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Out On A Limb

Full Cry March 2012 CoverWhat’s In A Name? – Realizing many of you have dogs registered with different Registries, I thought maybe a quick reminder on the United Kennel Club dog name rules would be helpful. Doesn’t seem like there could possibly be much to naming dogs, but actually there is. Kennel references in a name speak volumes. Names that are one-of-a-kind unique become household words in tree dog homes. Names are important, and dog names are certainly getting more creative. I will say that!


The first thing you need to be aware of is that the Registration Department will register your dog’s name exactly as you submit it, spelling and punctuation wise, even if it contains what appears to be misspelled words or otherwise incorrect punctuation. If you are not sure about a spelling, look it up. Sometimes people intentionally misspell words in an effort to be creative.

The Registration Department will assume that you submitted the name exactly as you want it, so make sure it is!

Also, while on the topic of creative names, remember that a dog’s name cannot contain more than 30 letters and spaces. That does not include titles, but rather just the dog’s name. It would seem 30 spaces are plenty to give your dog a unique name. Our programming for printing papers will not allow more than 30 spaces because there simply isn’t enough room for more than that on a set of papers. I always get a chuckle out of names that get rejected that are over 30 characters in length. It always looks to me like the owner couldn’t make up his mind what to name the dog and included all of his ideas!

UKC does prohibit naming a dog anything that could be considered lewd, off color or otherwise in bad taste. These types of names come in many forms and I’m happy to say that this is not typically a problem with our hunting breeds. I wish I could show some of you a list of the names that have been refused over the years. You wouldn’t believe it. Or maybe you would. Just remember that in most cases it’s one data entry person’s decision to accept or reject a name. We try to be fair and consistent. And I’m sure most of you will agree it’s simply the right thing to do.

Another rule in regards to names that many dog owners are not aware of is that a dog’s official registered name must consist of two words. I see many single registration forms come across my desk with only a single name listed. For instance an owner may request just to name his female “Betty”. When that happens, the UKC Registration Department will not contact the owner but will simply use the owner’s last name to precede the name he or she chose for their dog. For instance the papers would be sent with the dog’s name as, “Kellam’s Betty.”

Since I started at UKC 23 years ago, it has always been a policy that you cannot change the name of a dog after it had earned a Champion degree. That policy is in place to provide uniformity in pedigrees. It wasn’t until some years later, maybe eight or so years ago now, that UKC also began prohibiting name changes for any male or female that had sired or whelped pups, even if the sire or dam was not a titled dog. That change met with some resistance at first because it had been allowed for so many years. It is no longer an issue.

You should keep in mind that whenever you are looking at purchasing a permanently registered dog you are more than welcome to call the office to verify if the dog has a Champion degree, or has had pups, and whether or not the dog is eligible for a name change. To some people that is very important and to others it really isn’t. You can’t always tell by looking at a dog’s papers and you may or may not be getting correct information from the dog’s current owner, so if it’s important to you, it only takes a minute to find out.

More recently, the question has come up as to whether or not a dog that has earned a hunt test certificate is eligible for a name change. The answer to that may surprise you, but the answer is yes. An HTX certificate is not considered a championship title; therefore dogs that have earned one are eligible for a name change. The HTX indication actually appears after the dog’s name and, like a title, it stays with the dog even after a change of ownership. Unlike a title, a dog with an HTX can have his name changed.

A name change is not only an option when you are changing ownership on a dog. Any owner of a permanently registered dog can have its name changed at any time provided that the dog does not have pups and/or hasn’t championed out.

The fee to do a name change is the same as it would be to do a transfer of ownership.

So what’s in a name? A lot when you stop to think about it!

By Todd Kellam, United Kennel Club
100 E. Kilgore Road,
Kalamazoo, MI 49002,
tkellam@ukcdogs.com

PDF – Out on a Limb – Full Cry, Nov 2011