My dog is a 12 lb., black and tan “dorkie”—a mix between a dachshund and a yorkie—and he loves a night in with me and a good book. His name is Gulliver, but it wasn’t always. When I rescued him from a shelter back in April, they were calling him Munster for his love of cheese. Choosing him out of the hundreds of available dogs in local humane societies and online directories was hard, but choosing the right name for him might have been even harder. I needed something recognizably literary, but I didn’t want it to be obvious or cliche. So I polled my friends, conducted online research, and scoured my bookshelves for bookish pet names that would suit my adorable new roommate.
Gulliver felt right for him, in part because the long ostentatious name seemed cute on such a small, scruffy dude, and in part because it came with a built-in hashtag (#GulliverTravels, am I right?). But also, I liked the parallels between my Gulliver, who had been adopted and abandoned more than once in his life, and the Lemuel Gulliver who travels between worlds in Jonathan Swift’s 1726 novel. They’re both wanderers of a sort, trying to assimilate into different lives.
I didn’t get to Gulliver right away though. For the first few days after I brought him home, Gulliver/Munster had no name. I compiled an impossibly long list of bookish pet names, testing each one with him before landing on Gulliver, and lucky for you all, I kept the list of rejects. Even though these weren’t right for Gulliver, I still think they’re pretty good.
Without further ado, here are some bookish pet names for your new fur baby (or I guess even your regular baby, if you’re into that). Just don’t use Gulliver; that one’s taken.
Bookish Pet Names For Boy Dogs
- Beckett: This is another name with a ready-made hashtag (#WaitingForDoggo, am I right?).
- Arthur: If you want a good strong pet name, look no farther than King Arthur, Arthur Weasley, and Arthur Miller.
- Edgar: It was many and many a year ago, in a kingdom by the sea, that a puppy there lived whom you may know by the name of Edgar. (Alternative name? Allan. Alternative name? Poe.)
- Hayes: Your dog’s probably not winning any awards with the word “genius” in them any time soon, but it sure feels like poetry when he wags his tail for you.
- Gatsby: For an affectionate nickname, call him Old Sport.
- Pippin: A little dude with furry feet? Check. Loyalty to his fellowship (AKA you)? Double check.
- Newt: Newt Scamander is the ultimate animal lover, so he’s a worthy namesake for any Fantastic Beast.
- Dorian: Take a picture of your golden boy right away and keep an eye on it to know when he’s being a bad dog.
- Stuart: Your new pet will become as much a part of your family as the lovable mouse who was adopted by the Littles.
- Walden: For the dog who likes to hang out by the pond (and then rolls around all muddy in your bed).
- Merlin: Because your best friend is the stuff of legend.
- Holden: Only if you’re sure he isn’t a phony.
- Percy: Pick your favorite Percy. Percy Jackson slays the monsters of Greek myth, but Percy Weasley was Head Boy, so I think there’s a clear winner.
- Hughes: What happens to a dog adopted…?
- Lin: Do you think Lin Manuel Miranda would consider an all-dog production of Hamilton or In The Heights? Because that’s just cute.
Bookish Pet Names For Girl Dogs
- Hazel: Bonus points if you call her Hazel Grace like Gus.
- Margo: Another girl from the John Green universe, Margo would be the best companion for your other dog Hazel.
- Daisy: The perfect name for a “beautiful little fool,” which honestly all dogs kind of are.
- Ginny: For a plucky little dog who reminds you that anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.
- Buttercup: She’s one of the prettiest dogs in the land and you try to do everything as she wishes.
- Toni: Give your Beloved dog a name worthy of the Nobel Prize.
- Wendy: From now on, your pet will be the happy little thought that lets you fly.
- Minnie (Minerva): McGonagall would be proud for any cat to bear her name.
- Alice: For Alice Munroe, Alice Walker, and of course Alice in Wonderland. Here’s hoping your cat doesn’t give you that creepy Cheshire smile.
- Zora: #TheirEyesWereWatchingDog
- Ella: If we learned anything from Ella Enchanted, it’s that obedience is way overrated; remember that when your puppy is failing obedience school.
- Lily: How long will you love your sweet dog? Always.
- Gwen: Guinevere was the queen of Camelot, but Gwen is the queen of your house.
- Amelia: Your dog tries to be a good girl, but sometimes the house ends up looking like one of Amelia Bedelia’s biggest blunders anyway.
- Maya: To remind you why the caged dog barks.
Does your pet have a literary name? Comment to let me know the bookish pet names I missed!