How Native Americans NAME Their Dogs

Native Americans spanned the country known as North America. They survived in the frozen tundra of Alaska and in the sweltering heat of the plains. With them, they had loyal dogs that helped them complete their tasks.

Those dogs were given names based on quite a few different aspects of Native American culture. Whether you want to honor your Native American heritage, the Native American history, or you just want a really cool name for your dog, here are a few ways that Native Americans named their dogs.

Native American Dogs

Alaskan malamute

First, however, it’s important to understand the history of Native Americans and their dogs. Many of these dogs were direct descendants of wolves. Those wolves were tamed and domesticated by the Native American people. They were then used as working dogs to help with herding, hunting, protecting, and even by being sled dogs.

Some breeds still can trace their genetic history back to Native American dog breeds. Some of those breeds are the Alaskan Malamute, the Labrador Husky, the Mackenzie River Husky, and the Xoloitzcuintli.

Tribe Names

Today, Native Americans can name their dogs after tribes of the past. Those who have left the reservation behind and joined the rest of America may wish to honor their former tribe by naming their dog after it. Or perhaps they wish to honor another tribe that has since fallen from popularity and the spotlight of history.

Some of these examples might be Algonquin, Seminole, Miwok, Sioux, Navajo, Pawnee, Hopi. There are a ton of different Native American tribes out there. You can likely find a name suitable for your dog based on one of them.

Animal Names

Labrador smelling the hand of a soldier

It’s not uncommon for a person to name their dog after another animal. For example, for dogs that might resemble a teddy bear, they might earn the name Teddy. Or for those whose fur resembles that of a lion, they might be called lion. Native Americans also give their dogs a name that is attributed to another animal.

Except that the names they choose are often in the language of their tribe. Here are a few examples.

Kuruk is bear in the language of the Pawnee. This is a great name for those dogs who have a lot of hair or are huge like a bear. Perhaps your dog simply has a huge personality. Kuruk can be a great name for them.

Yansa is another great animal name. It means Buffalo in Cherokee. Whether your dog is a bit on the bigger side or is just huge, then this could be an appropriate name for them. It’s also a great name for dogs who are stubborn or a bit slow-moving.

Maikoh means wolf in Navajo. What better name could there be for a dog that is descended from the wolf? If your dog has a lot of wolf-like qualities, then Maikoh could be a great name for them.


American dog names

Another way that Native Americans name their dogs is after adjectives that fits them. For example, a dog that is quite brave might be given the name Kitchi. This means brave in the Algonquin language. Perhaps your dog served in war or works with the police. Those dogs are exceptionally brave and have earned such a name.

Or maybe your dog is just a great protector of the family. Kitchi could be a great way to honor them with a title.

Hanska means tall in the Sioux language. Whether you have a Great Dane or an exceptionally tall dog, then this could be a great name for them.

For strong dogs, you should consider Nina.

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