Cat and Dog Vocabulary

some of my animals in italy

La mia canina Maia con quatto gattini

 I’ve put some common dog and cat related words in Italian with phonetic pronunciation. The capital letters are the stress of the word.

 If you are at the vet’s and are not sure of the ailment try the English medical name as a lot of the scientific terms are similar in Italian and English. For example

uterus – utero, cardiac – cardio diabetes – diabete and so on. If you are unsure of the pronunciation, write the word down for your vet.


Names of breeds are more or less the same, but with Italian pronunciation! Here is an example from a genuine advert with the Italian authors attempt at spelling an English word: West Thailand wait terrier” (Say it out loud!)


Pet/Pets – animale domestico (ani-MAH-leh do-MES-tik-oh) animali domestici (ani-MAH-lee do-MES-ti-chee)

Owner – proprietario/a (pro-pree-eh-TAR-ee-oh/ah)

Dog/Dogs – cane (KAH-neh)  cani (KAH-nee)

Puppy /puppies – cucciolo (KOO-chee-oh-loh) cuccioli (KOO-chee-oh-lee)

Cat /cats – gatto (GAH-to) gatti (GAH-tee)

Kitten/kittens – gattino (gah-TEEN-oh) gattini (gah-TEEN-ee)

Male – maschio (MAH-skee-oh)

Female – femmina (FEH-min-ah)

Vaccinated – vaccinato/a (vah-chi-NAH-toh/ah)

Tattooed – tatuato/a (tah-TOO-ah-toh/ah)

Wormed – sverminato/a (sver-min-AH-toh/ah)

Paw / paws – zampa (ZAM-pah) zampe (ZAM-peh)

Whiskers/moustache – baffi (BAH –fee)

Tail – coda (KOH-dah)

Leg /legs – gamba (GAM-bah) gambe (GAM-beh)

Mongrel – Meticcio/a  (meh-TICH-ee-oh/ah) (you’ll also hear bastardino a an acceptable term)

Pedigree – pedigree (‘con pedigree’ – with pedigree documents) or cane di razza – cah-nay di RAZ-zah)

Cross – incrocio/a (in-KRO-chee-oh/ah) For example “incrocio Yorkshire terrier e chihuahua

Spayed/neutered – sterilizzato/a (steh-rah –lee-ZA-toh/ah).

Microchip – microchip (MEE-croh-cheep)

Breed – razza (RATS-ah)

Large – taglia grande (TAH-lee-ah GRAN-deh) (OK, the gl sound is hard so I’ve copped out here!)

Medium – taglia media (TAH-lee-ah MEH-dee-ah)

Small – taglia piccola (TAH-lee-ah PEE-coh.lah)

Beautiful – bello/a (BEH-ll-oh/ah)

Well behaved/good – Buono/a (BWON-oh/ah)

Short haired – pelo raso (PAY-loh RAH-zoh)

Long haired – pelo lungo (PAY-loh- LOON-goh)

Toy breed – nano/a (NAH-noh/ah)

Animal lover – amante animali (ah-MAN-teh  an-ee-MAH-lee) animalista (ah-ni-mah-LEE-sta)


  1. Giorgia says:

    True, medical terms are similar in most of Western Europe languages, being latin in origin. That’s lucky on holiday, too!
    Animal lover can also be said ‘animalista’ (ah-nee-mah-l-easter, is the nearest pron. belive it or not!)
    Owner can also be found as ‘padrone’ (pad-r-o’-nay)
    Microchipped is ‘microchippato’. So “Is he microchipped?” becomes “E’ microchippato?” (mee-crochip-atoll, well, without sounding the l!)
    Pedigree dogs and cats are also commonly defined as “di razza” (dee rat-zah), “of breeding”.
    Used as in “E’ un cane di razza” – “He’s a pedigree dog”, particularly useful for pets that look like pedigrees, and most probably are, but don’t actually come with pedigree papers. Also used in asking which breed a dog/cat is “Di che razza e’?”
    A few popular Italian dog breeds are the Pastore Maremmano (Maremma Sheperd Dog, a medium haired, white, large sheperd dog, very popular also as family pet), the Italian Volpino (small, long-haired lap dog), the Pastore Bergamasco (Bergamo’s Sheperd Dog, unique dreadlock haired medium-large sized), the Italian Spinone (wire-haired hunting dog, medium-large size) and the Bracco Italiano, (another hunting breed, short-haired, looks like a bloodhound). And finally the elfin Cirneco dell’Etna, a short-haired, copper coloured small dog with pointed ears, originated in the region surrounding the Etna volcano in Sicily.
    PS: pardon the ‘own brand’ phonetic system!


  1. […] If you want to know the Italian words for cats, dogs and so on click here. […]

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