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How Did the Name “Fido” Become Associated with Dogs?

Many dog names have become popular because of famous canines from history or pop culture. For example, Spot was the name of the dog in the Dick and Jane series of children's readers, which debuted in the 1930s. Rover was the name of the heroic dog in the 1905 silent film Rescued by Rover. And we have the 16th U.S. president to thank for perhaps the most famous (if clichéd) dog name of all: Fido, which was derived from the Latin word fidus, meaning faithful. Fido was Abraham Lincoln’s mixed-breed dog when he lived in Springfield, Illinois, during the 1850s, but the pet never actually resided in the White House.

Abe's faithful companion:

  • Mary Todd Lincoln wasn’t as fond of dogs as her husband was. She vetoed the idea of Fido living in the White House, fearing that the boisterous dog would soil carpets and antique furniture, and pester guests at state dinners. After the Lincoln family moved to Washington, DC, in 1861, Fido lived with a another family in Springfield.

  • In 1866, a year after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Fido came across a man passed out on a sidewalk. When Fido began to lick his face, the startled drunk pulled out a knife and stabbed the dog, killing him.

  • The name Fido became very popular among dog owners during the late 1800s, but it is rarely used today, except as a generic name for dogs.

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More Info: Psychology Today

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