Gender of Animals in Spanish : Grammatical and biological gender don’t always match

If you were to think that masculine nouns in Spanish are often used in combination with talking about men and feminine nouns whenever talking about females, your assumption would be incorrect — especially whenever referring to pets.

Similar to nouns, the names for almost all pets are either masculine or womanly. As an example, the expressed term for giraffe, jirafa is feminine, and it may be utilized whenever talking about any giraffe, whether male or female. Likewise, rinoceronte is masculine, and it may be used to relate to rhinoceroses of either intercourse.

Exactly the same is performed with individuals. El humano (individual) is masculine even if discussing a girl or woman, and la persona (individual) is feminine even when talking about a guy or child.

Pets With Sex-Differentiated Names

Some pets have actually various names for every intercourse. As an example, a perro is really a male dog, and a perra is a female dog or bitch. The names need not be so comparable: a cow is una vaca, while a bull is un toro, and even though they make reference to the exact same species of animal. Like in these examples, it’s quite common, while not universal, for pets with sex-differentiated names in Spanish to have differentiated names in English also.

Several other pets with various names when it comes to sexes are:

  • el lagarto (male lizard), la lagarta (feminine lizard)
  • el elefante (male elephant), la elefanta (feminine elephant)
  • el caballo (stallion), la yegua (mare)
  • el carnero (ram), la oveja (sheep)
  • el gallo (rooster), la gallina (hen)
  • el macho (billy goat), la cabra (nanny goat)

Generally, the masculine kind can be looked at as the standard title when it comes to form of types. Therefore as un gato if you don’t know whether a cat is male or female, it’s fine to refer to it. However a pet considered to be feminine could be known as una gata.

Categories of pets

When it comes to animals whoever names differ with all the sex, when you have a small grouping of pets, some feminine and some male, they must be known by the masculine plural: hence los gatos or los perros. If the title associated with the animal is invariably feminine, the womanly must nevertheless be utilized: las jirafas (even for a team of men) or las araсas (spiders). In an exceedingly few instances when each intercourse includes a name that is different they include vaca, cabra, and oveja — the feminine form may be pluralized to express an organization. (the exact same can be real in English, as cattle might informally be described as cows no matter if bulls are element of the mix.)


You can add the word macho for male or hembra for female if you need to indicate the sex of an animal with a undifferentiated name:

  • la jirafa hembra, the feminine giraffe
  • la jirafa macho, the male giraffe
  • el dinosaurio macho, the dinosaur that is male
  • el dinosaurio hembra, the dinosaur that is female

Observe that macho and hembra, nevertheless, are typically regarded as either nouns or invariable adjectives. Hence they don’t differ in kind ukrainian dating with sex or quantity:

  • las jirafas hembra, the feminine giraffes
  • las jirafas macho, the giraffes that are male

Although dealing with macho and hembra as invariable adjectives could be the thing that is grammatically safe do, in true to life speakers usually cause them to become plural. You need to adhere to the form that is traditional formal writing, nonetheless.

Personal Names

Whenever discussing pets with individual names (such as for example animals), you need to use adjectives whoever sex matches the offered name regarding the animal when making use of that title whilst the topic of the phrase:

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