How to Talk about your Dog in English

How to talk about your dog in English? How to talk about  Man’s Best Friend?

To many people, a dog is part of the family, not just a pet or an animal. Describing your dog should not be too difficult — you know your dog so well!

But when it comes down to it, many English learners have no actual idea where to begin when talking about their dog.

Let’s take a look at how to do it…

 

What is a Dog? A Basic Introduction.

 

A dog is an animal — of course. But more specifically, a canine. But you don’t need to use this word. You can just say the word DOG.

A dog has four legs and on the end of these legs, four paws. You can use the word PAWS or FEET — but most people say PAWS.

A dog also has a tail — Sometimes long, sometimes short. Sometimes very thin, other times very bushy.

He also has two ears, of course. His ears could be big or small. Sharp and pointed or floppy.

And a dog has dark brown eyes — sometimes a dog might have different coloured eyes — but usually dark brown.

A dog is very friendly. A dog is also extremely loyal and devoted — he will love you no matter what.

Dogs also love to play with people. Throwing a ball with a dog is great fun to him!

They often like water. If they see a river or a lake, they might want to jump in and swim around.

And they love to chase things. Other animals such as cats, squirrels or rabbits. But also things like cars!

People often love their pet dog and regard it as one of the family. They love to spend time with their dog and let the dog sleep inside the house.

 

So that is a brief introduction about dogs.

But let’s look at dogs in some more detail.

 

How to Describe the Physical Appearance of your Dog

 

Don’t think of describing the physical appearance of your dog as one thing. Separate it into smaller categories — then it becomes easier.

  • size
  • colour
  • shape/style/body
  • general qualities

 

How Big or Small is your Dog?

 

This is the easiest thing to start with. You can say:

  • My dog is big
  • My dog is small
  • My dog is medium size

 

Those are the main words you need — big, small, medium-size.

But you could also say things like:

  • My dog is very big.
  • My dog is kind of small.
  • My dog is not that big.
  • My dog is tiny.

 

It depends on the size of your dog.

 

What Colour is your Dog?

 

Dogs usually come in these main colours:

  • black
  • brown
  • white
  • red
  • grey

Any of these colours or a combination of them.

 

So you could say:

  • My dog is black.
  • My dog is light brown with some white patches.
  • My dog is mainly black, but he has a white line on his head and his paws and belly are white too.
  • My dog is deep red in colour.

 

What is your Dog’s Body Style or Shape?

 

Your dog might have a very distinctive body shape. For example, if you have a dachshund, you might describe your dog as having a long body.

Equally, some dogs have a very powerful or elegant look. I always think Alsations or German Shepherds have a very elegant shape. Their bodies seem to slope down from their shoulders to their backside.

Other dogs, such as Rottweilers, have a very strong body. You can see their muscles clearly in their shoulders, back and legs.

Think clearly about your dog’s body shape and describe it.

 

The General Qualities of your Dog

 

Certain features might be very obvious when talking about your pet dog.

So you might say, my dog has really pointed ears.

Or, my dog has a very long tail that he wags when he is happy.

Or your dog might have really soft fur — I love stroking my dog, he has such soft fur.

 

Think about some features of your dog that really stand out. Something about one of the following qualities:

  • eyes
  • ears
  • nose
  • speed
  • strength
  • tail
  • bark

 

Or it could be something else. He is your dog, so you need to think about this.

 

What Breed is your Dog?

 

There are many different breeds of dog in the world.

It would be impossible to list them all here.

But we can take a look at the most popular breeds of dog. Take a look at the list below and see if your dog looks like one of them. Chances are, this is your dog’s breed too.

  • Labrador Retriever
  • German Shepherd/Alsation
  • Golden Retriever
  • Beagle
  • Bulldog
  • Poodle
  • French Bulldog
  • Yorkshire Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • Boxer
  • Dachshund
  • Siberian Husky
  • Pug
  • Border Collie

 

This is by no means an exhaustive list. But it should feature the most popular and well-known breeds.

If you don’t see your dog here, then you might be able to find out what your dog’s breed is by checking here — What Breed is my Dog? 

You can also play this game to find out about your dog — What’s My Dog? 

 

 

How to Describe your Dog’s Appearance

 

Let’s look at three pictures of different dogs and then I will give you an example of how to describe each one.

 

German Shepherd

My German Shepherd dog is quite big. His coat is light brown with some darker fur on his back and on his nose, muzzle and ears.

He has long, pointed ears that always stand erect. But if he is angry, his ears lay flat on his head. He also has dark brown eyes that always seem very bright to me.

He has a long nose and is always sniffing around something or other. He loves to smell things!

His fur is a little course. Not soft like a cat. And his fur is quite thick too. I guess he needs that in the winter when it is cold.

His body is very strong, and he has strong jaws too. When I play with him, I can feel how strong he is. He is probably stronger than me. If he has a stick in his mouth, it can be very hard to pull it from him — he refuses to let go.

And he has a long, bushy tail. He usually keeps his tail down, but if he is happy he wags it around very fast.

 

Labrador

My Labrador is a little big. He is kind of fat. He puts on weight very easily.

His fur is very light in colour. Not quite white. Like a very very light brown — almost beige. And his fur is short and soft.

His ears are quite big and floppy. His ears hang down by the side of his head.

He has quite a big head and a long, thick muzzle and nose. His eyes often have a kind of sad appearance.

His legs are not so long and a little thick. But he has a long tail.

 

Pug

My pug is a small dog. And kind of chubby.

His fur is light coloured, except around his muzzle and ears, where it gets very dark, almost black.

He has two very big eyes, which always look wet. His eyes have a kind of curious expression.

His muzzle and nose are flat and make his face look all squashed up. And his tongue is very long. He often lets his tongue roll out of his mouth, letting saliva drip everywhere.

His ears are short and flat against his head. And he has a short, stumpy tail.

When describing your dog, just think of his body shape, his fur, his eyes, nose and muzzle. Also, try to describe his tail and his legs.

That should be enough when giving a physical description of your pet dog.

 

How to Describe your Dog’s Personality

 

Of course, dogs have a personality.

They are living creatures just like us, and they have feelings too. They can be happy, shy, angry, just like one of us.

But when describing your dog’s personality, you could start by just talking about his general mood.

 

What is your Dog’s General Mood?

Is he:

  • happy
  • sad
  • angry
  • shy and quiet
  • outgoing and friendly
  • loyal and protective

 

You can just give a general overview of his personality.

 

My dog is happy most of the time. He likes to play, and he always seems happy to see me.

 

Sometimes my dog has a very sad look on his face. Maybe it’s just the way he looks, he has big sorrowful eyes.

 

My dog can be quite angry. He gets angry when people knock at the door. If the postman delivers something, my dog will tear it to shreds.

 

My dog is very friendly. He loves people and other dogs and is always happy to meet others.

 

Is your Dog Loyal?

Most dogs are.

This is an inherent quality of dogs in general. You can talk about this easily.

 

My dog is very loyal to me. If anyone tries to come near me — people that my dog doesn’t know — then he will bark at them. Or he will stay by my side and try to protect me.

 

Think about your dog’s behaviour.

How does he seem to you most days? You have to try to describe his personality when talking about your dog.

 

How to Talk about the Sounds your Dog makes in English

 

Dogs make a lot of different sounds.

Such as

  • barking
  • growling
  • snoring
  • howling
  • whining/whimpering
  • panting

 

You need to talk about these sounds your dog makes. And say when and why he makes these sounds.

 

If anyone knocks at the door, my dog will start barking. He wants to know who is trying to get into the house.

Also, if he hears a strange noise outside, he will bark loudly.

 

If my dog is angry or trying to protect me, he will start growling. He might growl at other dogs if he doesn’t like them. And especially at cats!

 

My dog snores when he is sleeping! He snores very loudly.

 

Last New Year’s Eve, fireworks were going off outside. But my dog hated it. He was howling in the kitchen as he hated the sounds of it.

 

Sometimes my dog gets sad. I don’t really know why. But he will start whimpering. It sounds like he is crying.

 

My dog loves running. And on a hot day, he will just let his tongue hang out of his mouth and start panting. He makes a lot of noise panting!

 

Your dog makes a lot of different noises. Try to talk about all the noises he makes.

Look at the examples above and adapt to your dog and the noises he makes.

 

How Does Your Dog Sleep?

 

  • Does he sleep anywhere he wants?
  • Or on your bed? On the sofa?
  • Or does he have his own basket?

 

Where does your Dog sleep?

The first thing you could talk about is where your dog sleeps.

  • anywhere he wants!
  • on my bed
  • on the sofa
  • in his own basket
  • in his kennel

 

You need to say where he sleeps. And you could add why.

 

I let my dog sleep on my bed. My mum doesn’t like it, but I don’t mind and in the winter he keeps me warm at night!

 

Our dog sleeps on the sofa. He is not really allowed to do that, but we let him anyway. And he is very clean, so it’s not too much of a problem.

 

My dog has his own basket. And he has a blanket, too. So he has to sleep there. He sleeps downstairs so he can hear if anyone tries to come into the house.

 

Our dog is pretty big. And he gets kind of dirty. So he has to sleep in his kennel.

 

You can also talk about your dog’s sleeping patterns.

  • Does he sleep well?
  • Does the slightest noise wake him up?
  • Does he take naps during the day?

 

Our dog sleeps at night, like most dogs. But if he hears any sound, he will wake up and start barking.

 

My dog likes to take naps during the day. Especially after we have been outside for a long walk. I suppose just the same as people too!

 

Try talking about your dog’s sleeping arrangements. Talk about where your dog sleeps and whether he takes naps or not.

 

What Does Your Dog Eat?

 

And how to talk about this in English?

Dogs love to eat! But what does your dog eat? And what treats does he like to eat?

Most dogs eat the following kind of food:

  • tinned dog food
  • fresh meat
  • dry food made from grains and oats
  • bones
  • dog biscuits
  • chocolate

 

Most of this food is healthy for dogs. Except for chocolate. But dogs love this as a treat!

 

You can say the following things about dog and the food they eat.

 

We usually give our dog cans of dog food every day. He has different flavours, and he enjoys it.

 

Sometimes I give my dog some fresh meat. This is a special treat for him!

 

We buy this dry food for our dog. It’s made of oats, and we mix it with a can of dog food. He loves it!

 

Now and then I give my dog a bone to chew on. He loves to gnaw at it for hours on end.

 

We have a big bag of dog biscuits for our dog. They are like very hard cookies — but for dogs!

 

On rare occasions, I give my dog some chocolate. But just a little as it’s not good for his teeth.

 

What do you feed your dog?

Try to introduce the kind of food that you give your dog every day.

 

What Does Your Dog Like To Do?

 

Dogs are very active and like to be outside.

Here are some of the things they like to do:

  • go for a walk
  • run after a ball or a stick
  • chase rabbits or squirrels
  • chase cats!
  • play with other dogs
  • playing with their owners — rough and tumble, wrestling, pulling at things with their teeth

 

They also love to be petted and stroked. Dogs love affection!

 

You can say some of the following things:

 

My dog loves to go for walks in the countryside.

 

There’s nothing my dog likes better than to chase after a stick. He can do it for hours on end!

 

Every time we go to the forest for a walk, my dog starts chasing after squirrels. He hasn’t caught one yet, but it doesn’t stop him from trying.

 

I have to be careful if my dog sees the neighbour’s cat because he loves to chase after it. It drives my neighbour crazy!

 

Whenever my dog sees another dog outside, he always has to run up to it and start playing. They usually growl at each other a little, then start chasing each other around the park.

 

I love to play with my dog at home. We do a kind of wrestling — which my dog loves!

 

Think of the activities that your dog likes to do.

Try to talk about these things now.

 

Things Your Dog Does NOT Like

 

Just as there are things that dogs like, there are things that dogs do not like.

These include:

  • being washed/bathed
  • going to the vet
  • being in cars (some dogs don’t like this)
  • being left alone
  • fireworks

 

How to talk about these things that dogs dislike so much?

Let’s take a look…

 

My dog hates bath-time! Anytime I start preparing the bath, he knows what is going to happen and runs away.

 

Our dog really hates going to the vet. It’s like he knows where we are going. I suppose it’s the same as people. We don’t like going to the doctor, do we?

 

My dog hates being in the car. It just makes him upset. No matter what I try to do, he is always uncomfortable.

 

We can’t leave our dog alone for too long. He gets really anxious and starts to bite at things in the house. One time, we came home, and he had ripped up one of the cushions on the sofa.

 

Every year, whenever there are fireworks on a special day, my dog goes crazy. He hates the loud noises and flashing lights. He tries to hide, and he starts howling and whimpering.

 

  • Does your dog hate any of the above things?
  • Does he dislike any other things that you can think of?

 

Try to make sentences of things your dog dislikes. How does he react to these things?

 

How to Take Care of Your Dog

 

Of course, we must take care of our pet dogs. They need proper care and attention, just as people do.

They need:

  • a balanced, healthy diet
  • vitamins
  • lots of exercise
  • lots of playing
  • affection and love, just like any other family member

 

We can’t just get a dog and leave it alone. We must take care of it.

They are living, breathing things!

 

This is how you can talk about caring for your dog:

 

We give our dog all the right food to eat. We usually give our dog cans of dog food — it has all the right nutrients and vitamins for him. Sometimes we give him treats, such as chocolate and dog biscuits — but not too many.

 

Our dog is very healthy. But the vet advised us to give him vitamin pills every day. We crush the pills up and put them in his food.

 

I make sure my dog gets plenty of exercise. I take him out for walks twice a day and I let him run around in the garden too.

 

Our dog loves playing with us. We think it is essential for him to play with us. Doing things like chasing after a ball and things like that.

 

My dog loves to be stroked and petted. I give him as much attention as I can. It makes him feel happy and part of the family.

 

  • Do you do any of the above to take care of your dog?
  • What other kind of things do you do to make sure your dog is healthy and happy?

 

Write your thoughts down on paper and practise speaking them out loud.

 

What Do Other People Think of Your Dog?

 

When talking about your dog in English, you can also talk about how other people think of your dog.

People either like dogs or not. It is often as simple as that.

  • What do your friends think of your dog?
  • Do they like him? Or just tolerate him?
  • Are other people afraid of your dog? Why/why not?
  • Do your friends allow your dog into their home? Why/why not?

Try to answer all the above questions. This can prepare you for things to say when talking about other people’s opinions of your dog.

 

Conclusion

 

Talking about your dog in English is very similar to talking about your friend or a family member in English.

You have to introduce:

  • the dog’s physical appearance
  • his personality
  • things he likes and dislikes
  • and other habits such as eating, sleeping, health, etc.

It is best to go through each section of this guide and think about things to say about your dog. You can use some of the examples to help you.

Talking about your dog could come up in the IELTS speaking test in parts one, two or three. So if you have a dog and you prepare your answers well, you could talk about this topic for a long time.

But you may also need to talk about your dog in a casual conversation — or maybe an interview for college or a job.

Either way, try to go through all the stages above and write down your thoughts and ideas.

Then practice speaking out loud.

And as always… let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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