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One of the definitions for the suffix 号 in 大辞林 looks like this:

列車・船・飛行機・動物などの名に付けて用いる。
「ひかり―」

I'm somewhat familiar with this suffix from fiction. For example, I remember it from the anime series ふしぎの海のナディア, which had a submarine called the ノーチラス号. And I've seen it used for other forms of transportation in fiction, too, like airships, and even a race car.

But I haven't seen it used for animal names, and the definition above says it can attach to the names of 動物 as well. Wikipedia's disambiguation page for 号 says something similar:

ウマ、イヌなど、動物の名前につける接尾辞。

But it doesn't say when it would be used, and I can't remember having seen any pet or animal names ending in 号. So I'm curious: do people still use the suffix this way? If so, when would it be used?

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1 Answer 1

~号 appears to be used in cases where the animal's name is formally registered in some way, like with show dogs, and also with working animals such as police dogs. This name may not be the normal name of the animal, just as in English with show dogs that have a registered name and a day to day name ("call name").

The 警察犬 article on Wikipedia gives a link to this example (linked for the adorableness. There is a photo.)

登録名は「クリーク号」、元の名前は「くぅ」

In most of the article he's called 「くぅ」, so that would be the usual name although 「クリーク号」 is the registered name.

I don't think there's a direct translation as there's not anything added onto registered names in English - although as with the example the two names are often related - the call name being a shortening of or reference to the registered name.

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For some reason, Googling is well-received on here but I honestly do not feel that you have a feel for the word in question. Snailboat, in his/her calibre, could have easily googled in Japanese what you have. What does 号 imply? Why do people add it to the names? That kind of stuff is missing. –  非回答者 Dec 5 '13 at 22:48

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