Sometimes it's just not worth making up original names for animals. These are names that have been used forever in real life for (usually domesticated) animals, and carry over well for animal characters in fiction. Sometimes its an obvious pun
or description of the animal's appearance
. Sometimes, the stock names are a more colorful way of referring to the animal's species: If you say "Fido," the reader will instantly understand that you're making an allusion to dogs in general, with no further context necessary.
For dogs and cats it seems like a new "stock" name is "Mr." or "Mrs." something
; Mr. Muggles (dog, Heroes
), Mrs. Norris (cat, Harry Potter
The bottom line is, if you want an original name for a character, don't use these ones. Note that no one ever uses these names
in Real Life
. (At least, not anymore.) They don't even show up in the lists of most popular pet names. But if you use the names correctly, people know immediately what kind of animal you mean.
Compare Species Surname
Since this is pretty much a Universal Trope
, don't bother listing specific examples. But if you know of an interesting subversion, it's probably worth adding.
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- Spot, Rover, Patch(es), Fido, Rex, Buster, Max, Sparky.
- According to The Other Wiki, the name of Cerberus (the three-headed guardian of the gates of Hell, in Greek Mythology) may derive from an Indo-European root meaning "spotted". In which case, Hades, God of the Dead and Ruler of Hell, named his pet dog "Spot".
- Hong Kong Phooey had a cat named "Spot" (who was, of course, striped).
- For female dogs: Queenie, Princess, Duchess, Lady.
- For more aggressive dogs, Spike, Wolf, Fang, Killer.
- In the UK they're often named after boxers. Tyson in particular.
- For Scottish Terriers: Scotty.
- For German Shepherds: Ace.
- For poodles: Fifi.
- For collies: Lassie.
- For small long-haired dogs: Fluffy
- In Japan: Pochi.
- The female leads in He Is My Master have a pet named Pochi, who the male lead assumes to be a dog. It's actually an alligator.
- In France: Médor. (Pronounced May-Dohr)
- In the Deep South, Beauregard, particularly in Looney Tunes cartoons.
- Prince for big, nice-looking dogs.
- Blue for hounds.
- In Hungary: Morzsi, Bundás, Bodri
- In Finland: Halli (obsolete), Murre or Rekku (onomatopoetics), Musti ("Blackie", and "the" name)
- In Poland: Azor, Burek, Reks
- In Sweden: Karo, Fido, Rex.
- In Dutch: Max
- In Italy: Rex and Leo for male dogs, Laica and Luna for female dogs
- In Denmark: Fido, Trofast ("Loyal"), Charlie, Simba, Vaks ("Smart"/"Alert"), Rollo and King for male dogs (a former Danish pop group amusingly called themselves "Rollo and King"); Lady, Molly, Laika, Chili and Bailey for female dogs
- In Russia: Sharik for smaller dogs (means “small ball / small round thing”) and Barbos for bigger dogs
- Sassy, Fluffy, Whiskers, Max, Felix, Shadow
- In Japan: Tama. Usually (but not always) said "Tama" will be a calico.
- For tomcats: Tom.
- For tabby cats: Kitty
- For queens: Queenie.
- For white cats: Snowball.
- Subverted in The Simpsons with a black cat named Snowball II. It was a replacement for a white cat named Snowball that was run over by a Chrysler.
- Tiger, whether striped or not.
- Ginger for ginger cats.
- Cinnamon is also used for these types of cats, as well as cinnamon cats.
- Mittens or Boots for cats with white paws.
- Patches for calico or tortoiseshell cats.
- Smokey for grey or black cats, whether smoke patterned or not.
- In France: Minou
- In Finland: Miiru (obsolete), Mirri ("the" name)
- In the UK: Tibbles/Tiddles.
- Lampshade Hanging in Going Postal: When Moist gets told the Post Office cat is called Tiddles, he refuses to believe it: "I thought it was just a joke name".
- Fun fact: "Tibbles" is a corrupted version of "Tybalt", the name of the Prince of Cats in the Reynard the Fox stories. Tabby is a related word. (Now you know why Mercutio repeatedly calls Juliet's cousin Tybalt "prince of cats" in Romeo and Juliet.)
- In Malaysia: Comel is a very common name for cats, it means cute. Putih is another common name for white/mostly white cats.
- In Poland: Mruczek, Puszek
- In Norway: If the cat is grey, Grĺpus, meaning grey pussy.
- In Sweden: Misse, Mirre (or some very similar-sounding name).
- Kisse can be used for cats in general
- In Dutch: Minoe
- In Hungary: Cirmi
- In Hebrew: Mitsi
- Cats belonging to scientists: Schrodinger.
- Black cat in the UK: Lucky.
- In Russia: Murka/ (onomatopoeia for purring: “murrr”)
- Lions: Leo.
- Originated from the constellation (or astrology sign if you prefer), or more simply, the Latin name.
- Elsa for lionesses.
- More recently, Simba (the Swahili word for lion).
- Rabbits: Whiskers, Binky, Bugs, Hoppy, Thumper, Peter
- Cows/Cattle: Bessie/Bossie, Clarabelle.
- Bessie the Cow may have originated as the mascot for a brand of dairy products.
- Flower names, especially Buttercup or Daisy.
- In Hebrew: Edna
- In Finnish: Heluna, Mansikki, Muurikki (all "the" names); anything with the suffix -kki will be recognised as a cow (Tiistikki, Punikki etc.)
- In Denmark: Karen, Maren, Mathilde(Or just Thilde)
- In Poland: Krasula, Mućka
- In France: Marguerite
- In Hungary: Riska
- In Russia: Мilka (from “milaya” – darling/nice/sweet), and Zorka (little sunrise)
- For bulls: Toro
- Goats: Nanny, Billy.
- Pigs: Hampton, Hamlet, and other variations on "ham."
- In Russia: Borka (nickname for Boris and also because the term for male pig is borov)
- In Hungary: Röfi
- Goldfish: Goldie.
- Parrots: Polly and its variations (Paulie, etc.)
- In France, Coco.
- In Hungary: Pityuka, Gyurika
- In Denmark: Poppedreng.
- Turtles: Sheldon or Shelly, Speedy.
- Rascal. See also Rascally Raccoon. Sterling North's novel of the same name is the Trope Namer for this.
- Bandit is also common, due to their markings around their eyes looking like a mask.
- Whiskers for anything with whiskers.
- Blackie for anything black.
- Tripod for any quadruped missing one of its legs.
- Stripes for anything with stripes.
- Also "Lucky" for an animal missing either a leg or an eye.
- Non-Parrot Birds: Pete or Petey.
- In Denmark: Piphans (especially canaries and similar birds, though it can also be applied to parrots).
- Horses: Dobbin
- Silver, particularly when paired with the expression "Hi-ho!"
- Patches for a paint
- Bears: If it's a bearcub, then Little Bear. This remains true, despite this name being heavily associated with the popular book and television series by Maurice Sendak and Else Holmelund Minarik.
- Bruin. (Dutch for "brown", originally from Reynard The Fox).
- In Swedish: Nalle
- In Russia: Misha (nickname for Mikhail)
- In Hungary: Brumi, Dörmi (both imitating the bear's growling)
- Foxes: Reynard (also from Reynard the Fox), Todd, Tod.
- In Denmark, vixens are often called Rita, which is a Shout Out to a popular Danish book series for little kids. Since people tend to assume that animals are male until the opposite has been proved, they generally call foxes "Mikkel", though (Danish equivalent of the Swedish "Mickel" and English "Michael").
- In Sweden, fictional male foxes are almost always named Mickel.
- Skunks: Stinky.
- Hamsters: Hampton, Hammy, and other variations on "ham."
- Apes: Bobo
- Monkeys: Bobo
- In Hungary: Maki (despite that it also means "lemur")
- Elephants: Jumbo, Pachy
- Kangaroos: Joey, Skippy (from the Australian TV series of the same name).
- Pythons: Frequently called Monty by people trying to be funny. That is, "frequently" as far as anything related to keeping snakes can be called frequent.