I’ve spent years working with pets, but I learned the hard way how difficult it is to pronounce some of the dog breed names out there.
Some breeds — such as dachshunds — I had just been mispronouncing (and misspelling) forever. Others — such as Bouvier des Flandres — I’d never even heard of before entering the animal care field.
But I learned I’m certainly not alone in stumbling over my words (and letters) with these breeds. Here are 12 that I found are most commonly mispronounced.
1. Rottweiler (rot-wahy-ler)
This breed is pretty straightforward, and you’re probably wondering why it’s on this list. Believe it or not, a common mispronunciation of Rottweiler is rock-wahy-ler.
It’s an odd mistake, but it’s one that usually has to do with misspelling. Keeping in mind that Rottweiler doesn’t have a “k” in it helps with that pronunciation.
2. Lhasa Apso (lah-suh ap-soh)
The Lhasa Apso is an enormously popular companion breed and also one that is frequently mispronounced. Often mispronounced “lap-soh ap-soh” or just simply “lap-suh,” it’s a tongue-twister of a name.
To keep the name straight, it may help to know that this breed came from the capital of Tibet — Lhasa.
3. Weimaraner (wahy-muh-rah-ner)
My head spins when I have to spell the name of this gorgeous breed, and so many people tend to trip over the name Weimaraner. That’s probably because there are multiple acceptable pronunciations, including substituting a “v” sound for the “w,” as the German breed is likely pronounced in its original country.
If you have trouble with the name, a couple popular nicknames are “gray ghost” and “weim” (think “wine,” but with an “m”).
4. Dachshund (dahks-uhnd)
For the longest time, I thought Dachshund was pronounced “dash-hound.” Then I thought it was “dash-hund.” And you don’t want to know how I spelled it.
If pronouncing “dahks-uhnd” is no fun for you, try one of the Dachshund’s nicknames, like “hot dog” or “wiener dog.”
5. Bichon Frise (bee-shon free-zay)
This toy breed has a very French name that should roll off the tongue. Often referred to as simply a Bichon, the Bichon Frise is an adorable and popular lap dog with curly white fur.
6. Papillon (pa-pee-yawn)
Papillon is the French word for butterfly, and that is precisely where this breed got the name. These adorable little dogs have long, feathery fur framing their ears and faces that resembles a butterfly’s wings.
7. Bernese Mountain Dog (bur-neez)
When spoken, it’s easy to confuse “Bernese” with “Burmese.” The Bernese Mountain Dog hails from the Swiss Alps, though, not Burma or anywhere else in Asia.
8. Dogue de Bordeaux (dog duh bor-doh)
For those of us who have never taken a French course, just looking at this breed name renders us speechless. Fortunately, I’ve found it’s easier to pronounce than spell.
Dogue de Bordeaux is a giant mastiff breed you may recognize from the movie Turner & Hooch.
9. Bouvier des Flandres (boov-yay day flahn-druh)
Another French breed name, the Bouvier des Flandres, is a large Belgian herding dog. I struggle with the pronunciation of the Bouvier as much as the spelling, but — lucky for me — the breed has a friendly disposition and would likely forgive my unique spellings and pronunciations.
10. Keeshond (kays-hund)
The Keeshond is a medium dog with a magnificent coat of silver fur. I haven’t met many Keeshonds, so it took me a while to realize that there’s no “sh” sound in their name — the “s” and “h” are separate. Pronounce the breed “kays-hund.”
11. Schipperke (skip-er-kee)
When I was reading this breed on paper for the first time, my inner monologue struggled to come up with anything better than “ship-er-kee.” At least I got that last part correct, right, Schipperke fans?
The Schipperke is a little Belgian breed who makes a wonderful family pet. And if you stumbled over the Schipperke’s name, you can always shorten it to “skipper.”
12. Belgian Malinois (mal-in-wa)
The Belgian Malinois is a shepherd dog and, like many other breeds in this list, it has a French name. Unlike some of the pronunciations I’ve heard (a few sounding similar to “mayonnaise”), the malinois is pronounced “mal-in-wa.”
Though, if you prefer, you can just call them Belgian shepherds.
I sincerely hope this guide helps, but don’t worry if pronouncing these names is still difficult — these dogs don’t mind, as long as you give them lots of love.
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