Dog in Spanish – An animal or an insult?

In Spain, we don’t usually refer to a dog by its race or its role (hound, sheepdog, etc.). We usually call all dogs by their generic animal denomination, so let’s see a little bit more about how it is said in this in spanish

  • Dog in Spanish is said: Perro
    • Plural: Perros
  • For a female it would be: Perra
    • Plural: Perras

This word will put to the test something English speakers have a fairly hard time with when it comes to pronunciation, and it’s not because it’s a particularly long or difficult word. But is contains the fearsome letter “R”, which has to be pronounced sharply and clearly. So do not despair and practice until you get a perfect pronunciation!

This word may refer to the four-legged, cute and funny animal we know for being a wonderful pet and man’s best friend. But that is not the only meaning this word has in Spanish, or English for that matter, since it can also be used as an insult toward another person, or its meaning may completely change and turn into a word of admiration for someone. It all depends on the context it is said, and the way and tone in which it is uttered.

We can see that in the following cases, for example:

Ser un perro
If you are told ‘eres un perro’, and they do so in a violent context in which they are clearly trying to insult or disrespect you, it means they are proffering you adjectives such as:

    • Lazy
    • Disrespectful
    • Know-it-all
    • Scoundrel
    • Dirty

But in a more colloquial language, ‘Ser un perro’ may also mean something good:

  • Que perro eres, has ganado mil dólares. / May mean you are a lucky person.
  • Vaya perro estás echo. Te la has ligado. / You are so lucky, you’ve managed to win her over.

Ser un perrete
When someone says that you are ‘un perrete’, they are trying to convey something positive, since they would be saying:

  • Pero que perrete eres, has sacado un 10. / That you are smart, in a good way.
  • ¿Ya sabías algo, no? Que perrete eres. / That you have seized and opportunity and made the best of it.

Ser un perrillo or perro (faldero)
If they tell you that you are ‘como un perro faldero’ or a ‘perrillo faldero’. / That you follow someone wherever they go. That you go after someone and don’t stray from them, seeking their protection.

Sayings and famous quotes

    • Eres como el perro del hortelano, que ni come, ni deja comer / It means you are dense and don’t let anyone do anything.
    • No puedes enseñar trucos nuevos a un perro viejo. / It means it is hard teaching something to someone who thinks he knows everything.
    • Hoy he tenido un día de perros. / It means that person has had a very bad day.
    • Perro ladrador, poco mordedor. / He who screams a lot poses no danger.

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