If you have a dog, your dog has a nickname. There’s no getting around it. Whether a diminutive of their legal name or a cute term they earned on some past adventure, most carry around at least two monikers. So is how it is with the name “Jojo”. For the vast majority of pups, this doesn’t actually serve as their name so much as it is a shortening of their current name. Unsurprisingly, these full names typically begin with “jo”. But when did this shortened version become popular?
One of the earliest names to start with “jo” was Joseph, a name that comes to us from the bible. In Hebrew, it was “Yosef”. This changed to “Ioseph” when translated from Greek and then Latin and finally reached its current form during the Middle Ages. Joseph, by then, was extremely popular among the growing number of Christians by this point and spread rapidly through Europe. In addition, other biblical names with a similar start became fashionable, including John and its female counterpart Joan.
As far as Jo is concerned, the date can’t really be placed, but scholars have found its origin in English, German and Dutch as it was used as the shortened form of Joan, Joanna and Josephine. In Germany and the Netherlands, Jo was more masculine, acting as the shortened version of Johannes or Josef.
Because of this, it would seem humans have long since loved shortening names into cuter versions of the actual name.
For most, Jojo comes to us from Western European tradition, however that’s not the only area of the globe Jojo is used. In fact, Jojo is a well-documented African name. Known as a Ghanian name, it is based off of a collection of languages spoken by the ethnic Ghanian groups. In these cultures, it’s more or less tradition to name children after the day of the week they are born on. The name implies more meaning as days are believed to exert influence over the character of the person with the name, much like astrology tells us our astrological signs affect us.
In this realm, Jojo is given to males born on a Monday and means “born on a Monday”. It is used by the Ewe, Fante, Ashanti and Akuapem tribes. As for the characteristics associated with the person, those born on Mondays are seen as tranquil, calm and adept at persevering when faced with stressful situations.
As for dogs? With as quickly as humans took to referring to their females as Jojo, it can be said that the first dog to ever have a name beginning with “jo” was lovingly referred to as Jojo. It’s a practice that has survived the millennia and will no doubt continue onward so long as we name our best friends.