12 Dog Breed Names You Probably Pronounce Wrong

Some names don’t sound the same as they appear.

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)

Rottweiler. By: Sylvain Robin
When cattle was outlawed in the mid-1800s, the Rottweiler nearly went extinct. By: Sylvain Robin

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)

By: Audrius Merfeldas
Lhasa Apsos date back as far as the year 500 in Tibet. By: Audrius Merfeldas

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)

By: Veronika Petrova
Weimaraners are often referred to as “gray ghosts” for their unique gray coat colors. By: Veronika Petrova

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)

Pronouncing “Dachshund” is a head-scratcher for many. By: zaffi

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)

The Bichon's happy personality made it popular. By: brusnik
The Bichon’s happy personality made it popular. By: brusnik

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)

By: Vera Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova
The word Papillon means “butterfly” in French. By: Vera Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova

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)

No, Bernese Mountain Dogs did not originate in Burma. By: bjergs

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.

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8. Dogue de Bordeaux (dog duh bor-doh)

The Dogue de Bordeaux is an old French dog breed with a stocky and powerful body covered with loose skin. By: brusnik
The Dogue de Bordeaux is an old French breed with a stocky and powerful body covered with loose skin. By: brusnik

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)

The Bouvier des Flandres was originally bred to be a versatile farm dog. By: Erik Lam
The Bouvier des Flandres was originally bred to be a versatile farm dog. By: Erik Lam

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 an active, medium-sized dog with a fox-like expression. By: grigory_bruev
The Keeshond is an active dog with a fox-like expression. By: grigory_bruev

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)

The schipperke's tendency to stand at the front of the boat, alertly scanning the horizon, earned it the nickname “Little Captain." By: Szabolcs Csehak
The schipperke’s tendency to stand at the front of the boat earned it the nickname “Little Skipper.” By: Szabolcs Csehak

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 often mistaken for a German Shepherd. By: brusnik
The Belgian Malinois is often mistaken for a German Shepherd Dog. By: brusnik

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.