If you’re wondering what a female dog is called, our answer would be it depends on how technical you want to be, to whom are you talking and just what life stage you are discussing. We’ve fetched all you’ll need to know about this topic–with terms you will (and one you may not) feel comfortable using. You’ll find terms to call a female dog at all life stages–and if she’s a mom!
What do you call a female dog?
If you want to get technical, a female dog is a bitch. This is a long-standing term although today it is primarily used among the dog show crowd and dog breeders. This is to differentiate the female dog from the male dog who is simply called a “dog” by breeders.
Bitch is derived from the Old English word bicce, which also meant female dog.
Oxford University Press has a long treatise on the origins of the word if you would really like to wade in for some in-depth etymology–and how it evolved to become derogatory slang.
Should you call a female dog a bitch?
OK, we know the official term for a female dog is bitch–much like a female horse is a mare or a female cat is a queen.
But should you call a female dog a bitch or will people misunderstand and think you are swearing?
If you are wondering just what you should call a female dog in non-dog show/non-dog breeding conversations, we’d recommend just sticking with the term “dog”–or “female dog” or “girl dog.” Everyone will know just what you’re saying.
If you are talking with a dog breeder or talking with your veterinarian, you can call your female dog a bitch and they’ll understand–or just call your dog a female dog and that will work, too.
What do you call a dog who has been spayed?
A spayed female dog is still called a bitch.
Again, if you’re not talking to breeders or dog show participants, “spayed dog” will work just fine. Our female dog Tiki is spayed so if I were talking to someone about her, I would describe her as a “spayed dog.”
You don’t have to say “spayed female dog” because only females are spayed (males are neutered).
What is a female dog that is used for breeding called?
A female dog that is in a breeding program is referred to as a “brood bitch.”
When a female is not being used in a breeding program–perhaps she’s too young or too old–she then is once again a bitch.
What is a dog who has puppies called?
The mother dog is called a “dam” (this same term is used in horse breeding). Dam comes from the French word dame or lady.
The father dog is called a “sire.” (Again, the same as with horses.)
What do you call the grandparents of a dog?
If you want to go back to the generation of a dog or puppy’s grandparents, you’ll find several different terms.
The “damsire” is the sire of the dam or mother dog; he is the “grandfather on the mother’s side” of the puppies.
The term Grand Sire can be used to mean the grandfather on either the female or male side.
The grandmother of the puppies is the Grand Dam!
And those puppies? When they’re newborns, they are “whelps.” Whelping is the act of the dog giving birth so the newborn puppies are whelps.
So there you have it! Whether you are talking about a female dog, a dog who has just had puppies or a spayed dog, you now know all the terminology.
Personally, when it comes to describing a dog, the term we like best is “ours!”