Hunting > Upland & Waterfowl

8 Cliché Dog Names

A gundog spends years as your go-to hunting buddy—so picking a name is no small task. If you want to be original, stay away from these common and cliché options.


The only thing more exciting than picking out a new puppy from the litter is naming it. In theory the list of names we have to choose from is infinite. And yet so often we go back to the well, so to speak, and choose names that are overdone, played out and cliché.

On the other hand, maybe such names are popular because they’re just so darn fitting for the hopes and dreams we have for our bird dog pups. Regardless, there are a few names you hear over and over again. And maybe that’s okay. The first cliché name on the list below happens to be the one I’ve selected for my new puppy. I know it isn’t original, but I think it suits him. Isn’t that what’s most important?

Man buys great hunting dog. Great hunting dog has puppies. Man keeps puppy. Man names puppy “Junior.”

If you ever meet a dog named Junior you can rest assured that this was the cycle of events. We gundog folks are a sentimental crowd, and so often we want to honor a great dog by passing on the Junior moniker to the next generation. Typically a pup is named Junior when Senior is getting along in years, and the owner senses it’s time for Senior to take a well-deserved spot on the couch while Junior carries the torch.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. However, a word of caution: Fight the temptation to compare Junior to Senior. It’s human nature to do so, but it’s completely unfair. Should Michael Jordan’s son be considered a failure if he never wins an NBA championship? Let Junior develop and be the dog he was born to be.

There are no statistics on the subject of which I’m aware, but I suspect “Drake” is the most common name among duck dogs in America. It makes sense, I suppose. They hunt drakes. They are rugged, athletic animals, and the name drake has a certain, powerful ring to it. And those of us with a fondness for waterfowl just seem to like the thoughts it conjures.

Arguably the name was further popularized by Drake the DU Dog, the official Labrador retriever mascot of Ducks Unlimited. However, the name was already pretty popular prior to 2000, when Drake assumed his role at DU.

The name “Duke” just sounds like a dog’s name. Heck, even the people named Duke you meet seem to have a little canine in them.

So it’s no wonder it’s a popular choice. One old coon hunter I met really takes this one to extremes, though. He’s named every hound in his kennel Duke. There’s Duke I, Duke II, Duke III… well, actually by now he’s well into the double-digit Dukes. According to him, dogs all look like they ought to be named Duke.

Based on the number of Dukes I’ve shot birds with throughout the years, many agree.

The word invokes thoughts of speed, power and energy—traits that embody a high-octane dog coursing the fields. Plus if it weren’t for ammo, we’d be out of a few of our favorite hobbies. So why not name that new pup after something else you have a fondness for?

The biggest trouble with this particular name is that it ends in ‘O’—some trainers advise against this, because names that sound a lot like the command “no” can lead to confused dogs.

I’ve hunted over a German shorthair named Beretta, a Lab named Purdey and a springer named Briley, but it seems no sporting manufacturer has caught on like the name Remington. Perhaps because when you shorten it to “Remi” (pronounced REM-ee) it has such a nice ring to it. Or because the Remington 870 is the best-selling shotgun of all time, and it remains popular in duck blinds despite decades of semi-auto innovation. But I think the biggest motivation for naming a dog Remington is that, like other names on the list, it leaves no doubt the dog was born to hunt.

Hey, you hope that your dog’s efforts result in pulling the trigger a time or two, right? The trigger is your finger’s happy place, so why not name your dog for it? Apparently this logic makes good sense to many hunters among us.

One of my earliest memories is hunting pheasants with my father and a yellow Lab named Rocky. At the time I thought both my old man and that dog were 100-percent infallible. It wasn’t until later that I learned my dad wasn’t perfect, that Rocky would occasionally run off and that his name wasn’t as unique as I imagined.

Like the names Drake and Duke, Rocky just sounds tough. You wouldn’t expect a dog named Stanley to course the uplands all day or bust through ice and snow to fetch a wounded mallard. But Rocky on the other hand—that’s a dog that’ll get the job done.

There are a few names on this list that could be used for any old pet. Or even a human. But not Gunner. It is uniquely applied to dogs whose purpose in life involves guns. However, it’s not so unique among the sporting breeds. I’ve met about a half dozen Gunners, and surely not the last.

This list is by no means complete. I’ll bet you’ve hunted over some dogs, or even owned a few, with less-than-original names. What names would you add to the collection?

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41 Responses to 8 Cliché Dog Names

Chris Borg wrote:
February 25, 2013

My dog. Black mouth Kerr. Is named Maggie, I read the two most commonly used names for female dogs are Molly and Maggie so I'm sure that's considered cliche.

Ken wrote:
February 24, 2013

Years ago I sat down with a litter of Springers and the one that introduced herself to me "told" me she was a Peggy. We hunted pheasants for years and when she finalled passed on I was pretty sure she was that one gundog of a lifetime. It was 15 years before I could work up to bringing another dog into the house. Then I sat down in a litter of Weimaraners and Sandy "introduced" herself to me. We have done everything including climbing over twenty five 14,000 ft peaks in Colorado together. She is 10 now and showing signs of arthritis. It will be hard to let her go.

Ben wrote:
February 23, 2013

Two French Brittanies,age five and two, named NIP and TUCK...their call names...outstanding bird sense, and extremely well mannered.

Ben Murph wrote:
February 23, 2013

Two French Brittanies.they have somewhat fancy registered names...but call names are NIP and TUCK...fits them and easy to say.

Christine wrote:
February 21, 2013

Love this post and wanted more… seems like there’s plenty of other categorical clichés … naming your dog by its color (Coal, Blackie); naming your dog what he is (Buddy, Partner, Lady, Champ); naming your dog after your gear (Avery)…

patrick felix wrote:
February 19, 2013

My first yellow lab puppy, hopping he will be my best hunting partner. Got his name by combining duck and goose so he is Doose. (he is 10 weeks)

Joel wrote:
February 19, 2013

Well, I've had a black Lab named Deacon. Right now I've got a yellow Lab named Diesel. I think next will be another black Lab, which I'm planning on naming Dozer. Got a D thing going.

joe johnson wrote:
February 19, 2013

When we first got our rescued brittany we brought it home not having a name for it. I would like a name but my wife would like a different name. After bringing him into the house he instantly peed on the carpet, and my wife said that little just peed on my floor. And thus the name tucker came to be his name

Uncle Charley wrote:
February 19, 2013

Had to put down my first Brittany, March 25, 2009, due to oral cancer. His name was Laird Angus, Earl of George. Or, Angus, for short. We kept 2 of his sons - Robert the Bruce (Bobby) and Quillan. I wasn't even looking for these names on your list.

Matt wrote:
February 19, 2013

We've fostered 8 GSPs in the past year. Duke, Jaxson, Sebastian, Remington, Luger, Bella, Dolly and Ricky And of course my GSP Hershey

Gee wrote:
February 19, 2013

We had a Yellow Lab named P-Nut who was a machine in the water and lived a very full 11 years. Ma-To the 13 year old Black Lab is now retired to the couch and has her hands full mentoring Hank the Black Lab at 11 weeks.

Jason M wrote:
February 19, 2013

our next Springer will be Violet. Wife's favorite color is purple. My sone named her. Can't wait.

Geri wrote:
February 19, 2013

Jager, Tipper, JD, Sierra and Little Tipper. my German shorthair pointers.

ron henry wrote:
February 17, 2013

currently have springer named daisey, named for "daisy cutter" visilia named agustus, or gus for short(lonesome dove) and my first hunter, lab springer mix 40 yrs ago named "strap" his brother was named "jock"

fred turner wrote:
February 17, 2013

my late labs registered name was Blacklands Designated Hitter, he was nicknamed 'Clutch' I really miss the old rascal.

Bill Doyle wrote:
February 16, 2013

Mousse and Otis. Next Lab with be either Smokey or Shaft!

Robv wrote:
February 16, 2013

My rescue English Springer arrived named Draak. (added option: I chew things). Option works quite well...

Jon wrote:
February 15, 2013

How about "Stain"?

Craig wrote:
February 15, 2013

I currently have a Brittany named Brandy, and before that, a Golden Retriever named Ranger. Both good 2 digit names. And very responsive names in the field.

Preston wrote:
February 15, 2013

Nice article I have had a duke, ladie, bear, ruff. Currently have tigger, Sadie, rowdy in the family.

Steve wrote:
February 15, 2013

Names which begin with "plosive" vowels such as B and T etc. I feel are best and 1 or2 syllables.

Bill wrote:
February 15, 2013

Best advice for naming a dog is to not name it anything that rhymes with dam. You will confuse the dog.

Terry wrote:
February 15, 2013

We tried to get away from all the candy and gun dog names, so we named them Murphy and Missy (the princess). This worked until our granddaughter said "it didn't work". Murphy and Missy is "M&M! We tried!

King wrote:
February 15, 2013


Banjoman wrote:
February 15, 2013

I admit.. I did have a "Gunner", but also a "Ranger" and a "Trapper".

Frank G wrote:
February 15, 2013

I have two English Springers: Camo and his sister Ziva

Spiro Agnew wrote:
February 15, 2013

My father-in-law got a rescue-dog black lab. He named it Lucky, which really seems fitting.

Duckster wrote:
February 15, 2013

How about: Tar, Snickers & Sandy. All 3 Labs! Guess what color. Ha!

Travis wrote:
February 15, 2013

Wow, what an article. Insights galore, and in addition, no substance. Who CARES what you name your dog??? Maybe I'll call the author Slim Randals, JUNIOR, because the writing is the same! Jeez O Pete, the articles are gettin' pretty dumb around here. As for myself, I'll name my dog whatever I please, no matter if someone else already did it.

Tom wrote:
February 14, 2013

I've sure seen a lot of Sadies.

Richard A Bradley wrote:
February 14, 2013

SirShirtsaLot. That is the name of springer spaniel.

Travis wrote:
February 14, 2013

Best name I've heard in a while is DOG spelled out, pronounced diogee. Plenty unique and 3 syllables makes it easy for the dog to recognize.

Joe W wrote:
February 14, 2013

Here I thought my Springer "Ruger" was going to make the list. Oh well.

Michael Daniels wrote:
February 14, 2013

I was introduced to Brittneys and English Pointers 40 years ago by a friend, a retired Marine. I name my Britts after famous French ladies and my Pointers after British Generals, Admirals and Queens. No name has ever been repeated and never met anyone with a furry friend carrying the same moniker. My last male Pointer took the name of Ozzie Osborne. Dog acted as if he'd taken drugs and tried to speak like the Rocker, "Ozzie". Best gun dog - compadre/buddy Iv'e had.

Dave wrote:
February 14, 2013

chocolate labs - 1) Misty (it was raining the nite she came home) 2) Dutch (short for dutchess and dutch chocolate)and 3rd) Brownie

Warrior wrote:
February 14, 2013

Over the weekend I came across a couple of dogs. One was named Cammie, short for Camshaft, and the other Pistol, apparently without a nickname. My wife names our cats after Biblical characters or places.

Jim A wrote:
February 14, 2013

We rescued a young black-lab mix right before Hurricane Ike. Once we got some food and water in him, he started flying around the house and yard like a black bird of prey - a Blackhawk, if you will. So, we named him Ruger. 5 years later, that name still fits him to a T.

Peter wrote:
February 14, 2013

Just had to out "Buck" down after 14 years of hunting pleasure. My trainer advised a mono-syllabic name you could "pop" through your lips.

D.J. wrote:
February 14, 2013


John Z wrote:
February 14, 2013

To this list I would add Sam,Sarge, Willie, and especially Buck. It is certainly true that gundog names are often repeated.

Christopher wrote:
February 13, 2013

I don't know many people who haven't had at least 1 'Max' or 'Bear'...