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I’m reading Johan Gallant’s Story of the African Dog (Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press, 2002) and it’s interesting to see the nouns used to describe dogs that predate breed standardization. He devotes one page to this list:

    In Zulu

  • isiqha: powerful, medium sized, most common dog
  • isimaku: small, shortlegged type
  • ichalaha: big, male dog, taller than isiqha, fast and slender
  • isigola: slender, medium sized dog that is lazy to hunt
  • ixhonti: refers to a long or wiry coat
  • ubhova: heavy-skulled dogs with a big mouth
  • ibhansi and itswili: cross between Greyhound and traditional dog, used for hunting
    In Xhosa:

  • itwinia: very typical slender hound of medium size
  • ibaku: a taller, heavier dog usually with hanging ears
  • ingeke: a smaller type, often because of short legs, comparable with isimaku
  • ingesi: indicates a mixture with exotic (English) breeds
    In South Sotho:

  • lekesi: dog used to hunt hares
  • lebeletoko: big heavy dog
  • ntja e liqholo-qholo: very lean dog
  • mcle: small dog with short legs

All three lists above are from Gallant, p. 11. There should be quotation marks around it, or at least the entire thing should be set off in blockquotes, but I was having formatting difficulties.

All sorted out
15 September 2011

Meanwhile here’s a list in Chinese drawn primarily from the Erya 爾雅 (a 3rd century BC lexicon):

  • 狗 gǒu, 犬 quán: dog (generic)
  • 牻 máng: shaggy dog
  • 毫 háo: small dog
  • 獫 xiǎn: long-snouted dog
  • 猲獢 xiē xiāo: short-muzzled dog
  • 狣 zhào: large and powerful dog
  • 獒 áo: dog taller than 4 chi (Chinese feet)
  • 猣 zōng: a litter of three puppies
  • 師 shī: a litter of two puppies
  • 玂 qí: a singleton puppy

The above is adapted from material provided in QIN Yongzhou 秦永洲 and LI Yunquan 李云泉, Zodiac Dogs [Sheng xiao gou 生肖狗] (Jinan: Qilu, 2005) p. 16.


[Incidentally, while I love this current WordPress theme, Chateau, its blockquotes look hideous. I may purchase a style upgrade just so I can bypass the mandatory burnt orange, extra-large italics every time I want to quote something at length, since I do that often. If anyone has hints as to how I can tweak this without having to pay for it, please drop me a line.]