Show Your Spots: Bear Names

Revamped 2007 onwards Pudsey Bear, from bbc.co.uk

Pudsey Bear has taken over BBC1 for the night, and that means no Have I Got News For You my weekly highlight. Many people have been going around all day wearing year bear ears and potentially even wearing spotty clothing as my sister’s school did. I don’t think the people of Britain go as crazy in dressing-up as they do for the biannual Red Nose Day appeal.

The name Pudsey is a fascinating one. There is a town named Pudsey in West Yorkshire, and this is where Pudsey Bear got his name. Pudsey is also well-known for its wool manufacture, and, from the 19th century, Cricket. Many England cricketeers, such as Sir Len Hutton, Matthew Hoggard and Herbert Sutcliffe all learned to play cricket in Pudsey. Sadly, Pudsey is also known for being one of the most polluted areas in the UK during the Industrial Revolution. There is the joke that Pigeons flew backwards in Pudsey to avoid getting soot in their eyes as the wind from industrial towns Leeds and Bradford blew thick soot into Pudsey.

As for the origins of Pudsey, it derives from the Old English name Pudoc, perhaps a diminuative of Puda, meaning Puduc’s island or river land. In 2009, a female bear by the name Blush joined Pudsey as a secondary mascot for the appeal, but Pudsey remains as the focal point for the day.

The next bear I immediately think of is Sooty, who first hit British sceens in the 50s on The Sooty Show, although I grew up with it’s successor, Sooty&co. A fellow bear, or panda bear, named Soo accompanies him in his various shows, and of course, Sooty’s cousin Scampi also featured.

Another blast from the past is The Jungle Book. Fun fact: Rudyard Kipling and I share the same birthday (but not the same year of birth, clearly) and The Jungle Book is more or less 100 years older than I (we’re talking the original publication, not the 60s Disney film). Baloo is a sloth bear from the book and the singer of the well-known tune ‘The Bare Necessities’.

I also confess to loving the name Rupert, not just because of the loveable bear who goes by the same name. Some say this is an issue for them, but he is an endearing character in my mind. The name Rupert is a German form of Robert, which means bright fame. Bear wuold also make for an unexpected nickname for Robert. Other famous cartoon bears include Winnie the Pooh, who was reportedly named after a real-life bear named Winnipeg, and our final bear: Paddington. Generally speaking, Winnie would be taking as a short form for the female name Winifred, but may also be considered for the more gender-neutral Winslow and Winter.

Moving slightly away from bears, one can’t ignore the recycling-nuts that are The Wombles. I grew up with them and I did believe them to be a species of bears named Wombles for pretty much the entirety of my childhood. My favourite character was called Orinoco and the one whose name has always catched my imagination was Tobermory.

The last name to consider is Teddy, as in Teddy Bear. Mostly given as a nickname for Theodore, I’ve been considering alternatives of late:

  • Albert
  • Bertram
  • Alfred
  • Dexter
  • Frederick
  • Edward/Edmund/Edgar (pretty much any Ed name)
  • Sebastien
  • Theophilius

I’m also lead to believe that there’s a character called Humphrey Bear in Australia, whilst America has Yogi Bear, who goes out with another bear named Cindy.

To finish, there are a few possible names to consider which either means bear or have a bear-related meaning:

  • Arthur (disputed)
  • Björn
  • Dov
  • Ursula
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Categories: Boy Names | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Show Your Spots: Bear Names

  1. I adore Rupert, and Winnie could be for Winston as well, as this was Winston Churchill’s nickname.

    America also has Smokey the Bear, which Bewitching Names offered as a possible name choice.

    We have two famous teddy bears on a children’s programme, unoriginally named Big Ted and Little Ted.

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  2. You forgot to say that Pudsey is a very dreary and rather depressing town in West Yorkshire. I used to have to go there to get my school uniform: “Frank Harrison, of Pudsey.” Shudder….

    Rupert’s my favourite. It’s very much the name of an English gentleman. Ruperts I have known, though, have tended to cringe at any mention of the bear!

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