And now for the Back Story on …
The most popular pet name of the century (maybe)
It’s Princess. Or Tiger, for cats.
These were the findings of a survey conducted by the company FirstVet from Hartsdale Pet Cemetery in Hartsdale, N.Y. The oldest continually operating pet cemetery in the United States, it was founded in 1896 and is home to more than 80,000 buried pets.
While Princess and Tiger seem to have weathered periodic changes in taste, other names have enjoyed briefer spells in the sun. According to the survey, the most common dog names in the 1930s and ’40s were Queenie and Tippy; Lady ruled the ’60s; and Brandy rose to the top in the ’70s. The ’80s, ’90s and aughts were all dominated by Max, a trend perhaps linked to the popularity of the “Mad Max” film series.
Some owners gave a series of their pets the same name, followed by a number that indicated the pet’s place in the lineage, known as a regnal number. The highest regnal number in the cemetery belongs to Virgo XIII, who was buried in 1986, followed by Silvia IV in 2001.
Back in 1985, The Times reported a shift in canine nomenclature toward the human, sometimes relating to the breed of the dog. “Sled dogs — malamutes, Siberian huskies — often have the Russian ending -asha in their names,” observed one breeder. “Awful lot of Sasha, Tasha and Masha.” Irish setters often went by Kelly, German shepherds by Fritz and huskies by Nanook.
Of course, there has always been plenty of individuality in pet naming. While Princess and Max each came up “between 150 and 250 times in the sample shared,” wrote David Prien, a founder and the chief executive of FirstVet, in an email, “some names are completely unique within Hartsdale Cemetery, such as ‘Dorian Grey’ and ‘Fleetwood.’”
That’s it for this briefing. See you tomorrow.
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at email@example.com.
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