Different Ways to Say Dog in Spanish

In Spanish-speaking countries, dogs are revered and considered man’s best friend, just like in English-speaking countries. The xoloitzcuintle (aka Mexican Hairless) was even the Aztec’s guide to the Underworld. That’s why it should come as no surprise that there is more than one way to talk about our furry (and occasionally bald) friends.

As dog lovers ourselves, we’ve gotten the chance to hear many of the different words people use to refer to dogs in Spanish-speaking countries through house sitting. In this article, we will highlight the different ways to say dog in Spanish, including pronunciation and regional variations, so you’re prepared to talk about man’s best friend on your next visit to a Spanish-speaking destination.

What is the Basic Translation of Dog in Spanish?

The simplest translation of dog in Spanish is “perro.” “Perro” is a common noun used to refer to dogs in Spanish. If you want to say “dogs” in Spanish, you can use the plural form, which is “perros.”

However, the context in which you use the word “dog” in Spanish is critical because there are many ways to translate it, depending on the context and intended meaning.

What is the Basic Translation of Dog in Spanish?

The simplest translation of dog in Spanish is “perro.” “Perro” is a common noun used to refer to dogs in Spanish. If you want to say “dogs” in Spanish, you can use the plural form, which is “perros.”

However, the context in which you use the word “dog” in Spanish is critical because there are many ways to translate it, depending on the context and intended meaning.

Translation Using Context

When translating “dog” into Spanish, it is vital to consider the context. For example, if you are talking about a stray dog, the Spanish word is “perro callejero.” Similarly, if you are referring to a guide dog, you can use “perro guía” or “perro lazarillo.” Many Spanish-speaking countries even have their own colloquial way of referring to dogs, which we’ll explore later in this article.

External Sources for Accurate Translation

To ensure the accuracy of “dog” translations in various contexts, consult an English-Spanish dictionary or search for translations online. This can be especially helpful if you learn about new ways to say dog while traveling in another country. In some contexts, just as in English, “perro” can have drastically different definitions, such as referring to a man who is unfaithful or lazy. 

For instance, in a colloquial context, you might encounter a sentence like “Ese hombre es un perro,” which translates to “That man is a dog,” implying that the man is unfaithful or disloyal. This metaphorical use of “perro” underscores the importance of understanding the context when translating Spanish terms. There are websites such as Así Hablamos and Jergas Hispanas that serve as essentially a version of Urban Dictionary for the Spanish language.

How Do You Say Dog in Spanish Like a Native Speaker?

Learning to pronounce the Spanish word for “dog” like a native speaker is essential, particularly if you plan on visiting a Spanish-speaking country and interacting with locals. If you want to really master your Spanish pronunciation, you should learn how to use speech shadowing. Here are some tips for proper pronunciation:

Pronunciation Guide for the Spanish Word for Dog

The correct pronunciation of the Spanish word “perro” is “peh-ro.” Be sure to roll the “r” in the word “perro” to achieve a native speaker’s sound. A common mistake is to not roll the r enough, which can make the word sound like “pero,” which means “but” in Spanish.

Using Nouns in Spanish to Refer to Dogs

In Spanish, there are a variety of nouns used to refer to dogs, each carrying its own specific connotations relating to the breed, age, or size of the animal. Here are a few examples:

  • “Cachorro” is a term often used to refer to young dogs or puppies, similar to the English term “pup.” This term is widely used across Spanish-speaking countries and is not breed-specific. For example, “El cachorro está jugando en el jardín” translates to “The puppy is playing in the garden.”
  • “Perrito” is a term used to describe small or cute dogs. The suffix “-ito” is a diminutive in Spanish and is used to denote smallness or affection. So, “perrito” could translate to “little dog” or “doggy” in English. For example, “El perrito está durmiendo en su cama” translates to “The little dog is sleeping in his bed.”
  • “Can” is a more formal or technical term used to refer to dogs, similar to the word “canine” in English. While not commonly used in everyday conversation, you might encounter it in written texts or in specific contexts like a vet’s office. For example, “El can fue examinado por el veterinario” translates to “The dog was examined by the vet.”
  • “Sabueso” is a term used specifically for hound breeds. It’s also used metaphorically to refer to someone with a keen sense of smell or someone who is good at finding things. For example, “El sabueso está siguiendo el rastro” translates to “The hound is following the trail.”

Onomatopoeic Expressions Used in Spanish to Refer to Dogs

In Spanish, onomatopoeic expressions, which are words formed from sounds associated with what they represent (like “sizzle,” “crash,” or “pop” in English), offer a unique and playful way to refer to dogs. One such expression is “guau guau,” which mirrors the sound a dog makes and often carries a playful connotation.

A prime example of this is “el guau guau,” an expression primarily used by and with young children to affectionately refer to dogs. Similar to saying “the doggie” in English, “el guau guau” invokes the sound a dog makes when barking and is the Spanish equivalent of “bark bark” in English. This term is often used to engage children in conversations about dogs or when introducing them to a friendly canine companion.

Also, it’s worth noting that “Ladrar” is the verb in Spanish that means “to bark.” These onomatopoeic expressions and related terms add a playful dimension to the language when discussing our canine friends.

What are Some Popular Ways to Refer to Dogs in Spanish?

Here are some popular ways people refer to dogs in Spanish:

  • Perro: The most common way to refer to dogs in Spanish is by using the noun “perro.”
  • Cachorro : If you want to refer specifically to young dogs, you can use the noun “cachorro.”
  • Perrito: “Perrito” is used to refer to small and cute dogs in Spanish. It is an affectionate term for these types of dogs.
  • Lomito and Peludito: “Lomito” and “peludito” are two affectionate terms used to refer to dogs in Spanish. The former translates to “little lion,” while the latter translates to “hairy one.”

Here are some additional ways to refer to dogs in Spanish:

  1. Peludo: Refers to a hairy dog.
  2. Pulgoso: A term for a dog with fleas.
  3. Perrijo/a: A playful term for a small dog.
  4. Chucho: A colloquial term for “dog” in some countries, but its usage can vary regionally.
  5. Cachorrito: Another affectionate term for a “puppy” or “little dog.”
  6. Fido: A common dog name in Spanish-speaking countries.
  7. Firulais: A playful name often used to refer to someone’s dog.
  8. Chiquito/a: A term used to describe a small dog.
  9. Mi gordo/a: An affectionate term meaning “my chubby one.”
  10. Mi bebé: A loving way to refer to a dog as “my baby.”
  11. Bonito/a: A term used to describe a beautiful or pretty dog.
  12. Bola de pelos: A term for a dog with a lot of fur, usually describing a fluffy or hairy dog.
  13. Perro adoptado: A term used to refer to a stray dog or a dog that came to its owner without being specifically sought out.
  14. Solovino: A humorous and widely-used name for a dog that unexpectedly enters your life and never leaves. Derived from “solo vino,” which translates to “he came on his own.”
  15. Can: A more formal term for a dog. This is the word you’ll likely encounter in a veterinarian’s office. Although it simply means “dog,” it serves as an alternative expression.
  16. Canino: This is another term a veterinarian may use to refer to a dog. Similar to “can,” it translates to “dog” and is used interchangeably.
  17. Sabueso: A term often heard in movies or classic cartoons. “Sabueso” specifically refers to a “hound,” but it is sometimes used more broadly as a synonym for “dog.”
  18. Pipeco: This is a bit more slang and only used with friends in a very casual setting. It’s short for “pinche, perro, corriente” translated roughly as “f*cking street dog”.
  19. Mestizo: This refers to a mixed dog.
  20. Perro corriente: Slang for a mixed or street dog.
  21. Perro eléctrico: When someone asks about your dog’s breed and you have no idea because your dog is mixed, you can say it’s “eléctrico.”

Regional Variations in Spanish

Regional variations exist when talking about dogs in Spanish. The terms and expressions mentioned above may be more common in some Spanish-speaking countries than others. Be sure to familiarize yourself with local expressions and slang when visiting a Spanish-speaking country to ensure accurate communication. Some examples of regional variations include:

  • Sato (Puerto Rico): A term for a mixed-breed dog in Puerto Rico.
  • Zaguate (Costa Rica): A term for a mixed-breed dog in Costa Rica.
  • Casi Zaguate (Costa Rica): A term for a dog that looks like a purebred mixed with a mixed-breed in Costa Rica.
  • Quiltro (Chile): A term for a mixed-breed or stray dog in Chile.
  • Mestizo (Colombia, Peru, Ecuador): A term for a mixed-breed dog in Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador.
  • Chucho (Spain, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, Honduras): A colloquial term for a dog, often a mixed-breed or stray, used in Spain, Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico, and Honduras.
  • Perro de la calle (Mexico, Spain): A term for a stray or street dog in Spain, Mexico, and beyond. Literally translates to “dog of the street.” 

Exploring Dog Breed Names in Spanish

Besides the common ways to refer to dogs in Spanish, there are various terms and expressions used to describe specific dog breeds.

In this section, we’ll delve into the names of dog breeds in Spanish. Some breeds have distinct names in English and Spanish, while others share the same name in both languages. It’s worth noting that the English names are often used in Spanish speaking countries, especially for internationally recognized breeds. Furthermore, Spanish naming conventions for dog breeds may vary across different Spanish-speaking regions, so these translations might not be universally applicable.

We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of dog breeds, categorized into those with different names in English and Spanish and those with identical names in both languages.

Dog Breeds with Different Names in English and Spanish:

  • Afghan Hound = Galgo Afgano
  • Alaskan Malamute = Malamute de Alaska
  • American Staffordshire Terrier = Terrier de Staffordshire Americano
  • Australian Cattle Dog = Pastor Ganadero Australiano
  • Australian Shepherd = Pastor Australiano
  • Bernese Mountain Dog = Bernés de la Montaña
  • Bichón Maltés = Maltese
  • Bolognese = Boloñés
  • Braco Alemán = German Shorthaired Pointer
  • Braco de Weimar = Weimaraner
  • Brussels Griffon = Grifón de Bruselas
  • Bulldog Francés = French Bulldog
  • Bulldog Inglés = English Bulldog
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi = Corgi Galés Cardigan
  • Clumber Spaniel = Spaniel de Clumber
  • Corgi Galés = Welsh Corgi
  • Curly-Coated Retriever = Retriever de Pelo Rizado
  • Dalmatian = Dálmata
  • Dogo Argentino = Argentine Dogo
  • Dogo de Burdeos = Dogue de Bordeaux
  • English Cocker Spaniel = Cocker Spaniel Inglés
  • English Setter = Setter Inglés
  • English Springer Spaniel = Spaniel Springer Inglés
  • English Toy Spaniel = Spaniel de Juguete Inglés
  • Field Spaniel = Spaniel de Campo
  • Finnish Spitz = Spitz Finlandés
  • Flat-Coated Retriever = Retriever de Pelo Liso
  • French Bulldog = Bulldog Francés
  • German Shepherd = Pastor Alemán
  • German Shorthaired Pointer = Braco Alemán
  • German Wirehaired Pointer = Braco Alemán de Pelo Duro
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier = Terrier del Glen de Imaal
  • Great Dane = Gran Danés
  • Great Pyrenees = Gran Pirineo
  • Greater Swiss Mountain Dog = Gran Boyero Suizo
  • Greyhound = Galgo
  • Havanese = Havanés
  • Ibizan Hound = Podenco Ibicenco
  • Irish Setter = Setter Irlandés
  • Irish Terrier = Terrier Irlandés
  • Irish Water Spaniel = Spaniel de Agua Irlandés
  • Irish Wolfhound = Lebrel IrlandésItalian Greyhound = Galgo
  • Italian Greyhound = Galgo Italiano
  • Old English Sheepdog = Viejo Pastor Inglés

Dog Breeds with the Same Name in English and Spanish

Many dog breeds share the same name in English and Spanish. While the written names remain identical, it’s important to note that the pronunciation in Spanish follows the standard rules for Spanish pronunciation. Here’s a list of examples:

  • Airedale Terrier
  • Akita
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog
  • Australian Cattle Dog
  • Australian Kelpie
  • Basenji
  • Basset Hound (aka “Sabueso”)
  • Beagle
  • Bearded Collie
  • Belgian Shepherd
  • Belgian Tervuren
  • Bichon Frise
  • Border Collie
  • Border Terrier
  • Boston Terrier
  • Boxer
  • Brittany
  • Bull Terrier
  • Bullmastiff
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Cardigan Welsh Corgi
  • Cavalier King Charles Spaniel
  • Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  • Chihuahua
  • Chinese Crested
  • Chow Chow
  • Clumber Spaniel
  • Coonhound
  • Cocker Spaniel
  • Curly-Coated Retriever
  • Dachshund (alternative Spanish name: Teckel)
  • Dalmatian
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • English Cocker Spaniel
  • English Setter
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • English Toy Spaniel
  • Field Spaniel
  • Finnish Spitz
  • Flat-Coated Retriever
  • Fox Terrier
  • Giant Schnauzer
  • Glen of Imaal Terrier
  • Golden Retriever (aka “Cobrador dorado”)
  • Gordon Setter
  • Greyhound
  • Harrier
  • Ibizan Hound
  • Irish Terrier
  • Irish Water Spaniel
  • Jack Russell Terrier
  • Keeshond
  • Kerry Blue Terrier
  • Komondor
  • Kuvasz
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Lakeland Terrier
  • Leonberger
  • Lhasa Apso
  • Malinois
  • Manchester Terrier
  • Mastiff
  • Miniature Bull Terrier
  • Miniature Pinscher
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Norwegian Elkhound
  • Norwich Terrier
  • Old English Sheepdog
  • Otterhound
  • Papillon
  • Pekingese
  • Pembroke Welsh Corgi
  • Pharaoh Hound
  • Pitbull
  • Plott Hound
  • Pointer
  • Polish Lowland Sheepdog
  • Pomeranian
  • Portuguese Water Dog
  • Pug
  • Puli
  • Redbone Coonhound
  • Rhodesian Ridgeback
  • Rottweiler
  • Saluki
  • Samoyed
  • Schipperke
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Shetland Sheepdog
  • Shiba Inu
  • Shih Tzu
  • Siberian Husky
  • Smooth Fox Terrier
  • Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier
  • Spinone Italiano
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Sussex Spaniel
  • Swedish Vallhund
  • Toy Fox Terrier
  • Vizsla
  • Weimaraner
  • Welsh Springer Spaniel
  • Welsh Terrier
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Whippet
  • Wire Fox Terrier
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • Xoloitzcuintle (also known as Xoloitzquintle, Xoloitzcuintli, Xolo, or Mexican Hairless)
  • Yorkshire Terrier

As you communicate with Spanish speakers about these breeds, ensure you adapt your pronunciation accordingly to be clearly understood.

Describing a Dog’s Appearance or Behavior in Spanish

When talking about dogs in Spanish, you might want to describe their appearance or behavior. Here are some useful adjectives and phrases to help you describe dogs:

  • Grande: Big
    • Mi perro es muy grande y fuerte.
    • My dog is very big and strong.
  • Pequeño: Small
    • Su perro es pequeño pero valiente.
    • Their dog is small but brave.
  • Amigable: Friendly
    • El perro de mi vecino es muy amigable y cariñoso.
    • My neighbor’s dog is very friendly and affectionate.
  • Agresivo: Aggressive
    • Hay un perro agresivo en el parque; ten cuidado.
    • There is an aggressive dog in the park; be careful.
  • Tierno: Tender, sweet
    • El cachorro es tan tierno que me derrite el corazón.
    • The puppy is so sweet that it melts my heart.
  • Valiente: Brave
    • A pesar de su tamaño, ese perro es muy valiente.
    • Despite its size, that dog is very brave.
  • Protector: Protective
    • La perra es muy protectora con sus cachorros.
    • The female dog is very protective of her puppies.
  • Juguetón: Playful
    • Me encanta jugar con mi perro porque es muy juguetón.
    • I love playing with my dog because he is very playful.
  • Leal: Loyal
    • Los perros son animales leales y amorosos.
    • Dogs are loyal and loving animals.
  • Inteligente: Intelligent
    • Mi perro es muy inteligente y aprende rápido.
    • My dog is very intelligent and learns quickly.
  • Peludo: Hairy, furry
    • El perro de Laura es tan peludo que necesita cepillarlo todos los días.
    • Laura’s dog is so furry that she needs to brush it every day.
  • Esbelto: Slender, slim
    • Su galgo es un perro esbelto y rápido.
    • Their greyhound is a slim and fast dog.
  • Musculoso: Muscular
    • El bulldog francés es un perro pequeño pero musculoso.
    • The French bulldog is a small but muscular dog.
  • Elegante: Elegant
    • Los perros de raza afgano son muy elegantes y llamativos.
    • Afghan Hounds dogs are very elegant and eye-catching.
  • Manso: Gentle, mild-mannered
    • El gran danés es un perro manso y tranquilo.
    • The Great Dane is a gentle and calm dog.
  • Obediente: Obedient
    • Después de la clase de adiestramiento, mi perro es mucho más obediente.
    • After the training class, my dog is much more obedient.
  • Travieso: Mischievous, naughty
    • El cachorro es travieso y siempre se mete en líos.
    • The puppy is mischievous and always gets into trouble.
  • Inquieto: Restless
    • El perro está inquieto porque quiere salir a pasear.
    • The dog is restless because it wants to go for a walk.
  • Cariñoso: Affectionate
    • Mi perro es muy cariñoso y siempre busca mimos.
    • My dog is very affectionate and always seeks cuddles.
  • Dominante: Dominant
    • El perro alfa del grupo es dominante y controla a los demás.
    • The alpha dog in the group is dominant and controls the others.
  • Tímido: Shy, timid
    • El perro rescatado es tímido y necesita tiempo para adaptarse.
    • The rescued dog is shy and needs time to adapt.
  • Enérgico: Energetic
    • El border collie es un perro enérgico y necesita mucho ejercicio.
    • The border collie is an energetic dog and needs a lot of exercise.
May and a dog looking at a Osorno Volcano in Chile.

What are Some Common Mistakes Made When Referring to Dogs in Spanish?

1. Using the Right Article When Talking About a Dog in Spanish

In Spanish, you should pay attention to the article you use when referring to a masculine or a female dog. Remember, the word “perro” is a masculine noun so you should use the word “un” next to it. If you don’t know the gender of the dog, then the masculine form is the default.

On the other hand, if you want to refer to a female dog, you’ll need the word “una” and say “una perra.” Some people prefer to use the word “hembra” (female) instead of “perra.”

2. Understanding the Correct Pronunciation of the Word “Perro” in Spanish

Like we’ve mentioned before, the correct pronunciation of “perro” in Spanish is “peh-ro,” with a rolled “r” sound. Not rolling the “r” when saying the word will change the meaning of what you want to say, so make sure to pronounce the word correctly to avoid confusion. 

Have trouble with the trilled R sound? Learn how to roll your Rs in Spanish here.

3. Avoiding Confusion Between the Words “Perro” and “Pero” in Spanish

When speaking or writing Spanish, it’s essential to distinguish between “perro” and “pero.” The former, “perro,” refers to a dog, while the latter, “pero,” serves as a conjunction equivalent to “but” in English. Mispronunciation or misuse can lead to confusion in conversation. Here are a few examples to illustrate the difference:

  • Mi perro es grande pero amigable.”
    • In this sentence, “perro” means “dog” and “pero” serves as a conjunction meaning “but.” The sentence translates to “My dog is big but friendly.”
  • “Quiero un perro, pero vivo en un apartamento pequeño.”
    • Here, “quiero un perro” means “I want a dog,” and “pero vivo en un apartamento pequeño” means “but I live in a small apartment.” The entire sentence translates to “I want a dog, but I live in a small apartment.”

Remember that while “perro” and “pero” are written similarly and may sound similar to non-native speakers, they have different meanings and usages in a sentence.”


There are many ways to refer to dogs in Spanish, depending on the context, the dog’s breed or age, and the speaker’s relationship with the dog. Familiarize yourself with these terms and expressions to enhance your understanding of the Spanish language and better communicate with native speakers about man’s best friend.

Frequently Asked Questions

The most common and formal way to say “dog” in Spanish is “perro.”

In Spanish, “puppy” can be translated to “cachorro” or its diminutive form “cachorrito.”

Yes, some popular slang terms for “dog” in Spanish speaking countries include “firulais, “peludo,” “chucho,” “lomito,” and “peludito.” These terms may vary depending on the region.

A “stray dog” in Spanish can be referred to as “perro callejero” or “perro de la Calle.”

The Spanish onomatopoeia for a dog’s bark is “guau guau.”

“Perro” is pronounced as /’pe-ro/ and “cachorro” as /ka-‘ʧo-ro/ in Spanish.

Here’s an example of how to use “perrito” in a sentence: “El perrito está jugando en el parque” means “The little dog is playing in the park” in English.

A “sabueso” is a term used to describe a “hound” or “scenthound” in Spanish. It is typically used to refer to specific dog breeds known for their tracking abilities.

A “seeing-eye dog” can be referred to as “perro guía” or “lazarillo” in Spanish.

The term “niño de perro” literally means “dog’s child” but it is actually used to describe a louse or flea, not a kind of dog. It is an informal and colloquial expression in Spanish-speaking countries.

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