Hi, everyone.  I am working on a novel in which the main character owns a dog named Buster.  I have my heart set on this name as it is the name of my beloved dog who passed away while I was writing it.  Problem is, subsequently, Disney came out with a cartoon dog character for a kid's TV show that is also named Buster.

I realize that Buster is a popular dog's name, due to seeing it listed in dog product magazines as ad for personalizing products.  Question to the group is: Do I need to change the name since my dog is a real dog character and the other is a cartoon character?

Thanks for your time.  I'll check back sooner this time.  Have a great weekend, too.

PS.  The dog in the book won't speak, except "woof"!

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No change necessary. You can't copyright names or titles of books. By the time your Buster appears in print, Disney's will be on the $1 DVD rack.
Jack's right. The only problem you'd have would be if you treid to make your Buster too much like Disney's Buster, and possibly cause confusion, or make it look like you were capitalizing on their character. Since your Buster is an actual dog, I don't see a problem.
I'd probably go with a dog-name that said something about the person that gave the dog the name (i.e., it goes to character). Buster's a pretty pedestrian dog name, but maybe if the dog was an AKC registered show-quality animal whose full name was Prince Rudolph Acanthus Methuselah of the Shire, or something, and your main character called him Buster, then you'd have something.
It is truly a sad day when a beloved dog passes away. He's Buster in your heart. He will forever live in your book. Buster is Buster. How can you change his name? I'm guessing, your readership will never make the connection with Disney. If you re-name him, you'll forever feel like a traitor. Direct your energies toward remembering the good times with Buster. Buster is Buster.
I don't think it matters what you call the dog as you can't control how your readers will interpret it!

If calling him Buster helps you when you are writing, and if you have your dog's character immortalised in print, YOU are always going to have a special relationship with that doggy-character!

Besides, you could come up with a spectacular name, only to find that on the eve of your book release Disney (or some other media conglomerate) comes out with a similar/same named character - what are you going to do then?

Make your character memorable/interesting enough that your readers fall for him in spite of other less-worthy 'imitations' !
I don't see any problem with using the name Buster, your book is for a different audience. I like Jon's idea about Buster being more like the dog's "pet" name (pun intended) because it adds depth to the main character and the relationship between the dog and owner. Best of luck!
Cindy
If you felt a need to change the dog's name, you could go with a slight variation, like Mr Buster, or Bugster or even Busta.
Thanks very much to everyone who took the time to respond. Each post was excellent and gave me something to "chew" on. Pun intended. Leaving soon to see The Wolfman. Will the werewolf be nicknamed Buster? hahaha Many thanks to those who expressed words of sympathy. Buster's death was Feb 22nd, a year ago, so he's on my mind a lot this month. Using it as a nickname is a good idea, so I can keep him Buster in tribute to my dog yet show the character sees him as a trouble-maker, which is how he got his name to begin with.

And, Dan, I did have a dog named Skippy but he was hit by a driver when I was ten. He was a fox terrier mix and we just could not keep him fenced in. He had legs like a kangaroo and leapt right over the 5' fence we put in to contain him. My uncle named every white German Shepherd he owned, Count. Take care everyone!
I don't think you have a problem; Buster's fairly generic, with all due respect. If the dog in your book were named Snoopy, however...
Thanks, Keith! By the way, I'll always be a Snoopy fan.

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