All about Dogs in Chinese: Vocab, Breeds, Names, and More
How do you say dog in Chinese? What’s the Chinese word for puppy? What about barking, sniffing? Breed names & fun expressions? If you’ve ever felt the desire to talk about your furry canine friend in Mandarin Chinese, then you’ve come to the right place.
In this complete Chinese dog guide, we’ll go through the essential Chinese dog vocabulary, and teach you how to use them in real-life conversations with example phrases and sentences. We’ve also compiled a list of popular dog breeds in Chinese, with English translations and pictures to help you visualize.
And finally, for pet lovers who are considering adopting a Chinese dog, we’ll introduce you to the most popular dog names in China and basic Chinese dog commands to train your dog and your Chinese skills at the same time!
Let’s crush this!
Table of Contents
How to Say Dog in Chinese
The word for “dog” in Chinese is 狗 (gǒu), which is easy to remember as it sounds similar to the English word “go” pronounced with a third tone. (Read more on Mandarin tones)
Since Mandarin Chinese does not assign genders to nouns, both male and female dogs are referred to as 狗 (gǒu). If you are specifically talking about a male dog, you can use the word 公狗 (gōng gǒu). And for a female dog – 母狗 (mǔ gǒu).
|male dog||公狗||gōng gǒu|
|female dog||母狗||mǔ gǒu|
As you learn more Chinese, you’ll find that there is an alternative and more formal word for dog – 犬 (quǎn) used in certain contexts. Later in this post, we’ll cover more about the Chinese word 犬 (quǎn), and when it’s used instead.
How to Say Dogs in Chinese
Good news: Chinese nouns don’t have plural forms. So to say “dogs” in Chinese, you still say 狗 (gǒu). However, when you quantify nouns, the numbers must be combined with a measure word that corresponds with the object being counted.
Measure Word for Dogs
By default, the measure word for dog in Chinese is 条 (tiáo), which is the proper measure word used for slim/long animals (e.g. dogs, wolves, fishes, snakes, etc).
So here’s how you count dogs in Chinese:
- a/one dog
yì tiáo gǒu
- two dogs
liǎng tiáo gǒu
- ten dogs
shí tiáo gǒu
If you’re unsure why we say 两条狗 (liǎng tiáo gǒu) instead of 二条狗 (èr tiáo gǒu) for “two dogs”, we have this entire article dedicated to explaining the confusing number “two” in Chinese. If you don’t know how to count in Chinese yet, you should probably start with this tutorial.
Tip: It’s okay to use 只 (zhī), the generic measure word for animals, to count dogs as well in spoken Chinese. In southern Chinese languages such as Cantonese and Hokkien, 只 (zhī) is the favored measure word, and it has crossed over into Mandarin of the area.
How to Say Puppy in Chinese
The word for “puppy” in Chinese is 小狗 (xiǎogǒu). It’s a very quick and simple word for you to learn. All you have to do is slap a 小 (xiǎo), meaning “small”, before the word 狗 (gǒu).
So how would you say two puppies? It’ll be 两条小狗 (liǎng tiáo xiǎo gǒu).
Tip: 小狗 (xiǎo gǒu) may also be used to describe a dog small in size, for instance, a Chihuahua. A big dog, on the other hand, is called a 大狗 ( dà gǒu).
How Dogs Bark in Chinese
Dogs sound the same all over the world, but the word people use to represent the sound differs from language to language. In Mandarin Chinese, dogs don’t say “woof woof”, but “wāng wāng (汪汪)”.
Related Reading: Animal Sounds in Chinese
Popular Dog Breeds in Chinese
The concept of owning a pet was not completely alien in China’s past, only that it was reserved for nobility. With the rise of China’s modern middle class and a shift in attitudes about animal intelligence and animal welfare, now the general Chinese population returned to viewing dogs as loyal and friendly companions and treating them as family members.
Over the years, Chinese pet owners have developed a preference for foreign breeds over native Chinese breeds. The native-type Pekingese, which was originally the favorite of Chinese Royals, for example, is no longer favored and is becoming difficult to find nowadays.
According to a survey among Chinese dog owners in 2022, Poodle is the most popular purebred dog breed in China, followed by Golden Retriever and Siberian Husky. Read on to find out how to say the most common and sought-after dog breed names in Chinese.
Some dogs are purposely bred or trained to serve people. Here’s how to say the types of working dogs in Chinese.
|working dog||工作犬||gōngzuò quǎn|
|service dog||服务犬||fúwù quǎn|
|guide dog||导盲犬||dǎo máng quǎn|
|police dog||警犬||jǐng quǎn|
|detection dog||缉毒犬||jī dú quǎn|
|military working dog||军犬||jūn quǎn|
|search-and-rescue dog||搜救犬||sōujiù quǎn|
|herding dog||牧羊犬||mù yáng quǎn|
Note that for naming working dogs, the classical Chinese word for dog – 犬 (quǎn) is used instead of 狗 (gǒu).
Simply Speaking, 狗 (gǒu) is used in more oral and casual contexts, while 犬 (quǎn) is most used in literal and formal contexts. The latter only appears in compound words, never independently. (One way to think of it is 狗 [gǒu] as “dog” and 犬 [quǎn] as “canine”.)
Dogs that don’t belong to any particular breed are referred to as 土狗 (tǔ gǒu) or 中华田园犬 (Zhōnghuá tiányuán quǎn) in Chinese, literally “soil dogs”, or “Chinese village dogs”. Here are the names of common breed-less dogs in Chinese based on coats and color patterns.
|black dog||黑狗||hēi gǒu|
|white dog||白狗||bái gǒu|
|yellow dog||黄狗||huáng gǒu|
|gray dog||灰狗||huī gǒu|
|multi-colored dog||花狗||huā gǒu|
|long-haired dog||长毛狗||cháng máo gǒu|
|short-haired dog||短毛狗||duǎn máo gǒu|
|hairless dog||无毛狗||wú máo gǒu|
Dog Body Parts in Chinese
Now let’s learn how to talk about the dog body in Chinese, from head to tail. Move your mouse on the picture below and you’ll see the words in Chinese that compose the dog’s body. Most of these words are used for the body parts of other animals as well.
2 of 11 nose
bízi3 of 11 mouth
4 of 11 body
5 of 11 fur
máo6 of 11 tail
wěiba7 of 11 leg
tuǐ8 of 11 paw
zhuǎzi9 of 11 tongue
shétou10 of 11 face
liǎn11 of 11
General Chinese Dog Vocabulary
Still with us? Now is the time to focus on the general vocabulary words related to dogs in Chinese.
|pet dog||宠物狗||chǒngwù gǒu|
|guard dog||看门狗||kān mén gǒu|
|stray dog||流浪狗||liúlàng gǒu|
|dog owner||狗主人||gǒu zhǔrén|
|dog lover||爱狗人士||ài gǒu rénshì|
|to adopt a dog||领养狗||lǐngyǎng gǒu|
|to raise a dog||养狗||yǎng gǒu|
|to train a dog||训狗||xùn gǒu|
|to board a dog||寄养狗||jìyǎng gǒu|
|to feed a dog||喂狗||wèi gǒu|
|to walk a dog||遛狗||liù gǒu|
|dog bed||狗窝||gǒu wō|
|dog food||狗粮||gǒu liáng|
|dog toy||狗玩具||gǒu wánjù|
|pet store||宠物店||chǒngwù diàn|
|pet hospital||宠物医院||chǒngwù yīyuàn|
|pet boarding||宠物寄养||chǒngwù jìyǎng|
|pet hotel||宠物酒店||chǒngwù jiǔdiàn|
Dog Actions in Chinese
The most common dog behaviors include barking, sniffing, chewing, digging, etc. Find out below how to describe each of these dog actions in Chinese.
|to bark (informal)||叫||jiào|
|to bark (formal)||吠||fèi|
|to pant||喘气||chuǎn qì|
|to wag tail||摇尾巴||yáo wěiba|
Dog Commands in Chinese
If you are adopting a Chinese dog, or want to bond with your dog by learning Chinese together, you’re in luck.
Using Chinese dog commands to train your dog can be both fun and effective. And you get to practice your Chinese at the same time! Here are 20 common dog commands in Mandarin Chinese for you and your furry friend.
|Don’t move||别动||Bié dòng|
|Look at me||看我||Kàn wǒ|
|Shake hand||握手||Wò shǒu|
|The other (hand)||另一只||Lìng yī zhī|
|Good dog||好狗狗||Hǎo gǒugou|
|Bad dog||坏狗狗||Huài gǒugou|
You can get even more specific to stop your dog from doing something using the negative command words 不要 (búyào) or 别 (bié) with the dog action verb.
- Don’t bark!
- Don’t run!
Chinese Phrases Related to Dogs
Time to make real-life connections between the dog vocabulary and their use! Here are some useful phrases and sentences involving dogs in Chinese. Try them out for yourself to develop your knowledge of Chinese grammar and Chinese sentence structure.
- Do you like dogs?
Nǐ xǐhuan gǒu ma?
- I Like dogs very much.
Wǒ fēicháng xǐhuan gǒu.
- Do you raise a dog?
Nǐ yǎng gǒu ma?
- I raise (have) a Schnauzer.
Wǒ yǎng le yì tiáo Xuě nà ruì.
- I had a dog. It died.
Wǒ yǎng guò yì tiáo gǒu. Tā sǐ le.
- I live in Beijing with my husband and two dogs.
Wǒ hé wǒ zhàngfu háiyǒu liǎng tiáo gǒu zhù zài Běijīng.
Wǒ xiǎng lǐngyǎng yì tiáo xiǎo gǒu.
I want to adopt a puppy.
- Do you prefer cats or dogs?
Nǐ xǐhuan māo háishì gǒu?
- I like dogs more than cats.
Bǐ qǐ māo, wǒ gèng xǐhuan gǒu.
- Let me show you a photo of my dog.
Wǒ gěi nǐ kàn yì zhāng wǒ jiā gǒu de zhàopian.
- It’s so cute! Is it a boy or a girl?
Tài kě’ài le! Tā shì gōng de háishì mǔ de?
Common Chinese Dog Names
Looking for some inspiration in the world of Chinese dog names? Let’s take a look at the typical names Chinese people give to their furry family members.
According to a recent survey carried out on major pet forums in China, nearly half of the Chinese dog owners named their dogs after their favorite food items, and 24% of the dog names come with a double pair of syllables meant to double the cuteness.
We rounded up the most common classic dog names in Chinese here. Check out the list below:
|Chinese Dog Names||Pinyin Pronunciation||Literal Meaning|
|钱多多||Qiánduōduō||money more more|
Famous Dog Names in Chinese
While we’re at it, we might as well take a quick look at how those famous dogs from TV and movies are named in Chinese.
|Snoopy||史努比||Shǐ nǔ bǐ|
|Pluto||布鲁托||Bù lǔ tuō|
|Scooby Doo||史酷比||Shǐ kù bǐ|
|Bolt Dog||闪电狗||Shǎndiàn gǒu|
|Brian (Family Guy)||布莱恩||Bù lái ēn|
|Slinky Dog (Toy Story)||弹簧狗||Tánhuáng gǒu|
|101 Dalmatians||101忠狗||Yāo líng yāo zhōng gǒu|
Related Reading: How to Translate Foreign Names into Chinese
Expressions with Dogs in Chinese
Wow, we’ve covered so much information about dogs in Chinese in this post! If you’re still in the mood for more, find out our seven favorite Chinese slang and idiomatic expressions featuring dogs.
Here’s the thing though. The notion of dogs is generally perceived as negative in Chinese. For example, calling someone a dog in Chinese is a serious insult, meaning the person is an uncivilized, brainless beast that only follows orders from its master. Many expressions in Chinese that have dogs as their protagonists are used to describe bad guys or awful situations.
Nevertheless, some of the dog expressions are really funny. So, enjoy the list!
累成狗 (lèi chéng gǒu)
“tired like a dog”
What It Means: extremely tired
- 上个星期工作特别多, 我累成狗了。
Shàng gè xīngqī gōngzuò tèbié duō, wǒ lèi chéng gǒu le.
There were loads of work for me last week, and I was exhausted.
- 饿成狗 (è chéng gǒu) – “starved like a dog”
- 冻成狗 (dòng chéng gǒu) – “frozen like a dog”
- 热成狗 (rè chéng gǒu) – “hot like a dog”
单身狗 (dānshēn gǒu)“
What It Means: a pathetic single person (self-mockery)
Wǒ de péngyǒu dōu yǒu duìxiàng le, zhǐyǒu wǒ háishì tiáo dānshēn gǒu.
All my friends have a partner, but I’m still single.
撒狗粮 (sā gǒu liáng)
“scatter dog food”
What It Means: to display affection in public to the “single dogs” (single people)
Zhè duì míngxīng qínglǚ zài quánguó guānzhòng miànqián sā gǒu liáng.
The celebrity couple showed off their love in front of a national audience.
狐朋狗友 (hú péng gǒu yǒu)
“fox friends, dog pals”
What It means: bad friends
Tā xià juéxīn chóngxīn kāishǐ, hé nàxiē hú péng gǒu yǒu yī dāo liǎng duàn.
He was determined to start over and make a clean break with the bad crowd.
阿猫阿狗 (ā māo ā gǒu)
“a cat, or dog”
Meaning: any Tom, Dick, or Harry (unimportant people)
Ā māo ā gǒu yě bǐ nǐ zuò de hǎo.
Any random person can do better than you.
狗拿耗子 (gǒu ná hàozi)
“dog catching mouse”
What It Means: to interfere in someone else’s affairs
Zǒu kāi, bié gǒu ná hàozi, duō guǎn xiánshì.
Go away, mind your own business.
狗嘴里吐不出象牙 (gǒu zuǐ lǐ tǔ bù chū xiàng yá)
“no ivory comes out of a dog’s mouth”
What It Means: no good words are to be expected from a scoundrel
Bié hé tā shuō dàolǐ, zhè gè rén gǒu zuǐ lǐ tǔ bù chū xiàng yá.
Don’t reason with him. No decent language can be delivered from his filthy mouth.
Hooray! You’ve learned all about dogs in Chinese! While you’re here, take the opportunity to explore ImproveMandarin.Com, one of the world’s largest sites dedicated to Mandarin learning.
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By the way, if you’re just starting out to learn Chinese, we strongly recommend you take a structured course online. We’ve taken the time to try out dozens of Chinese courses on the internet, some are fabulous while others are complete junk. Here are the best online Chinese courses for 2022.