Over the weekend, President-elect Obama made headlines by announcing that he and his family will settle on either a Portuguese Water Dog or a Labradoodle (two largely hypo-allergenic breeds) for their future First Pet. He said he’d like to try to find one of those at a shelter, which had a few of our co-workers scratching their heads, because high-end pedigreed pooches are not exactly what you normally find with rescue agencies. But as we’ve noted before, it’s in every American shelter’s best interest to get the Obamas a rescue dog, so we’re guessing one can be tracked down. After all, as we’re embarrassed to admit we even know, Kelly Ripa got her purebred Shih Tzu from a shelter, and she’s only the President of Mid-Morning Television.
So, two big, bushy-haired breeds. Now that we’ve narrowed that down, what kind of name should they come up with? We’ve always liked the names of the Bush pets (Barney, Miss Beazley, India, and Willard), but really, there are a lot of avenues they could go down. After the jump, we list some strategies.
Here are the generally accepted dog-naming protocols:
Giving the dog a human name: This is a controversial choice. Many people object to dogs with names like “Vincent,” “Rufus,” or “Pamela,” but we think it’s kind of funny. DI editor Chris had dogs named Wanda and Benjamin growing up, and they seemed a little more hilariously human because of it. The Obamas could put their own spin on this by giving the puppy a Swahili name (Barack is a Swahili use of the Arabic word meaning “blessing”), but don’t bet on it.
Choosing a pet’s name by a personality trait: DI editor Jessica’s first dog was named Gonzo, which is cute and makes sense. Her first cat was named Misty, though, which raises some questions.
Naming the dog after another famous animal: Chris’s first mutt was named Ribsy, after the beloved stray dog from the Beverly Cleary storybooks. Other popular combinations include: Gizmo, for Shih Tzus that look like Gremlins; Babe, for pugs that look like piglets; and Pikachu for Yorkies (okay, we made that last one up).
Naming the dog after a celebrity: This is one of our favorite strategies, and is how we managed to get Anderson Pooper, the silver cat; Elizabeth Taylor, Charlotte’s skanky pet from Sex and the City; and Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s Golden Retriever, Martha Stewart. Wouldn’t it be great to have a particularly poorly house-trained dog named Dick Cheney?
Using an honorific: Somehow, this is always adorable. See: “Miss Beazley” and “Mr. Duffy,” the beloved hound of Commerce Bank founder Vernon Hill.
Choosing a gag name: Like “Roofio,” for example, after the irascible character from Hook, or “Hebrew National” for your dachshund. We just love it when we run across bulldogs on the street with names like “Pumpkin.” Great in the short term, less fun when the dog runs off its leash and you have to run across the White House lawn yelling its name.
We’re betting the Obamas will let the girls choose, and the two of them will come up with something pretty standard and cute. Can you tell one of your faithful editors is really thinking about getting a dog lately? What would you name the presidential Labradoodle?