Glou-glou! How to get out of cooking for Thanksgiving (hint: be a turkey)
Bois, Kindling, or Tinder in French + A Fun and Free Activity while walking

Le Prénom + French Dog and Cat Names for your pet

la ciotat france beach surf fun dog sunset
In winter dogs are allowed on this sandy beach. Out strolling with Mom at sunset last night, we enjoyed seeing 5 cavorting canines--including Ruby the pit bull. She wanted to hop on that surfboard and glide up the coast with the help of a couple of giggling girls pulling the rope. Meet another local pooch in today’s story...

TODAY’S WORD: “le prénom”

    : first name

SOUND FILE: Hear Jean-Marc pronounce the example sentence and all French words in this post. Then scroll to the vocabulary section to check your French comprehension.

Choisir le prénom de son animal à quatre pattes n'est pas toujours une mission facile.
Choosing a name for your four-legged friend is not always an easy task.

Click here to listen to the French

by Kristi Espinasse

Lately, my husband and I have been enjoying morning walks together. Jean-Marc likes to stroll along the waterfront, whereas I prefer a brisk walk inland, away from la foule. So we take turns deciding, or as the French say, à chacun son tour.

Recently we were heading home along La Voie Douce, when an older gentleman and his dog entered the sentier, just ahead of us. Because our turn-off was only 30 meters away, it didn't seem polite to cut around the slow-paced duo only to hurry off the path. 

As Jean-Marc and I slowed our own pace, I studied the dog. His white whiskers contrasted against his black poils. He was as old in dog years as his master, and both had a big belly. The dog carried itself with ease and it was hard to miss the jolly bounce in his steps.

That lovely creature exuded joy from head to tail and sent its feel-goods reverberating back to us. When the duo turned off the path, we followed, this being our exit as well. Entering a field, the man unleashed his furry companion.

"That is one happy dog!" I said, striking up a conversation. 
"Un chien est comme son maître," the man smiled.
Wasn't that the truth? A dog is like his master. I remembered our sweet Smokey and liked to think he took after me...even if he really was a splendid composite of his three-generational family.

"What is your dog's name?"
"Cachou. Like the bonbons," the man said, referring to those popular black lozenges in the round yellow tin....

photo by Didier Descouens via Wikipedia

"Cachou, that's a clever name for a black dog!" I hunkered down to pet the labrador. 

"Where did you get Cachou?"
"From his mother, who we had before him."
"Oh, that's how we got our Smokey," I shared. "Our golden passed last summer at almost 13."

The stranger gazed at his dog. "Cachou is twelve-and-a-half."
"Well, he looks very strong and energetic. He is a happy dog!" 
"That he is!" the man smiled before we walked our separate ways.

It was another lovely rencontre with man's best friend. After losing Smokey, these encounters are helping to fill the in-between time, even if I still don't know when or if we will have another dog. I look forward to seeing Cachou again, and all the other toutous in our neighborhood--including Féli, Lilou, Zoe, Joie, Pharos, and more whose names escape me. I am going to do better at writing those names down for the day we have the pleasure of welcoming another dear furball, or petite boule de poils. For now I spend my time dreaming about who he or she will be.



Before we adopted our first family dog, Breizh (a golden retriever and Smokey's mother), Jackie composed a list of favorite dog and cat names in French, including Ombre (Shadow), Flocon (Snowflake), Fripouille (Rascal)... The right column lists some cat names in French, including Choupette (little tuft of hair), Réglisse (Licorice), and Chouchou (Darling)

Jackie and breizh
Breizh and Jackie in 2006

=>  Le Chiot: when we got our first puppy, Breizh in 2006
=> When Breizh had Smokey and his 5 sisters

le prénom = first name
la foule
= the crowd, mob
à chacun son tour = each person gets a turn
la voie douce = the gentle path
les poils = fur
la rencontre = meeting, encounter
le toutou = doggy
une petite boule de poils = a little fur ball 
Breizh = Breizh
Ombre = Shadow
Flocon = Snowflake
Fripouille = Rascal
Choupette (little tuft of hair)
Réglisse (Licorice), and Chouchou (Darling)

We also met “Saga”—the softest, sweetest Ridgeback Rhodésienne. Saga was visiting France from Sweden. Mom and I wanted to take her home with us! Tell me, what kind of dog do you have? And what’s le prénom?

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James Brown

Our dog is mostly yellow lab about 30kg and 6years old now. He is named Furgus - correct spelling! Locally here in the Turks and Caicos these rescue dogs are called ‘potcakes’. Comes from them cleaning out the bottom of cooking pots!


Sweet posting! I had a Daisy growing up and was gifted another Airedale Daisy from my husband 7 months before the birth of our daughter. And then Daisy had Pumpernickel!

Lisa Williams

I have met over 50 dogs on my walks. I have their names on my phone. I also have photos of several too! Best name ever is "Henry Longfellow" .. a dachshund. They help fill the void of losing my sweet "Buddy" I had for 16 years

Barry Robinson

Notre petit chie s’appelle Finn. Il est un Cairn Terrier aussi le plus féroce chiot au monde. Il ressemble TOTO en la filme Dorothée et le magicien d'Oz. Son prénom se dérive de l’ancienne langue Nordique et signifie guérriere puissant. Pour nous son nom peut-être signifie le fin. Nous pensons qu’il peut être notre chiot finale.


Bonjour - my current pup is a 4 year old blue merle Sheltie named Toby. His middle name is Trouble!! I've had other dogs: Sheba, Captain, Cowboy, Holly, Chief and Jack. I hope one day you will have another toutou. I miss Smokey, too.

Leslie L

I have Heidi, a German shepherd and Bunny, a mutt from the pound, because her hair is soft as a rabbit!


my favorite dachshund name is Saucisse, dog of a friend of mine

Barbara Bell

Lena, our rescued Jack Russell terrier mix is 10 years old. We call her a sedate middle-aged lady who is gentle and polite, but manages us quite well nonetheless!

K. J. Laramie

We had a muscular, beautiful Boston Terrier named Max for 13 years. Very smart. Very independent. So much so, this well-trained dog knew exactly what he was being commanded to do but then stopped and thought, “Well, maybe I don’t have to!”

Sue J.

Our daughter begged us to take Maggie, a 10-pound stray who was not having it with their St. Bernard puppy. “It’s just for a little bit,” she told my husband.
That was four years ago.


I have an elderly Papillon named Jasper. My son & his wife live with me and they have an 8 month old female dog just like Smokey, except she is almost white, more buff colored & her name is Wrigley, named after the Chicago baseball stadium. She is one bundle of joy & energy!

Patricia Ramos

A red brindle long hair Dachshund whose kennel name is Song of Faith. From that we call her Melody!!

Cristina Adams Garcia

We have Luna, a 2-year-old labradoodle named for a nursery rhyme, "luna lunera, cascabelera, etc" from my childhood. Before that, we had another doodle named Zuzu for 12 years.

Megan M McCollough

Our 10 year old kitty is named Zazie after Zazie Dans le Metro by Raymond Queneau and she is every bit as precocious as the title character.


My dog Sophie was a black mostly lab. she was my life. She lost a fight with cancer in September. I am alonr and lonely without her.

Norma Plowman

Cognac is our almost 2 year old teckel poil durs, wire haired dachshund. He is a bundle of energy and simply loves stealing our socks, pens, slippers,& food when he jumps up on the table! We lost Louis XIV, whom I brought to the USA from Paris, at the age of 15 1/2 just months ago. Also in our doxie past are Milou, Sophie (both wires), & Charlotte, our long hair who was a wedding present in 1993. So what kind of dog do we prefer?


My home manager is named Goldie and she is 17 pounds of sweetness. It has taken a while but she has trained me to the importance of belly rubs and treats. Shi Tsu - i never spell it correctly. But I love her dearly. Said good by to Yogi last year and still cannot bring myself to get her another playmate until I return from planned vacation next year. So many adorable pups in the world who need homes.


We have a 10 yr old cocker-springer mix. I think they are called sprockers in England. She is brown, so we call her Molly B - after the movie "The Unsinkable Molly Brown". Funny thing is she does not like the water! Before her, we had a brittany named Chip for 14 years.


Our mixed breed black, 10 year-old dog is named Lilly, and our black & white tuxedo cat is ‘Goober!’ They get along great!

Del Lancaster

Our Schnauzer is called Fitz and he is 13 years. He is the boss and lets us know when he is happy and when he is not!


Our 1 year old spaniel came to us as "Cooper". It's a crazy popular dog name right now, so I felt we needed a nickname to differentiate him. We now call him Coucou and I'm happy every time I see you use that cute hello word in this blog


I had 'Maax', a 125 lb. Rottweiler. The sweetest dog I ever met. Sadly, he only lived to be 8. Before that a Norwegian Elkhound and before that, pugs. Now I'm down to a cat....who thinks he's a Rottweiler!
John in Ohio

Ellen A

Lovely photos and story of the man and Cachou.
I have been told that the convention in France is to name all dogs born in a given year with the same letter of the alphabet. For 2019, it was the letter "P." Our dog is Pipkin, a sweet and naughty Cairn Terrier. When encountering other young dogs on our first walks, we met Poppy, Pepper, Pilou, and others all beginning with the letter "P."
Then, as "Q" is not a versatile letter, I believe the dogs born in 2020 mostly had given names beginning with "R." Of course, this is just a convention for breeders' dogs. You can obviously call your dog by any name you wish at home, or have both a formal and informal name.
If you get a puppy born in 2023, you may theoretically have a hard time coming up with a catchy name that begins with "U," so there are whole websites devoted to this! Uno/Una? Ubiquitous! (Ubi for short)


Merci pour la bonne histoire. AFter pushing kids in the stroller, I met neighbors through walking our dog, Tess. She is a 12 year old, semi-blind, very sweet goldendoodle. Her mom was an almost white golden retriever and her dad, a white standard poodle. She rules the house with our killer cat, Boots, who never fails to drag something in and lay it on the rug!


We have a sweet black labrador named Miette. We named our first dog ( lab/shepherd mix) Baguette; named our second dog ( chocolate lab) Tartine.
Thanks to everyone for sharing.

Marna Mignone

My adorable and wonderful black and white Tibetan Terrier is Emma Rose. At a year and a half she is full of mischief! She’s a delight! Before Emma Rose, we had Maia, then Tashi and Zoe all Tibetan Terriers, all wonderful!! After losing our last TT, we hesitated to get another because it is so painful to lose a beloved pet. I’m so glad we brought Emma Rose into our lives, she makes every day special. I hope when you are ready you will welcome another pup into your lives. You will be amply rewarded with enduring love and amusement!

Barbara Krenzer

Fred (a 12 yr old Afrikanis, diabetic and recently blind)
Molly (a 16 yr old staffie/lab)
Both were fostered as abandoned newborns and ended up staying! Total blessings.


We have had an assortment of dogs, mostly shepherd mixes, in almost 48 years of marriage. The first one was Hilda, then Tasha and Zeppelin. For a while we had three dogs, two of whom actually belonged to our son, whose girlfriend doesn't care for big dogs. Since they were approximately, the same age, Heidi, Cooper and Rufus grew old together and died one after the other, and my husband cried every time. Our current dog Nelly May is an adoptee from the humane society weighing 9 lbs as a puppy, now a healthy 62 lbs. The standing joke here is that I tell people that if I come back in another form, I will want to come back as my husband's dog, since he spoils them so much!


We have a 16 year old pug/shih tsu mix named Annabelle. She is sweet and just wants to be near us all the time. Before Annabelle we had a cocker spaniel named Muggsie. I had a black cocker named Muggsie as a little girl, and my mother did too. Before Muggsie we had a shepherd mix named Teddy, and a beagle/basset mix named Lucille. Not sure what we'll do when Annabelle goes. There are so many rescue dogs waiting for homes.....

Susan V Thomas

We have had mostly German Shepherds over the years. The current boy is named Chance, almost 6 years old. The others were Arwen, Sheba, Barbel and Niko. Each personality has been wildly different. We also adopted an Airedale Terrier early on who arrived at 1 year old with the name Buffy. She was the sweetest dog ever but we learned that we're not terrier people-she was completely independent and devoted to her own affairs. They have all given us so much joy.

Janine Cortell

My first three cats were all named Chouchou. My current beauty is named Colette after the author whose stories I love.


My friends call me a Francofool, because I love all things French! I live in Florida. My cats are named Jean-Pierre, Elodie, Remy, and Nino! They are all shelter rescue kitties!


Bonjour Kristi!
We have little Miles who is a very, very sweet terrier mix. We love taking walks around the Wash Park neighborhood in Denver and meeting all the other dogs!


Pour ceux qui ne savent
Breizh = La Bretagne =

Kristin Espinasse

Merci, Pippo. I need to add that to the vocabulary section. Jean-Marc had a cat named Breizh, and years later we named our dog the same. For years I misspelled our dog’s name as Braise, which for some readers conjured up the image of a barbecue rather than Brittany!


Quand nous sommes allés en France il y a longtemps moi en famille nous avons trouvé les animaux dans les familles extraordinaires alors quand nous nous sommes rentrés aux USA, j’ai promis à mes fils d’avoir un chat pour eux. Alors Sarah est arrivée chez nous. Nous l’avons appelée cela en honneur de notre chat favori à Poitiers. Sarah ! Sarah chat, Sacha, comme nousl’ avons aimée si joyeusement. Après sa mort, d’autres chats sont venus chez nous-Sabrina , Smokey, et puis Stella. Nous avons perdu Stella en 2021. Comme les autres lecteurs j’apprécie bien tes histoires des chiens et des chats merci cher Kristi❤️


Hi Kristi,
We have a 2 year old Rottweiler names 'Tank' and he is the sweetest! It took awhile for my husband to agree to another dog after our Labrador, Buster passed away in 2009.
Is it still warm enough to dip into the water in La Ciotat?
Love the sunset photo!

Jackie Crane

Bonjour Kristi-
Saga looks so much like my first dog who has been gone for many years now. His name was Woofer and he was a wonderful companion to me for 12 years. He is buried in my backyard with a special gravestone and memorial plaque. He was such a special dog. My friend always described him as a "human in a dog suit"! I think that was true! He lives on in my heart. We now have Neko, a delightful Havanese rescue. He lights up each day with love and joy. We all know, there is nothing like our dog kids! Hopefully, another will come to you when you are ready..they seem to find a magic way into our hearts.

Bernadette Gomes

Lost my beloved Bichon, Isabella, in September after 18years together. She lived up to her name and was always a little diva. Miss her so much and am, like you, in the “in between” days wondering what the future holds…

Kristin Espinasse

Eileen, my husband is like your husband!  I may have to sneak a dog home one day… As for swimming this time of year—yes, we do see swimmers out each day. And every morning there is a group of exercisers in the water. Some wear wet suits.

Judy Boasberg

Our nine year old tri-color collie is named Remy (even though she's female) after St. Remy de Provence, one of my favorite French towns. Our white german-shepherd/husky mix is Harlow, and like her namesake (Jean) she is quite the Blonde Bombshell. She's an obsessive ball-chaser. I should have named her Idéfix, like the dog in Asterix, because chasing balls is her "idée fixe."


Growing up our family dog was Duchesse, a brown and white Spaniel who had a huge litter! My own family dog was Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni whom we called Albi. My son's dog was Balou. My younger sister and her husband only had Australian Shepherds who have been and are named Emma, Neo, Cricket, and Arrow. My older sister has had Wheaton Terriers and now Golden Doodles with names like Cluny and Bogey (for Humphrey Bogart). We love dogs and cherish the pleasures they give so lovingly. Choisissez un bon prénom, c'est très difficile! Bonne chance!

Frances in Napa, CA USA

Our dog, Callie, has always had a sweet and loving disposition. She is kind and always eager to see people, and her favorite thing is children. It's the way she has always been, and we are grateful for her.

Derin Gemignani

Dear Kristin, my husband and I have two standard poodles, caniches in French, apricot colored. The females' name is Marie Antoinette, but we call her Toni and the male is named Bennett, because we love the singer so much, Tony Bennett!!
Dogs are the best!!
Derin G.

Karen Cafarella

Our sweet girl is named Pequa after the town we grew up in on Long Island NY called Massapequa. She is a bordie collie mix. We rescued her and don't know what she is mixed with. But she is short haired and has a "black Heart" marking on her white body. She is now 7 years old but still runs and jumps like a puppy.

Gerry Forth

Our dogs have all moved on. We had two Great Pyrenees to guard our sheep and a Golden Retriever to lie around the house. The Pyres were brother and sister: Treader and Lily. She had three good legs but could fly like the wind. Treader was named after the book, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. He would walk the vineyard fence line in the morning to make sure of our safety. The name seemed appropriate. After we sold the vineyard, the big dogs made their beds on our porch. They occasionally would walk through the house and out the other door. "I don't see what humans see in those places."


I'm the adoptive parent of Charlie, a Maltese ShitziDoodle (a rare and highly coveted breed!) Charlie, 15 (I think; nobody knows for sure) is a world-class napper and a gold medalist in Olympic Power-Snoozing, Pipsqueak Division. She recently began working as a professional mattress tester, a position for which she is uniquely qualified. And oh yes....she is greatly loved.


My pup is Beppe (Bep-pee).
A 2 year old Shih Tzu rescue.
I wish I could add a photo because he is just the cutest.

Lynn Frandsen

We found our kitty cat 17/18 years ago on a street named Lake Sammamish Parkway when she must have been a newborn as she was very small. So, we named her Sammi. She is still part of our family and loves her lap time every day.

Beth Fiacco

Our family has had only 2 dogs since we've been married. An Anatolian Shepherd named Sheba - she was really large, white, and a true guardian over our family, horses, etc. She never relaxed, but was always placing herself in the most central location, as to watch all of us at the same time. She appeared to be "laying around", but I learned later that they are always keeping watch, whether sitting, standing, or laying down. She only lived 8 year and was our faithful protector! Our last dog was a sweet, silly, wiggly-butt Boxer, named Roxy. She was pure sweetness and lived 12 years. We had to put her down a couple of years ago, as she could no longer walk. These dogs left their mark on our hearts and we are still not sure we will have another. But we are leaving our options open. I do dream about what breed we might have next if we do choose another dog. Mostly, we are thinking of one that does not shed their coats! It's fun to dream about it anyway. Dogs are great companions ♥

Carolyn Rider Chase

In France I fell in love with Briards, and when we lost our beloved husky Koreetsa Laska, (cinnamon sugar due to his copper color), we ended up getting a black Briard puppy. Apparently, the rules for naming them goes by the year, and the initial of the first of the name begins with a certain letter - in his case an O was needed. We ended up with Ouvrage Futé, which loosely translated meant "Clever piece of work". Our second Briard came already named Griffin and that has fitted him, so we went no further.
Having names that fit the owner is fun, too. A friend who worked at an airport had a big black lab called Prop Wash, and a weatherman in a book we're reading has a cat named Jet Stream.
No matter the name, our pets are extremely important to us as humans, and make a big difference in the joy we can find.


After having 4 male German Shepherds over 45+ years, the last being a wonderful dog, we didn’t think we could have another. So Rick found a lovely girl who is 3/4 Golden Lab and 1/4 Golden Retriever. She was named Olivia, which we thought was a little formal. We rechristened her “Livi”. She is the sweetest dog and being raised by 3 cats she believes she is one of them, crawling into Rick’s lap and sitting with them on the window seat to watch what’s happening in the neighborhood. Such fun to have a happy dog!

Suzanne Dunaway

HEY, Kristie, it’s not JUST a dog’s world, haha. You already know me as LOULOU!!! A tuxie with attitude. LOVE your story today and yes, it’s time for a furball in your family. Shelter doggies are the BEST. I was a feral and look at me now, so cool and collected and I meow every time I pee so that THEY can change my puppy pads.

I do not have a dog right now. It is hard because I need to be able to take one for walks. It has been three years. My first dog was Tinker, a cocker spaniel at 1, then there was Al and Fred, both mutts, Gramma for some reason took us to pick out a Dashound we named Ichabod, called him Icky. Then I went to college and after that in an apartment I found a hound dog with the long ears and long, low escapes me. I called him Fred, but had to find a home for him when he started howling when I wasn't there. Dogs were not allowed in the complex. Next came Abigail a German Shortharir Pointer with my boyfriend. She had ten puppies and I told one and moved back home...Lize, the Ginger another GSP joined us. When Liza passed, Katie a GSP came home from the SPCA(the have a no kill one0, Then Bessie, a Yellow Lab with a roommate jointed the group. And last, but not least I adopted another GSP my niece found in Colorado that no one wanted in the winter. We flew her to California and I named her ABBy. Katie wasn't happy at first, but it all worked out. I am thinning I could handle a smaller dog, but not a yippee one, so am considering either a long hair or short hair Dashound. If you get a chance, bring up Doggie Day Care Farm Trips on FB and see what Luke Evans iw doing with 20+ dogs.....rehabs and his wife and family.


We moved back to California from France after 20 years just before Covid. Had wanted to get a small dog whom we could take back and forth when we HAD to get our French fix on the airplane. Somehow, God dropped the most dog on us! She is an 11 pound Maltese mix, white with some brown ears and spots. She was found in Mexico and by magic came to our home. We have named her BISOU (little kiss) in French. I have always loved that word... The other word I love in French is Poubelle (trash), not a good name for a little girl). She is our sunshine and has melded into our family perfectly. We were 17 years without a dog in France after our Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier died during the 2003 Canicule (along with thousands of the elderly). So, we were so lucky to have saved the spot in our heart for our little Bisou.

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