Thursday 15 August 2019

No dog is an island? Wrong!

While Gail has been busy at work this week, I have been pondering the question of why so many of my fellow canines hereabouts are named after Scottish Islands.

The thought was prompted by a recent encounter with two pretty cocker spaniels named Skye and Iona. These are of course two rather famous islands, perhaps known even to some of my more far flung readers.

I have Vizla friend in Edinburgh called Harris, after that island of barren, austere beauty on the far northwest fringe of the UK, source of the famous tweed.

Nearer home in Aberdeen, we know of an Arran (Jack Russell terrier) and a Lewis (Lab). Yes you've guessed, both islands* too - look them up in the atlas!

A lady in Gail's book club who was raised on the Orkney archipelago (off the north coast of the Scotland) has a border collie called Rousay. This is one of the Orkneys and a great place to visit if you like archaeology and wind.

Not a million miles from Rousay, but closer to the Scottish mainland, you'll find on the map a wee islet called Stroma. I'll confess that the only thing Gail and I know about Stroma is that it's also the name of our next door neighbour spaniel.

When Gail eventually got home from work I asked her if she had ever considered giving me a Scottish island name.

"Oh yes, quite often Bertie. Sometimes I think your name should have been 'Muck' and sometimes I think  'Yell' would have been more appropriate."

So not funny.

On reflection, I am quite happy with my 'official' Kennel Club name, Granddach Beinn Alligin - more elevated to be identified with a mountain, don't you think?

*Just to head off any geographical pedantry - Gail and I are well aware that Lewis and Harris comprise, respectively, the northern and southern parts of the same Outer Hebridean island...


  1. wow bertie that was da super canine wisdom you shared and you are right ...dogs can be an island and that meow-rio simmel was wrong with his book.

  2. Hari Om
    BOL... Bertie lad, I think you have it in the end!!! Every pet I have ever had, you may like to observe, has been named for a 'stone'; our very first family cat was Obsidian (guess why?!), then came Quartz. Later, as an adult, I had the budgies, Sapphire and Emerald. In OZ, along came Jet the guinea pig, Jasper the cat and Jade the dog... I like the letter 'j', so perhaps if I got a pup it could now be called Jura and break my stoning habit!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

    1. Jura could be short for Jurassic. A whole geological period, not just a stone!

  3. No Kinley islands dat I are aware of. But I guess I've got an island as part of my name, since our last name are Harris. But my offishul name is Starlight Kinley Arielle - yeah, da last part are after a Disney mermaid.

  4. That's a very grand name you have, Bertie.My human likes the idea of naming doggies after Scottish Islands, 'cos she's not too keen on her doggies having human names.
    My official name is Berta de Almargen de Malaga, but when I came to live here, I was re-christened Inca, 'cos no-one liked the name Berta ! I must say that everyone says it's a pretty name when we tell them !

    Inca xx

  5. Well Bertie I was about to jump on your name bandwagon...until I read your registered name.
    Since you are an avid hiker and climber of hills, it quite suits you!!
    Hugs Cecilia

  6. That is a very interesting observation about pet names. We think you being named after a mountain is much better than an island.

  7. Bertie, you are so er-u-dite, my friend!

  8. There are no mountains or islands or any kind of geography named Matilda. Maybe I need to get one named after me! But there were several queens and even an Empress Matilda, plus a whole type of tanks, so I think that's pretty pawesome.

  9. Mount Bertie does have a ring to it!
    Arty, Rosy & Jakey

  10. We, and especially Dui, think mountains are much more grand!

  11. Dear Bertie,

    You are a mountain! That is amazing! Very dignified!


  12. Much better to be named after a mountain.
    Mabel & Hilda

  13. Those are all such lovely names for a pup!