How to Say Puppy in Korean

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It’s been really interesting seeing how dog ownership has increased in Korea over the last decade or so. In the past, dog ownership wasn’t as prevalent as it is now, and even when people did own a dog, they were mostly used as guard dogs and/or kept outside and not in the house.

However you see many people now getting puppies and diving right into dog ownership. Pet shops are everywhere now and pet shows on how to train your dog have been broadcasted as well.

So how do you say puppy in Korean? Let’s show you.

강아지 (gang-a-ji)

This is the way you refer to a puppy in Korean. What’s interesting is that pretty much all dogs are referred to in this manner. So even if you see a fully grown dog, Korean will still say things like “강아지 있다!” (Look, it’s a dog). It’s like an affectionate term for dogs.

The word for dog is 개 (gae) but people really don’t use it when seeing a dog. If it is used when seeing a dog, this word is usually used for farm dogs or outside dogs. It has a less affectionate nuance to it.

If you look at the word  강아지, you will see “-아지”. This can be added onto other names for animals to refer to them as babies. Let’s take a look at some examples:

소(cow) + 아지 = 송아지(baby cow)

말(horse) + 아지 = 망아지 (baby horse)

Another word people use for dogs is 멍멍이 (meong-meong-i). However, this is a word for kids so it’s probably just best to stick with 강아지.

And there you have it! Are you a dog lover? Hope this helps with new vocabulary.