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"So instead of calling me 'Dragon' in your tongue, you'll call me 'Dragon' in some other tongue?"—Draco, Dragonheart
Some completely uncreative owner has decided the family pet will be known as Dog. Or, perhaps, a similarly creative author names their feline character Kitty. Alternately, the creature in question does have a less Shaped Like Itself name, but for whatever reason, Alice the Pig prefers to go as Piggy. Usually but not always applied to animals; robots imaginatively named Robot and the like are part of this trope, too. Remarkably common in children's shows, despite the obvious problems it should theoretically cause.
One might show a touch more flair by naming something what it is in a foreign language, like a lion named Leo. A common subversion is to name something it's not, e.g. a dog named Platypus.
A subtrope of Shaped Like Itself and Exactly What It Says on the Tin. Pokémon-Speak is a closely-related trope where something's named for the sound it makes. Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep" is another closely-related trope where a character is only known by their job title. See also Species Surname ("Dog Smith" is A Dog Named "Dog", "Bob T. Dog" is Species Surname), NameDar. If the cast is full of these, it's Animal Theme Naming.
Note that robots also have their own trope.
Anime & Manga
- This is omnipresent in Pokémon. While the species names are either Pokémon-Speak or Verbal Tic Name, it's a little weird that nearly every pet Pokémon is named after its species.
- In Pokémon Special, trainers who bother nicknaming their Pokémon usually give nicknames that barely deviate from the species' name anyways.
- Digimon also fit this trope, despite some of them being fluent in human language.
- In Gunslinger Girl, Angelica's dog was named Perro, or "dog" in Spanish.
- Oddly, in The Big O, there was a cat named Perro.
- In Saiyuki, the Team Pet Jeep (aka Hakuryuu) is a white dragon who can turn into a Jeep. Hakuryuu means "white dragon."
- The heroine of Princess Tutu is a duck who can turn into a human girl. Her name is Duck. Often she's still referred to by her Japanese name, Ahiru... which is Japanese for "Duck."
- Subverted in To Aru Majutsu no Index when one of the Misaka sisters finds a stray cat. When Touma asks what she wants to name it, she responds "dog".
- Ranma One Half: Subverted by Kodachi's pet, Mister Turtle, a crocodile.
- In Toradora!, Ryuuji's parakeet is named "Inko-chan". "Inko" happens to be Japanese for "parakeet".
- In Wild Life, Tesshou's dog is named Inu. Which is dog in Japanese, he also befriends a bear, which he calls Kuma, that is bear in japanese
- The undead dog from The Amazing Screw-On Head is called... wait for it... Mr. Dog.
- Calamity James' pet Lemming in The Beano is called Alexander Lemming.
- The main protagonist in Footrot Flats is a dog called The Dog; he has a real name, but it's never revealed, because the Dog hates the name and attacks anyone who tries to say it. Oddly enough, the Anti-Villain Horse is... a cat.
- Often lampshaded in Pearls Before Swine. The four main characters are a rat, pig, zebra and goat named "Rat", "Pig", "Zebra" and "Goat". At one point, "Goat" is revealed to be a stage name -- his real name is Paris.
- Invoked in a Garfield strip where Lyman says that he grew up with four cats all named Cat. When Jon asked him why, Lyman said there was no point in giving a name to an animal that won't come when you call it.
- Hi and Lois have a dog named Dawg.
- Peter Chimaera's Digimon Savez teh Wrold revolves around the adventures of a Digimon named Digimon. In his own words: "Auithors notel Digimon is a new Digimon because there is not actual Digimon that is called Digimon he is a new one that I invented"
- Inverted Trope in Turnabout Storm; when Fluttershy hears Phoenix Wright's name, she jumps to the conclusion that he's an actual phoenix who's in his "shedding his feathers before bursting into flame" stage. Nick tries to correct her, but as Twilight Sparkle points out, at least this way Fluttershy is actually talking to him.
Films -- Animation
- The main character in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is usually called "Mustang" until he gets properly named at the end.
- Simba the lion in The Lion King, getting his name from Swahili.
- The entire cast of The Brave Little Toaster.
- In Shrek, there's the character Donkey. Guess what kind of animal he is; go on, guess. There's also Puss in Boots, a kitty cat who wears shoes with ankles, and Dragon (guess what?).
- Mack from Cars is a rare non-animal example. As with Doc Hudson, whose real name is actually Hudson Hornet, which means that "Hudson" is actually his first name and not his last name.
- An American Tail: Fievel Goes West has Cat R. Waul and Miss Kitty, whose species should be obvious.
- The characters in the Toy Story movies are an interesting variation. Rather than being named for their species or occupation, most of them are named after the kind of toy they are. Thus, Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head are a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head, Barbie and Ken are a Barbie and Ken, etc. Also applies to characters not based on real toys: Woody is a Woody doll and Buzz is a Buzz Lightyear action figure (one of hundreds, as we're shown). The straightest example of this trope would be Dolly the doll from Toy Story 3.
- The Furious Five in Kung Fu Panda: Mantis, Tigress, Viper, Monkey and Crane.
- The main villain of Flushed Away is a toad named Toad.
- The main villain of Mulan, Shan Yu, has a falcon named Hayabusa. Hayabusa is the Japanese word for such a falcon. Well, Shan Yu's own name is the human equivalent.
- Subverted with Flounder from The Little Mermaid, who is actually a fictional species of fish and not an actual flounder.
- Finding Nemo
- Also subverted with Marlin (a clownfish), as pointed out by Nigel the pelican, whom at one point actually said that he has the name of "a popular sport fish". They are relatives of swordfish.
- As well as Dory, a blue tang. Actual dories are somewhat less pleasant to look at.
- Many of the characters in Finding Nemo are named after something found underwater, but are rarely named after their own species. The one exception is the minor character Mr. Ray, a stingray.
- Played with in Bolt with Rhino the hamster.
- The cat from The Black Cauldron is named Cat.
- Ringing Bell has a wolf named Wolf.
- The main character of the cancelled Pixar film Newt was actually going to be named "Newt."
- Barnyard has a pig named Pig, which is what everyone calls him.
- Tod and his girlfriend Vixey from The Fox and the Hound. Tod actually gets his name from the word used to describe a male fox, while Vixey gets her name from the word vixen, a female fox.
- The Big Bad in Cat City is a cat named Mr. Gatto.
Films -- Live-Action
- Farmer Hogget names Babe Pig for the sheep-herding competition. Everyone's in stitches, thinking it's a dog named Pig, until he actually shows up.
- Also applies to the name "Babe" itself. According to Babe, it's what his mother called all her children; that is, she called her babes Babe.
- Draco the dragon in Dragonheart. Given a droll lampshading.
- Jake's dog in Big Jake is named Dog.
- ET the Extraterrestrial
- A rare human example: Kid the kid in Dick Tracy. By the end of the film he chooses the name "Dick Tracy Jr." but is still called "Kid" out of habit.
- Shotgun Stories is centred around three impoverished brothers living in rural Arkansas called Son, Boy and Kid.
- In Kung Pow, the Chosen One's pet dog is humorously named Dog.
- In The Tenth Kingdom there's Wolf. Though he's a human/wolf hybrid.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean 4, the holy man names the mermaid "Serena" which comes from the same root word as "Siren". You know, the creatures from the Odyssey that are often depicted as mermaids. In fact, in some languages, the word for mermaid is spelled almost the same (e.g. "sirena" in Spanish, "sirène" in French...).
- The Road Warrior has Max's dog, named Dog. This was also the name of the dog actor.
- The Aliens from the Alien franchise. The closest they have to an in-universe name other than "Aliens" is "Xenomorph", which means "Alien form". In Alien Resurrection, Call refers to the species as "Aliens", both in talking to Ripley-8 and when calling them to attack the villain over the intercom.
- In the comic book spinoffs they're sometimes referred to as "Linguafoeda Acheronsis", but that probably doesn't count.
- In Cowboys and Aliens, nobody bothers to give the dog that follows Lonergan around a name. Except Emmett, who calls it "Dog."
- Basement Jack: "You named the dog Dog?"
- In The Princess Bride, Buttercup's horse is named Horse.
- As well as one specific horse in the Belgariad.
- Harry does a double-take when he reads Ron's tiny owl is called Pig. (Its actual name, given to him by Ginny, is Pigwidgeon, but Ron thinks that's stupid so he calls him Pig.)
- Raptor Red: The eponymous character -- a Utahraptor of the Red-Snout species -- comes from a species with no names or real language, so the author gives her this nickname for reference. Other characters have similar "names" like "Raptor Red's sister" and "the old dactyl".
- Winnie the Pooh: Piglet, Owl, and Rabbit. Played with via mother and joey kangaroo pair Kanga and Roo, and narrowly averted with Tigger.
- Not averted in the other adaptations; Tigger is a tigger and he's the only one of his kind.
- Also in some translations (such as the Hungarian), Tigger is named (the local equivalent of) Tiger.
- The Wind in the Willows. Mole, Rat, and Badger. Mr. Toad himself is a borderline case between this and Species Surname; we're not sure if he has a forename or not.
- The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness features a wolf called Wolf.
- Shows up in Islandofthe Blue Dolphins, where the protagonist calls the wolf she has tamed Rontu, which means "wolf" in her language.
- In The Animals of Farthing Wood, the Farthing Wood animals are all called by what animal they are such as Fox, Owl, and Badger; animals in the past, when things were more plentiful, had names like Lean Fox. But when we meet more animals, they're given different names of their own.
- In Breakfast at Tiffany's, Holly Golightly's cat is simply called Cat.
- Most of the characters in The Jungle Book as well as its related stories are named after their species names in Hindi:
- A rare human example: Mowgli the man-cub's nickname is Man-Cub. They also call him Little Brother, which works for Bagheera, but sounds odd coming from a porcupine (Ikki calls him that in "How fear Came").
- Baloo the bear, Tabaqui the jackal, Mang the bat, Chil the kite, Hathi the elephant, and so on. Subversions include Bagheera the panther, actually meaning tiger, and Shere Khan the tiger, actually meaning King Lion.
- Then of course you get Father Wolf, who isn't given even that, and Grey Brother is nearly as bad.
- In a particularly bizarre quasi-subversion of this trope, Mowgli is explicitly stated in the book to be named after the word for "frog", but Mowgli does not actually mean frog in any human language.
- Earths Children
- Adam's dog in Good Omens: "I'll call him Dog. Saves a lot of trouble, a name like that."
- According to the narration, the Dog-to-be is of the opinion that his name will define the core of his nature (being, as he is, a magical dog meant for the Antichrist). So when his owner names him Dog rather than, say, Killer...
- The Moles' dog in the Adrian Mole books.
- A The Royal Diaries book about Cleopatra mentions this, after Cleopatra's sister obtains a baby baboon: "I do love this sister, but she is not very imaginative. What did she name her little pet? 'Baboon'. That is it. Berenice might be beautiful, but she would not make an interesting queen."
- In the trilogy that started the Shadowrun novel series, Sam Verner names the stray mutt he adopts "Inu", which is "dog" in Japanese.
- Almost everyone in the Franklin children's books, except for the title character.
- Pig from Kipper.
- Everyone from the Sweet Pickles books.
- In the children's book Tight Times has a mild aversion: the boy wants a pet dog. Eventually he adopts a hungry kitten and names it "Dog", of course.
- In Moving Pictures, the talking cat isn't certain if it has a name or not, as it remembers a child once called it "Puss" but doesn't know if that counts.
- Almost all the child characters in Wilmar Shiras's Children of the Atom have pets. The only name we learn for any of the pets is Pup-Dog.
- All the characters from the Cat the Cat books by Mo Willems.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: Aslan is Turkish for "lion".
- The Black Stallion's title character is referred to as "The Black" throughout the novel.
- Played with in Luka And The Fire Of Life. Presumably, the dog had originally been named Dog and the bear Bear, but they came to Luka with their collars swapped, so the book refers to them as Bear the Dog and Dog the Bear.
- Mouse from the sequels to If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
- Subverted in Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger where one student has a cat named "Dog" and another has a dog named "Cat."
- Inspector Columbo has a basset hound named Dog.
- On The Closer, Brenda simply calls her inherited cat Kitty.
- The Polka Dot Door: Most of the toys have real names, but the teddy bear is just called Bear. The Polkaroo is either this or Pokémon-Speak.
- ALF's real name is Gordon Shumway, but his Earth name ALF is actually an abbreviation of Alien Life Form.
- Doctor Who has a Robot Dog named K9, overlapping with Robot Names.
- The robot in Lost in Space answers to "Robot", even among those who consider it family and best friend.
- The Emergency Medical Hologram in Star Trek: Voyager never found a better name than "Doctor". That's not just Everybody Calls Him Barkeep: being a Doctor is more than what the EMH does, it's what he is (though he eventually learns to transcend his programming).
- "Horse" from Monkey. "Horse" is really a dragon named Yu Lung, but everyone just calls him "Horse".
- "Cat" from Red Dwarf. Played with as Cat is actually a Human Alien that evolved from domestic housecats.
- Played with in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Willow and Tara's cat is named "Miss Kitty Fantastico".
- Any and all un-nicknamed Pokémon.
- Star Fox has Fox McCloud, Wolf O'Donnell, and Katt Monroe, Snake lampshades their lack of creative names in Super Smash Bros Brawl (mostly in Wolf's case).
- And there's tons more.
- Falco Lombardi is a subversion: he's a pheasant.
- Another SSBB character who Snake notes on its "creative" naming is R.O.B. - more specifically, the fact that in Japan it's called... Robot. He settles with calling it R.O.B. when Otacon points this out.
- More Nintendo examples, from Super Mario Bros: Yoshi, Birdo, and Toad are apparently not only names of three characters, but of their entire respective species as well.
- The default name for the Mabari hound in Dragon Age is Dog.
- The Longest Journey brings us a talking corvid named Bird, which, as April notes, does fit. When he complains about his name, she comments that she would have given him a better, more imaginative name, which he eagerly adopts...Crow.
- Half-Life 2 brings us a partial example with Dog. Dog is actually a robot, and resembles a gorilla more than a dog, but his behavior is rather canine, and probably the source of his name.
- It is revealed in the not-quite-canonical Zelda spin-off Freshly-Picked Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland that Tingle is a Tingle named Tingle, raising a lot of questions that no one cares enough to answer.
- In World of Warcraft, many hunters have this -- pets start out named "Dog" or "Cat" or "Devilsaur" etc. unless you spend gold to rename them.
- In Arcanum of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, the dog companion is called "Dog", although before you talk to it it's labeled "Worthless Mutt".
- The four canine companions in Fallout 2 are "Dogmeat", "K-9", "Cyberdog" and "Pariah Dog". The third never warranted a real name from its creator, and the fourth generally doesn't keep owners alive long enough to get a persistent name. Or at least one that's considered usable in polite society.
- Touhou gives us Houjuu Nue, Komeiji Satori, and Tatara Kogasa (a karakasa obake, or umbrella ghost, whose given name means "little umbrella").
- In a rare human example, The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim features Vekel the Man, the bartender at the Ragged Flagon.
- Tom from Animal Crossing is a male cat.
- Inverted in Nie R: One of the sidequests involves killing a gigantic boar-shaped monster Shade named "Goose".
- Most of the trappable villains in Skylanders: Trap Team. With the exception of the Doom Raiders and Tae-Kwon Crow, all villains share their name with their respective generic enemy species.
- Mostly averted in the 3DS version where the Nightmare Villains have unique names, although the leader of the group is a sheep called Dream Sheep. But unlike with Sheep Creep, there is no sheep enemy type specifically called Dream Sheep.
- In Undertale, the Temmies are named Temmie, with the exception of Bob.
- All the dog characters also have names containing the word dog.
- Acroboxle is an acroboxle. Whether or not Fuzzy is a fuzzy remains to be seen.
- The Cheat of Homestar Runner is apparently a The Cheat.
- Puppy, Cat, Donkey, Bunny, and Hamster from Retarded Animal Babies. Guess what animals they all are!
- Lampshaded in El Goonish Shive, though it's only used partially and only for some of the animal-people. The "brothers" of Grace, animalistic shape-shifters, are Guineas (a guinea pig), Hedge (a hedgehog) and Vlad (a bat... sorta). The kicker is when Elliot, temporarily transformed into a cat-person, is caught and interrogated by Damien.
Damien: Now, what is your name?
Elliot: Um, well, what with me being a cat and all... Cat?
Damien: All of you animal-people have horrible names.
- A character in Sinfest is a dog named Pooch. Monique lampshades the absurdity, furiously asking Pooch's owner if he'd name her "Girl".
- The robot from Zap's real name is XR-743-9Q. Zap can't remember it, so he redubs him to Robot.
- In Rusty and Co, two of the main characters are a mimic named Mimic and a gelatinous cube named Gelatinous Cube.
- In Crazy Ghosts we get Ghost, who has no knowledge he is a Reality Warper and is also a Lecherous Old Man
- A non-animal version comes up in Schlock Mercenary, when Tagon asks Petey what the local inhabitants -- whose water-covered planet they're orbiting -- call their world, it comes out as "Wet". When Tagon comments that this isn't very imaginative, Petey replies that they compare favourably to the natives of "Earth".
- In Trying Human, a Grey alien is able to keep a pet dog with the interest of learning human customs. Although not explicitly called by name in the comic, it is referred to in the author's comments as Dog.
- Annie in Gunnerkrigg Court builds a robot in the very first chapter and starts calling him Robot.
- In No Rest for The Wicked, a boy named Boy.
- Linkara has a stuffed bear named Bear. Subverted in that Bear is the name used in the series, its real name is Littlefoot.
- The first obstacle Group One faces in Suburban Knights is a cat named Cat. This is lampshaded and then subverted when he's revealed to be a puppet.
- Subverted in this video, a man has a cat named "Rabbit" who purrs (trills) like a pigeon.
- In The Intercontinental Union of Disgusting Characters, Ringman's warhorse is named Warhorse. (And the only city with a name in all of Central Earth is named Town.)
- Cat Dog is about a cat named Cat and a dog named Dog who were born fused together.
- George of the Jungle: When he gets in a scrape, he makes his escape with the help of his friend, an ape named Ape.
- Subversion: Little Bill owns a pet hamster named Elephant.
- The cast of Skunk Fu!.
- Sonic Sat AM has Bunnie Rabbot. Justified in that "Bunnie" is an actual name.
- There is also Cat, the cat. And Lupe, the Wolf.
- And Muttski, Sonic's non-humanoid dog.
- Most of the cast of Almost Naked Animals. Oddly, Howie the dog is the only exception.
- Birch of My Life Me has a cat named Neko.
- Dudley Do-Right's horse is named Horse.
- The Souphanousinphones' dog in King of the Hill is named Doggy.
- South Park: Cartman's cat is called Mr. Kitty.
- Ironically, Mr. Kitty is female.
- Bird from Bob the Builder.
- Thundercats and ThunderCats (2011) does have some Odd Names Out, but many of the cast of Catfolk have names denoting their species: Lion-O, Cheetara, Tygra, Jaga, Panthro, Leo and Panthera, as does enemy Chameleon Khamai, and Team Pet Snarf, a snarf.
- Young Justice has the alien robot sphere named Sphere and the albino Big Badass Wolf named Wolf. Lampshaded when Conner is introduced to a monkey named Monkey. He says that's a good name.
- Franklin: Practically everyone besides the title turtle. His friends include a bear named Bear, a rabbit named Rabbit, a beaver named Beaver, a fox named Fox, a snail named Snail etc. Apparently only turtles are creative enough to give their offspring names not taken after their respective species.
- One may wonder if Little Bear would still keep the "Little" part of his name when he grows up.
- Parodied with South Park's holiday episode, "Woodland Critter Christmas". The critters (who also happen to be devil worshippers) are named as follows: Squirrely the squirrel, Rabbity the rabbit, Beavery the beaver, Beary the bear, Porcupiney the porcupine, Skunky the skunk, Foxy the fox, Deery the deer, Woodpeckery the woodpecker, Mousey the mouse, Racoony the raccoon, and Chickadee-y the chickadee. It makes sense considering the entire story was cooked up by Cartman at the end of the episode.
- Cow and Chicken who are respectively a cow and a chicken.
- Sheep, the titular character of Sheep in The Big City.
- Pocoyo's Pato (Spanish for "duck").
- Every character in Word World. Which makes a certain amount of sense, since most objects in Word World are made of the letters that spell what it is.
- In Taz-Mania, Taz has a pet named 'Dog'. Who is a turtle. Who thinks he is a dog.
- Common name for a male kangaroo, when named as a joey: Joey.
- Common name for a tomcat: Tom.
- Common name for a molly: Molly.
- Common name for a rescued stray dog: Dog. Often, because the person who decides to take them in has been calling them "Dog" for some time before doing so.
- Common name for a billy goat: Billy.
- It's not uncommon for children to have imaginary friends or plush animals named after what they are.
- There are lots of countries in the world formed by the union of states, but only one that's commonly referred to as The United States.
- Similarly, The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is usually shortened to just "The United Kingdom".
- The Moon.
- Inverted because the name originates as a singular name for Earth's moon, back when we didn't realise any others existed. The use of the term to describe the class of objects came later and was named after the first known example.
- Likewise, the Sun, as well as the Solar System.
- While other stars can be referred to poetically as "distant suns," they're usually called by their proper names (e.g. Alpha Centauri, Sirius, HD 206250). The generic term for a system of planets orbiting a star is "star system."
- The Band
- Adam is the Hebrew word for "man".
- George Foreman owned a dog named Doggo.
- According to a passage in his anthology Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison once owned a dog named "Inu" (Japanese for "dog").