What Do You Call A Male Dog? (The Interesting Naming Truth)
Do you have a nickname for your dog? I know that my dog has at least three - not that he responds to all of them. They’re more for me, I think!
I realized some time ago that while I know the word for a female dog, I don’t know what a male dog is officially called. Do both dog genders have their own specific name, or is there only one for female dogs?
This was bothering me, so I decided to put on my glasses and do some in-depth research. And today I am here to share the results of my official dog naming research with you!
What Are Male And Female Dogs Called?
A standard male dog is simply called a dog! If you want to get technical, this means that the dog is not used for breeding and has not fathered any young.
This practice of calling all the males of a specific breed simply by the breed name is very common with animals, particularly with canines. The only animal I can think of offhand where this differs is with cats! Female cats are usually just called cats, while male cats are often referred to as tomcats.
A standard female dog can be referred to as a bitch, though many people are starting to use this word less and less because of the negative connotations that it holds towards human females. If it is important to note the distinction, most people will use the breeding word for a female dog - a dam.
Did you know that there was once another word used to refer to male dogs that was also used as an insult to men? This word was “cur.” Cur had a very similar connotation to bitch and was used to insult men and to refer to male dogs.
When it comes to breeding terminology, however, there are different words that are used to refer to male and female dogs.
Male breeding dogs that have not yet fathered young are called stud dogs, and once they father a litter, they are called a sire. When listing a dog’s pedigree, the dog’s father is called a sire.
The dog’s mother is referred to as a dam when listing the dog’s pedigree. Otherwise, she is still referred to as a bitch or simply a female within the breeding world.
It is important to note that these words are only used when referring to pedigree and breeding, however, and not to a single dog. So, I would never call my neighbor’s dog a sire, even if he is a boy! It would simply be too weird to do so.
Curious about how pedigrees work for dogs? Here is some more information about a dog’s pedigree and how to read it:
So Can I Call My Pets Sire And Dames?
The words “sire” and “dam” should only be used in reference to a specific dog’s pedigree or a specific litter. They are not used to refer to a dog that has fathered puppies generally - only in relation to his pups.
So, you could say that “This dog is the sire of this litter,” but you would not say “my dog is a sire” when someone asks you what gender of dog you own.
It can be very confusing, however, so just pick the words that work best for you and be sure to make your intentions clear to others.
What About Other Countries?
In some places around the world, there are more distinct words to refer to males and female dogs! Of course, each language has their own words, so I will focus on English-speaking countries around the world.
In the UK, male dogs are sometimes referred to as a “rude.” This likely has Germanic roots, where the male dog is referred to as a rueded.
In rural Australia, female dogs are called bitches and male dogs are sometimes called mongrels. These words are not often used in politically correct circles, but you might hear them on a farm or with working animals.
So, What Should I Call My Pets?
It can be difficult to know the best way to talk about animals, especially when some words used to refer to dogs are also used as insults for humans!
If you are working in a field where you need to work with other breeders, it can be best to stick to sire and dam for pedigree purposes. But not everyone has the same ideas, so I have another idea on how to refer to your dogs.
Here are the words that I’ve found are easiest to use:
If you use these words, there will be no confusion about what type of dog you are referring to! While they may not be the words that other owners prefer to use, you’ll be giving a very clear description every single time.
Remember These Terms!
There you have it - the official name for a male dog is a sire, while the official name for a female dog is a bitch. Still, these words aren’t commonly used by dog owners, are they? We usually just say “oh, she’s a girl” or “he’s a boy,” when someone asks after the gender of our dogs.
I still highly recommend using male, female, spayed female, and neutered male in cases where you believe it’s important to be clear and professional about what type of dog you are talking about.
Either way, it’s good to know the official names for the different genders. You never know when this information will come in handy!