What’s in a pet’s name? Sources of inspiration are eclectic

From Snookie to Lady Gaga, Frederick County dog and cat owners borrow heavily from pop culture when naming their furry friends.

There was one of each — Snookie is a cat and Lady Gaga is a dog — registered in Frederick County in 2011, according to Animal Control data.

Max or Maxx, along with Bella or Bela, were this year’s most popular names for dogs. Thirty-two of each were licensed last year.

There were also 27 Buddys, 26 Maggies and 23 Charlies.

Cats revealed less obvious naming trends. The most popular name was Lucy, given to only six animals last year. There were 19 dogs given the name last year, and it also ranked No. 39 among the most popular names for baby girls on BabyCenter.com for 2011. Max came in at No. 36 for baby boys.

“We see names that certainly reflect popular culture. And, you know, a lot of it is what’s going on in a person’s life at the time that they register,” said American Kennel Club spokeswoman Lisa Peterson.

Peterson once had a Norwegian elkhound that she named Roxanne. There was no science behind the choice, she said.

“I based it on the Police’s hit because it was my favorite song at the time,” Peterson said.

But cats were where residents showed a little more of their creative sides.

There was a Pebbles and Bam Bam, of The Flintstones fame and, presumably, a pair. There were also two cats named Tripod. There were, however, no cats or dogs named Aileen.

Residents also borrowed from history and literature.

Winston and Churchill have remained popular names for bulldogs simply based on the prime minister who was referred to as the “British Bulldog” by the Russians during World War II, Peterson said. There were no Churchills among dogs last year, but there were four Winstons listed. It’s not clear if any of those Winstons are bulldogs, however.

There was a handful of Bonnies and Clydes among the dogs, along with a Bert and an Ernie. There’s a cat named Fitzgerald and plenty of Nicks and Daisys to go around, just like in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.”

On the more obscure side, there’s even a dog named General Armstrong. That’s the name of a brig used during the War of 1812 to attack foreign vessels. Named after a Revolutionary War general, the ship’s home port was Baltimore.

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