The 10 Best Names at the 2023 Westminster Dog Show Include Nods to Marilyn Monroe, David Bowie, and That '70s Show
Naming a dog is no easy feat. And when that dog comes from a long line of champions and show dogs, the pressure for the best dog name is on even more.
Dog show names are a long and complicated string of letters and words, but the mouthful actually means something. The names usually include the dog's titles, the breeder's name, and then a fun, catchy phrase at the end that can be a nod to pop culture, a meaningful word, or something that is just plain fun to say. Each dog has a shortened version of the name that they go by on a day-to-day basis (because training a dog with an 8-word name is just not going to happen).
For example, the bloodhound who won the 2022 Westminster Dog Show goes by Trumpet, but his full name is GCHB CH Flessner's Toot My Own Horn. We came to the 2023 Westminster Dog Show to
pet some dogs and learn the backstory of some of this year's competitor's fancy names.
Here are 10 of our favorite names from the 2023 Westminster Dog Show.
GCH CH Nexus That 70's Show (Kelso)
According to owner Makayla Boeske, the Clumber spaniel mentality is, "I know I'm cute but I'm not very bright." So the name Kelso, Ashton Kutcher's character on That '70s Show who relies on his good looks rather than intelligence, is pretty spot on for the 3-year-old pup. Kelso is Boeske's third Clumber, and she says she knew the name she wanted to use before she even met him. They have that "dumb but cute" vibe, Boeske says.
GCH CH Catskill Meses Masni FCAT2 (Masni)
True to the Pumi's heritage, Masni's name is Hungarian for "reborn." The 4-year-old dog was getting ready for her spin around the ring during her breed competition, which includes owner and breeder Ildiko Repasi using a special paste to cover up some stains on her paws from the iron in the soil in the Catskills where they live.
To get and keep a dog's attention in the ring, handlers keep a variety of toys and treats on hand to feed them throughout judging. And yes, the handlers even keep some of these snacks in their mouths. Masni's favorite snack in the ring? Beef. "Mine too," Repasi laughs.
GCHS CH Hammersmith Heathcliff Heathcliff CGCA TKN (Heathcliff)
A name so nice they named him twice. The 4-year-old German shepherd won Best of Breed and went on to nab the fourth place spot in the Herding Group ring. Heathcliff is named after the cartoon cat from the '80s television show, Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats. His owner, breeder, and handler Anya Vasilis sadly passed away in a car accident in January 2020 on the drive home to Pittsburgh from a dog show in Orlando. Rick Lithgow, Vasilis's friend, told Daily Paws in an email, "She had a particular sense of humor and when she named Heathcliff, she mostly called him Trashcat."
GCHB DC Hart's Up Tall And High RN FDC MC LCX BCAT ACT2J DN CGC TKA ATT (Alta)
Alta, the striking 4-year-old Ibizan hound, has quite the impressive list of achievements—and a social media presence worthy of any star. Follow along with Alta's adventures on her Instagram and Facebook pages, where she shares the spotlight with her Ibizan hound siblings, London and Echo.
GCHB CH Tivio's Some Like It Hot (Hazel)
A 3-year-old whippet, Hazel's name is inspired by the blue brindle of her gleaming coat. Some Like It Hot is a Marilyn Monroe classic, but for Hazel it's more of a family name. Her great great great great grandmother's name was Some Like It Hot, so owner, breeder, and handler Tracey Hite asked that dog's breeder if she could use the same name, and they agreed.
CH Bumblebear's Lady Stardust (Biscotti Rose)
The 2-year-old Old English Sheepdog has a meaningful long and short name. Owner Lori Douglas, from South Waverly, Penn., says, "I thought the name Biscotti was cute and then my granddaughter added the Rose." An adorable name to match that fluffy coat and cute face.
Douglas says she names her dogs after bands from the 1970s. "I like David Bowie, and she's Lady Stardust." (Ziggy Stardust is a Bowie song.) Two of her previous champion Old English Sheepdogs are named after songs from the '70s, too. One was "Daytime Hustler" after the Bette Midler song and another "Midnight Rambler" after the Rolling Stones song.
GCHS CH Sherwood's Singing In The Rain At Keeshond Heaven FCAT (Mr. Kelly)
Mr. Kelly the keeshond's owner Karen Evasuik, from Loveland, Colo., toiled for the perfect name. The breeder had originally named the dog Leo, but as an advertising designer, Evasuik wanted the name to be "somewhat commercial." She then realized she has four female friends named Kelly, so she named him Mr. Kelly.
The name has a double meaning, too, with a nod to the 1952 hit Singin' in the Rain starring Gene Kelly. "It actually really works," she says. "He needed a happy-go-lucky name."
CH Yukon's Co-Pilot, Wheel's Up! (Kodi)
This very sweet golden retriever's name fits perfectly with his curious personality and role as copilot in his family. Pat Swanson, Rohobeth, Mass., Kodi's owner and handler, says, "He's always with me."
For the "Wheel's Up" part of the name, Swanson was watching horse racing and a jockey's pant leg was emblazoned with the words "Wheel's Up" (maybe an ad or love of Criminal Minds?). Inspiration struck, and pairing with "Co-Pilot" jets Kodi straight to the ring.
GCH CH Corral West Fancy Like Applebee's On a Date Night (Quiz)
We can only assume that this Portuguese podengo pequeno was named after Walker Hayes's 2021 hit "Fancy Like." The song blew up on TikTok (complete with choreography) and was even used later in an Applebee's commercial. Quiz's breeder, Corral West Cattle Dogs, tells Daily Paws he was named after the song because he, like the song, is a country dog but also fancy.
GCHB CH Dobhran's Alexa Play Some Music (Melody)
Don't say this otterhound's name out loud unless you want your Alexa to play you some music of her choosing. She might even play "Fancy Like."