Hungarian names to Hungarian Breeds! It is a custom. It is strange and hurts one's ears when, for example, a nice puli, pumi or mudi is named Lexi, Jerry or Jolly Joker.

While reading Herman Ottó's book «Vocabulary of Hungarian Shepherds» one realizes how beautiful and tasty the Hungarian language is. A short collection of sheepdogs' names can be found in this book. This gave the Hungarian dog breeders the idea to produce a collection of names, which could help the breeders to revive these old, nice and almost totally forgotten Hungarian words at least in their dogs' pedigree names. Thus we could avoid that each dog born in a first litter would be called Ancsa, Apró or Alpár.

What kind of names should we give our dogs? Our ancestors named their dogs primarily after their characteristic features, for instance Füles (=All ears), Fürge (=Swift), Bongyor (=Curly), Ügyes (=Skilful) were popular names. Often they used names referring to features that were desirable at work (herding and guarding sheep). Thus few-week-old komondor and kuvasz puppies were called Vitéz (=Hero), Bátor (=Brave), Morcos (=Grumpy), although these features were not typical of them yet.

Our ancestors had a good sence of humour too, so it happened that they named their dogs after their enemies. It must have been very good feeling to push aside Dárdás (=Lieutenant) or to send Dékán (=sacristan) to hell.

Sometimes they found funny names for their dogs, like Mitvisz (=What-is-he-taking), Nocsak (=Well, well!), Nolám (=Look!), Mivelélsz (=What-do-you-live-on).

There are a lot of Hungarian dialect words in this collection, which have already almost disappeared from everyday usage. Some of these words have been with us for more than a thousand years, some of them had been imported from other languages, like the Slavic languages, German or Turkish. Even if we don't start using these words for calling our dogs, it would be still good to meet them in the dog show catalogues at least, so our collection contains Hungarian dog names that we might want to consider when naming our pumi or puppies in a litter. We might want to try our luck and see if we can find any of these words in a Hungarian-English dictionary, however most of them we will not find.

How can we gender-mark Hungarian names? Here are some good tips:
— by sound quality. It can be a good guide to their usage. Harsh names with lots of o/ó, u/ú, a/á tend to be marked as male, while softer sounds, like ü/ű, ö/ő, e/é generally mark female names. There are some exceptions, of course.
— by ending. The endings -ka/-ke usually signal female names.

The basis of our collection were Szabó Zsuzsanna's series of articles «Collection of Hungarian Dog Names», which were published in the HPPMK Klubinfo (1997/2, 1997/3).

Above the articles listed, there are words in this collection that we took from different ethnographic works, show catalogues and dialect words that we simply heard from others and humorous modern words that suit sheepdogs.

We wish everybody to have a good time reading our collection of Hungarian dog names!

1998-2008 © Länger Tamara


— Dr. Balássy Zoltán: Milyen nevet adjunk a kutyának?(KUTYA MAGAZIN 1969)
— Biskopics Éva: Kiskanizsai kutyanevek (ELTE Magyar Nyelvészeti Tanszékcsoport Névkutató Munkaközössége, 1983)
— Herman Ottó: A magyar pásztorok nyelvkincse (Budapest, 1912)
— Juhász József - Szőke István - O. Nagy Gábor - Kovalovszky Miklós: Magyar értelmező kéziszótár (Akadémiai Kiadó, 1972)
— Kálmán Béla: A nevek világa (Gondolat Könyvkiadó, 1969)
— Kertész Manó: Szokásmondások(HELIKON 1985)
— Kiss Lajos: Földrajzi nevek etimológiai szótára (Akadémiai Kiadó, 1983)
— Knausz Ágnes: Kutya-, ló- és szarvasmarhanevek Miklósfán (ELTE Magyar Nyelvészeti Tanszékcsoport Névkutató Munkaközössége, 1983)
— Paulusz Julianna: Nagykanizsai kutyanevek (ELTE Magyar Nyelvészeti Tanszékcsoport Névkutató Munkaközössége, 1983)
— Nagy Géza: A bodrogközi Karcsa állatnevei (ELTE Magyar Nyelvészeti Tanszékcsoport Névkutató Munkaközössége, 1981)
— Somorjainé Wéber M. Magdolna: Kutyanevek
— Szilágyi Ferenc: Sokféle neveknek magyarázatja (RTV-MINERVA 1987)
— Tóth Éva: Letenye és Sormás kutyanevei (ELTE Magyar Nyelvészeti Tanszékcsoport Névkutató Munkaközössége, 1981)