It doesn’t take a genius to give a dog a name, but it most certainly takes a fair amount of brainpower and patience to come up with something appropriate, especially if you’re also trying to be clever. Of course, there are plenty of reasons why you may choose to give your dog a brainiac’s name: maybe they are super intelligent themselves, maybe you appreciate great minds, or maybe you just want to make light of the fact that they aren’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Whatever the case may be, giving them a brainiac’s name will undoubtedly help them stand out, if they’re not already doing so, with or without their brain.
Brainiac Dog Names in Pop Culture
Depending on who you ask, dogs may not be the smartest animals on earth, but they most certainly come close, routinely registering in the top 10 by both scientific and quasi-scientific measures. It’s certainly not difficult to see why: they tend to be fast learners, have a wide capacity of understanding, and often surpass most others based on their emotional intelligence alone. But there are also studies that have delved deep into each individual breed’s capacity for both learning and understanding, and three seem to reign supreme most frequently: German Shepherds, Poodles, and Border Collies.
While Chaser may not have a brainiac’s name, she most certainly has a brainiac’s brain, and has the title to prove it — “the smartest dog in the world.” Chaser is — no surprise — a Border Collie owned by retired psychology professor John Pilley, who spent three years intensely training his canine Einstein after noticing her ability to recognize her toy names. While it started with only a few, Chaser was soon able to recognize all of her toys by name and fetch them at that, leading Pilley to buy her over 800 in total over the years, each of which she can identify and pull out from either a massive pile or individual storage bins without a second thought. Her motivation? A fair amount of praise and a toss of her favorite toy, a blue ball, which she can happily fetch and return.
But Pilley didn’t stop with toy names. Eventually, he moved onto sequences of words, including using both verbs and nouns, each of which he can employ in conjunction with others to achieve a desired result, all of which she seems to have little trouble comprehending. She is able to mimic him in action, take toys to certain places, return them to others, read gestures and even understand combinations of words she hasn’t heard together before, indicating basic reasoning skills.
Chaser ended up being so intelligent that Pilley officially studied and wrote about her, opening the door for others to follow. Strangely enough, outside of the last ten years, dogs have been almost entirely overlooked. We’ve spent a considerable amount of time studying the likes of horses, monkeys, and even octopi for decades, if not centuries, attempting to figure out the range of their mental capacities, but for what seemed like forever, dogs and their relative intelligence were left by the wayside until recently. Now that we’ve finally begun to dig into the extent of their abilities, we’re finally beginning to see the exceptional intelligence that has been at our sides all along, throughout our history.
Brainiac Dog Name Considerations
There is certainly a lot to consider when trying to pair your dog up with an appropriate brainiac-themed name, but the best place to start is usually taking a look at your dog’s standout features, such as their looks, quirks, or personality. Once you’ve identified those, you can at least pick a few to form the basis of your ideas from.
Although many historic brainiacs did not have easily identifiable physical characteristics, some did, at least enough to work with. For example, if your dog has white and particularly wispy hair, like that of a Bichon Frise or Bearded Collie, Einstein would be a great fit. If they have short black hair and a black mustache like that of a Scottish Terrier, maybe Nikola or Tesla would be more suitable. If you have a Beagle that is primarily white, then Mr. Peabody would be perfect.
Personality and quirks tend to work just as well. For example, if you have a dog that looks like it’s getting electrocuted every time it gets surprised or tends to shake a lot for one reason or another, then Faraday would be a great fit. If they tend to stay perfectly calm and sit and analyze options before making a decision, Spock would be ideal, especially if they also have pointy ears and only a moderate emotional response. If they tend to rule the house and walk around with a lot of authority, then Cleopatra would work well.
Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to rack your brain to come up with several different options to experiment with before sticking with one. That is, unless your inspiration strikes as quickly as a falling apple.