What better naming inspiration than the world's most-performed playwright? From the straightforwardly silly to the truly obscure, here are 13 Shakespeare-inspired names for your pets.
1. Romeo and Juliet
"Oh Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou a dachshund?"
If you've got a cat and a dog who miraculously get along… well, first of all, post a video and watch it go viral. Then name them after the world's most famous pair of star-crossed lovers. A happy ending at last!
"Cry 'Havoc,' and let slip the dogs of war!" — Julius Caesar, III.i
Can't you just see this one? You're at the dog park, your beloved puppy is running amok, and you're calling "Havoc! Havoc! Down, girl!"
"How now, human! Whither wander you, and can I come along?" (Image: Getty)
PUCK: I go, I go; look how I go
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow. — A Midsummer Night's Dream, III.ii
Puck would be a great name for almost any sprightly pet, but it seems particularly good for a playful, mischevious bird.
"I made this face at a Montague once and it stuck."
TYBALT: What wouldst thou have of me?
MERCUTIO: Good king of cats, nothing but one of your nine lives.
— Romeo and Juliet, III.i
Okay, so Mercutio really means all those cat references he throws out to be insults. Haters gonna hate. But if you've got a positively regal cat (or a really hot-tempered one) you should definitely name him Tybalt. Bonus points if you affectionately call him Mister Tybs sometimes and he doesn't murder you in your sleep for it.
5, 6, 7. Grimalkin, Paddock, and Harpier
"The witches actually mostly get together on the heath to catch Pokemon. Don't tell them we told you."
FIRST WITCH: I come, Graymalkin!
SECOND WITCH: Paddock calls.
— Macbeth, I.i.
We're never given the names of the three witches who kick off the plot of Macbeth, but we do know the names of their animal familiars - Grimalkin the cat, Paddock the toad, and Harpier the owl. The toad is missing from the picture below (of a genuine interspecies friendship, yay!), but hey, two-thirds of a set of familiars is still pretty good.
"Et tu, puppers?"
BRUTUS: I had rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman
— Julius Caesar, IV.iii
The idealistic, slightly naive, warm-hearted Brutus does in fact have many dog-like qualities. Just make sure you stay home from the dog park on March 15th, and you should be fine.
"Give me to drink mandragora. And a delicious frozen mouse on the side, please and thank you."
CLEOPATRA: He's speaking now,
Or murmuring 'Where's my serpent of old Nile?'
For so he calls me: now I feed myself
With most delicious poison.
— Anthony and Cleopatra, I.v.
For fans of the beautiful and the dangerous, there's the wily Cleopatra, who made very close friends with a snake toward the end of her life. She'd approve your boldness in venturing beyond the fuzzy norms of pet ownership. Or if snakes just aren't your thing, Cleo would be the perfect moniker for an equally wily feline.
"I can no longer brook thy vanities, green balloon!"
And I am glad of it with all my heart:
I had rather be a kitten and cry mew
Than one of these same metre ballad-mongers
— Henry IV Part 1, III.ii
Hots_purrrrrrrrr_. Get it? An excellent name for a kitten who likes to attack his toys (or your feet) with minimal provocation. So basically every kitten.
Image: Viral Circus
11, 12. Beatrice/Benedick
"I know thou'rt photobombing, coxcomb."
BENEDICK: Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth; it catches.
— Much Ado About Nothing, V.ii
My personal favorite pair of Shakespearean lovers. Though Benedick is actually talking to the servant Margaret in the above quote, his words totally apply to his love interest and verbal sparring partner Lady Beatrice. Beatrice would be a great name for a dog, and even better if you get her a Benedick to fight with - erm, I mean, play peacefully with.
"We are super competent crime fighters. Trust us."
DOGBERRY: But, masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass.
— Much Ado About Nothing, IV.ii
All right, there probably aren't many Shakespeare fans out there looking for names for their pet donkeys, but if there are, I hope they'll remember the bumbling policeman Dogberry and his uncomprehending joy at being called an "ass" by the villainous Conrade. If you don't have a donkey, but do have a clumsy German Shepherd puppy (the classic police dog), Dogberry would be an equally good name.
"Okay, but look, if you get a white mouse and name it Bianca, I absolutely refuse to share a cage with her."
BAPTISTA: Now, in good sadness, son Petruchio,
I think thou hast the veriest shrew of all.
— The Taming of the Shrew, V.ii.
Are pet shrews a thing? They should be. Look at that sweet little nose! And naturally, if you have your very own tame shrew, the name choice should be clear.
Except you would pronounce it Ho-RAT-io. Get it? Get it? … Okay, fine, maybe it only amuses me. Horatio is one of the only characters in Hamlet who consistently acts with pure and noble intentions, and it would be a great name for a sweet pet rat.
Top 10 male Shakespearean names for pets.
- Hamlet (Hamlet)
- Horatio (Hamlet)
- Iago (Othello)
- Julius Caesar (Julius Caesar)
- Lear (King Lear)
- Macbeth (Macbeth)
- Mercutio (Romeo & Juliet)
- Othello (Othello)
- Prospero (The Tempest)
- Romeo (Romeo & Juliet)
Top 10 female Shakespearean names for pets.
- Calpurnia (Julius Caesar)
- Cordelia (King Lear)
- Desdemona (Othello)
- Hippolyta (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
- Juliet (Romeo & Juliet)
- Lady Macbeth (Macbeth)
- Miranda (The Tempest)
- Ophelia (Hamlet)
- Portia (The Merchant of Venice)
- Rosalind (As You Like It)
More pet names inspired by Shakespearean plays.
As You Like It
The Merchant of Venice
A Midsummer Night's Dream
And yes, there's already an adorable mini-pig named Hamlet (see below). But that's no reason you shouldn't also get a mini-pig and name it Hamlet! The world will only be a better place for more mini-pigs named Hamlet.
Do you need more inspiration for your new pet’s name?
Need more inspiration for your new pet's name? Check out our nine pet-naming techniques to find the perfect fit, and some of our most beloved lists of pet names!