Follow TV Tropes


A Dog Named Dog / Literature

Go To

  • In the short story The Emissary by Ray Bradbury the titular character is literally a dog named "Dog."
  • The Muddle-Headed Wombat revolves around a trio of friends: a wombat named Wombat, a long-tailed bush mouse named Long-Tailed Bush Mouse ("Mouse" to her friends), and a tabby cat named Tabby.
  • In The Princess Bride, Buttercup's horse is named Horse. The narrator even snarks about it, noting that "Buttercup was never long on imagination."
  • Advertisement:
  • Pride Wars: Leo the anthropomorphic lion.
  • Inverted in Young Wizards, where a dog turns out to be a god.
  • It's Like This, Cat is a 1960's children's novel by Emily Cheney Neville about the exploits of a teenage boy, Dave, and his cat, Cat, and their exploits and encounters while living in New York City.
    Dave: I know he's a cat. He knows he's a cat. And his name is Cat.
  • As well as one specific horse in the Belgariad.
  • Raptor Red: The eponymous 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".
  • Interestingly averted in The Last Dragon. Yorsh, Sajra and Monser find a dog, and Yorsh names him Fido. Monser exclaims that that's a ridiculous name - dogs are called Paws or Patch or some such, not Fido. Yorsh later names a horse Lightning, to similar consternation. It's implied that humans are not particularly imaginative about naming, at least not with animals.
  • Advertisement:
  • Endling: Renzo has a dog named Dog.
  • Winnie-the-Pooh:
    • Piglet, Owl, and Rabbit.
      • The narrator even questions why some characters have proper names while others are named after their species.
    • Played with via mother and joey kangaroo pair Kanga and Roo.
    • Narrowly averted with Tigger, though not averted in the other adaptations; Tigger is a tigger and he's the only one of his kind. Also in some translations (such as the Hungarian), Tigger is named (the local equivalent of) Tiger.
    • Even Pooh is sometimes referred to as "Bear".
    • Then there's Gopher from the Disney cartoons.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • In Breakfast at Tiffany's, Holly Golightly's cat is simply called Cat. In the film adaptation, Holly explains to Paul that she just didn't feel like she had the right to give the cat a name because she didn't have any right to own the cat, instead seeing him as something more like a flatmate.
  • Most of the characters in The Jungle Book as well as its related stories are named after their species names in Hindi:
    • Baloo the bear, Tabaqui the jackal, Mang the bat, Chil the kite, Hathi the elephant, and so on.
    • Then you get Father Wolf, who isn't given even that, and Grey Brother is nearly as bad.
    • A rare human example: Mowgli the man-cub's nickname is Man-Cub. They also call him Little Brother, which works for Bagheera, but sounds odd coming from a porcupine (Ikki calls him that in "How Fear Came").
  • In N. R. Eccles-Smith's High Fantasy series, DragonCalling, Laeka'Draeon's name (a substitute given by Ubi since he cannot remember his own) means just what he is: a little dragon. Ubi herself admits that it’s “not exactly the most creative name” but she imagines that he will not have to use it for long.
  • 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.
    • Also, she calls her horse Whinney, which she takes to be another form of this.
    • Her orphaned lion cub named Baby may qualify. He was like a baby to her.
  • Adam's dog in Good Omens: "I'll call him Dog. Saves a lot of trouble, a name like that."
    • According to the narration, the Dog-to-be is of the opinion that his name will define the core of his nature (being, as he is, a magical Hell Hound servant to the Antichrist). So when his owner names him Dog rather than, say, Killer...
  • The Moles' dog in the Adrian Mole books.
  • A The Royal Diaries book about Cleopatra mentions this, after Cleopatra's sister obtains a baby baboon: "I do love this sister, but she is not very imaginative. What did she name her little pet? 'Baboon'. That is it. Berenice might be beautiful, but she would not make an interesting queen."
  • In the trilogy that started the Shadowrun novel series, Sam Verner names the stray mutt he adopts "Inu", which is "dog" in Japanese.
  • Almost everyone in the Franklin children's books, except for the title character.
  • Pig from Kipper.
  • Everyone from the Sweet Pickles books.
  • The children's book Tight Times has a mild aversion: the boy wants a pet dog. Eventually he adopts a hungry kitten and names it "Dog".
  • In Moving Pictures, the talking cat isn't certain if it has a name or not, as it remembers a child once called it "Puss" but doesn't know if that counts.
  • Almost all the child characters in Wilmar Shiras's Children of the Atom have pets. The only name we learn for any of the pets is Pup-Dog.
  • This is a recurring trend in the childrens' books by Mo Willems:
    • The main characters in the Pigeon books are Pigeon, the (unnamed) Bus Driver, and the Duckling.
    • The Elephant & Piggie books have Elephant Gerald's best friend Piggie, a pig.
    • As well as all the characters from the Cat the Cat books.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Aslan is Turkish for "lion".
    • In Prince Caspian, Caspian's horse is named Destrier, which literally means "Great Horse".
  • The Black Stallion's title character is referred to as "The Black" throughout the novel.
  • Played with in Luka And The Fire Of Life. Presumably, the dog had originally been named Dog and the bear Bear, but they came to Luka with their collars swapped, so the book refers to them as Bear the Dog and Dog the Bear.
  • All of the animal characters in the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and associated spin-off books and animated series are this. Mouse, Dog, Cat, Pig and Moose.
  • Justified in James and the Giant Peach, since the characters are mutated insects who presumably didn't have names when they were normal insects, and they apparently haven't seen the need for a name more descriptive than their own species. After all, anyone can tell the difference between the only giant spider in the world and the only giant earthworm in the world, without needing to give them any kind of personal name.
  • Coyote, the Big Bad from The Wild Ones: Moonlight Brigade, is a coyote.
  • In Mortal Engines there is a pet called Dog, although technically he's a wolf.
  • Dog by Daniel Pennac has the main character named... well, Dog. Other names had been suggested for him, but his owner Plum didn't like any of them.
  • In the rabbit mythology of Watership Down, there's a hedgehog character named Yona. "Yona" is Lapine for "hedgehog".
  • In The Silmarillion there's the sentient, rarely-talking hound Huan that plays a big role in the tale of Beren and Lúthien (going so far as to fight the wolf-shaped then-Dragon Sauron face to face and make him retreat). Yes, his name means "hound" in Quenya.
  • In The Lord of the Rings the King of Rohan is named Théoden, which is essentially the Old English word for king. It is said to be a translation of the Rohirric word/name Tûrac, which again simply means "king." The long list of names of previous kings of Rohan (Fengel, Walda, etc.) are also essentially Old English words with related meanings (lord, ruler, etc.)
  • Haplo in The Death Gate Cycle simply calls his dog "dog". He also refuses to call Alfred by his name for a long time, referring to him simply as Sartan (Alfred's race).
  • Warrior Cats:
    • There is a tomcat named Tom in Warrior Cats: Dawn of the Clans: Thunder Rising, who eventually becomes the father of Turtle Tail's kits. Gray Wing finds it really weird that someone would name an animal their own species name. This continues in The First Battle, where after a scuffle, Thunder is introduced to Tom. The latter introduces himself, and Thunder thinks he's dumb, saying "I know you're a tom. What's your name?"
    • Similarly, in Daisy's Kin, Daisy meets a tom named Tom-Tom, and she thinks that it's not really a name, that it would be like being named "She-cat-She-cat".
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Septon Meribald, a wandering priest in the Riverlands, is accompanied by a dog which he only calls Dog, claiming that he can't name it as the dog doesn't belong to him, and it has not bothered to tell him its name.
    • There's also Shaggydog, but he's a wolf. The name is explained by the fact that Rickon Stark was only three when he named him.
  • All the wild dogs in Darkeye are named their species name from their country of origin- i.e., "Mhumhi" means "African wild dog" in Shona.
  • In the books on which Longmire is based, Walt unofficially adopts a dog from a victim who died and, because he doesn't know the dog's name, calls him Dog. He lives in the sheriff's office and follows Walt everywhere.
  • Survivor Dogs has Alpha himself, who's been called Pup, Dog, and Wolf all his life due to being a wolf-dog.
  • The Burbling Sack Of Babyshit in The Vagina Ass of Lucifer Niggerbastard.
  • Little House on the Prairie has a cat named Kitty.
  • In the short story collection A Bird In The House by Margaret Laurence , the grandmother doesn't believe in naming pets. She calls her canary "Bird."
  • Squirrel, in The Knight in Rusty Armor.
  • Tod in The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams. "Tod" is an old English/Celtic word for a fox.
  • There is a Russian nursery rhyme, in which old couple wants to name their kitten after something great and mighty. Following a long sequence of Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors logic, they decide to call the cat "Cat".
  • Vulture the vulture spirit in Shaman Blues.
  • Common in Redwall, where several characters have first names related to their species (the Badger Lords Brocktree, with Brock being an old word for badger or Boar the Fighter, boar being the term for a male badger) or scientific name (Gulo the wolverine, from Gulo gulo, or one hare with the middle name Lepus).
  • Pixie Tricks has a sprite named Sprite.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Ella the Harpy. Her name is apparently Latin for..."harpy", as she says:
    Ella. Aella. 'Harpy.' In English. In Latin.
  • A slight variation appears in Brotherband, where the dog is not named "Dog," but rather "Kloof," since that's the sound she makes when she barks. (Which she does. Often).
  • Mansfield Park: One early indication that Lady Bertram is a dim bulb is that she has a pet pug named “Pug”.
  • What The Hell Did I Just Read: A Novel of Cosmic Horror: John's dog is named Diogee. Knowing John, its name is likely pronounced "D O G," even though the audio book apparently missed the joke and pronounces it "Dye-Oh-Gee."
  • In The Barbarian and the Sorceress, Rom refuses to name his horse, not wanting to get attached to the animal, only to find himself calling it "Horse" as a name.
  • Dinosaur Vs features a dinosaur named Dinosaur as the protagonist.
  • The main characters of Broken Gate with their names being Nezumi (rat or mouse), Toramaru (called "Tora", tiger), and Ryuuji (two dragons), leaving their sister Miyako the Odd Name Out, as her name isn't necessarily an animal one.
  • In Sword of Shadows, Vaylo Bludd, the Dog Lord keeps a pack of five war dogs, all of whom he simply calls "dog" (or by description if he needs to single one out, ie "the wolf dog"). Apparently Vaylo has owned so many dogs over the course of his life, and his identity so strongly tied to that fact, that naming them would feel as strange - and unnecessary - to him as naming his limbs. Vaylo's grandchildren, however, don't share his restraint and named the wolf dog - the largest and most aggressive of the pack - "Fluff". Vaylo considers the fact that the wolf dog actually answers to that name to be the funniest thing he's ever seen.
  • In The Least One, protagonist Boy's father hated his given name, so he decided his children would choose their own names. (Boy had an older brother who was called "Son" until he selected the name John for himself.) Adolescent Boy, obsessed with choosing the right name for himself, remains undecided until the very end of the novel. His choice is not revealed.
  • In Stray, Pufftail is confused to meet a cat who calls himself "Tom-Cat". When he questions this, he's told by another that "there is only one Tom-Cat". Tom-Cat is also called "Our Father Tom-Cat" and "Our Tom" by others in the Commune.
  • In the Pippi Longstocking books Pippi's horse is named Horse.
  • The unnamed protagonist of How to Be Comfortable in Your Own Feathers has classmates named Hummingbird, Chicken, and Sparrow.
  • In Naked Came the Stranger, the hippie couple Arthur and Raina Franhop named their cat Cat.
  • Emma from Because of the Rabbit names her bunny Lapi, short for Monsieur Lapin.
  • Animal Inn: Book 3 features Little Leo, a lion cub.
  • Among The Beasts And Briars: Cerys decided to name the fox she saved "Fox".
  • In Dav Pilkey's Dragon series, the main character is a dragon named Dragon.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: