For fans of classic American literature, it doesn’t get much better than Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Outside of being a story for the ages, the clever and unique personalities of its characters on the ship, let alone the ones they encounter, provide a significant roster of potential dog names to choose from, many of which will be instantly recognizable to others, as pop culture has entrenched them into our collective psyche. Epic names like Moby-Dick, Ahab, Ishmael and Queequeg are only the beginning of the list of possibilities, leaving plenty more from which to derive a perfect Moby-Dick themed name for your canine companion.
Moby-Dick Inspired Dog Names in Pop Culture
While Moby-Dick may have been a classic adventure or quest novel, its reach has far surpassed its genre throughout history, thanks to endless references in popular culture.
One of the most famous pop culture references to date actually uses the name of one of the lesser-known characters in the novel, a tattooed Polynesian harpooner named Queequeg. Outside of being one of the most prominent harpooners on the Pequod, Queequeg is also representative of Melville’s theme of racial diversity and on-ship democracy. He also builds a coffin after the ship’s demise is prophesied, which later becomes Ishmael’s raft after the ship is destroyed.
In popular culture, Queequeg is referenced in several episodes of The X-Files by Dana Scully, who names a rescued dog after him because she and her dad used to read Moby-Dick together and adopted names of the characters, her’s being Starbuck and her father’s being Ahab.
Unfortunately, Queequeg’s life on-screen is short-lived and the Pomeranian’s background is nothing short of gruesome either. In the third season’s fourth episode, titled “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose”, Scully and Mulder end up investigating a murder that happens to involve the dog. The original owner, Mrs. Lowe, ends up passing away in her apartment and the hungry dog did what needed to be done to survive. Once the murder case was solved, thanks to her neighbor Clyde Bruckman, who helped the elderly neighbor, Scully and Mulder find the dog outside of her apartment with a note detailing that the dog needs a new home, and despite the details of his becoming ownerless, claims that he is actually “paper-trained and well-behaved.”
Although Scully takes good care of the dog, she’s left to care for him during another case since no one in her family is able to watch him (and the fact that she hates kennels). While he faithfully rides in the car with them, he ends up whining enough to force Mulder and Scully pull over, thinking he has to use the bathroom but he promptly leads her to a body and helps them further the case. Sadly, the next time he does so is his last. When Scully lets him out again while working a case, he disappears and leaves nothing but his collar, leaving the audience to assume he’d be eaten by the lake monster the agents had been studying.
In several episodes afterward, she references her loss for the poor dog when she sees other canines and even changes her computer password to his name in honor of his duty, bravery and loyalty.
Moby-Dick Inspired Dog Name Considerations
When considering which Moby-Dick themed name to give your dog, make a list of your dog’s strongest or most prominent traits, whether it’s their looks, quirks or personality, as these will be the easiest and most appropriate to work from.
For instance, if they are a large white dog, Moby Dick or Whale would both be great choices. For those who have ties to the East Coast, either by owner or origin, the names Bedford, Nantucket and Tolland, amongst others, would all be good choices. For dogs that are particularly stinky, the name Ambergris would be an excellent pick. For a dog that is quite picky about their food, Fleece would be a great name after the Pequod’s chef, especially if they happen to be extra fluffy.
Of course, you can always base their names on characters’ looks as well. If they happen to look tattooed, Queequeg would be a good fit. For those shaped like an 8x8, Kingpost would be good. For dogs with only three legs, Ahab would be a unique but suitable choice.
There are plenty of ways to go and if you need a refresher, get a story or character recap that will detail their traits more prominently. If you’re feeling especially bold, re-read the book and see what jumps off the page at you.