Learn Russian Words: Let’s Talk About Our Pets

Posted on November 8th, 2012

Learn pet words in RussianI decided to dedicate today’s lesson to those who are so happy to see us every time we walk through the door. To those who lick our faces in the morning in hopes that we’ll give them a plate full of yummy treats. To those who are always patient with us and put up with our very bizarre human behavior. To those who unknowingly comfort us every time we are upset and lift our spirits up. To those who love us so dearly – our adorable pets.

In Russian we also call our pets:
Братья наши меньшие [BRAT’-ya NA-shee MYEN’-shee-ye] (Literally: our minor brothers)

Or:
Наши четвероногие друзья [NA-shee chyet-vye-ra-NO-gee-ye drooz’-YA] = our four-legged friends

Let’s start with the basics:
Домашнее животное [da-MASH-nye-ye zhee-VOT-na-ye] pet
Зоотовары [za-a-ta-VA-ri] pet store

As you may already know, all Russian nouns are divided into three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. Usually, you can tell the gender by looking at the last letter in a word, but sometimes you will notice that there is a different word for masculine and feminine nouns. A good example of this is the Russian noun for “dog”.

Собака [sa-BA-ka] is usually a female dog
Пёс [PYOS] is usually a male dog
Щенок [shchee-NOK] puppy

The above is also true for a Russian word for “cat”:
Кошка [KOSH-ka] is usually a female cat
Кот [KOT] is usually a male cat
Котёнок [ka-TYO-nak] kitten

Хомяк [ha-MYAK] hamster

You can also use a diminutive form of word “xомяк”:
Хомячок [ha-mya-CHOK] diminutive form of word hamster

Попугай [pa-poo-GAY] parrot
Попугайчик [pa-poo-GAY-cheek] diminutive form of word parrot
Канарейка [ka-na-RYE-ka] canary
Птица [PTEE-tsa] bird
Птичка [PTEE-chka] diminutive form of word bird, or a birdie

Рыбка [PIP-ka] small fish

Do you have a кошка or собака? Or maybe it’s someone else? Could you try to describe your little friend?

These are some of the adjectives to help you describe your pet in Russian:
Маленький [MA-lyen’-keey] small
Большой [bal’-SHOY] big
Пушистый [poo-SHEES-tiy] fluffy, furry
Лохматый [lah-MA-tiy] shaggy
Полосатый [pa-la-SA-tiy] stripy
Короткошерстный [ka-rat-ka-SHER-sniy] short-haired
Длинношерстный [dlee-na-SHER-sniy] long-haired
Породистый [pa-RO-dees-tiy] purebred

Is your pet маленький or большой? Короткошерстный or длинношерстный?

A few verbs you might need to talk about your little friend:
Кормить [kar-MEET’] feed
Гладить [GLA-deet’] pet, stroke
Дрессировать [drye-see-ra-VAT’] train
Учить [oo-CHEET’] teach
Тренировать [trye-nee-ra-VAT’] train, coach
Играть c [eeg-RAT’] play with
Выводить собаку на прогулку [vi-va-DEET’ sa-BA-koo na pra-GOOL-koo] take a dog for a walk

A few more words:
Ус [OOS] whisker
Усы [oo-SI] whiskers
Морда [MOR-da] snout
Лапа [LA-pa] paw
Коготь [KO-gat’] claw
Хвост [HVOST] tail
Дворняжка [dvar-NYASH-ka] mongrel
Кличка [KLEECH-ka] pet’s name, nickname
Порода [pa-RO-da] breed
Будка [BOOT-ka] kennel
Лежак (для собак) [lee-ZHAK] dog bed
Аквариум [ak-VA-ree-oom] aquarium
Клетка [KLYET-ka] cage
Корм [KORM] pet food
Сухой корм [soo-HOY KORM] dry food
Лакомство [LA-ka-mstva] treat
Кость [KOST’] bone
Миска [MEES-ka] plate
Игрушка [eeg-ROOSH-ka] toy
Наполнитель для кошачих туалетов [na-pal-NEE-tyel’ dlya ka-SHA-cheeh too-a-LYE-taf] litter
Ошейник [a-SHEY-neek] collar
Поводок [pa-va-DOK] leash
Намордник [na-MORD-neek] muzzle

Here is what our pets like to do:
Собака виляет хвостом [vee-LYAT’ hvas-TOM] a dog wags it’s tail
Лизать [lee-ZAT’] lick
Гавкать [GAV-kat’] spoken Russian for “bark”
Лаять [LA-yat’] bark
Тявкать [TYAF-kat’] yap
Гав [GAF] “woof” this is how dogs talk in Russian
Мяукать [mya-OO-kat’] mew
Мяу [MYA-oo] “miaow” – this is how cats talk in Russian
Пищать [pee-SHCHAT’] squeak
Чирикать [chee-REE-kat’] twitter

In Russian we often use diminutive forms of words when talking about our pets. Here are a few examples:

Собачка [sa-BACH-ka] doggie
Пёсик [PYO-seek] doggie
Котик [KO-teek] kittie
Киска [KEES-ka] kittie

«Kиска» is a diminutive form of the noun «кошка», you can read more about diminutive forms and forms of endearment in Russian in my article – Russian Terms of Endearment. Every time I think of the word «киска» in Russian I think of a Russian version of the Whiskas cat food commercial, where the tagline reads “Ваша Киска купила бы Вискас” (Your kitty would buy Whiskas) – it rhymes and sounds cute in Russian. This ad is from 90s, and the video is not very good quality, but it’s still very cute.

My Kitty Cat

Now that you’ve learned quite a few interesting words in Russian, you are ready to tell me about your little pet in Russian.  Here is my story:

MissyУ меня есть кошечка. Ей 8 лет, и её зовут Мисси. Мисси чёрно-белая и короткошерстная. Так как у неё белые лапки и белый галстучек, она по окраске – смокинг кот. Я взяла Мисси из местного приюта шесть лет назад. Она очень миленькая, маленькая кошечка. Больше всего она любит играть, спать, и есть лакомства.  И, конечно же, она ждёт меня у окна, и встречает каждый раз, когда я прихожу домой.

I have a kitty cat. She is 8 years old, and her name is Missy. Missy is black and white and short-haired. She has white paws and a white tie, and she is a tuxedo cat. I adopted Missy six years ago from a local shelter. She is a very sweet little kitty. Most of all she likes playing, sleeping, and eating treats. And yes, she does wait for me at the window, and greets me every time I come home.

Back to You

Now it’s your turn to share your pet story and describe your pet in Russian! You can share your story in the comments section below. I’m looking forward to your stories.

Have fun learning Russian!

Viktoria.

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