We all have a favorite animal at one point or the other and dogs are not left out. In fact, a dog is known as man’s companion all over the world. Many native speakers say “inu” (犬) to mean ‘dog’ in Japanese. This word is probably familiar to many Japanese learners since it is often used in Japanese movies, novels, and other media. The most common phrase to say dog in Japanese is “inu” (犬). However, there are several ways to say dog in Japanese depending on the intent of the speaker. Now that you are ready to acquire knowledge on different ways to say dog in Japanese, you can also familiarize yourself with how to learn Japanese as you progress, sounds cool right? Grab a seat and let’s get started.
12 Different Ways to Call A Dog
- inu – 犬 – Dog
- wanko – ワンコ – Dog
- koinu – 子犬 – Puppy
- doggu – ドッグ – Dog
- kaiinu – 飼い犬 – Pet dog
- wanchan – ワンチャン – Doggie
- Norainu – 野良犬 – Stray dog
- konoko – この子 – This Child
- pochi – ポチ – Pochi
- ken – けん – Matter
- aiken – 愛犬 – Pet Dog
1. inu – 犬 – Dog
The word “inu”(犬) is the most common way to say dog in Japanese. This can also work as plural. Japanese native speakers use this noun to refer to a dog or the plural form dogs since singular and plural forms in Japanese are usually the same. Additionally, it may be used to refer to someone as a spy or secret agent, as in someone else’s “dog“.
2. wanko – ワンコ – Dog
Wanko is a Japanese word used to refer to a dog or a puppy. Depending on the context, it may refer to characters with similar traits to a dog: friendly, loyal, and sweet. Wanko (ワンコ) is also used to describe characters who enthusiastically love their partners, just as dogs love their owners.
3. koinu – 子犬 – Puppy
When your dog is at a young and tender age, the appropriate way to call it in Japanese is Koinu (子犬) otherwise known as a puppy in English. The word Koinu 子犬 consists of two parts: the first part of the word, 子, is the kanji for “child” or “young” and the second part, 犬, is the kanji for “dog“. Therefore, literally translated, the word means a young dog or child dog.
4. doggu – ドッグ – Dog
Japanese also incorporate and mimick some English words and culture. This is evident in the Japanese term doggu ドッグ meaning “dog”. Some non-native Japanese speakers will feel comfortable calling their dog, doggu due to the similarity in tone with the English term dog.
5. kaiinu – 飼い犬 – Pet dog
Kaiinu is a dog you take as a pet in your home. These kinds are dogs are friendly, as they serve as a companion and ease your loneliness, while also encouraging exercise and playfulness. Although, this word is not frequently used by most people it seldomly comes into usage when differentiating a pet dog from a stray dog known as norainu (野良犬), during a conversation.
6. wanchan – ワンチャン – doggie
wanchan (ワンチャン) is another Japanese term for a dog, meaning “doggie”. This term is used mostly by children to call their cute and friendly dogs or to refer to other people’s dogs.
7. Norainu – 野良犬 – Stray dog
Norainu is a term used for a dog that has no owner, a stray dog. These are the kinds of dogs that wander in the streets, and they tend to house parasites such as rabies on their body since no one takes care of them. Although they can be nice, but they can go crazy and be dangerous too.
8. konoko – この子 – This Child
Konoko この子 is another way to say dog in Japanese, which literally translates to “this child”. This term is used to talk about someone’s dog to its owner. Sounds strange right? Some dogs think of themselves as human children, so they get hurt when we treat them as just an animal. Some dog owners feel the same as well. That is why some refer to dogs as konoko (この子) “this child”
9. pochi – ポチ – Pooch
“Pochi” was the most popular dog name in the Meiji Period, which is about 100 years ago in Japan. These kinds of dogs are frequently referred to as pooch just like the English dog names such as Spot or Rover.
10. ken – けん – Dog
Ken is another name to generally call dogs in Japanese. There are different kinds of breeds of ken, and the most popular ones are the 6 iconic Japan’s national dogs known as the Nikon-ken, which include the Kishu Ken, Shikoku Ken, Hokkaido Ken, and others.
11. Aiken – 愛犬 – Beloved dog
Aiken (愛犬) is another Japanese word for a beloved dog. This word is used to show how much you love and cherish your dog. If you have a dog that you admire and cannot do without, the term Aiken is the perfect word to use.
12. Chuuken – 忠犬 – Loyal dog
Dogs are known as man’s best friends because of their loyalty to their owners. The Japanese term to use when describing your dog as “loyal” is “Chuuken”. A breed of dog from northwestern Japan known as “Hachinko” is also referred to as the “Loyal dog” due to its faithfulness to its Master.
Advanced Ways to Call A Dog
- kuroi inu – 黒い犬 ********** – Black dog
- Shiroi Inu – 白い犬 ********** – White dog
- kawaii inu – かわいい犬 – Cute dog
- roken – 老犬 ********** – Old dog
- Ookii Inu – 大きな犬 – Big dog
- Meinu – 雌犬 – Female dog
- Oinu – 雄犬 – Male dog
- Dogguhudo -ドッグフード – Dog food
- kyouken – 狂犬 – Mad dog
- ryouken – 猟犬 – Hunting Dog
1. kuroi inu 黒い犬 – Black dog
The Japanese term Kuroi means black and inu means dog as earlier stated, which translates the phrase kuroi inu to “Black dog”. In Japanese, dogs whose color is black are called kuroi inu meaning black dog.
2. Shiroi Inu – 白い犬 – White dog
The Japanese word for “white dog” is Shiroi inu**.** In the same way, as with the color black, Shiroi means “white”, and you can add the word Shiroi before the noun, inu (dog) to describe or refer to a white dog.
3. kawaii inu – かわいい犬 – Cute dog
The phrase kawaii inu (可愛い犬) literally means cute dog in English. The first term kawaii means cute, tiny or lovable in Japanese, and the noun “inu” translates to dog as earlier mentioned. So, your cute and adorable dog can be referred to as a “kawaii inu”.
4. roken – 老犬 – Old dog
Are you wondering how to say old dog in Japanese? “roken” is the right word to use. Dogs between the ages of 7-11 years can be considered old dogs. Old dogs are sometimes referred to as senior citizens depending on their size and breed.
5. Ookii Inu – 大きな犬 – Big dog
Ookina inu (大きな犬) is the right way to say “big dog” in Japanese. To be considered a big or large-breed dog, a dog must weigh at least 50 pounds (sometimes 70 pounds) and be taller than 24 inches.
6. Meinu – 雌犬 – Female dog
There is a way to differentiate a male from a female dog in Japanese by naming them. Meinu is the word for a female dog. The word “Meinu” means female dog, which can also translate to bitch in English.
7. Oinu – 雄犬 – Male dog
You call your male dog “Oinu” in Japanese to differentiate it from the female breed.
8. kyouken – 狂犬 – Mad dog
The word kyouken means “mad dog”. The term mad dog can be used in several ways depending on the speaker’s intent. a dog is considered mad when the dog is suffering from rabies and may bite indiscriminately. A dog can also be referred to as mad because of its violent disposition, the phrase Kyōbōna inu (凶暴な犬) should be used in this context.
9. ryouken – 猟犬 – Hunting Dog
Dogs used in racing, tracking, dog conformation competition, showmanship, and so on are hunting dogs which translate to ryouken ( 猟犬) in Japanese. A Japanese breed known as Shiba inu is known to hunt for other species of animal
5 Different Japanese Dog Breeds
- Kishu Inu – 紀州犬 – Kishu dog
- Shikoku-ken – 四国犬 – Shikoku dog
- Hokkaido inu – 北海道犬 – Hokkaido dog
- Shiba Inu – 柴犬 – Small dog
- Akita Inu – 秋田犬 – Akita Dog
1. Kishu Inu – 紀州犬 – Kishu dog
Kishu inu is a Japanese purebred native dog that descended from ancient medium-sized breeds and is named after the kishu region. Kishu inu are mostly used for boar and deer hunting. They are often quiet and stalk prey quietly rather than bark. They have a striking resemblance to the Hokkaido breed.
2. Shikoku-ken – 四国犬 – Shikoku dog
From the Island of Shikoku, comes a breed of dog known as Shikoku inu. This dog is energetic, highly alert, marked with endurance, high sense, and a hunting enthusiast. It is easily identifiable with his long-haired tail, and a coat having a well-mixed of black, red, and white hair color. His conformation is strong, well-boned, compact, and mainly used by hunters
3. Hokkaido inu – 北海道犬 – Hokkaido dog
Hokkaido inu is a friendly and loyal dog breed that serves as a companion to their human family. They are a breed noteworthy for endurance and dignity. Their temperament is faithful, docile, very alert, and bold. They also show accurate judgment and great stamina. They are brilliant thinkers and problem solvers, and they excel at tasks given to them
4. Shiba Inu – 柴犬 – Small dog
The Shiba Inu dog breed was originally bred to flush birds and small game and was occasionally used to hunt wild boar. It is the smallest among all other Japanese dog breeds. Shiba Inus are friendly and loyal, they also have an inpatient side and may quickly become provoked by children.
5. Akita Inu – 秋田犬 – Akita Dog
The Akita is a large and powerful dog breed with a noble and intimidating presence. They were originally used for guarding royalty and nobility in feudal Japan. These dogs are also good for hunting. As pets, they are a companion and loyal guardians of their families. They are also affectionate, respectful, and amusing dogs when properly trained and socialized.
How to say Dog Food
Dogguhudo -ドッグフード – Dog food
Dogs have their own food, but how will you ask the salesperson at a Japanese store that you need dog food? The Japanese term for dog food is Dogguhudo (ドッグフード). However, there are other terms such as Doraikiburu (ドライキブル) and Han shimetta kuburu (半 湿った 区ブル) that describe the type of dog food you want. However, “Dogguhudo” is the generalized term for dog food.
Sounds That Dogs Make
There are actually different ways in which dogs make sounds to communicate either with other dogs or their human companion. Sometimes they whine, growl, howl, sigh, groan, and most times they bark. So most times in English we often use words like “ruff” or “bark” to represent dog sounds but in Japanese, dogs sound are represented with wan wan (ワンワン), similar and originating from the English “woof woof” sound for dogs. If the barking was from a small dog the term kyan kyan (キャンキャン) will be used. This term can also be used to represent a small dog that is in distress. Another sound is kuūn (クゥ〜ン ), which is like a pitiful whining sound usually done when a dog is begging for treats. Another sound is Uuuwan (ウーワンッ), a sudden dog bark after growling. Recently, the word wan chan (ワンちゃん) is often used by children to mean doggie and it is created by taking the sound that dogs make and then combining it with the name suffix “chan”.
Time to tell people you own a dog in Japanese
How do you say you own a dog in Japanese? Usually, the word 持つ (motsu) is used to mean “I have” or “I own”. But can this be used for both living and non-living things? Absolutely No! There is another word is used to show possession of a living thing. Generally, the word いる (iru) is used in this sense. For example, when you have a sister, boyfriend, baby, etc, and sometimes for a dog, which is not the exact proper word. When it comes to owning a pet such as a dog, you specifically use the word 飼う (kau), which means “to keep or rear” a pet or other animal such as a cat.
犬を飼います (Inu o kaimasu) – I will have a dog
There are different ways to call a dog in Japanese, depending on their behavior, breed, color, function, and most importantly how close they are to their companion. In this article, we discussed different Japanese words used for dogs, and how and when to use them as well. One way to help with knowing how to call dogs in Japanese is to take up Japanese language courses that will assist you in how to learn Japanese and make you speak like a native in no time. One of the best platforms to learn is AmazingTalker. This online, user-friendly, affordable platform offers a wide range of Japanese courses to suit your needs, as well as native, qualified, and passionate Japanese tutors to assist you. Such courses include Conversational Japanese, Japanese for beginners, Japanese grammar, Japanese for adults, Japanese for travel, etc. These courses are pocket as their price ranges from 11 – 40 USD per lesson. Some of the benefits of this platform are its flexible schedule, you can book classes based on your own schedule. The course can be customized based on your specific learning needs, you also don’t have to commit financially as you can pay for each lesson. You can also learn how to say good morning in Japanese to start your day beautifully.