Picking Pascal

27028813375_87c0010133For many pups, the name Pascal witnessed a relative surge in popularity following the release of Disney’s Tangled. In it, Rapunzel’s animal companion is a witty, humorous chameleon with the name in question, prompting many to name their cute, fluffy friends the same. However, the name itself is actually much older and remains extremely popular in Europe, more specifically Switzerland.

As far as word historians can trace it, Pascal was both a French and Dutch word that was a noted descendent of the Late Latin Paschalis. Meaning “related to Easter”, it was taken from the even older Hebrew pesach, the word for “Passover”. This holiday, shared by Jews and Christians alike, celebrated the liberation of the Jewish people from Egypt back in the time of the Pharaohs. The reason it wasn’t used specifically for the Christian Passover was because Passover directly preceded Easter resulting in a blanket term that covered a larger length of time, very similar to how many people nowadays use Christmas to refer to the entire last half of December. As a name, it was often given to children born on or around this time.

For humans, its Paschal form became a popular church name during the early medieval period with numerous variations popping up around this time, including Paschasius, Pascual and Pascalina. Even with such popularity, the most famous person tied to the name, Blaise Pascal, didn’t exist until the 1600s. A French mathematician, philosopher and inventor, he did much to reinvigorate the title. As a surname, it became a very popular find throughout France and Italy.

In regards to fluffy companions, Pascal still remains a rarity among dog lovers. Seen now as more of a French name, you won’t find many Pitbulls or Rottweilers with the moniker. Instead, it is typically given either to a more regal pooch or one that is just too adorable and quirky (depending on the pop culture reference Pascal is pulled from). This being said, 2016 is seeing a major push for the popularity of Pascal, with this once obscure name now appearing in the top 50 names for male dogs this year. It even tops lists for the most geeky dog names. Interestingly enough, though, it still does remain a male name. Even though the name might sound less harsh due to its French origins, the name is almost unanimously a name for a little boy pup.

If you’re in the market for a quirky yet smart sounding name for your pooch, there is none better than Pascal. Fun to explain to those that ask and a great way to recognize the brilliance of your own best friend, it is the quintessential name that incorporates a sense of history, intelligence and playfulness that only the best of dog companions exhibit.

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