In Medieval Times, Popular Dog Names Included Little Hammer, Fortuna and Bo | Smart News | Smithsonian
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In Medieval Times, Popular Dog Names Included Little Hammer, Fortuna and Bo

Dogs and cats have been with us for centuries, and so has our habit of giving them affectionate names

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Dogs and cats have been with us for centuries, and so has our habit of giving them affectionate names. Based upon various Medieval texts, we know that Sturdy, Whitefoot, Hardy, Jakke, Bo, Terri, Troy, Nosewise, Amiable, Nameles, Clenche, Bragge, Ringwood and Holdfast were all popular dog names, Medievalists.net reports. In Switzerland, the list included Price (Furst), Venus, Fortuna and Turgk. Some dogs were named after their owner’s professions, such as Little Hammer (Hemmerli), who belonged to a blacksmith, and Little Spoke (Speichli), who belonged to a wagoner—the equivalent of naming a contemporary puppy “little keyboard” or “small iphone.”

We also know the names of a number of pooches that were lucky enough to belong to the rich and famous of the day: 

Anne Boleyn, one of the wives of King Henry VIII, had a dog named Purkoy, who got its name from the French ‘pourquoi’ because it was very inquisitive.

The 14th century French knight Jehan de Seure had a hound named Parceval, while his wife had Dyamant. Leon Battista Alberti, the Renaissance philosopher, said his dog was sired by Megastomo (Big Mouth). Ludovico III Gonzaga, ruler of the city of Mantua from 1444 to 1478, has at least two dogs – Rubino and Bellina.

Isabella d’Este, a famous Italian lady and also a ruler of Mantua, was known to have many little dogs, two of which were named Aura and Mamia.

Not to be left out, cats had their fair share of Medieval names, too. Gilbert, for some reason, was the colloquial term for domestic cats and also served as a popular cat name in England at the time, Medievalists.net writes. Owners often shortened it to “Gyb.” In France, Tibers or Tibert served as the same catch-all for both cats in general and individual cats’ names.

When translates, some Irish cat nick-names sound pretty timeless, including little meow, little paws, little flame and nettle grey.

More from Smithsonian.com:

How Ancient Greeks Named Their Puppies 
We Spent $52 Billion on Our Pets Last Year 

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