Posts Tagged ‘naming your bird dog’

Naming Your New Bird Dog Puppy

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

My dad with his Brittany featuring an original name: "Bleu Skye St.Pierre"

My dad with his Brittany featuring an original name: “Bleu Skye St.Pierre”

Earlier this week, Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Online Editor, asked me to write a blog about my favorite bird dog names.  Actually, what he said was, “you’ve sort of cornered the blog market on posts about names . . .

Soooo, why don’t you write a blog about some of your favorite bird dog names?”


Admittedly, I am a name snob.  A dog name snob in particular.  Ironic coming from a guy named “Bob,” I know.  I get it.  We all have our “issues.”
Well Anthony, challenge accepted.  To start, here are a few of my five categories for coining a good bird dog name.


1) Be Original.  I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to beat this theme until I never meet another dog named “Remy.”  Ever hunted in a group with three dogs all named “Remy?”  Think how confusing that is for you, let alone all three of those pups!  IMMEDIATELY rule out names referencing your favorite shotgun (Remy, Reta, Benelli, etc.).  Also eliminate “Drake” and “Hunter.”  A bird dog is a unique opportunity to be creative, personal and original.  Embrace the opportunity.


2) Names Tell Stories.  I believe you should have to tell a story to explain your pup’s name to someone.  The conversation ends when your pup is named “Phil.”


3) Pay Homage.  A dog’s name is a terrific way to honor someone or something special in your life. However, let it be known naming your Brittany “Spears” is a jailable offense for man, woman or child.


4) Sense of Place.  I really like dog names that reference a special place in a person’s life.


5) Fit the Breed.  When possible, it’s cool to match the pup’s name to the breed or your heritage with the dog’s name.  There are lots of fun ways to connect a dog’s German, English, French, Spanish or Irish heritage through their name.


With those five bits of advice in mind, here are five dog names that stick out as favorites of the hundreds of pups I’ve encountered during the decade I’ve served with Pheasants Forever.


1)      Sprig (Original).  Anthony earns honors for coming up with a name for his Cocker as he references his favorite duck, the pintail.


2)      Bleu (Stories).  Truth be told, I didn’t fall too far from the “weird tree.”  My dad named his Brittany pup using one of the weirdest decision trees ever conceived. At the time he received his new Brittany pup (it was a gift from me & my brother), my dad was addicted to blue PowerAde.  He also happens to love bleu cheese.  Consequently, it made sense in his mind to name his brand new pup “Bleu Skye St.Pierre” or “Bleu” for short.  It’s odd . . . but, it’s original.  I like original.


3)      Kirby (Homage).  It’s not a secret I like baseball.  My first bird dog is named in honor of my childhood hero, Detroit Tigers great Alan Trammell.  Similarly, my co-worker Bill Fisher named his pup “Kirby” in honor of the Minnesota Twins great, Kirby Puckett.  However, the best story of this name came from another Twins great, Kent Hrbek.  Kent was fond of saying Minnesotans named their dogs “Kirby,” but they named their cows “Herby.”


4)      Como (Sense of Place). Wayne Carlson, a friend of mine who is also a Ramsey County Pheasants Forever Chapter officer, named his spectacular Brittany after the St. Paul neighborhood where he and his wife, Emily, reside.  I love bird dog names referencing places people cherish.  Dakota, Kota, Montana, and Aspen are other good place-based names that come to mind.


Como, a bird hunting machine with a cool name

Como, a bird hunting machine with a cool name

5)      Valborg (Ethnicity).  Bob Larson, Pheasants Forever’s Chairman of the Board, has deep Scandinavian roots.  So deep that he named his bird hunting poodle “Valborg” to honor his heritage.


What method did you employ to generate an original name for your bird dog pup?


The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.


Naming my Second Bird Dog, Part 2 of 2

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Introducing our second bird dog pup. Photo Courtesy of Kreig Jacque.

As I reported in the first installment of this blog, my wife and I will pick up our second bird dog this weekend.  The pup will be a 10-week old female German shorthaired pointer from the same bloodlines as my five-year old GSP, “Trammell.”  Trammell is named in honor of my childhood hero, Alan Trammell, who played baseball for the Detroit Tigers during my formative years growing up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


Truth be told, my wife used her veto power to overrule my favored name for this new pup.  Had I the sole vote in the matter, the new GSP would be named “Fidryich.”  You see, Fidrych references Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, the deceased Detroit Tigers pitcher, 1976 American League Rookie of the Year, Yankee killer, and pop culture transcending character.  “The Bird” was known for his quirky personality, which included grooming the mound and talking to the baseball between pitches.  To me, Fidrych’s nickname – The Bird – made it a perfect fit for a bird dog’s name.


Mark "The Bird" Fidrych graces the June 6, 1977 cover of Sports Illustrated.

My wife’s veto was used because of the tragic nature of “The Bird’s” life and untimely death.  You see, Fidrych flamed out after a torn rotator cuff injury ended his career after only a few shortened seasons.  Then in 2009, Fidrych died while working underneath his 10-wheeled dump truck.  In the best interest of a happy marriage, her veto ultimately ended this name’s contention.  And in all honesty, I can see her point.  It’s probably bad karma for the new pup to name her after such a tragic character.


So, back to the drawing board I went.  Finalists included:

  • Whitaker (call name Whit) – referencing Trammell’s double play partner with the Detroit Tigers, Lou Whitaker.


  • Yooper (pronounced You Pur) – I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and some would say I’ve never left either.  Ultimately, this name didn’t make the cut because it also happens to be my nickname with some circles of friends.


  • Bine (pronounced BeNay) – The Ojibwa word for ruffed grouse was a contender for a moment, but ultimately it seems odd for a Pheasants Forever guy to have a dog name referencing a bird other than a pheasant.


So ultimately, I circled back to a name I’d penciled in years ago for bird dog number two:


Steve Yzerman on the cover of Sports Illustrated

Yzerman (pronounced I zer man / Call Name Izzy)

Steve Yzerman is my generation’s Gordie Howe.  The retired center and captain of the Detroit Red Wings, Yzerman was to hockey fans from Michigan what Alan Trammell was to Tigers fans during my childhood years of the ‘80s.  Ultimately, the call name of Izzy will be an easy two syllable pronunciation in the field, I’ve never encountered another hunting dog with the name and it personalizes the pup to me while adding on to the story of my Michigan upbringing with Trammell as my bird dog tag team.


Did we make the same choice you would have made in selecting our second bird dog’s name?






The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

At 10 weeks, Izzy is already looking "birdy." Photo courtesy of Kreig Jacque.


Trammell & Yzerman are enjoying this morning's sunlight together

Naming my Second Bird Dog, Part 1 of 2

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Pictured here is Hope, my new pup's dam. Photo courtesy of Top Gun Kennels

Bird dog names are a big deal to me.  Admittedly, they’re probably too big of a deal.  However, as I’ve written about in previous posts about dog names, a bird dog’s name says a lot about the owner as well as what you hope the bird dog will become. In naming a bird dog, there are two qualities I hold as important guidelines: creativity and personalization.



Although you may not realize it at first blush, a creatively named dog is an advantage in the field.  I’ve often been in hunting groups with multiple dogs named the exact same way.  Not only are the owner’s commands confusing for the dogs, they’re confusing for the other hunters too.  Under this guideline, I personally throw out the nation’s most popular dog names as well as a few names commonly popular to other bird hunters.  The names “Drake” and “Hunter” fall in this second category, as does any name referencing your favorite brand of shotgun.


If you’re struggling to find a creative name, consider a different language to fit the breed of dog you’re getting.  There are lots of fun ways to connect a dog’s German, French, Spanish, English or Irish heritage through their name.



For me, a bird dog’s name should tell a story about the owner.  Read some of the comments at the bottom of my Please Don’t Name Your Bird Dog That post and you’ll find fantastic examples of dog names in honor of people’s heroes, favorite book characters and idolized musicians, as well as fun stories of the circumstances surrounding the dog’s personality.


Admittedly odd for some to understand, I named my now five-year old female shorthair “Trammell,” in honor of a male Detroit Tigers baseball player, Alan Trammell, who retired two decades ago.  However, naming my pup “Trammell” immediately personalized that pup to me.  Her name has also always served as a conversation starter about my love of baseball and my roots as a grouse hunter from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.


Pictured here is Fletcher, my new pup's sire. Photo courtesy of Top Gun Kennels

Later this month, my wife and I will be adding our second bird dog to the family.  The new pup comes from the same Top Gun Kennel bloodlines as Trammell.  In the sequel to this post, I’ll finally spill the beans on our new pup’s name.  Got any guesses?


The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

Please Don’t Name Your Bird Dog “Bob”

Friday, November 18th, 2011

PF's Matt Morlock and his English setter, Bob

I am an admitted bird dog name snob.  I realize that and also admit to having named my bird dog after a has-been baseball player from two decades ago – Trammell.  All that said; I encountered a new dynamic with a bird dog on this year’s Rooster Road Trip in South Dakota.


Have you ever been in a field with two hunters named Mike?  Sure, it’s a little confusing, but at least both Mikes can speak for themselves.  However, I bet you haven’t been hunting a field with a bird dog that responds to the same name to which you respond, have you?  Humorously, that’s exactly what happened with Matt Morlock’s English setter, Bob, and I yesterday.


Matt and I are friends, but rarely have an opportunity to hunt together.  Consequently, we walked the fields next to each other for an opportunity to chat.  The name confusion arose in the middle of a cattail stand that towered over both our heads.  A rooster flushed in front of Matt and he made a nice swinging shot to drop the bird in the middle of the cattails.  That’s when the instructions for “Bob” to do this and do that began.  Add a howling wind to the tall cattails and you can imagine my confusion about what I was supposed to be doing and what “Bob” the dog was being ordered to do.  It made for a fantastic rendition of “Who’s on First.” 


Follow Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip 2011 at, on Facebook , YouTube, and Twitter (#rrt11). 


The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre.

Please Don’t Name Your Bird Dog That Either

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

When you're picking a name for your new bird dog puppy, employ the creativity worthy of the hunting machine they'll become.

My Facebook news feed has been busy with pictures of new puppies delivered over Christmas.  They are all adorable and have me envious.  I’ve never seen an ugly bird dog puppy.  There are bird dogs I like the look of better than others when they are fully grown, but I challenge anyone to send me a photo of one ugly as a puppy.  Let me reiterate; BIRD DOG PUP.  There is such a thing as an ugly puppy and it is called a pug.  Go ahead, Google “Pug Puppy Pictures.”  What you’ll find is proof of aliens visiting earth. 

Anyway, it got me thinking about dog names again.  Last year, I offered the blog post “Please Don’t Name Your Bird Dog That” about names inappropriate for the self-respecting bird hunter.  This year, I implore all the new bird dog puppy owners to employ a little creativity in their name selection process.  And, it just so happens VPI Pet Insurance issued a press release on January 3rd ranking the most popular dog names during 2010.  In other words, here is your definitive list of top 10 names to avoid in 2011.

1. Bella (holds the top spot for the second consecutive year)

2. Bailey

3. Max

4. Lucy

5. Molly

6. Buddy

7. Maggie

8. Daisy

9. Charlie

10. Sophie

There is no doubt thousands of bird dogs with these names will develop into some of the best hunting machines on the planet.  I simply prefer a name that stands out equal to a pup’s talents. 

Got a creative bird dog name?  Drop it in the comments below. 

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.

Please Don’t Name Your Bird Dog That

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Good training can overcome even the worst name for your dog.

A good name may not make your pup a better bird dog, but a solid name for your pooch will keep your hunting buddies off your back.

Got a new bird dog puppy at home?  Having trouble picking out that perfect name?  The name you choose says as much about the bird hunter as it does about the bird dog.  Choose wisely and you’ll be the envy of your hunting party.  Choose poorly . . . well, your hunting buddies won’t likely let you up for air.

I know that ragging on a hunter’s bird dog can lead to a fist fight.  If your dog is named one of the following below, then let me please apologize right now- 

A)    Yes, the performance of a dog is more important than its name. 

B)    Yes, you are probably more secure in your masculinity than I am and can indeed hold your head high as you call “Muffin” back to you with a rooster in her mouth.

C)    Yes, having a popular name isn’t a bad thing.  You probably did think of it first.

D)    Yes, my female dog has the name of retired male baseball player that last took the field almost 15 years ago (Trammell).  I am indeed living in the past.

E)     Yes, my bird dog has an affinity for skunks and is sprayed by them regularly.  I should probably have named her “Stinky.”

Without further adieu, here’s a short list of hunting dog names I would personally avoid. 


You’d think the problem for a pheasant hunter owning a dog named “Rooster” would be obvious, but I encounter a “Rooster” every year.  The problem with the name surfaces any time you hunt pheasants in a group.  The dog’s owner shouts “Rooster” only to have his entire hunting party jerk their heads and gun barrels to the sky only to see blue.  Meanwhile, the obedient “Rooster” returns to the oblivious owner as instructed.


Although naming your dog “Drake” doesn’t cause the same problem as “Rooster,” it is likely the most common dog name on the planet in today’s bird dog world.  I actually like the name, but “Drake” must represent 40 percent of the hunting dog world.  Coming in a close second in “commonly good” names are bird dogs named after an owner’s favorite brand of shotgun; “Remy,” “Winchester,” “Beretta,” and “Benelli” for example.   

Note: According to VPI Pet Insurance, the top 5 most common names for male dogs in 2009 were Max, Buddy, Rocky, Bailey, & Jake.  The top 5 most common names for female dogs in 2009 were Bella, Molly, Lucy, Maggie, & Daisy.

Rascal, Trouble, Dizzy, Tank, or Rampage

Ever met a dog that lived up to its name?  Well name your dog “Rascal” and I guarantee that bird dog will live up to all the negative connotations of being a rascal.

Buck, Huck, Luck, Puck, or Tuck

Yelling your dog’s name should never sound like a swear word.  Be careful about what rhymes with “Tuck.”


Head-over-heels for the gal you are married to, engaged to, or dating?  That’s great; but, draw the line at fluffy names for the family hunting dog.  Remember, you’re the one that’s gotta call the dog while afield with all your buddies around.  If your gal is a bird hunter too, then she’ll understand from the get-go.