Sex of Animals in Spanish : Grammatical and biological gender don’t constantly match

Sex of Animals in Spanish : Grammatical and biological gender don’t constantly match

If you were to think that masculine nouns in Spanish will always used in combination with talking about males and feminine nouns whenever talking about females, your presumption would be— that is wrong whenever referring to pets.

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

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

Pets With Sex-Differentiated Names

Some pets have actually various names for every single intercourse. For instance, a perro is really a dog that is male and a perra is a lady dog or bitch. The names need not be therefore similar: a cow is una vaca, while a bull is un toro, and even though they make reference to exactly the same types of animal. Like in these examples, it is common, but not universal, for pets with sex-differentiated names in Spanish to have names that are differentiated English too.

Other animals 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 regarded as the standard title for the kind of types. Hence if you do not know whether a pet is man or woman, it is fine to refer to it as un gato. But a cat regarded as feminine may be described as una gata.

Sets of Animals

When it comes to pets whoever names differ with all the intercourse, for those who have a band of animals, some feminine and some male, they must be known because of the masculine plural: hence los gatos or los perros. If the title of this 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 possesses various name — they include vaca, cabra, and oveja — the feminine kind may be pluralized to express an organization. (the exact same can be real in English, as cattle might informally be described as cows just because bulls are section 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 giraffe that is female
  • la jirafa macho, the male giraffe
  • el dinosaurio macho, the dinosaur that is male
  • el dinosaurio hembra, the dinosaur that is female

Keep in mind that macho and hembra, but, are usually regarded as being either nouns or adjectives that are invariable. Therefore they just do not differ in kind with number or gender:

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

Although dealing with macho and hembra as invariable adjectives could be the grammatically safe thing to do, in actual life speakers frequently cause them to plural. You need to follow the conventional kind in formal writing, but.

Personal Names

Whenever discussing pets with individual names (particularly pets), you should utilize adjectives whose gender fits the provided title regarding the animal when working with that title since the topic of a phrase:

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