly's cat is simply called Cat.
  • A rare human example, from The Jungle Book: Mowgli the man-cub's nickname is Man-Cub.
  • Earth's Children: Ayla adopts a wolf pup and names it Wolf. In-Universe it's an Unbuilt Trope, though, since it's virtually unknown for people to have pets in that world.
  • Adam's dog in Good Omens: "I'll call him Dog. Saves a lot of trouble, a name like that."

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]] [[/folder]]

  • Inspector Columbo had a basset hound named Dog.
  • On The Closer, Brenda simply calls her inherited cat Kitty.
  • Sesame Street: Big Bird. Lampshaded in the episode "Roy".
  • The Muppets: Miss Piggy.
  • The Polka Dot Door: Most of the toys have real names, but the teddy bear is just called Bear. The Polkaroo is either this or Pokémon Speak.
  • Every character in WordWorld. Which makes a certain amount of sense, since most objects in WordWorld are made of the letters that spell what it is.
  • ALF's real name is Gordon Shumley, but his Earth name ALF is actually an abbreviation of Alien Life Form.

[[folder:Video Games]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
  • Lampshaded in El Goonish Shive, though it's only used partially and only for some of the animal-people. The 'brothers' of Grace, animalistic shape-shifters, are Guineas (A guinea pig), Hedge (a hedgehog) and Vlad (a bat... sorta). The kicker is when Elliot, temporarily transformed into a cat-person, is caught and interrogated by Damien.
    Damien: Now, what is your name?
    Elliot: Um, well, what with me being a cat and all... Cat?
    Damien: All of you animal-people have horrible names.
  • A character in Sinfest is a dog named Pooch. Monique lampshades the absurdity, furiously asking Pooch's owner if he'd name her "Girl".
  • The robot from Zap!'s real name is a series of letters and numbers. Zap can't remember it, so he redubs him to Robot.
  • In Rusty and Co., two of the main characters are a Mimic named Mimic and a Gelatinous Cube named Gelatinous Cube.

[[folder:Web Original]] [[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
  • The main character in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is usually called "Mustang" until he gets properly named at the end.
  • Catdog is about a cat named Cat and a dog named Dog who were born fused together.
  • George of the Jungle's best friend is an ape called Ape.
  • Simba the lion in The Lion King, getting his name from Swahili.
  • The entire cast of The Brave Little Toaster.
  • In Shrek, there's the character Donkey. Guess what kind of animal he is; go on, guess. There's also Puss in Boots, a kitty cat who wears shoes with ankles.

[[folder:Real Life]]
  • The first living being in space was a Russian dog named Laika, Russian for "dog."
  • Common name for a male kangaroo, when named as a joey: Joey.
  • Common name for a tomcat: Tom.
  • Common name for a billy goat: Billy.
  • It's not uncommon for children to have imaginary friends or plush animals named after what they are.
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