Differences between animals


Last night I couldn’t sleep so, as it is normal, I started thinking about weird existencial doubts…

I know in Japanese there’s no distinction between gender and number, but I was wondering if there were any exceptions with animals. Like in English, there’s mostly no difference either, but then you have ‘doe’ and ‘stag’ or ‘dog’ and ‘bitch’ or ‘cow’ and ‘bull’, etc etc

My knowledge about Japanese is still limited, sorry if it can sound a bit stupid question :pray:

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There are prefixes used for some animals, at least: 雄犬 (male dog) / 雌犬 (female dog). But someone else will have to answer how often and in what context they’re used, and which animals take those prefixes. Most of the time you just see 犬.


There are some. I’m not really an expert on animals, but ハイタカ and コノリ are, respectively, female and male sparrowhawks (though I think you can use ハイタカ to refer to either one). There’s also 青ベラ and 赤ベラ for a male and female kind of fish.

Sometimes kun readings can be the same, but the gender differentiation comes from the kanji used. Like 鴦 and 鴛 (おしどり) or 凰 and 鳳 (おおとり).


As a native English speaker, ‘bitch’ is considered a swear word. Not saying you’re wrong, because that is what it means, but please don’t go around calling people’s pets bitches!


Depending on the owner they’ll do it for you. Although I mostly hear it used by professional breeders.


According to my Japanese teacher and his Japanese wife at least 雌の and 雄の are the more common way to phrase it.


Well, everything is about context. The equivalent word is also a swear in my language but it hear it quite often especially from dog owners. No one should get offended.


Only when used to refer to a person. It’s literally the proper term for a female dog, according to pretty much any dictionary. And in the context of dog training and breeding, it’s commonly used (I suppose it depends on the region, but the more ‘in context’ you get, the more commonly it will be used).

Of course, that’s not to say that some/many native English speakers would not find it offensive to their ears, and may even consider it an insult (if referring to a beloved pet). Just saying that this is a relatively new phenomenon in English language, because of the slang insult version ‘rubbing off’ its meaning to the original word in general.


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