How to Say “Dog” in Different Languages

We’ve written about breeds from different countries, dogs in art from around the world, dog names with origins from different languages, and one thing is clear: dogs are loved around the world.

If you’d like to learn how to say dog in a few other languages, this is the post for you! For each one, we have a written pronunciation, plus a video guide to help you out.

Enjoy!

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How to Say “Dog” in Spanish

Spanish is a language with over 500 million speakers. If you want to say “dog” in Spanish, you say “perro“. This sounds like “payr-roh”, with a rolled-r sound.

The double r must be rolled, which can be hard for native English speakers. Here’s a video to practice the rolled-r sound, using the word “perro”.

The plural of “perro” is “perros“. But what if you want to talk about puppies? The word for puppy is “cachorro“.

Because Spanish is a gendered language, you change the “-o” ending to “-a” in the case of female dogs and puppies. The word “perro” becomes “perra“. In some situations this can have a negative connotation, much like in English.

You can also make the diminutive of these words by adding an “-ito” on the end. For example, “perrito” means “little dog” and “cachorrito” means “little puppy”. When we say “little” we don’t just mean the literal sense of the word, small. The “-ito” ending makes it more cutesy and affectionate.

How to Say “Dog” in French

In French, the word for dog is “chien“.

Phonetically, this sounds like “shee-uh(n)” where the second syllable has a nasal sound, and the “n” is not fully pronounced. Since it’s French, it’s probably easier to explain with a quick audio clip:

The plural of “chien” is “chiens“, but the “s” is silent. To say “puppy” in French, you say “chiot“.

The French Bulldog, a breed of dog originating in France, was one of the most popular dog breeds in the US in 2021.

How to Say “Dog” in German

There are many dog breeds that are originally from Germany, including the German Shepherd, and many Schutzhunds (a type of dog with a curly tail).

To say dog in German, you say “hund“. To say dogs, plural, you say “hunde“, which sounds like “hoond-uh”.

The first word “der”, translates to “the”. So by saying “der Hund“, you are saying “the dog” in German.

You might recognize “hund” as being part of other dog breeds, like Dachshund.

How to Say “Dog” in Italian

The word for dog in Italian is surprisingly unlike the word in Spanish. In Italian, you say “cane“, which is pronounced “kah-nay”:

The plural of “cane” is “cani” (which is pronounced “kah-nee”).

You might recognize “cane” from the Latin phrase “Cave canem” which means “beware of dog”:

This piece of art, among others, is discussed in our post A Brief History of Dogs in Art.

How to Say “Dog” in Chinese

The character for “dog” in Chinese is ““. This is pronounced like “go” in English.

The Chinese language has a way of spelling out words using Latin characters, known as “pinyin”. Pinyin is sometimes used by language learners to help ease the process of learning the language.

The pinyin for “” or “dog” is “gǒu“. The accent over the “o” tells us that this word uses the third tone. You might already know that Chinese is a tonal language. The third tone is the one at the bottom of your voice range. If you try to say “uhhh”, as though you are trying to think of what to say, congratulations, you’ve demonstrated the third tone! You might have a slight raise at the end of the tone back towards your normal speaking range.

Putting that all together, say “go” but with a low, 3rd tone voice.

How to Say “Dog” in Russian

Moving right along to another language that doesn’t share an alphabet with English is Russian.

The word for “dog” in Russian is “Cобака“, which is pronounced “so-BAH-kah”. The “k” sound here is harsher than in English.

An example of a Russian breed of dog is the Samoyed listed in our “dogs with curly tails” post, or the beautiful and slender Borzoi.

How to Say “Dog” in Japanese

The Japanese word for dog is ““, which can be written out in a latinized form as “inu”.

If this reminds you of “Shiba Inu”, good observation! “Shiba Inu” in Japanese translates to “brushwood dog”, as the curly-tailed breed is known for hunting.

How to Say “Dog” in Arabic

Next up is Arabic! The word for “dog” in Arabic is “كلب“, which can be latinized as “kalb” (pronounced “kelb”):

Dog breeds of Arabic origin are some of the oldest in the world, including the elegant Saluki, which means “noble dog”.

How to Say “Dog” in Sign Language

The sign for “dog” in American Sign Language (ASL) might actually get your dog to walk over next to you!

To say “dog” in American Sign Language, you clap your hand against the side of your leg, and then snap your fingers. This is very similar to how many people call their dogs, which is likely how the sign originated. Give it a try and your pup might come to you!

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed this post! What other languages should we add? And do you ever speak to your pup in a foreign language? Let us know!

PuppyLists is written by J., who has owned, trained, volunteered with, and loved dogs for nearly three decades. When she isn't writing or researching, she's out adventuring with her 14 year old Lab mix.