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What is a Female Dog Called?

Female Dog

Understanding the terminology used for different animals is an important part of animal husbandry and pet care. In the case of dogs, gender-specific terms are used to describe males and females, just as in many other animal species. This article focuses on the term used for a female dog and explores its usage and context.

The Term for a Female Dog

A female dog is called a bitch. This term is used in a variety of contexts, ranging from casual conversation among pet owners to more formal settings such as dog breeding and veterinary care. It’s important to note that while the word “bitch” can have negative connotations in other uses, within the context of discussing dogs, it is a neutral, technical term.

Usage in Different Contexts

In Casual Settings

In everyday language, pet owners often refer to their female dogs simply as “dogs” or by their names. The specific term “bitch” is less commonly used in casual conversation due to its potential for misunderstanding or offense due to its other meanings in the English language.

In Professional and Breeding Circles

In professional settings such as dog shows, breeding, and veterinary practices, the term “bitch” is routinely used. It’s a precise term that quickly conveys the sex of the dog, which can be crucial for discussions about breeding, health issues, and competition categories.

In Literary and Historical Contexts

Historically, the term has been used in literature and documents to specifically refer to female dogs. This usage demonstrates the long-standing nature of the term in the English language.


While “bitch” is the correct term for a female dog, its use varies depending on the context. In formal and professional settings, it is an appropriate and commonly used term. However, in casual settings, pet owners may choose to avoid it due to its potential for misunderstanding. Understanding this distinction is important for clear and respectful communication in different settings related to dog care and breeding.

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