"Pochi" is a generic name for a dog in Japan just like the English stereotypical dog names "Spot" or "Rover".
Sadao wrote about it from Japan:
"Pochi" was the most popular dog name in the Meiji Period (about 100 years ago).
There are theories about where the name comes from. One is that a French missionary said the word “petit" (little or cute). Japanese people misunderstood that it was the name of his dog and made the leap to the name "Poti/Pochi". One other theory is that it’s from the English “Spotty”.
Here are the top ten ranking dog’s names (as recorded in the newspaper, Asahi-shinbun) from 1910:
ポチPoti/Pochi、ジョンJohn、マルMaru、クロKuro (meaning blacky)、アカAka (meaning red or scarlet)、ポーチPorch、ボチBochi、チイChee、シロShiro (meaning whitey)、ハチHachi
The last name on that list, Hachi (Hachikō), is the name of a very loyal dog from the 1920’s. Every day the dog would greet his owner at the train station after work. When the owner died, the dog kept going to the station every day for the next nine years.
The popular dog names, Hachi, Taro and Jiro originally come from a number naming system for boys in Japan. Until a generation ago, the most popular boys names were birth order names. You can see the dog names came from that system as follows:
First boy: Taro or Ichiro
Second boy: Jiro
Eighth boy: Hachiro (Hachi for a dog)
Another well-known name is “Kame”. Someone says this is from “come here” that some English-speaking person was calling his dog.
Nowadays the preference of Japanese dog owners has been changing to small dogs. So I think the popular names of dogs in Japan express smallness or cuteness:
Top ten of male names
レオLeo、ソラSora (Sky)、チョコChoco、コタロウKotaroh、マロンMaron、レオンLeon、ココKoko、リクRiku、モコMoko、and モカMoka (Mocha)
Top ten of female names
ココCoco、ハナHana (Flower)、モモMomo (Peach)、モコMoko、サクラSakura (Cherry Blossom)、チョコChoko (Chocolate)、マロンMaron、モカMoka (Mocha)、リンLin and ココアCocoa
Data from this web-site
Some other Japanese Dog Names and Their Meanings
Many thanks to Sadao Mazuka for sharing this information with us!
Photo: The dog Hachikō in his later years.
Please feel free to share generic dogs names in your country in the comment box below.
This article was posted on Monday, January 11th, 2016 at 4:20 pm and is filed under Countries & Cultures, Dogs, Generic Dog Names, Japan, Japanese, Languages, Parenting, Pets, Words & Phrases. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
One Response to “Pochi is a Generic Dog Name in Japan Like Spot”
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June 1st, 2022 at 6:44 pm
Thank you for writing this post. Japanese dog names are becoming more and more popular worldwide, so having a list comes in handy. I’ve found that many Japanese owners also choose the name “Piko” for their male dogs or, interestingly, their Aibo robots. Nonetheless, I haven’t been able to find what it means.
It is interesting how many dog names seem to have originated from foreign words. In my country, there was a time in which “Firulais” became a generic dog name. It is believed that the word derivates from some sort of certificate that guaranteed the dog was “Free of lice”, which for Spanish speakers sounded like “Feer oo lies”. Nowadays owners even pick human names for their dogs, though.