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10 things you should know when naming your gundog puppy (and why to avoid the name ‘Teal’)

You're going to be calling for your faithful companion many times. So how can you decide upon the right name?

Naming a gundog puppy

Naming your gundog puppy is an important job and worth taking some time over.

  1. Chose something short and sharp and a name that you like.
  2. Two syllable names are easiest for the dog to understand. Any more than three syllables is a bit of a mouthful.
  3. In 2018 a magazine listed the most popular dog names which were: Alfie, Poppy, Charlie, Oscar, Buddy, Archie, Bailey, Teddy, Milo, Toby, Bella, Molly, Daisy, Lola.
  4. Have a look at the puppy’s pedigree. Sometimes you might have an appropriate name hidden away in the kennel name.
  5. The Kennel Club has a UK monopoly on official dog naming, and with it a long list of rules and regulations. For example, you can register a new kennel name with the Club – it must be at least four letters long, but no longer than 12, and will cost you £70, including 12 months’ maintenance. To keep that name alive, you will have to pay the Club £20 every year, reducing to £18 for a direct debit.
  6. Consider the current popularity of dog’s names. Monty is a great name but there are a fair few dogs named Monty about at the moment, which could confuse things.
  7. There is a school of thought that it’s best to avoid human names for dogs if you can.
  8. Avoid using a name that sounds like a command.  Vet and Shooting Times contributor Neil McIntosh comments: “My advice is single syllable names, avoiding Snipe and Teal (which could sound like ‘heel’).  I do remember a handler having trouble with a bitch called Penelope – it was no surprise.”
  9. You could call your dog after a place that has a particular meaning to you or something connected with fieldsports. Prince William is said to have called one of his spaniels “Widgeon” after the duck species. John Sugden of country outfitters Campbells of Beauly is the proud owner of two spaniels and  commented: “Living in the Highlands, there are so many obvious genres to use for names, rivers and hills being classic examples, along with islands. Which is what we went for with Islay and Sula, two islands off Western Scotland”.  Shooting Times Dog of the Week
  10. Shooting Times has a Gundog of the Week page. You might find some inspiration there. Past names have included: Barley, Oakley, Sybil, Buck, Nala, Della.

Buying a gundog puppy

Shooting UK helps you buy the right gundog with this guide to finding the best adverts, selecting a healthy litter…

Shooting Times contributor David Tomlinson advises: “A field-trial secretary recently told me that the most frustrating aspect of her job was typing dog names. She explained that so many names were both complicated and long and often with strange spellings that producing cards for trials or even recording results on line was a nightmare. She added that owners were always furious if their dog’s name was spelt wrongly. Should they really be surprised?”

Keen Gun Claire Zambuni said: “Mine was simple – if I’d had a daughter, I would have named her Lola – it’s a bit naughty and quite glamorous. It’s never let me down as a name and I love it although after never meeting a dog called Lola, the whole world now seem to have chosen the name after I chose it for my cocker spaniel.  I named my Border Terrier, now 14, Purdey and that seemed to be the same for her too. I called her Purdey as I thought it was the closest I’d ever get to one (the gun naturally). However, I then had a Purdey Sporter so I suppose you could say I had a pair of Purdeys!