What’s in a Name: Greyhound Naming Conventions

The Professor writes a blog series dedicated to providing useful and little-known tips designed to help greyhound handicappers, new and old. These tips lead our readers to ask questions about the topic, other times directing the subject into another direction than the original post. This change of perspective gives us the opportunity to do some research on some over-looked areas of the greyhound industry.

The Professor received a question from reader David L.:


Interesting question, David! We agree that difficult-sounding names sometimes seem to be a turn-off, especially when their stats are equal across the board with their traditionally named counterparts. While we can’t comment on the public’s psychological state, we did do some digging around on the topic. We realized choosing a name for a greyhound is much harder than we perceived it to be. For fun, we checked out the AKC’s list of the most popular dog names in 2015:

    Male                        Female

Tucker                    Bailey

Bear                       Chloe

   Duke                      Sophie

   Toby                       Maggie

Rocky                    Sadie

All cute names, but could you imagine the entire field at Derby Lane being full of Tuckers, Chloes, Dukes, Maggies, and Rockys? That would be super confusing and honestly, a bit boring. Which is why the NGA requires every greyhound to have a unique racing name.

This made us wonder: what exactly is in a name?

Juliet Capulet of Romeo & Juliet fame argued that a name doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” As we all know not everyone in Verona felt the same about Romeo and therefore, his name. In the end, names do matter. Sorry, Romeo, but if you were from any other family it might’ve gone differently: mainly, Shakespeare wouldn’t be nearly so famous.

Surprisingly when it comes to choosing a name for that greyhound there’s not a definitive source on naming convention rules. NGA outlines a few of their rules on the greyhound registration application such as, “[the name] cannot exceed 16 spaces, which includes punctuation and spaces. Periods acceptable only when using Dr., Mr., Ms., and Mrs. Apostrophes accepted only with contractions and proper names (i.e., O’MALLEY).”

Further digging around led us to some other naming rules:

  • A greyhound cannot have a name that begins with “the” and it cannot end with junior or senior. The name cannot have numbers (1, 2, etc) in the name but it can be spelled out (BELLA THREE PEAT, for example).
  • No offensive language.
  • Roman numerals are not allowed.
  • Names are restricted from having more than three initials (AMF SLEEKSTRANGR, for example).
  • Once a name is registered, it cannot be used again until a decade after the title holder’s death (and was not used for breeding purposes).

And the icing on the cake? Once you’ve decided on a name, you must come up with two other name options to submit on your form. The NGA requires three naming choices in case they are already taken–and in rare instances, the application will be returned for three more choices–talk about a tough decision all the way around!

From using the identifying BELLA, AMF, FLYING, KIOWA, KELSOS, et al. monikers to help people at-a-glance identify pups to naming littermates similarly, people have fun with names. One of the more memorable naming conventions is from the MOLOTOV X JASMINE NOTYOURS litter: PORTERHOUSE, FILETMIGNON RARE, LONDON BROIL, PRIME RIB, SIRLOIN RARE, TEE BONE RARE, and TOP SIRLION. You get the picture.

BELLA INCUBUS (Inc) enjoying an afternoon in the yard.

Another aspect of the name game is once they’ve found a naming formula that works, they roll with it. According to an article found on NGA in 2014, for the third year in a row, the most popular racing prefix was BELLA. One of the more famously known Bellas, BELLA INFRARED, winner of the 2012 Rural Rube Award and 2012 NGA All-American captain. Our very own BELLA INCUBUS (Inc), is BELLA INFRARED’s brother, both dammed by BELLA IONIC, who was dammed by BELLA VANESSA! Talk about a prolific line.

Circling back to your question, David, about the psychology of a greyhound’s name. The next time we see a name that is surely a mouthful, we’ll try to remember the name may have been tough to come up with. We’ll give it a fair chance like all the others because, no matter what it might be, a name is just a name… unless it’s Romeo Montague.

Thanks to David L. for this question! He has received a $2 credit to his Greyhound Channel wagering account. Do you have a question for The Professor? Leave a comment below and you could receive a $2 wagering credit to your Greyhound Channel account if your question is featured!

2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name: Greyhound Naming Conventions

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