For anyone who boxes, giving your dog a famous boxer’s name is a great way to honor their dedication, endurance or overall personality, let alone your boxing idol. Like Rocky Balboa’s dog Butkus, many dogs become their owners’ training partners, partially because it takes a lot more for them to get gassed, partially because they push hard without being a critic. Fortunately, because so many boxers also have distinct names like Mayweather, Holyfield, Liston and Ali, giving them a famous boxer’s name also not only helps them stand out, but pays homage to the greats and gives your furry friend as much character in name as they likely possess inherently already.
Famous Boxer Dog Names in Pop Culture
There are few canines that have had such a large impact on their famous owner like Butkus had on his. While Meatball, Adam Sandler’s English Bulldog, appeared in several of his feature films and Zero, Humphrey Bogart’s dog appeared with him in High Sierra, Butkus helped his owner Sylvester Stallone make his career.
Stallone got Butkus in 1969 when the Bull Mastiff was only six weeks old and yet, as Stallone later described him, he was a “ferocious little devil” who even ate his security blanket. After the event, as a tribute to one of the fiercest players in football history, Stallone and his wife decided to name the dog after Dick Butkus. Of course, this wasn’t the only indication that Butkus had an endless amount of pent-up energy or the character to create memorable stories. In interviews about his companion, Stallone tells numerous tales of Butkus damaging several apartments by flooding them with water because of his penchant for chewing on the tops of giant water bottles and even drawing an ostrich attack while the family was driving through a wildlife preserve.
But Butkus’ greatest influence came in 1971, when Stallone was so poor he could barely afford to go out, and spent much of his time with his dog in the flophouse they lived in over a subway station. During that time, since Stallone could do little else, he decided to pick up screenwriting and used Butkus as a sounding board for his jokes and storylines, alongside of being his dedicated companion — he even attributes credit to his dog for helping to write Rocky’s original screenplay.
Unfortunately, times got too tough for Stallone and he eventually had to sell Butkus for $40 to a man loitering outside of a 7-Eleven because he was unable to afford food for himself, let alone his monstrous dog. Six months later, the screenplay sold, so Stallone tracked the man down in attempts to re-buy his faithful companion. His new family was reluctant to get rid of him, but knowing Stallone was desperate to get his dog back, they agreed for the sum of $15,000 — of which Stallone claims “he was worth every penny.”
Butkus went on to be featured in both Rocky I and Rocky II as Rocky’s training partner and was even attributed and credited under his real name in both films. His legacy continued beyond his actual life as well, as he was featured in 2002’s “Rocky: The Game”. Butkus died in 1981 and still receives tributes and affection from Stallone and fans on social media.
Famous Boxer Dog Name Considerations
There is always a lot to consider when choosing a name for your dog. Most people not only want it to be catchy, but also be highly suitable or even anecdotal if possible — a great name usually has a great backstory.
There are a lot of angles to consider as well, the most important of which are likely their breed type, overall looks, and their personality. But let’s also be frank — if you actually have a Boxer, just about any famous boxer’s name will suit them, because it’s hard not to be clever when you are able to tell people you have a Boxer named Rocky or Ali.
It’s safe to say that based on looks, dogs that are highly-muscular, such as any type of Bully, will likely already be a good fit, as their appearance already suits the name. If you want to be funny or ironic, it works just as well with Chihuahuas and toy breeds.
Of course, you can always try to work their name into multiple aspects of their personality, such as naming your walk-loving dog Walker, after Mickey Walker, or your super sweet puppy Sugar after Sugar Ray Robinson, although we can’t say it’s going to be easy given how unique some of the names are, such as Mayweather or Holyfield — that is unless you’re willing to explain to people that your dog loves spring or loves to dig holes in the nearby field.
Whatever you decide to choose, don’t be afraid to come out swinging with your ideas, you never know where and when one might land.