Dog English

Dog English

“Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail.”

Kinky Friedman, an American singer

Are you a dog person or a cat person? Do you happen to be both? Check out our Cat English post and read on if you have a soft spot for dogs too. They say Dog is Man’s best friend, and so we are happy to dedicate this post to our four-legged friends. We’ll look at useful dog vocabulary, including popular breeds, idioms and collocations useful for dog owners and lovers.


Breed Picture About the dog
Beagle /ˈbiːɡ(ə)l/ pexels-photo-879788.jpeg Beagles are commonly used for hunting hares.
German shepherd /ˈʃɛpəd/ pexels-photo-350428.jpeg German shepherds are some of the most intelligent dogs.
Golden retriever /rɪˈtriːvə/ night-garden-yellow-animal.jpg A retriever is a dog used for retrieving game (game – animals/birds hunted for sport or food; to retrieve – (of a dog) to find and bring back (game)).
Labrador /ˈlabrədɔː/ wildlife-photography-pet-photography-dog-animal-159541.jpeg Labradors are often used as guides for blind people.
Poodle /ˈpuːd(ə)l/ dog-doggy-hunting-dog-hundeportrait-162187 Poodles’ coat if often ornamentally clipped (= cut). 
St Bernard /ˈbəːnəd/ ben-konfrst-759411-unsplash St Bernards are rescue dogs.
Dalmatian /dalˈmeɪʃ(ə)n/ pexels-photo-101634 Dalmatians are all-purpose dogs.
Bulldog /ˈbʊldɒɡ/ english-bulldog-bulldog-canine-dog-40544.jpeg Over 80 percent of bulldogs are delivered by Caesarean /sɪˈzɛːrɪən/ section (source).
Siberian /sʌɪˈbɪərɪən/ husky /ˈhʌski/ pexels-photo-434090.jpeg Huskies are used in the Arctic for pulling sledges.
Pomeranian /ˌpɒməˈreɪnɪən/ (a kind of spitz, a dog of a small breed with a pointed muzzle) pexels-photo-732456 Pomeranians are also known as Poms or Pom Poms.
Yorkshire terrier /ˈtɛrɪə/ pexels-photo-179107.jpeg Yorkshire terriers are said to make funny noises.
Boxer pexels-photo-850602.jpeg Boxers are lovers, not fighters.
Newfoundland dog 90.jpg The dogs are named after the island of Newfoundland.
Pug /pʌɡ/ pexels-photo-374898 The pug is famous for its deeply wrinkled face.
Dachshund /ˈdakshʊnd,ˈdaks(ə)nd/ pexels-photo-688694 The dachshund is a very energetic dog.
Chihuahua /tʃɪˈwɑːwə/ pexels-photo-191353 The chihuahua breed originates in Mexico.
Shih-tzu /ʃiːˈtsuː/ pexels-photo-936317.jpeg The shih-tzu breed originates in China.
Bull terrier /ˌbʊl ˈter.i.ər/ Bull-Terrier-On-White-03 Bull terriers are sometimes hard of hearing.
Cocker (spaniel)  pexels-photo-460903.jpeg Cocker spaniels are said to be good-natured dogs.
Pekingese /ˌpiːkɪˈniːz/ (plural – Pekingese) pexels-photo-283014.jpeg The Pekingese is a lapdog, originally brought to Europe from China.

Sorry if nothing has been said about the breed of your dog! Sure enough, there are many more breeds, and they all deserve our attention. We hope we can make up for not including your favorite breed in the list by teaching you some useful vocabulary any dog lover and/or owner would need:

Owning a dog is a great joy, but with that joy comes a certain level of responsibility to both Rover and your neighbors.

Make sure your pooch is healthy. To keep him running in tip-top condition, don’t underestimate the importance of good food and regular vet check-ups and vaccination. Always have water at your dog’s disposal and limit table scraps.

Keep your dog free of fleas and ticks. Special collars, regular bathing and grooming will help in the process.

Some dogs are sometimes left unattended outdoors, so it’s important to make sure they are in a physical or electric fenced yard.

It’s always a good idea to ID your dog. An identification tag should include the dog’s name, your address and phone number. These days, some owners have their pets microchipped.

Fido‘s mental health is as important as his physical health is. So, play with him, give him treats, toys and belly scratches.

A very important part of a good master-dog relationship is training. Teach your dog basic commands, such as sit, stay, come, down and heel. You may want to take your dog to obedience class.

Always clean up after your dog.

  • Rover, Fido /ˈfʌɪdəʊ/ – generic pet dog names
  • pooch – dog (informal)
  • to run in tip-top condition(here) to be perfectly healthy
  • at your dog’s disposal – available for your dog to use at any time
  • scraps – bits of uneaten food left after a meal
  • flea – a small jumping insect that lives on animals and bites them
  • tick – a small insect that sucks blood of a human or animal
  • grooming – cleaning and brushing (a dog)
  • unattended – left without being looked after
  • electric fenced yard – a yard with an electric fence
  • to ID a dog – to use an identification tag to provide information on your dog
  • belly scratch – belly rub
  • heel – the command which means the dos should walk next to you (not behind or in front of you)
  • obedience class – dog training

Now that you have learned the vocabulary, watch the video to practice listening. Almost all of the words and phrases from the list above are used in the video:

More useful vocabulary from the video:

  • upstanding (citizen) – honest, respectable
  • to look sharp – to look great
  • scruff of the neck – the back of the neck
  • to go on walks – to walk the dog
  • no science behind this one – it’s easy to understand this
  • to fetch – to go/run for sth. and then bring it back
  • for the sake of… – for…
  • eliminations – poop
  • for years to come – for years (in future)


Finally, let’s look at 10 common “dog” idioms:

  1. every dog has his day – something good happens to everyone: My day will come! Every dog has his day. 
  2. to bark up the wrong tree – to misdirect one’s energy, attention: You are barking up the wrong tree if you think I’ll help you. 
  3. to call off the/one’s dogs – to stop criticizing/attacking sb.: Call off your dogs. Let’s just talk. 
  4. to fight like cats and dogs – to have angry arguments: We always fight like cats and dogs. Maybe we should just break up.
  5. let sleeping dogs lie – leave things undisturbed: We should let sleeping dogs lie. Otherwise, there may be problems. 
  6. to rub (sb.) the wrong way – to annoy sb.: Your jokes rub me the wrong way! Would you stop?
  7. top dog – a person/organization that is the most successful/powerful: You’re a top dog, so I’ll just listen to what you say. 
  8. to work like a dog – to work very hard: I’ve been working like a dog for 2 years!
  9. you can’t teach an old dog new tricks – a person of settled habits can’t adopt new methods/ideas: He refuses to try this approach. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 
  10. to turn tail – to escape, run away: When I saw a man with a knife moving in my direction, I turned tail. 

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