Esteemed, dramatic, and endlessly witty, Mad Men went from a new period drama to being known as one of the greatest television series of all-time seemingly overnight. To put it into perspective, it was the first basic cable series to win an Emmy for an Outstanding Drama Series and went on to collect 15 others along with five Golden Globes. The writing, acting, and accuracy have all been highly-regarded, and with it all came a nearly unrivaled cast of characters with wholly-identifiable names that will hold significant tenure in the minds of those who watched and loved the show (and even some who didn’t). Because of it, that same list of characters provides an ample roster of great names to give your dog, so we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the show’s most memorable names and personalities for you to choose from.
Mad Men Dog Names in Pop Culture
While most famous canines receive a majority of their attention thanks to the accessibility of the Internet, film, or television, Don the Talking Dog preceded those technologies entirely and was still considered one of the greatest and most famous dog performers of his time.
Don came about during the Vaudeville era, a time replete with traveling acts of all shapes and sizes, and happened to be one of very few in the world that possessed such a talent. Unlike other dogs who had been trained to perform a variety of different acts, Don had a skill set that few others in the world could match: the ability to “speak”.
Although he didn’t speak English, Don still did well when he finally made it over from Europe to the United States in 1912, largely in part to the large German population that existed in America’s larger cities — German was his primary language (outside of dogspeak). While his vocabulary was quite limited compared to what we now know is possible for certain species of animals, his ability to speak eight different words was still exceptionally impressive for the time. In total, it was said that Don was able to say haben (“have” in English), kuchen (cake) and hunger (hunger), then soon picked up ja (yes) and nien (no), along with ruhe (rest or quiet) and Haberland (his owner’s last name), most of which he only spoke a word at a time and only when prompted.
Don was certainly a hit as soon as he arrived in the States, which wasn’t a surprise to Vaudeville mastermind Willie Hammerstein, who took out a $50,000 bond ($1.25 million equivalent today) in case the dog died on his way over from Europe, despite the supposedly lush accommodations he had on the ship. When he arrived, he was received like a celebrity but apparently failed to speak to the news media because he was “too seasick on the way over to converse”. But his American career took off quickly, as evidenced by a shared billing with one of history’s most famous performers, Harry Houdini, in New York.
While some of Don’s abilities were written off as mere interpretations by his audiences, he was taken to several zoologists and experts who all seemed to come to the same conclusion that Don was a prodigy for his kind and was considered uncommonly intelligent. Unfortunately, likely due to a combination of lack of care or the technological abilities of the time, his breed was never determined. Reports of the time claim that he was some kind of German hunting dog, likely either some kind of Setter or Pointer.
But even if the “interpretation” of his vocalizations weren’t taken seriously by all, he still captured enough adoration to be pick up as one of the first major canine celebrity endorsers, in this case, for Milk-Bone dog biscuits.
After two years in the United States, Don finally retired and returned home, but not before amassing an average of today’s equivalent of $2,300 per word spoken. He died peacefully near his home of Dresden, Germany just a few years later. His last words were not recorded but he is still remembered fondly, if modern recounts are any indicator.
Mad Men Dog Name Considerations
Coming up with a good dog name generally takes a lot more than just picking your favorite character off a list and calling it quits. Of course, if you want to take the easy route you’re more than welcome! But for anyone who wants to come up with something more appropriate to them personally, we recommend starting by making a list of their most idiosyncratic traits and seeing who they most closely resemble.
For example, if your dog seems to love just about every other dog they come in contact with, then Draper would be the perfect name. If they tend not to take orders well and prefer to do much of their own thing, then Sterling might be a better choice. If they have an air of entitlement, then Campbell would be suitable. If they are stern and like things to be in the order they’ve created, then Holloway would be a great pick.
There is certainly no shortage of character traits you can line up, as the show’s nine seasons featured a wide variety of personalities from which to derive a suitable name. If you haven’t watched in a while but still love it and need some inspiration, don’t hesitate to sit down and rewatch a few episodes or seasons to generate some ideas. If the show proved anything about the creative process, it’s that inspiration can come from some pretty unlikely places (both on-screen and off).