Find the name of your show dog in Westminster: you may be a CH Lolly’s Marble Tuxedo MX

Find the name of your show dog in Westminster: you may be a CH Lolly’s Marble Tuxedo MX

King Arthur, Buddy Holly, and the Sundance Kid have one thing in common: They’ve all been the best in show.

This weekend, champion dogs will compete in the 148th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York. Breed standards are strict, but when it comes to names, almost anything goes.

A handful of rules and over a hundred years of tradition give show dog names meaningful structure. Add a layer of pure fantasy and you get names like Clusexx Three D Grinchy Glee, which won Best Show in 2009.

Have you ever wondered what you might be called if you got into the ring? Tell us a little about yourself and the name of your Westminster show.

GCH Kamand’s Full of Beans @ Erinhill, a Sussex Spaniel, competes in the 143rd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 2019. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

So you won’t be alone in Westminster with a name like – but it’s still a bit mysterious. Here’s a look at what your name actually means.

Registered dog names have two main parts: a breeder name, which resembles a family name, and a dog-specific first name. The registered name is often accompanied by the titles the dog has won.

Prefixed titles refer to championship victories, the same way a journalist might put “Olympic medalist” in front of an athlete’s name. THE CH in CH Soletrader Buddy Holly is synonymous with champion.

Title suffixes after the registered name are generally an acknowledgment of a dog’s skills, much like a doctor putting MD on their business card. Like most dogs competing for the title of best in breed, CH Soletrader Buddy Holly does not have a suffix title.

The first part of a dog’s registered name is usually based on the breeding kennel where it was born. They will share this name with all of the breeder’s other dogs. Some names are based on location; others use a single initial.

Next comes the dog’s first name. Breeders often use a common word, letter, or theme to name their puppies. A litter can be named after song titles, racehorses or flowers. Chris Maxka, who breeds basenjis under the name SunDiata, named a litter of puppies after Beatles songs.

Three basenji puppies named after Beatles songs: Ticket To Ride by SunDiata, Here Comes The Sun by SunDiata and With A Little Help From My Friends by SunDiata. (Chris Maxka)

CH Soletrader Buddy Holly has a sibling who is also named after a famous singer: Sole trader Johnny Cash.

Dogs do not have their full names registered. Remember puppies named after Beatles songs? Their friends call them Paul, George and Ringo.

“Not all animals are show dogs, but all show dogs are pets,” said Donald Sturz, president of the Westminster Kennel Club. And pets need an everyday name that matches a command like sit or fetch.

These nicknames – also called calling names – can be linked to registered names, but this is not required. Whiskey is a natural call name for the GCHG Pinnacle Tennessee Whiskey whippet, and Trumpet makes sense for the GCHB bloodhound Flessner’s Toot My Own Horn.

Best in Show champion Whiskey, a whippet, at the National Dog Show in Oaks, Pennsylvania on November 17, 2018. Whiskey’s full registered name is GCHG Pinnacle Tennessee Whiskey. (Mark Makela for the Washington Post)
Toot My Own Horn by GCHB Flessner (left) and Chris Flessner at the 147th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The bloodhound responds to the call “Trumpet”. (Peter Fisher for the Washington Post)

But calling names don’t have to resemble registered names. The 2012 winner of the working group passes the Fifinator, but is registered under the name Veni Vidi Vici CA DN MX MXB MXJ MXJB ROM BFL-1 LC-11D of the GCHP protocol.

Fifinator, a Doberman pinscher, won Best Working Dog Group at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Best Working Dog Group Winner at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show bears the call name “Fifi” or “the Fifinator”, rather than its full registered name Veni Vidi Vici CA of GCHP Protocol DN MX MXB MXJ MXJB ROM BFL-1 LC-11D (Westminster Kennel Club)

When it comes to naming names, Sturz says, “There are no rules. It’s what makes you smile and what suits your dog.

But there are still a few rules for names registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC): no profanity, no derogatory words and no undeserved titles (like champion). The name can’t just be a breed either – as fun as it is to name a chihuahua Doberman, additional words are needed. That’s exactly what at least one dog, a smuggler with the first name Hound of Rocky Top, did.

Some owners and breeders seem to delight in bending the profanity rules with names like RedMoon’s One Sexy Ducker and GCHP CH Evenstar-Wesridge’s One Hail Of A Man.

Bluetick coonhound GCHP CH One Hail Of A Man by Evenstar-Wesridge, also known as Big John, is named after the last line of the Johnny Cash song “Big Bad John”. (M Bétancourt)

The only other rules are logistical.

Names must be less than 50 characters, and names over 36 incur a $10 fee. The AKC has no philosophical attachment to the number 36: it is simply the number of characters its software could handle in the 1980s.

Titles don’t count against the limit, which is fortunate for Bixby’s Roger Dodger, one of the most decorated dogs at Westminster last year. The agility dog ​​name includes 37 abbreviations. Many of these abbreviations span multiple titles. In total, it has 117 titles, including obedience, rally, flyball, scent work, barn and much more. It’s a bit like a human with seven doctorates, a medical degree, two MBAs, and a law degree, who became a chartered accountant in his spare time.

Roger, a collie, sits on his collection of certificates for his American Kennel Club titles. His full registered name is AGCH MACH8 PACH Bixby’s Roger Dodger CD BN RA FDC MXB3 PDS MJB3 PJS MXP3 MXPB PADP MJP4 MJPB PJDP PAX MFB2 TQX MFP T2B9 T2BP2 FCAT2 ACT2 SWN SEE SCA SIA SHDN RATO CGCA TKA ATT VHMA VSWB FITG. (Andréa Bixby)

Registered names must also be unique – or at least unique. The AKC will only register 37 dogs of a particular breed with the same name at any given time. There can be 37 Dalmatians registered as Spot, but the 38th will need to add additional letters or numbers.

Why 37? It’s a mystery, even to AKC archivists. Jill Zapadinsky, director of registration customer support at the AKC, suspects the limit is to encourage fun and unique names, but the origin of 37 remains shrouded in mystery.

Funny dog ​​names are not an invention of the modern era. They are as old as the Westminster Kennel Club itself. Westminster awarded Best in Show in 1911 to a Scottish terrier named Tickle Em Jock, followed by CH Boxwood Barkentine in 1922 and CH Flornell Spicy Bit of Halleston in 1934.

Tickle Em Jock, a Scottish terrier, won best in show in 1911 and appeared in the pages of Dogdom Magazine in 1913.

In recent years, Sturz says, he’s seen more dogs with human names, like his own Pekingese CH Pequest Fiona. He attributes this trend to online baby name lists. However, the best way to guess a dog’s age is to check the revolving door of pop culture references.

GCH CH Bazinga A Storm Of Swords, for example, originated during the sixth season of “The Big Bang Theory” and just before the third season of “Game of Thrones.” Alexa Play Some Music by GCHB CH Dobhran could only be a dog of the smart speaker era.

Dogs competing at Westminster in recent years included GCHB CH Sidearm N Darnobid Old Town Road and GCH CH Aspenglo Bitcoin. In coming years, Afghan dogs named after the Department of Tortured Poets or English setters registered as estate figures could join their ranks. Or maybe your favorite movie character will be the best in show.

About this story

To create a formula and list of potential show dog names, The Washington Post interviewed officials from the American Kennel Club and the Westminster Kennel Club and reviewed the registered names of dogs entered in the Westminster dog show Kennel Club from 1998 to 2017, the best of the group. Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show winners from 1930 to 2023 and Best of Breed winners at the AKC National Championship from 2017 to 2023.

Header images for CH Soletrader Buddy Holly and GCHB King Arthur Van Foliny Home are by Peter Fisher and Angus Mordant of the Washington Post, respectively. CH Rocky Top’s Sundance Kid header image is courtesy of the Westminster Kennel Club.

Mischievous and silly reporter Alyssa Fowers paid an extra $10 to be registered as FTN Always Read The Documentation by CH Virginia Key. Energetically mischievous and silly editor Kate Rabinowitz is also known as CH Pumpernickel Fetch the Bolt Cutters HX.



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