There are as many foreign words for dog as there are languages. In English, dog is, of course, the preferred nomenclature, but there are even a wide range of variants in our own tongue, with new ones popping up all the time. We’ve got pup, pupper and doggo, for instance. You might think a word like poochhas been around forever, but both the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam-Webster assert that it didn’t appear until the 1920s!How do people say dog in other languages?

What is Spanish for dog?: Romance languages

Romance languages have nothing whatever to do with wine, roses, candlelight or the 1955Disney film, Lady and the Tramp,where the titulardogs eat the same piece ofspaghetti until they’re kissing. No, we simply mean those languages thatdeveloped from Latin. Why don’t we start there?

How do you say dog in Latin? The word is canis, which you’ll recognize as the root of words we use all the time, like canine and canid. Interestingly, the word for puppy—catulus—is the same word used for manybaby animals, including kittens and puppies. Little Caecilius must’ve been shocked when his parents told him he could finally havea catulus, only to find a bear cub sharing his room.

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How do you saydog in French? In the Francophone world, a male dog is achien, while its female counterpart is achienne!
This “chien,” a French Bulldog, is lazy in any language. (Photo via MaxPixel)How do you saydog in Italian?Let’s jump to Italian, where they call adogcaneorcagna, depending on whether it is male or female. Fans of large breeds will recognize the term from the name of the Cane Corso. Like Latin, the “a” incane is pronounced with an “ah”sound.How to saydog in Portuguese?The words you’re looking for when you visit Portugal, Brazil or Mozambique will becão and cadela! Try resist laughing and makingbarnyard noiseswhen a native speaker points to a dog and says a word that sounds like cow.Cachorro is also an acceptable term for any dog.

What is the Dutch word for dog?: Germanic languages

Many police dogs and military dogs employed by law enforcement agencies all over the globe are bred and trained in Belgium and Germany. Agents to whom they are assigned may likewise be taughtthe basic commands of the training language. This tends to be a simpler approach, after dogs have been through a 12-16 week instruction program, then having to retrain them to acknowledge all new commands in another tongue.

How do you saydog in German?The German word fordog isHund. Nouns, including proper names, are typically capitalized in the German language. You’ll have noticed by now, that, outside of English, in whichdog is equally applicable for males and females, most other languages drawa distinction between them. In German, a female dog is called aHündin.
A dog is a “hund” in German, Danish, and Norwegian. (Photo via Pixabay)What is the Dutch word fordog? Should you find yourself in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Belgium,Curaçao or Suriname, you’ll ask people if you can pet theirhond. Not since Latin and Italian have we had two words so similar in spelling and appearance. The word for a female dog isteef, pronounced with a long “A” sound.What is the Danish word fordog?In Denmark, the word for dog is exactly the same as it is in Germany, to wit,hund. A female dog, on the other hand, is ahunhund.How to saydog in Norwegian?There’s a noteworthy symmetry among the major Germanic languages. In Norway, a dog is ahund.

Languages of the Pacific Rim

Asian languages could not be more distinct from each other, due in part to historical isolation and specific dialects. Let’s look at what you’d call a dog in some of the primary languages of the Far East.

How do you saydog in Japanese? You might not realize it, but you probably already know the word fordog in Japan. It’s written犬, and transcripted as “Inu,” as in the always popular Shiba Inu and the Akita Inu breeds.
“Inu” is Japanese for “dog.”(Photo by Taro the Shiba Inu on Flickr)What is the Chinese word for dog?This one’s a bit of a totalizing question, since there are many dialects spoken throughout China, the top 4 of which have tens of millions of speakers. The most common, by far, is Mandarin, and the word in that tongue is狗, transcripted as “gǒu.” Its pronunciation is similar to the Portuguese, something like “cow.”How to say dog in Korean?On the Korean Peninsula, the word for dog is개, written out as “gae,” and pronounced “geh.”

In the global bazaar: Sayingdog around the world

We readily admit that even our first two language-family groupings, Romance andGermanic, are imprecise at best. Both of those language groups, and a fewindividual languageswe’ll cover next, are members of the larger Indo-European language family.

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How do you saydog in Arabic?Arabic is in the Semitic language family. There are nearly 300 million people on Earth who refer to a dog with the wordالكلب, which is transcripted as “al kalb” or just “kalb.”How do you saydog in Hebrew?Hebrew is another in the Semitic family of languages. In Israel, the proper word isכֶּלֶב, written out and pronounced “kelev.”
In Arabic, the dog is “al kalb.” (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)What is the Russian word fordog?Russian is a member of the Indo-European family, like French, English and German. In Russia and several former territories of the Soviet Union, a dog is aсобака, which is transcripted and pronounced as “sobaka.”What isdog in Greek? Technically an Indo-European language, Greek is in its own category as the primary Hellenic language. In Greece, a dog is aσκύλος, written out as “skýlos,” where the “y” is spoken with an “ee” sound.What isdog in Hindi? We conclude our survey of how people saydog around the worldon the subcontinent. In India, a dog is aकुत्ता, written out as “kutta,” where the “u” is pronounced as “oo.”

Since dogs began living with human beings many thousands of years ago, they’ve followed us all over the world and have begged us for table scraps at every stop along the way. Dogs have crossed land bridges on foot, taken to the waves on sea-going vessels and, these days, they find homes by way of planes, trains and automobiles. Wherever they go, they find a new linguistic tradition witha different name for the species. What words fordog that we didn’t cover here are your particular favorites?