Gossip, Spice, Annie, Chet and Lucifer have stolen the hearts of Australians hooked on the hit series Muster Dogs — but what’s in a name?
Leading trainers say working dog names need to be short, sharp and “easy to get out loud and quickly”.
But it can be hard to pick a name without really knowing a pup’s potential or personality.
Trainers and breeders share where they draw their inspiration from when naming dozens of dogs a year.
celebrities and sports stars
At one stage, Jim Marshall had 39 working dogs on his property near Scone in the NSW Hunter Valley.
He’s taken inspiration from what’s on television the night the pups are born, right through to sports stars namesakes.
“I’m an eastern suburbs supporter, so Teddy (Roosters fullback James Tedesco) was high on the list,” he said.
“We’ve got Luke here, Luke Keary that played for the Roosters for a while.”
Jim’s also quite the boxing fan.
“The night of Tim Tszyu’s last fight we had this fella turn up, so that’s Tim,” he said.
pups and kids
Mum-of-four Sallina Crowe runs a property and kelpie stud with her husband Ben, who has 25 dogs in his squad, including some up-and-coming pups.
It wasn’t until the couple’s third child was born that a friend pointed out the kids’ names all ended in “ie”.
“I seem to have followed that into my sausage dogs,” Ms Crowe said.
“I’ve got Queenie, Lottie and Ivie.
“I take a bit of a lead from Ben with the short sort of names — not that [the dachshunds] go to work, but they’re part of the family!”
Mr Crowe has his own way when it comes to naming the workforce at the Timor, NSW property.
“You’ve got to have a good name for a dog — it’s got to fit the dog,” he said.
“I’ve got a line that all start with ‘fl’ — Flirt, Flint, Flame.
“Past parents we go off a bit, or we try to match it with their colors sometimes.”
Mr Crowe gets two to three inquiries a week about the stud’s Glenfaba bloodlines and said high livestock prices are helping people pay top dollar for top dogs.
“People are starting to realize that a really good, well-bred dog that’ll do the job is a very valuable asset,” he said.
A dog called Horse
Ben’s son Charlie has started training one of their pups, a black pup sired by a dog called Horse.
“I called him Carbine after a horse that won a Melbourne Cup,” the 10-year-old said.
“I’ve had a few attempts [at training my own dog] but I think this time might be it.”
Pop culture stand-outs
In her 20 years as a vet nurse, Mel Weaver has seen it all.
“Sports stars, celebrities, movies, themes at the time people get puppies, and the good old sentimental, second generation of ‘Banjo 2’ and things like that,” she said.
She’s even seen a few high-profile stars come through the Satur Vet Clinic, in the Hunter Valley.
“There is a kelpie that we see, his name’s Raffa after Raphael Nadal, and there’s a cricketer’s wife that we see, and even one dog named after Sheikh Mohammed.”
Mel said the popularity of Game of Thrones and Frozen shows and often “gives away their age.”
Underestimated hard workers
Regardless of their name, each owner knows the value of their dog, whether it’s donned with a royal name like Jim’s Princess Di, or maybe a blonde dog called Sandy.
“The good old working dog… they’ve got a sweet spot here with all of us,” Mel said.
“The value of them has increased financially but farmers are acutely aware of how much they’re worth to them.