Snoopy, Beethoven, Lassie… some dog names are so famous that they become household names. We’ll cover these dogs, as well as lesser-known real life and fictional dog names, in this “notable names” series.
This post covers the etymology of the name Roscoe, as well as notable dogs named Roscoe in fiction and real life.
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Roscoe as a Dog’s Name
Roscoe, along with variations Rosco, Roscow, and Ruscoe, used to be a popular men’s name in the first part of the 20th century, with silent film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Congressmen Roscoe Reynolds and Roscoe Bartlett, tennis player Roscoe Tanner, among many more.
There’s also the fictional character “Sheriff Rosco Coltrane” from The Dukes of Hazzard.
The word Roscoe even became slang for a revolver in 1914!
All names go in and out of fashion. Older names that have been out of the public eye for a while, like Roscoe, will sound “fresh” and unique again, and the cycle will continue.
While it’s much less common as a man’s name these days, in 2021, the name “Roscoe” was the 73rd most popular male name according to Rover.com. But it could work well as a female or unisex dog name, too.
Roscoe makes a great dog’s name because it has two syllables and is not easily confused with other words you might teach your dog. For example, a dog named “Ray” might get confused with a command to “lay down”.
The name Roscoe means “deer wood” or “deer forest” and is English in origin. But before it was an English name, it likely originated from Old Norse.
More specifically, the word “rá” means “roe buck” (a type of deer) and “skógr” means “wood”.
As is the case with many names that came to the US, “Roscoe” might also be an Anglicized version of the Czech, Slovakian, or Hungarian name “Rosko”,
Dogs Named Roscoe
Real-Life Dogs Named Roscoe
Formula 1 is all the rage these days, and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton’s dog Roscoe enjoys some of that fame.
The “vegan bulldog” has more than 678k followers on Instagram, which features videos and photos of Roscoe’s travels and time spent goofing off with his famous owner:
Cartoon Dogs Named Roscoe
Remember Disney’s Oliver and Company? I was surprised to learn it came out in 1988 (guess that means I’m getting old!). Roscoe and DeSoto were the name of two Dobermans. Roscoe is the one that wears the red collar:
They are the “bad guys” of the movie, and are portrayed as vicious and cruel. While mean antagonists are to be expected in movies, it’s unfortunate that the film uses the stereotype of Dobermans as a violent breed. A dog’s breed is not its destiny, and good training is what makes a dog’s temperament.
In fact, we’ve got a whole post about Dobermans on Instagram that you can follow to learn how wonderful these dogs are, although none of the Dobies on our list are named Roscoe.
Last but not least is Roscoe from the “Pickles” comic strip, which is actually newer than Oliver and Company! The comic was first published in April 1990, and centers around a retired couple, Earl and Opal Pickles. The two of them, along with their dog Roscoe, a pudgy white dog, enjoy the misadventures of retired life together.
The comic’s website describes Pickles as “A dog of very little brain, but nevertheless a faithful companion. His only regret in life is that he wasn’t born a golden retriever.”
How to Pronounce Roscoe
The name Roscoe is pronounced “RAA-skoh” in American English.