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'Fido' is a favorite in headlines, but why?

Henry FuhrmannTwitter, Inc.

Every dog has its day, but "Fido" has had more than his share.

Since 1985, he's appeared in 111 headlines in the Los Angeles Times' print edition. 

Fido most recently surfaced in the July 29 Travel section: "Is Fido ready to fly?" But he's appeared in nearly every section of the paper, and he even made the front page in 2007, with this Column One feature about Prozac for pets: "Fido's little helper"

Sometimes he's paired with a cat friend, such as this 2009 Health article about quitting smoking, "Do it for Fido and Fluffy."

Who is this Fido, and how does he keep nosing his way into headlines?

That's what Assistant Managing Editor Henry Fuhrmann set out to find after being ribbed about yet another Fido headline by a couple of colleagues via Twitter. Fuhrmann oversees The Times' copy editors, who generally write the headlines that accompany articles.

Not content to let sleeping dogs lie, Fuhrmann looked into The Times' usage and found that poor Fido had become a cliche.

"The real-world is virtually Fido-free," Fuhrmann said, citing a Times database of dog names in Los Angeles County. A broader article in Psychology Today lists the top 50 dog names in the English-speaking world; Fido didn't make the cut here, either.

Fuhrmann's findings inspired him to unleash a series of tweets Wednesday regarding "Fido"...

[View the story "A dogged fight against cliches" on Storify]

readers.representative@latimes.com

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