Naming your dog is one of those things you either do almost as an afterthought, or you pore over every little possibility trying to find the perfect name. As an example, I first decided to name my last male pup Strummer, after Joe Strummer, the late lead singer of The Clash. I first thought it’d be cool. Then I thought it’d be stupid. I went through a bunch of other names before I realized that I just wasn’t witty enough, so I decided to go practical with a short, easy, one-syllable name. Four thousand discarded one-syllable names later, I gave up and told the wife and kids to name the damn dog. And that, folks, is how you end up with a big, tough Chesapeake Bay Retriever named…Lewey.

So when I saw this story about a South Carolina coon hound named Screaming War Bird (photo), I was instantly jealous. I know the dog probably has a shorter everyday handle, but how cool would it be, when someone reaches down to pet your dog and asks its name, to calmly reply “Oh, that there’s Screaming War Bird.”

Bob St. Pierre, the VP of marketing for Pheasants Forever, recently tackled the issue of dog names on his blog. He writes:

Last year, I offered the blog post “Please Don’t Name Your Bird Dog That” about names inappropriate for the self-respecting bird hunter. This year, I implore all the new bird dog puppy owners to employ a little creativity in their name selection process. And, it just so happens VPI Pet Insurance issued a press release on January 3rd ranking the most popular dog names during 2010. In other words, here is your definitive list of top 10 names to avoid in 2011. 1. Bella (holds the top spot for the second consecutive year) 2. Bailey 3. Max 4. Lucy 5. Molly 6. Buddy 7. Maggie 8. Daisy 9. Charlie 10. Sophie.

So there you go, folks: Don’t name your dog Bella. Or Bailey. Or Max. Or, for that matter, Lewey. And while you’re at it, stay away from Screaming War Bird, too. Some names are so original they’re only good for one-time use.