Originating in 1963, G.I. Joe started as a small set of action figures but blossomed into a massive franchise that today remains one of the most memorable lines of toys for American kids who grew up in the 80s and 90s. Spanning an original run of popularity with their 4-inch figures that lasted from 1982 until 1994, Hasbro and G.I. Joe produced over 500 figures and another 250 vehicles and playsets to boot. Its success not only generated reproductions and spin-offs that are still running today, but with it developed several television shows and movies that shared similar fanfare. With it came a massive list of unique characters, each with their own titles that, for our purpose, serve as a myriad roster of potential dog names.
G.I. Joe Inspired Dog Names in Pop Culture
Contrary to popular belief, G.I. Joe was not a success story that took off from its inception. Although it originated in 1963, the product line changed several times before ever striking it rich. Originally designed by Stan Weston, G.I. Joe started as a 12-inch military “action figure” that attempted to combat the concept of a “doll” which many believed boys would never play with if marked as such. The figures saw many changes in their first couple of decades of existence, first as military action figures, then as “Adventure Team” members attempting to separate from the image of the Vietnam War, all of which saw poor to modest response.
In 1982, however, it was decided that G.I. Joe would do much better as a smaller product and was thus shrunk down to 3.75 inches to compete with Kenner’s popular Star Wars line. With it came a massive response, thanks to Hasbro’s newfound ability to produce vehicles, playsets and figurine partners for the respective characters. But another introduction also helped to set the rise in popularity in motion: animal sidekicks. While kids found the various G.I. Joe and Cobra members cool enough, adding in “attack” animals took them into the realm of the supremely cool.
By 1984, just two years after the revamped line was introduced, a few of G.I. Joe’s most popular characters began including dogs in both their packaging (adding an undoubted bonus) and storylines. The first to have his sidekick included was Mutt, not surprisingly, the team’s first dog handler, who was paired up with his canine companion Junkyard, who quickly elevated in popularity past his owner — Junkyard was also sold this way in the comics, as he was supposedly friendlier than Mutt.
In 1985, one of G.I. Joe’s most well-loved original characters, Snake Eyes, was paired and packaged with Timber, a wolf who befriended him in his home in the High Sierras before the duo was recruited by the G.I. Joe team. The original release became one of the most popular, expensive and sought-after in the entire line. In 1987, G.I. Joe also rolled out Law & Order, a similar duo to Mutt and Junkyard who shared a completely different background but found fanfare just the same.
Thanks to a genius pairing with Marvel comics and well-executed packaging, kids found out that the sidekicks had backgrounds just as awesome as the characters themselves, forever cementing them as popular characters in G.I. Joe lore.
G.I. Joe Inspired Dog Name Considerations
Given the mass of names that exist in the G.I. Joe world, from the comics to the action figures and television shows, it’s tough to know where to begin. It can be as easy as naming your dog after a favorite character’s codename or as complex as extracting elements from their past. Thankfully, each character was given a hefty background, so there are more than enough points to pull from.
For instance, if your dog likes to sabotage your things like a covert ops specialist, the names Lady, Jaye, Claymore, Helix and Poole would all be suitable. If they love to zoom around like some kind of fighter pilot, then the names Ace, Wild Bill, Cutter, Blaster, Maverick and Payload would be good fits. If they are particularly silent or sneaky, then naming them after one of the team’s many ninjas, such as Scarlett, Snake Eyes, Jinx, Shadow or Dojo would be perfect.
The best place to start would likely be isolating which generation you’d like to pick the name from, then finding a character with attributes similar to your dog from that series. But don’t forget to be creative. All of the characters have real names and backgrounds as well, so if you don’t want to be too obvious, dig a bit deeper into the profiles of characters you like best.