Dogs of Ferndale: A Data-Based Look at Most Popular Names and Breeds
(Kurt Metzger, Sept. 18, 2022)
Ferndale, MI – Today we begin a regular feature on “The Dogs of Oakland County.” I filed a FOIA to the Animal Control/Oakland County Animal Shelter& Pet Adoption Center for a list of licensed dogs in Oakland County, including Dog Name, Dog Breed, City and ZIP Code. That first effort, earlier this year, produced a list that seemed to be strangely small – just over 29,000 records. Further discussions revealed that, due to COVID lockdowns, many dog owners had delayed renewing their licenses. We decided to revisit that FOIA request later in the summer after the county had conducted their “dog census.”
I am now in possession of a revised listing that includes almost 54,000 records – an 83 percent increase over the previous list. The list does not include communities that manage their own licensing programs, including Berkley, Bloomfield Township, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Madison Heights, Oak Park, Rochester, Royal Oak, Southfield city and Southfield Township (Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Franklin).
Our inaugural community of interest will be the City of Ferndale, which has 1,374 licensed pooches.
While there are some interesting variations (and spellings) of breed names, I have done my best to bring some consistency across the records. Figure 1 presents the Top 10 ‘breeds’ (mixed breed is a biggie) living in Ferndale.
It is no surprise, judging by national rankings, that the Labrador Retriever is #1, doubling its nearest rival the Golden Retriever. I must note that there was an interloper between the two retrievers, and that was the Mixed Breed.
Personal experience has shown me that there are mixed breeds that are ‘designed’ and usually named, such as the Cockapoo (of which there are 3), and then those that result from run of the mill meetings “in the neighborhood” – affectionately called mutts.
The German Shepherd follows closely behind the Golden with the Chihuahua nipping closely at its heels. While we see the generic “Terrier” with 38 responses, know that there are a number of specific terrier breeds that show up throughout the list. Pit bulls make a good showing, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier comes in just out of the running at 28.
A total of 120 different breeds were mentioned, a number of which – Shiba Inu, Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Plott, Mountain Cur, and Blue Heeler – may not be as popularly known.
Every year the Social Security Administration releases a listing of the Top Names for Boys and Girls born in the previous year. I have always enjoyed seeing these lists and have been fascinated by those names that both gain and lose popularity from year to year. In addition, I have found the varieties of spellings of similar sounding names to be a never-ending source of amusement. The listing of Ferndale dog names (as I anticipate for other communities as well) has provided me almost as much enjoyment.
I must say that Ferndale dog owners have some unique and wonderful names, such as Butterbeer, D’Artagnan, Drizzy, Fatty, Gin Gimlet, Hugo Frankenstein, Mr. Chunks and Sir Frances Maple Bacon. However, I have chosen to provide you with the 8 names that showed up 10 or more times. (See Figure 2)
Cheers to the 16 Charlies, 13 Zoeys, and a dozen each of the Buddys and Bellas out there.
The next article will look at the Dogs of Holly, with all other communities to follow in the coming weeks. If you have a particular community of interest, please let me know. Join in the conversation on the Oakland County Times Facebook Page, and share your puppy’s picture. And don’t forget to get your pet their vaccinations and license, which can be done through the Oakland County Animal Shelter and Pet Adoption Center.
For more stories about population shifts, voter turnout and other election trends, and other interesting numbers, visit the Data-Based Stories Archives on Oakland County Times. Thanks to Data Expert Kurt Metzger for this work!