Most notably tied to the famous composer, Ludwig is actually a surprisingly popular puppy name, especially for those all too adorable German Shepherds. However, it wasn’t the German’s that made Ludwig a familiar canine call. In fact, the first association of Ludwig and dogs started with the Dobermann Pinscher. Their first breeder’s name was Ludwig Dobermann, so it can hardly be too far of a stretch to think that at least one of these new dogs was called Ludwig.
As for the name itself?
Turns out Ludwig is a pretty cool title to have.
Old High German
From about 700 to 1050 CE, the Germans spoke a phase of their language called Old High German, also known as Althochdeutsch. Much like Old English, though current German retains some semblance of this older evolution, it is now virtually its own language. It was from this stage of the German language that Ludwig was born. Originally spelled Chlodovech, it was a combination of hlud “famous” and wig “war”. In a more translated form, “famous warrior”.
Historically, it served as the name of three of the Merovingian kings, though the more Latinized Clovis was used (the name that would eventually become Louis). This dynasty was famous for uniting Gaul (France) and included such famous names as Clovis I, Brunhilda and Dagobert I. Though this line eventually fell as all do, the name Ludwig remained extremely popular. Many Ludwigs ruled over various German courts while almost every field, from art to economics, had at least one noted professional bearing the name. In addition, it was also a popular surname, appearing throughout much of Germany’s history.
As humans are notorious for using popular names to name their best friends, it’s almost impossible to say when the first dog was christened a famous warrior. Some could even argue this probably happened at the same time a more famous leader took the name. Nowadays, though, Ludwig serves as more of a quirky title. While Americans are certainly familiar with it, it nevertheless carries with it an unfamiliar sound and pronunciation unique to languages spoken across the Atlantic.
With such a special name, it would make sense that only the most special pups earn such a moniker. For the vast majority of dogs, the German breeds are the ones most likely to sport Ludwig, however, it’s not beyond imagining for a Corgi or Pomeranian to also be gifted with such a fierce title. That being said, when the dog is small, rarely does Ludwig serve as their only name. Many often add a very German last name, staring with “von” and ending with something a bit more adorable.
Whether used to denote a dog’s ferocity or to match their unruly fur to that of Beethoven’s unruly hair, Ludwig is a name that seems will always be popular for man and dog alike.