How do show dogs get their nicknames? |

How do show dogs get their nicknames?

Appeal Staff Writer
Patrick Kennedy's Australian shepherd Rigel competes in the touch and go portion of the Ready to Run agility club's dog agility trials at Fuji Park on Sunday. BRAD HORN/ Nevada Appeal

Pounce was there.

So was Savannah, Flea, Mugs, Pistol, Gadget, Rowdy and Patches.

They all came out – 73 handlers and 115 dogs all told, according to trial chairwoman, Karin Bell – for the Ready to Run agility club’s dog-agility trials at Fuji Park on Sunday. The club donates all proceeds from the event to area SPCAs and canine foundations.

Of course, being pedigreed pooches, Eli, Meg and Goose – simply nicknames – are their canine aliases. In show dog parlance, they are their “call names.”

Whether competing in the weaver, jumper, touch-and-go, regular or tunneler categories, every purebred dog is listed under its “kennel name” in the bloodline registry.

While a name like “Thor’s Rockbound Miracle Quillpen” sounds like the animal should come with a royal title and a tract of land somewhere in the Colonies, show dog owners devise clever and sometimes completely unknown reasons for choosing the call names of their best friends.

Whatever they choose, there’s plenty of evidence that pooches have moved from the doghouse to the living room, and are in some cases thought of as just really furry children.

But sometimes naming dogs can be even harder than naming children, according to some on the show dog circuit.

Wendy Schfaer of Sierra Valley, Calif., admits that while she didn’t have much trouble tagging the kids, “It was a bit harder with the dogs.”

Her first border collie was named Calli.

“She’s the ‘alpha’ dog,” said Schfaer.

Naturally, her second collie became Beta.

Bob Conaster of Sparks agreed. “You generally name your kids after relatives,” he said, holding shelties Devon and Julie on their leads as he took them for a walk around the grounds.

The dogs’ kennel names begin with “Starstruck,” he thinks.

How did they get their call names?

Conaster shrugs. “You’d have to ask my wife,” he said.

“Toll West Jumpin’ Quack Flash,” aka Pilot, a Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever owned by Carson City’s Jenny Haas got his call name from The Animals’ tune “Sky Pilot.”

“We go with songs,” she laughed, noting she has another pup named Ruby Tuesday.

Agility trial organizer Lin Battaglia explained the inspiration behind the naming of her six shelties, including Fallon, a rescue dog.

While her kennel name is “Private Dancin’ Fame,” Battaglia says the dog responded better to the two-syllable “Fallon” than “Fame.”

“We figured she was a ranch dog who jumped off the back of the truck,” said Battaglia. “So ‘Fallon’ seemed appropriate.”

Led Daniels of Dayton, who came to the park with his dalmatian, Sam, for a little exercise, said “I think you should name a dog whatever you want. But you’re the one who has got to yell out its name.

“If you’re standing there in a park screaming ‘Prettypaws!’ or ‘Fudgie!’ or whatever, and the dog doesn’t come, you just look like another crazy person with a leash.”

n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at or 881-1215.