How to Say Dog in French?

How to Say Dog in French

Here’s a breakdown of how the word “dog” is used in French, along with commands and affectionate terms, plus key takeaways:

How to Say “Dog” in French

  • Le chien: Masculine, general term for dog
  • La chienne: Feminine, for a female dog

Breeds and Types in French:

  • Le caniche: Poodle
  • Un chiot: Puppy (gender-neutral)
  • Le Berger Allemand: German Shepherd
  • Le teckel: Dachshund
  • And many more!

Body Parts:

  • Les pattes: Paws
  • La queue: Tail
  • La truffe: Nose

Is “Dog” an Insult in French?

Sadly, yes. “Chien” and related phrases can be derogatory:

  • Traiter quelqu’un comme un chien: To treat someone like a dog (badly).
  • Caractere de Chien: Bad personality
  • Crever comme un chien: To die like a dog.

Positive French Dog Phrase

  • Avoir du chien: To be charming (often used for women)

French Dog Commands

  • Pas bouger! Stay
  • Assis! Sit
  • Viens ici! Come here
  • Rapporte!/Cherche! Fetch
  • Arrête! Stop
  • Dehors! Outside

Key Takeaways

  • French offers a rich vocabulary to express your love for dogs, similar to how you might use affectionate nicknames in English.
  • Be aware that the word “chien” itself can have negative connotations in some phrases.
  • Learning French commands is a fun way to bond with your dog and create a unique language between you.
  • Show your dog the same respect and love that they give you!

How to Say Dog in French?

The French language has two different words for both genders to refer to a dog. The feminine term for a dog in the French language is “La chienne,” while the masculine term is “Le Chien.”

However, the vocabulary for dogs in French does not end here. There are a lot of other words in this language that can be used to refer to dogs for different reasons.

Le caniche

If you have a poodle, a water-breed dog, the perfect French word to call it would be Le caniche. This breed is usually easy to train and can be very emotionally sensitive.

It is better to use the specific term for it in French than any other word, as many words in French for dogs are used in a derogatory way.

Un chiot

If you have an adorable little puppy, you might want to refer to him/her as Un chiot. It is a gender-neutral word, i.e., the same word is used for both female and male puppies.

Le Berger Allemand

A German shepherd is a breed of medium to large-sized dogs that originated in Germany. Even though they come from Germany, we have a French name for them. Isn’t that interesting?

Le teckel

This is the French name for a dachshund. It is a short-legged, long-bodied, hound-type dog breed.

Le labrador

In the English language, they may be just called retrievers. But, in French, a Labrador retriever is called Le Labrador.

Le Golden

And just like a Labrador, the golden retriever in the French language is called Le Golden.

And, of course, there are many more.

And other than just the breeds, there are other types of dogs that have a separate meanings in the French language.

Une race de Chien

The word race may not be the right term to refer to breed in English, but in French, it means to breed.

Un Chien guide

The word guide probably gives away the meaning of the word, i.e., a guide dog. Certain dogs with a great sense of smell and decent hunting skills are trained as guide dogs.

Un chien d’assistance

This word assistance means to assist someone, which narrows the meaning of this word to a service word.

How to Say Dog’s Body Parts in French?

If we wish to communicate with our dogs in a different language than our own, we must know certain basics to make communication easier and more effective. When we are young, one of the first things we learn when learning a new language is the body parts.

So just like that, we must know a few words about dogs’ body parts in French to talk to them.

Les pattes

This means a dog’s paws.

La queue

This means a tail.

La truffe

This refers to a dog’s nose


This refers to a female dog’s neck

Is the Word ‘Dog’ Used as an Insult in French?

We all know about the word “bitch” for a female dog in the English language, which is used as an insult to women. And just like that, even in French, the word “Chien” is used as an insult. When used as an adjective, it can mean wretched, ill, or nasty.

Many phrases or idioms in the French language are used to refer to someone or someone’s present condition as that of a dog. Not so thrilling? I guess not.

Dog owners understand how it feels to use the word as an insult. But we do have certain reasons behind these phrases that the French use. We can list some of them, and you could assess the level of their negativity.

Traiter quelqu’un comme un chien

The literal meaning of this phrase suggests treating someone like a dog. And to go more deeply into it, it means to treat someone badly in any way.

We all know that not all dogs around the world are treated equally. Some of them are treated very poorly, mostly the ones who live on the streets. And therefore, the French may use this phrase to refer to someone being treated poorly or badly.

But we all hope that nobody gets treated that way, right?

Caractere de Chien

The meaning of this phrase refers to describing one’s personality as a bad one. You, the proud dog owners, know that it is not true. These loyal animals are the best thing that can happen to us. But sometimes, this phrase is used to highlight one of the minute traits of wild dogs.

Crever comme un chien

This means to die like a dog. And now you must have understood that it does not mean in a good way.

So far, we have discovered that the word Chien is not used in a very lovely manner in French. But, there is one phrase that may incline towards a little softer meaning with the word dog.

Fou comme un jeune chien

We all know puppies can easily go out of hand when they are excited or scared, especially when they have not been trained. They can act crazily. So when French people use this phrase, they mean going crazy like a young dog.

All the phrases mentioned above have a rather negative meaning attached to them. And we know that not all dog lovers like that.

But we all know that even these phrases can not change how adorable and amazing pets dogs can be.

French Expressions Related to Dogs

Some more French expressions on dogs that can increase your French knowledge.

Avoir du chien

This French expression means someone to have a charming personality, usually used to address women. The literal translation is “to have some dog”.

Se regarder en chien de faïence

The literal meaning of the expression is “to look at each other in a coiled, aggressive way​.” The literal translation is “to look at each other like china dog statues.”

How Can You Command Your Dogs in French?

Certainly, getting our dogs under control can sometimes be a difficult task. They get easily excited and go out of control. So, it is very important to train them to handle such situations.

Training takes time, but it is also one of the best ways to bond with your dog and form a strong connection with them. And commands help a lot in the process of training. So, the following is a list of some basic commands that can be used to train your dogs.

  • When they are moving around frantically, and you wish for them to stand still, you can use Pas bouger! And if you want them to sit, you can use Assis!
  • When you have come back from somewhere and are ready to hug your dogs, you see them running toward you. You may call them out in this situation by saying “come here!” affectionately. And the French word for that is Viens ici!
  • While playing with a frisbee or ball, the word Rapporte ! or Cherche ! can be used, which means fetch and search.
  • When you want them to stop doing something, you can use Arrête !.
  • The French words for go inside and go outside are Rentre ! and Dehors, respectively. !

All the commands mentioned above are just restricted for training; whenever you are playing with your dog, they can be used.

Today, we have covered a good amount of dog vocabulary from the French language. We are sure your dog would be impressed to know about what you have learned here.

However, this was not just about learning a few words in a new language but also about the willingness to do something for our pets out of affection.

Certainly, learning a new language is not an easy task. But, if you do it with love, it will help you communicate better with your dogs, and you will know how to say dog in French.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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