On a Border Collie online discussion board, somebody once asked why Aussie people named their dogs the way they do. He felt it was demeaning to real working stockdogs to be given names like Chantilly's Not So Sleeka Pie of Shazamm, and that if we were serious stockdog people we'd do just like the working Border Collie folks and all our dogs would be named things like Ben 587AB77 and Gael 76500TZ.
I tried to explain that Aussie people have always inhabited a borderless country somewhere between AKC Land and Ranch Land, and the naming conventions reflect that. Even people who have never and would never own a "fluffy" Aussie typically name their dogs in the AKC tradition of their kennel name plus a punning, or romantic, or just plain inexplicable, never-used "name" that goes on every official form. It is true that, unlike the Border Collie registries, both ASCA and the AKC require that each name not be duplicated, but this hardly explains it, since a kennel name should take care of that requirement easily. There can be a T-Bar Jack and a Blue Creek Jack without any duplication problems. But there isn't, all that much, even among the working Aussie folks.
At the beginning of registering Aussies, the naming conventions were different. Even if people's surnames were used instead of the later kennel names (it was particularly confusing because people were allowed to change the dog's name when it changed ownership), the names were much more like the Border Collie names are now: Mansker's Turk, Woods' Jay. When the conformation shows began, that's when the names began getting fancier. Very quickly, they began to parallel the AKC naming practices, although the working Aussie people always tended to go for more 'cowboy' themes.
It is striking that, once you are familiar with the unspoken conventions of registered dog names, you can recognize one immediately. Moonlite Cadillac Quincuz I Said So could only be either a dog or a spam subject line. People do enjoy making these up. It is a tiny corner of unjudged individual creativity left in a commodified world.
When I registered Bonnie, I went with the flow. Her name was Bonnie, her kennel name was Twin Oaks . . . but it "needed" to be fancier, so I turned up some alliteration and registered her as Twin Oaks Bonnie Domino, because of her half-white-half-black face, sort of like a mask — that's what those half-face masks were called that people wore to 18th century masquerade balls . . . and then dominoes (the tiles) are black and white . . . well, whatever. Nobody has ever addressed her by that name. She is Bonnie off the field, and on it, she is usually Bon, because one syllable is sharper than two.
I thought considerably about Mr. Border Collie Snob's ideas, and I decided it was a legitimate point, though he took it a bit far. For example he sneered at kennel names as an affectation of middle class showdog hobbyists trying to emulate the 19th century British landowners who invented dog shows. Which might have been the original impulse, but has a life and meaning of its own now, and, being so obviously useful in tracking ancestry, has been adopted by most working dog breeders, with the exception the Border Collie Naming Purists, and those who don't register their dogs at all.
The names that working Aussies answer to are quite similar to those working Border Collies answer to, except that they aren't what I privately call och aye names like Moss and Wisp which a lot of Border Collie folks seem to go for. But somehow I think those elongated registered names have an intangible effect, and it isn't a particularly good one. Naming implies intention about the object named. An animal name is both a sound that is supposed to evoke at least attention from the animal, and a label for human beings to talk about the animal with. Naming an animal something which is hardly a name as we otherwise understand it, is really strange, when you think about it. What IS the intention there?
What would it convey about working Aussies if they all had one-syllable registered names? What if you could tell straight off, reading, say, a magazine ad, if Aussies were working-bred or not, not just because of the kennel name (if you recognize those), but because the names were Gem, Spur, Cat, Grit, and Hoss, without a single Creme de Menthe or Do It With Fever among them? It would feel different, I think. Something about intention.