Ok. So.

My wife and I are expecting a baby boy. This will be our first child so of course we are super excited.

We have a short list of names, one of which is Theodore. We love that it is not terribly common and has a couple great nicknames like Ted, Teddy, and Theo. 

Here's the rub: my sister in law has a dog named Teddy.

Should this matter? Would you let this stop you? I am leaning toward "no", but wanted to get some unbiased opinions.


Would love to hear what you think!


March 30, 2017 9:57 AM

No, the dog should not be a factor in deciding your child's name.

My usual suggestion in such situations is to imagine turning the chronology around: what if your child was already named when the pet/neighbor/news story arrived? Would you feel constrained to changing your child's name (like many poor parents who chose Isis), or would you simply laugh it off? A dog named Teddy versus a child named Theodore is definitely in the second category.

Name overlaps happen. There are five children living at our end of the street. Two of them are named Jaxon, in that spelling. So we specify "little Jaxon" or "big Jaxon" as needed. Big whup.

One small heads-up: while you're right that Theodore is not terribly common, you should be aware that it has been rising steadily in use. In 2010, it ranked 263rd, but has gone up about 30 places each year to reach 99th in 2015. (Rankings and popularity are not all that meaningful nowadays: the number of babies is 1325 versus 4111, in the entire U.S., so you're still pretty unlikely to meet another one unless you're in a Theo pocket.)

March 30, 2017 1:30 PM

It's worth noting that a Theo/dore pocket is as likely to be overeducated parents as it is a geographic one! If a sizable chunk of boys you know are named Henry, then I think I'd expect to encounter other Theodores out there as well -- similar sort of name phenomenon, though Theo/dore has caught on less so far. ETA: to be clear, I think this in no way should dissuade one from the name as I find it a truly excellent choice!

But I would be *completely* unbothered by the dog named Teddy. I don't think Teddy is an obvious first choice nickname for Theodore these days, but if you do like it, I'd just play it up and take some photos of both Teddys together and make up Teddy Club membership cards and really own it. It is unlikely to be a major source of confusion for anyone.

March 30, 2017 10:55 AM

I agree that it's not a problem. It will be cute when your son is young -- and by the time he's not the dog is unlikely to still be a factor...

March 30, 2017 11:30 AM

No, the dog shouldn't matter.  You aren't even technically wanting to use the same name as the dog, and it seems like it'd be a simple choice to just avoid the nickname Teddy.  But even if you wanted to use Teddy, I don't think it's that big of a deal.

March 30, 2017 12:15 PM

Don't give it a second thought. Simply not using the name Teddy eliminates the duplication, and there are lots of other options to choose from. But who knows, you might find that your son *wants* to share a nickname with the dog one day :)  Either way, the dog isn't even named Theodore and doesn't need to affect your decision one bit. 

By EVie
March 30, 2017 12:38 PM

I don't think it's a problem either, and I'm in almost the exact same situation--love Theodore, in laws' dog named Teddy. The only difference for us is that this canine Teddy is three years deceased (though he was still alive when my son was born four years ago, and my husband and I had this exact discussion--he vetoed it on those grounds and we went with something else. I'm hoping now that the dog is gone he'll come around for the next kid).

March 30, 2017 2:29 PM

My extended family had a dog named Ben, and then a child named Ben.  We called them Ben-dog and Ben-boy.  It was no big deal.  I definitely would not let that stop you.  

March 30, 2017 4:14 PM

My mom's friend had a dog named Jennifer -- which they then changed to Puppy when they had a daughter and decided to name her Jennifer...

March 31, 2017 12:50 AM

My cousin's childhood pet dog was named Taran (after the hero in his favorite book at that age).  As an adult, he has a daughter named.... Taran.  He didn't name his daughter after his childhood dog per se - nor after the kid book hero for that matter, but he and his wife both love the name!  And Taran was the finest pet dog a boy could ever dream of, so nothing but warm fuzzy associations all-around.  So they went with it, and as others have said - just own it with a big smile. 




March 31, 2017 1:21 PM

Funny you write this as we had a similar issue.  We liked the names Wendy, Alice, and Molly.  Unfortunately, a dog and two cats also bear these names in my wife's family.  We came down as follows--within five or so years, the animals will be dead and the kids will have no memories of the animals who share a name with them.  As it turns out, we decided upon different names for our daughters, but this is how we dealt with pets stealing our best names. 

April 1, 2017 5:45 PM

I just want to throw some more love and encouragement for Theodore your way. :)

By mk
April 1, 2017 9:50 PM

No, it wouldn't even register as an issue for me. Go ahead with Theodore.