All about Dogs in Chinese: Vocab, Breeds, Names, and More

dog in Chinese

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).

EnglishChinesePinyin Pronunciation
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.

poodle dog in Chinese


Guì bīn
golden retriever dog in Chinese


Jīn máo
Golden Retriever
husky dog in Chinese


Hā shì qí
Siberian Husky
pomeranian dog in Chinese


Bó měi
samoyed dog in Chinese


Sà mó yē
border collie dog in Chinese


Biān mù
Border Collie
corgi dog in Chinese


Kē jī
french bulldog in Chinese


Fǎ dòu
French Bulldog
bichon frise dog in Chinese


Bǐ xióng
Bichon Frise
schnauzer dog in Chinese


Mí nǐ xuě nà ruì
Miniature Schnauzer
yorkshire terrier dog in Chinese


Yuē kè xià
Yorkshire Terrier
shiba inu dog in Chinese


Chái quǎn
Shiba Inu
labrador retriever dog in Chinese


Lā bù lā duō
Labrador Retriever
alaskan malamute dog in Chinese


Ā lā sī jiā
Alaskan Malamute
chow chow dog in Chinese


Sōng shī
Chow Chow
chihuahua dog in Chinese


Jí wá wa
pug dog in Chinese


Bā gē
shih tzu dog in Chinese


Xī shī
Shih Tzu
pekingese dog


Jīng bā
tibetan mastiff dog in Chinese


Zàng áo
Tibetan Mastiff
akita dog in Chinese


Qiū tián
collie dog in Chinese


Sū mù
german shepherd dog in Chinese


Dé mù
German Shepherd
sheltie dog in Chinese


Xǐ lè dì
old english sheepdog in Chinese


Gǔ mù
Old English Sheepdog
rottweiler dog in Chinese


Luó wēi nà
maltese dog in Chinese


Mǎ ěr jì sī
dalmatian dog in Chinese


Dà mài dīng
beagle dog in Chinese


Bǐ gé
pit bull in Chinese


Bǐ tè
Pit Bull

Some dogs are purposely bred or trained to serve people. Here’s how to say the types of working dogs in Chinese.

EnglishChinesePinyin Pronunciation
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
hound猎犬liè 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.

EnglishChinesePinyin Pronunciation
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.

dog body parts in Chinese



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General Chinese Dog Vocabulary

Still with us? Now is the time to focus on the general vocabulary words related to dogs in Chinese.

EnglishChinesePinyin Pronunciation
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
kennel犬舍quǎn shè
dog bed狗窝gǒu wō
dog food狗粮gǒu liáng
dog toy狗玩具gǒu wánjù
leash牵引绳qiānyǐn shéng
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 cafe in China
Much like cat cafes, dog cafes or 狗咖 (gǒu kā) in Mandarin, are becoming popular in big cities of China attributed to a desire to interact with dogs to help relieve the stress of a busy urban life.

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.

EnglishChinesePinyin Pronunciation
to bark (informal)jiào
to bark (formal)fèi
to howlháo
to sniffwén
to licktiǎn
to biteyǎo
to chewjiáo
to gnawkěn
to pant喘气chuǎn qì
to wag tail摇尾巴yáo wěiba
to runpǎo
to jumptiào
to chasezhuī
to scratchzhuā
to digpáo
to playwán

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.

EnglishChinesePinyin Pronunciation
Lie down躺下Tǎngxia
Get out出去Chūqu
Don’t move别动Bié dòng
Drop it松开Sōngkai
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.

For example:

  • Don’t bark!
    Bié jiào!
  • Don’t run!
    Bié pǎo!

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.
  • 我想领养一条小狗。
    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?
  • It’s a boy. His name is…
    Shì gōng de. Tā de míngzi jiào

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 NamesPinyin PronunciationLiteral Meaning
馒头Mántousteamed bun
汤圆Tāngyuánround dumpling
皮蛋Pídàncentury egg
奶茶Nǎichábubble tea
豆豆Dòudoubean bean
多多Duōduomore more
旺旺Wàngwangprosperous prosperous
乐乐Lèlejoy joy
果果Guǒguofruit fruit
钱多多Qiánduōduōmoney more more
大黄Dàhuángbig yellow
小黑Xiǎohēilittle black

Famous Dog Names in Chinese

famous dog names in Mandarin 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.

EnglishChinesePinyin Pronunciation
Snoopy史努比Shǐ nǔ bǐ
Goofy高飞Gāo fēi
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 Dalmatians101忠狗Yāo líng yāo zhōng gǒu
Hachikō八公Bā gōng

Related Reading: How to Translate Foreign Names into Chinese

Expressions with Dogs in Chinese

Mandarin dog expressions

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.

Similar Expressions:

  • 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)

“single dog”

What It Means: a pathetic single person (self-mockery)


  • 我的朋友都有对象了,只有我还是条单身狗
    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)


  • 这对明星情侣在全国观众面前撒狗粮
    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


  • 他下决心重新开始,和那些狐朋狗友一刀两断。
    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)


  • 阿猫阿狗也比你做得好。
    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


  • 走开,别狗拿耗子,多管闲事。
    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


  • 别和他说道理,这个人狗嘴里吐不出象牙
    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 2024.

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