The Origin of Generic Dog Names


When naming a dog, one tends to think off all the stereotypical dog names such as Boxer, Lucky, or Bailey or he or she tends to think of the generic dog names such as Fido, Spot, and Rover. It is easy to consider generic dog names becasue they have been incorporated into our culture. However, no one knows where these three generic names origninate from specifically, yet the names are picked and commonly used for dogs all the time or even just to name a dog who is considered a “John Doe.” So, lets go back in time and investigate the history of these generic dog names.

The generic dog name Fido derives from the true story of an Italian street dog and his loyalty towards his owner. The dog who was injured at the time was found in a roadside ditch by Carlo Soriani, a brick kiln worker in Borgo San Lorenzo, on his way home from the bus stop in 1941. Soriani took the dog home and nourished the dog back to health. He and his wife then adopted the dog and named him Fido, which means “faithful” from the Latin word fidus. Fido then proceeded to follow Soriani to the bus stop everyday for two years and wait for him until he returned after work. One day Soriani did not return to the bus stop. During World War II in 1943, Borgo San Lorenzo was bombed. The factory where Soriani worked was destroyed and unfortunately Soriani and his coworkers died. Fido continued to show up at the bus stop regularly until his death on June 9th, 1958 hoping one day his master would return to him. The story, which was dispersed by multiple Italian newspapers, captured the hearts of many. The town even  comemorated the dog with a statue as an illustration of the dog’s love and loyalty to his master.

The name Fido also became popular name in the United States since President Lincoln’s dog was also named Fido. He was also the first dog of a president to be photographed and published in the newspapers. Later, he attended Lincoln’s funeral demonstrating his faithful and loyal characteristics.

The generic dog name Spot comes from a series of children books from the 1930s to the 1970s called Dick and Jane. This particular book series helped children learn how to or to improve their reading skills. The characters Dick and Jane have a cat named Spot, which was later changed to a pet dog.

The generic dog name Rover comes from the short film “Rescued by Rover.” This 1905 British film is the first film to have a dog featured in a film. This movie is about a dog named Rover who rescues a little baby girl from getting kidnapped. The popularity of this film helped the name Rover to be known throughout the English speaking language and to be established as a popular dog name for a house trained dog.

I hope you find this blog post to be interesting and informative.