Whether you are a military alumni, historian, veteran, or just an enthusiast, giving your dog a famous general’s name is a great way to honor history’s great minds. There are an absolute ton to choose from since there are names from nearly every branch of the military and names from nearly every country that ever fought a major war, let alone battle. Okay, so maybe they won’t all be necessarily generals per se, but given the rank and file of the names that grace this list, they surely won’t be failing short of recognition, status, or distinction, and neither will your dog should you choose to bestow them with one of history’s great names.
Famous General Dog Names in Pop Culture
Maybe Chips doesn’t have the toughest name, or even a general’s name for that matter, but he is considered the most decorated dog from WWII. And yes, you read that correctly.
World War II wasn’t even the first time dogs were trained and employed in an organized manner. In fact, they had been used regularly in World War I for sentry work, as messengers, and to clear foxholes of rats so soldiers could properly settle into them.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1942, the day the United States of America was thrust into the war, the US government had already come to terms with the limited availability of their forces. Fortunately, a private citizen was already getting efforts in motion by forming Dogs for Defense, a program that encouraged private citizens to “donate” their pets for military service. Over a two-year period, nearly 40,000 dogs were donated to the cause, 10,000 of which were eventually selected for full training.
The initial requirements for the program were loose and encompassed around 30 breeds, aged one to five years old, and at least 50 pounds, but over time, refined their search to a more ideal training age (18 months to three years) and more easily trainable breeds, namely Collies, Belgian Sheep Dogs, German Shepherds, Siberian Huskies, Malamutes and the Marine Corps favorites, Doberman Pinschers.
Among those selected for training was Chips, a German Shepherd-Siberian Husky-Collie mix, owned by Pleasantville, New York’s Edward Wren. Chips was quickly trained for sentry work in the US Army and shortly after joined active forces. With his handler John Rowell, Chips served with the 3rd Infantry Division everywhere from North Africa to Italy and Germany.
But instead of serving more traditional duties, Chips quickly skyrocketed to the status of a hero. In 1943, during the invasion of Sicily, Chips and Rowell were pinned down by Italian machine-gunners. When he sensed an opportunity, Chips broke from his handler and jumped into the pillbox, attacking the gunners and flushing them out to surrender to US troops, sustaining numerous injuries in the process. Later that same day, he also helped take ten Italian soldiers prisoner.
For his these and other actions and bravery, Chips was awarded a Purple Heart, a Silver Star, and a Distinguished Service Cross, although they were later revoked through a military bureaucratic policy preventing animals from receiving commendation, but his unit awarded him medals unofficially anyway. After the war, Chips was supposedly discharged and returned to his family.
His acts were so heroic, he was honored posthumously, first by Disney, who made a TV movie based on his life titled Chips, the War Dog, and second by the PDSA with a Dickin Medal, the dog equivalent of The Victoria Cross, the highest award of the UK’s honours system.
Famous General Dog Name Considerations
Given the sheer number of wars, battles, and conflicts throughout world history, let alone the individual members involved that had significant influence on each individual turnout, the possibilities are daunting. But that also means there are a full roster of options at your disposal, so finding one to fit your pooch can be much more individually suitable.
Consider your dog’s breed, area of origin, looks, and personality when weighing your options, as each could provide inspiration for something suitable.
For instance, if you have a French Bulldog who is demanding of territory, both Turenne and Massena, two of Napoleon’s best marshals, would be suitable names since they play on your dog’s area of origin, breed itself, and their personal tendencies. If you want to take it a step further, name your Miniature French Schnauzer with Small Dog Syndrome, Napoleon or Bonaparte.
By a similar measure, if your Japanese Chin loves to splash around in the water and scare the local duck population, Togo might be a perfect name, after Heihachiro Togo, one of Japan’s greatest Admirals, especially if your dog really likes "To-go" for it.
Whatever you choose, don’t be afraid to take a shot in a few different directions, you’ll never know what you might hit. But it’s almost important to be aware that not all good generals or war heroes were good people, so do your research and be mindful of the types of implications associated with certain names, as they may be offensive to some. More than all else, have fun and find your dog a great name that will be as timeless as the veterans themselves.