Clowns, in one form or another, have been keeping us entertained since before historical records were kept. Most ancient civilizations have clowns or satirists of one form or another, such as the Heyoka of the Lakota tribes, the rustic fool of Greek and Roman theater, and the Ch’angbu, a Korean clown and spiritual ancestor. Many of the features that are considered classically clown-like were developed by Joseph Grimaldi in the 1800s, leading clowns to be referred to as Joeys for many decades. There are many different varieties of clown, from the traditional Auguste and Harlequin type clowns to modern circus clowns, and they can also provide a great deal of inspiration for naming your new canine companion.
Clown Dog Names in Pop Culture
Otto Griebling, a German-born circus clown, was one of just four clowns to receive the title of Master Clown by the head of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Irvin Feld. He emigrated from Germany to the United States at fifteen years of age in 1911 and became a circus performer, first as a bareback rider in the Sells Floto Circus. After suffering a serious fall, he became a clown, developing his well-known silent tramp persona, a role he played even after his larynx had to be removed due to cancer.
Two amazing Bulldogs share his name, one fictional military dog and one real-life skateboarding dog. The first Otto originally joined the characters in the comic strip Beetle Bailey in 1956 as the canine companion to Sergeant Snorkel, Beetle Bailey’s hard-nosed platoon sergeant. Initial cartoon strips show Otto as a normal dog who walked on all fours, barked, growled, and occasionally threatened to bite people although he was typically dressed in some form of rudimentary military clothing, usually a basic dog shirt with Sergeant stripes. As time progressed and the relationship between Otto and Sarge became closer, Otto began to change a little bit, and in 1969 Sarge decided that his dog would make a great office assistant and had a military outfit complete with shirt, pants, and a hat to match his own. The reaction from readers was overwhelmingly positive, and he continues to be drawn that way even today. It was around this time that Otto was given a voice as well, and although he doesn’t speak directly with the human characters, his thoughts are often illustrated through the use of thought bubbles.
More recently, in Lima, Peru a second English Bulldog named Otto, this one a live dog, made a name for himself in the Guinness Book of World records. The dog was acquired by his owners Luciana Viale and Robert Rickards when he was just a pup, along with his best buddy, another skateboarding English Bulldog by the name of Lola. Skateboarding is not this dog’s only skill, he is also able to surf and skimboard, but it is his talent at skateboarding that brought him the greatest fame, particularly his ability to skateboard between people’s legs. Otto demonstrated his ability for the world on November 13th of 2015, when he created a new record for Guinness World Record Day by gliding through the longest human tunnel on his skateboard. The pooch wowed spectators by passing under the legs of thirty people on his skateboard, without being led and without touching a single leg.