It’s official: our top names for dogs now include Toby, Ben and Bella.
A survey commissioned by fetch.co.uk has revealed we’re now far more likely to hear Max or Molly shouted across a park than Fido or Rover. And the trend hasn’t passed Royal animal lovers by... the Duchess of Cornwall has a Jack Russell called Rosie, while one of the Queen’s beloved Corgis was named Monty (he co-starred in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony).
In celebrity circles, Ruth Langsford’s Terrier Cross is called Maggie. She was adopted from the Dogs Trust and Ruth brought her into the This Morning studio in June, as part of Bring Your Dog to Work Day (pictured). Peggy - the name of Miranda Hart’s Shih Tzu-Bichon Frise cross - is a popular choice, while Holly, the name of another of the Queen’s Corgis, came in at number three.
Topping the masculine list, as well as the survey overall, was Max. And on the subject of boys’ names, Tibetan Terrier Archie is Clare Balding’s dog. “One of my favourite things to do is go walking with Archie,” says Clare. “My possessions are replaceable, but Archie is not.”
Far from thinking him a canine angel, Clare sees Archie in a very human light: “He’s not heroic. He is not even particularly well behaved – but I love him.”
Another celebrity famed for his deep devotion to dogs is Paul O’ Grady, currently on ITV1 in the third series of For the Love of Dogs. Sadly, his old partner-in-crime, Buster, is no longer with us, but Paul has since given human names (Olga, Louis, and Eddie) to more recent family pets.
“I couldn’t imagine a life without pets,” says the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home supporter. “When I go away without the dogs, it feels like something is missing. Eddie follows me everywhere, and they are all part of the family.” And as he sees his dogs as part of his clan, it seems only natural for Paul to give them human names.
Martin Clunes gives all his pets not one, but two human names! His Cocker Spaniel is Tina Audrey, while his Jack Russell (known as Jim) is James Henry. Along with Arthur Colin, a black Labrador, they have been part of the Clunes family for years. Last year, a Chihuahua - Jack Russell cross, Penelope Jennifer, was welcomed to the fold. “We got her while filming Doc Martin,” says Martin. “A local Cornish girl came in with a litter so, obviously, we got one!”
Another addition to the list of those favouring human names is no-nonsense Yorkshire chef James Martin. Although his trusty old Clumber Spaniel is named Fudge, he has got in on the act by calling his puppy Alfie, which ranks seventh in the survey.
On the other hand, there are a few Yours favourites who haven’t yet given up on more traditional – even comic – names for dogs.
For example, Chris Packham’s poodles are called Itchy and Scratchy, so named by his stepdaughter. Chris had wanted to call them Stay and Come Here, but after the last time he tried to name a pet, it was unlikely that he would win the battle.
He explains: “I wanted to call our last poodle Help. My fantasy was that somebody would actually need help and a poodle would turn up, thinking it had been called! But I was banned as my family didn’t want to face the embarrassment of shouting ‘help’ all the time. So we named it Fish instead.”
Despite his quirky ideas, Chris’s doggy dedication can’t be faulted. Itchy and Scratchy are ‘the epicentre’ of his life, and Chris has recently said he will be cutting back his time on screen in order to be with them more.
Another celebrity keeping to more conventional canine names is Pauline Quirke, whose chocolate Labrador is called Bailey. Linda Robson, Pauline’s co-star in Birds of a Feather, says: “He is the loveliest, most laid-back and relaxed dog.” You might remember his his acting debut alongside Pauline in TV’s Broadchurch last year.
Lorraine Kelly calls her Border Terrier Rocky, which could be seen as another more traditional doggy name (although it’s not known if he is named after the boxing legend). But whatever our favourite stars choose to call their canine companions, they are all united, as we’re sure many of you are, by one thing – love for our four-legged friends.
As Lorraine explains: “Until we had Rocky, I could never understand people who claimed their dogs were part of the family, but now I totally get it.”
The top ten list of doggy names:
- Do your pets have human names, or do you think these celebrities are barking up the wrong tree? Write your comment in the box below...
Picture © Steve Meddle/REX/ITV
Chris Packham was talking to Julie Hamill, www.juliehamill.com