Dogs

Talking about common interests is good way to connect with someone new. If you like dogs, here is some Spanish vocabulary that could be useful for talking with fellow dog lovers.

Perra

In general, you can refer to male and female animals as machos and hembras, respectively. However, use gender-specific forms when available, especially with pets. A male dog is a perro and a female dog is a perra. You can ask like this: ¿Es perro? ¿O perra? The word perra, like ‘bitch’ in English, also works for ‘obnoxious woman’: Es una perra, that woman’s a bitch.

A Chihuahua, Mexico City

A Chihuahua, Mexico City

Perro callejero

Mexico has a large population of street dogs, called perros callejeros. A few years back there was a popular song, Perra arrabalera, by the Mexican group Molotov. An arrabal is a low-class neighborhood, so the song’s title refers to a low-class, slutty woman. I have used this lyric to practice alternating the pronunciation of r and rr: perra arrabalera, perra arrabalera, perra arrabalera.

Raza

When applied to animals, the noun raza means breed. Ask like this: ¿De qué raza es tu perro?

Here are some dog breeds: gran danés (Great Dane), pastor alemán (German Shephard), dálmata (Dalmation; note the initial stress), san bernardo (Saint Bernard). Many breed names are transparently of foreign origin: bóxer, dóberman. A mutt of indistinct breed could be called a chucho.

To avoid giving offense and/or provoking laughter, don’t confuse a chihuahueño, a dog of the Chihuahua breed, with a chihuahuense, a person from the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

To talk about breeding one dog with another, use the verb cruzar: Quiero cruzar a mi perro con la tuya. I want to breed my dog with yours. This example is a good reminder that we use the so-called personal a with pets when they appear in the direct object position.

Pet

As you know, the noun ‘pet’ is mascota. What you might not know is that the verb ‘pet’ is acariciar, the same verb used for ‘caress’ or ‘stroke’ when the object is human.

Walk your dog

To talk about walking your dog, use the verb pasear: Voy a pasear a mi perro. (Don’t confuse this verb with pasar, pass, happen.) Someone who walks your dog is a paseador, a dog walker. Pick up your dog’s poop, curb your dog = Recoger su caquita, or more formally: sus heces, his feces.

Remember that ‘feed’ is darle de comer: ¿Ya le diste de comer?, Did you feed him yet? Some additional vocabulary: a leash = una correa (Contrast with Korea = corea); a dogtag = una placa.

Some dog commands: Quieto = stay, literally, don’t move. Sentado = sit. Dog training = adiestramiento de perros. To tell a dog to get out of the house/room: ¡Salte! To get/come inside the house: ¡Métete!

Pata

Pata refers to an animal leg, especially the paw. A dog’s fur is its pelaje (masculine). Hocico = snout (also used as an insult for humans: Cállate el hocico). Trufa = dog nose. Col(it)a = tail.