The favorite choices for dogs and cats have some overlap with the mostpopular baby names over time.
The Social Security Administration has baby name data going back to the 1880s,but if you want to know about trends in dog and cat names, there aren’t toomany good sources.
Happily, FirstVet has stepped up. The digital veterinary clinic conducted asurvey of tombstones at Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York. Thecemetery, which was founded in 1896, serves as a final resting place for morethan 80,000 animals.
“Looking at over 25,000 Hartsdale names records from 1905 onwards, weidentified the most popular names for cats and dogs over the decades, as wellas the cultural trends that may have influenced these naming choices,”FirstVet notes on its website.
Considering how many people see their pets as children, it’s probably notsurprising there are some overlaps between popular names for canines andfelines and the names folks chose for their own babies. Below, we take a lookat the top names for dogs and cats identified by FirstVet, the pop culturetrends surrounding them, and where they stand in the baby name universe.
According to FirstVet’s survey, Max has been the most popular dog name forthree decades: the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. That may be why Max is the name ofthe canine protagonist of the 2016 animated movie “The Secret Life of Pets.”Other famous characters named Max include the Grinch’s pet pooch and Goofy’sson.
On the human side of things, the name Max currently ranks at No. 137 on theSocial Security Administration’s list of most popular names for boys ― afterpeaking in 2011 at No. 96. The name appears in the Top 1000 Names data goingback to 1900; its lowest position on the list was No. 410 in 1969.
Maxwell has had a similarly long reign on the Top 1000 list, peaking at No.106 in 1999 and currently sitting at No. 147. Maximillian appeared on the listfrom 1993 until 2005, and then once more in 2008 at No. 993.
The survey identified Brandy as the most popular dog name in the 1970s. Thisis the same decade that the name peaked in popularity on the SSA list for babygirls.
In 1978, Brandy was the 37th most popular name for newborn girls, but itdropped off the Top 1000 list after 2007. Two songs may have played a rolehere.
First, “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by the group Looking Glass reached numberone in 1972, and the name of its lovelorn subject jumped up the SSA rankings.
Then the hit O’Jays song “Brandy” came out in 1978. Although people tried toidentify the woman who inspired it, band member Eddie Levert confirmed it wasabout a dog.
“Once people found out it was about a dog, I think it sort of hurt the salesbecause a lot of girls thought it was about a girl called Brandy,” he told TheFunk and Soul Revue in 2016. “But when they found out it was about a dog, itwas a turnoff.”
Although Lady was the top dog name in the 1960s, per FirstVet, it has neverreached the same level of appeal for humans. The name only appeared on the Top1000 list in 1900, 1901, 1904, 1906, 1907 and 1909, and it never ranked higherthan No. 737.
Notable pop culture canines named Lady include Sansa Stark’s direwolf in “Gameof Thrones” and the cocker spaniel in the 1955 animated dog romance “Lady andthe Tramp.” The latter Disney film may well have played a part in Lady’spopularity in the 1960s.
On the human side, Lady Bird Johnson was America’s second and then first ladyfor most of the ’60s. Jane Fonda has said she was named after Henry VIII’swife Jane Seymour and went by “Lady Jayne” for most of her childhood. And KateHudson’s Penny Lane character in “Almost Famous” reveals her real name to beLady Goodman at the end of the movie.
Lady also plays a prominent role in many stage names, like Lady Gaga, LadyLuck and Lady Bunny.
Fans of “Little Orphan Annie” may not be surprised to learn that Sandy wasanother top dog name in the 20th century. In fact, Sandy was the most popularname for dogs in the 1950s, according to FirstVet’s survey.
The comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,” which follows the adventures of thetitle character and her dog, Sandy, debuted in 1924 and ran for decades. Amongother adaptations, it inspired a 1977 Broadway musical and film versions ofthat show featuring a song specifically about choosing Sandy’s name.
The name got an extra boost of pop culture fame from another musical ― the1970s Broadway play and movie “Grease.” Set in the 1950s, the musical followsthe romance between high schoolers Danny and Sandy and features a song called“Sandy.”
The name’s rise to dog fame coincided with its peak in popularity for humans.Sandy climbed the SSA list throughout the 1950s, finally peaking in 1960 atNo. 126.
Tippy was the top name for dogs in the 1940s, per FirstVet. Marilyn Monroe hada dog named Tippy as a child in the 1930s, and Tippie was a dog in the comicstrip “Cap Stubbs and Tippie,” which ran from 1918 to 1966.
As a name for humans, Tippy has always lived in obscurity. The name has onlyever appeared in the SSA’s data (which includes names given to five or morenewborns in a given year) twice ― 1951, when five baby boys were named Tippy,and 1969, when six baby girls got the name.
Child actor Tippy Walker was born in 1947, but the bigger star power probablylies in the alternate spelling Tippi, with 1960s star Tippi Hedren. Thatdecade, the alternate spelling appeared in the SSA data for the first time,peaking in 1965, when 12 baby girls were named Tippi. The number of newbornTippis in the U.S. never reached five or more after 1974.
Tippi is also the name of a video game character who first appeared in “SuperPaper Mario” in 2007.
According to the survey, Queenie was the most popular dog name in the 1930s.Interestingly, the name’s popularity among humans ended around that time, withit last appearing on the SSA’s Top 1000 list in 1927 at No. 948. The namepeaked in 1905 at No. 545.
Fictional characters named Queenie have appeared in films like “FantasticBeasts and Where to Find Them” and “Biker Boyz.” The name has also been usedfor fictional pets, like the title cat character of Jacqueline Wilson’s book“Queenie.”
For pets, Queenie’s popularity in the ’30s was also a harbinger of a biggertrend to come.
“In the U.S., which became a republic when it rejected the British monarchyand aristocracy, nobility-related names such as ‘Princess,’ ‘Duke,’ ‘King,’and ‘Lady’ featured consistently in the top-ten animal names in the U.S.throughout the latter half of the 20th century,” the FirstVet website notes.“This contrasts with the U.K., a constitutional monarchy, where royal or noblenames never featured in the top-ten most popular animal names in the latterhalf of the 20th century.”
In keeping with the royal trend, FirstVet’s data revealed Princess to be themost popular dog name and the most popular pet name overall in the U.S. overthe last 115 years. The website notes that both dogs and cats have been namedPrincess in large numbers and it has consistently been in the Top 10 dog nameslist ― though it has never reached a decade’s number-one spot specifically fordogs or cats.
“‘Princess’ was only the sixth-most popular pet name in the 1970s, but shot tobeing the most popular pet name in the 1980s, and the second-most popular petname in the 1990s,” the website says. “This coincides with the rise inpopularity of Princess Diana, who visited the U.S. on a royal tour in 1985,during which she famously danced with John Travolta at the White House.”
As for humans, the name Princess has appeared on the Top 1000 list almostevery year since 1979, peaking at No. 613 in 1986. That year, 313 baby girlswere named Princess.
Smokey was the most popular name for cats in the 1990s and 2000s, according tothe survey. Like Sandy, it’s often a reference to the color of the animal’sfur, although there are pop culture inspirations as well.
There’s Smokey Robinson and Smokey Bear, and in 2011, a cat named Smokey setthe Guinness World Record for loudest purr.
Smokey has never appeared on the SSA’s Top 1000 baby names list, but itoccasionally appears in the raw data. In 2016, six baby boys were namedSmokey.
Tiger was the most popular cat name in the 1980s and overall for cats for thelast 115 years. Interestingly, it was the name of the pet dog on “The BradyBunch.”
“This might be a legacy of the earliest domesticated cats in America beingEuropean ‘tabby’ cats, with distinctive tiger-like striped markings (prior tothe importation of Asian breeds),” FirstVet notes. “The acquisition in 1961 byDisney of licensing rights to ‘Winnie The Pooh’ (from the estate of Englishwriter A. A. Milne), likely further contributed to the popularity of naming asmall cat after its bigger cousin: Tigger being Christopher Robin’s bouncytoy-tiger friend.”
In the human realm, Tiger has never appeared on the SSA Top 1000 list anddidn’t show up in the SSA raw data until 1984 when five baby boys got thename. That number rose considerably in the 1990s, perhaps thanks to golf iconTiger Woods (whose real name is Eldrick). In 1998, 97 baby boys were namedTiger.
FirstVet’s survey identified Ginger as the most popular cat name in the 1970s.This is likely another one often chosen in reference to the shade of the cat’sfur.
“Ginger” is also the title of a children’s picture book about a cat publishedin 1997.
The cat name’s popularity coincided with its baby name popularity, whichpeaked in 1971 at No. 187. Famous Gingers include Ginger Rogers and theglamorous female lead on the 1960s sitcom “Gilligan’s Island.”
Cindy was the top cat name in the 1960s ― and featured prominently in a 1964children’s book titled “A Cat Called Cindy.”
The name was hugely popular for baby girls around the same time. Cindy peakedin popularity in 1957 at No. 19 and stayed in the Top 75 until 1972.
In the pop culture world, Cindy was the youngest daughter on “The BradyBunch,” which ran from 1969 to 1974. Cindy Lou Who was a key character in Dr.Seuss’ 1957 book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” and the beloved 1966animated TV special. Model Cindy Crawford was born in 1966.
As for felines, Cindy Clawford was the name of one character’s cat on the show“Ted Lasso.”
Source: Caroline Bologna – Huffpost
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