Talk about Animals in German: 100+ German Animal Names and Phrases

Do you have pets? Or just love the outdoors, and want to know more about the wildlife? It doesn’t matter! Learning about animals in German is a fun experience!

From dogs and cats to exotic creatures of the deep blue sea, German names for animals can be both useful and fun.

Studying vocabulary around a simple theme like animals makes it easier to remember new words. And as part of German culture with over 35 million pets in households across the country, animal-related phrases and idioms come in handy for conversations with native speakers. Teacher Brunhild from Spring German (a project I co-founded) tells you all about animals in German:

Here’s a simple, yet rewarding blog post full of lists and example sentences to talk about your favorite furry ones!

1. German pets (Haustiere)

Let’s start with some basic German vocabulary for our most loved animals at home.

GermanEnglish
HundDog
KatzeCat
HamsterHamster
WellensittichBudgerigar
KaninchenRabbit
MeerschweinchenGuinea pig
SchildkröteTortoise
GoldfischGoldfish
PapageiParrot
RatteRat

Here’s a lighthearted and funny dialogue between a mother and her son with these phrases:

Mutter: “Warum liegt dein Hund immer auf meinem frisch gewaschenen Wäscheberg?” (Mother: “Why does your dog always lie on my freshly washed pile of laundry?”)
Sohn: “Er sagt, er fühlt sich darauf wie auf einer Wolke im Himmel.” (Son: “He says it makes him feel like he’s on a cloud in heaven.”)
Mutter: “Und warum bringt er immer Schlamm ins Haus, nachdem ich geputzt habe?” (Mother: “And why does he always bring mud into the house right after I’ve cleaned?”)
Sohn: “Er möchte, dass das Haus natürlicher aussieht. Er ist ein Künstler!” (Son: “He wants the house to look more natural. He’s an artist!”)
Mutter: “Ach so! Vielleicht sollte er dann anfangen, für sein Essen zu malen!” (Mother: “Oh, I see! Maybe he should start painting for his supper then!”)

a small house animal in german

2. German farm animals (Bauernhof-Tiere)

After learning the pets in German, time to move outside and learn the German farmyard animals. It’s just a list, but keep these in mind!

GermanEnglish
KuhCow
SchafSheep
SchweinPig
PferdHorse
ZiegeGoat
HuhnChicken
EnteDuck
GansGoose
TruthahnTurkey
EselDonkey

3. Learn safari animal names(Safari-Tiere)

Planning on traveling to a safari? Then you’re looking for some common German safari terms, aren’t you?

GermanEnglish
LöweLion
ElefantElephant
GiraffeGiraffe
NashornRhino
ZebraZebra
GepardCheetah
HippoHippopotamus
KrokodilCrocodile
PavianBaboon
FlusspferdHippo

Read the next dialogue between a tourist and a Safari vet using these words for animals:

Vet: “Willkommen! Freuen Sie sich auf die Tiere?” (Vet: “Welcome! Are you looking forward to seeing the animals?”)
Tourist: “Ja, besonders auf die Elefanten.” (Tourist: “Yes, especially the Elephants.”)
Vet: “Gute Wahl! Vielleicht sehen Sie auch Geparden. Sehr schnell!” (Vet: “Good choice! Perhaps you’ll also see Cheetahs. Very fast!”)
Tourist: “Und Giraffen?” (Tourist: “And Giraffes?”)
Vet: “Natürlich, mit ihrem langen Hals unübersehbar.” (Vet: “Of course, unmistakable with their long necks.”)
Tourist: “Hoffentlich auch keine Krokodile zu nah!” (Tourist: “Hopefully, no Crocodiles too close!”)
Vet: “Keine Sorge, sie sind weit genug!” (Vet: “Don’t worry, they’re far enough away!”)

an elephant animal in german strolling through the safari

4. Learn German jungle animals (Dschungel-Tiere)

Animal names in German are also good when you’re visiting a zoo, or, who knows?, you’re going to the jungle! Here are the most common German words about Dschungel-Tiere:

GermanEnglish
TigerTiger
GorillaGorilla
SchimpanseChimpanzee
PythonPython
PapageiParrot
TukanToucan
PantherPanther
AnacondaAnaconda
Orang-UtanOrangutan
JaguarJaguar

Did you find the previous example conversations funny and engaging? That’s because it’s full of chunks! And what are chunks? Well, they are the natural building blocks of the language: a thing that native speakers use all the time. And we teach these chunks based on our Conversation Based Chunking method. Sign up now to learn more about the method and gain access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library.

5. German animal vocabulary about aquatic & sea animals (Wassertiere & Meerestiere)

Ever planned to have a conversation in German about animals living in the water? Then these new German animal phrases might come in handy:

GermanEnglish
WalWhale
HaiShark
DelfinDolphin
OktopusOctopus
SeepferdchenSeahorse
QualleJellyfish
KorallenfischCoral fish
MantaManta Ray
PinguinPenguin
SeesternStarfish

6. German animal words for birds (Vögel)

Fly in the sky with these animals in the German language learning journey!

GermanEnglish
AdlerEagle
SpatzSparrow
KolibriHummingbird
FalkFalcon
EuleOwl
PfauPeacock
KranichCrane
SchwalbeSwallow
TaubeDove
GeierVulture

7. German animal names for insects (Insekten)

GermanEnglish
SchmetterlingButterfly
BieneBee
AmeiseAnt
KäferBeetle
HeuschreckeGrasshopper
LibelleDragonfly
WespeWasp
FliegeFly
MückeMosquito
SchneckeSnail

And now, let’s explore these exotic animals on our plates, too! Who knows what the future might bring?

Karolina: “Heute Abend gibt’s Heuschrecken und Ameisen. Mal was Neues!” (Karolina: “Tonight we’re having Grasshoppers and Ants. Something new!”)
Hans: “Spannend! Solange die Heuschrecken nicht vom Teller springen.” (Hans: “Exciting! As long as the Grasshoppers don’t jump off the plate.”)
Karolina: “Zum Nachtisch Schmetterlingsflügel?” (Karolina: “Butterfly wings for dessert?”)
Hans: “Ich probiere lieber die Käfer-Kuchen. Ein echtes Abenteuer.” (Hans: “I’d rather try the Beetle cakes. A real adventure.”)

8. Learning German animal verbs and phrases

Learning German animal names isn’t enough. You have to know the verbs, phrases and adjectives to talk about them and describe them. Speak German with these examples!

GermanEnglish
fütternto feed
laufento run
schwimmento swim
fliegento fly
jagento hunt
spielento play
schlafento sleep
brüllento roar
beißento bite
ein Haustier haltento keep a pet
im Wasser lebento live in water
in der Wildnis lebento live in the wild
ein Tier adoptierento adopt an animal
sich um Tiere kümmernto take care of animals
wildwild
zahmtame
gefährlichdangerous
freundlichfriendly
pelzigfurry
flauschigfluffy
schnellfast
langsamslow
großbig
kleinsmall

Here’s a short dialogue with the mentioned verbs, phrases and adjectives in German from the table:

Peter: “Anna, hast du gehört, dass ich ein neues Haustier adoptiert habe?” (Peter: “Anna, did you hear that I’ve adopted a new pet?”)
Anna: “Nein, das ist ja spannend! Welches Tier hast du adoptiert?” (Anna: “No, that’s exciting! What animal did you adopt?”)
Peter: “Einen kleinen, pelzigen Hund. Er ist sehr flauschig und freundlich.” (Peter: “A small, furry dog. He’s very fluffy and friendly.”)
Anna: “Wie süß! Ich liebe es, Tiere zu füttern und mich um sie zu kümmern. Kann er schon Tricks, wie sitzen oder laufen?” (Anna: “How cute! I love feeding animals and taking care of them. Can he do any tricks yet, like sitting or running?”)
Peter: “Er lernt schnell, aber am liebsten schläft er oder spielt im Garten. Manchmal ist er ein bisschen faul.”
(Peter: “He learns fast, but he prefers sleeping or playing in the garden. Sometimes he’s a bit lazy.”)
Anna: “Hunde sind tolle Gefährten. Ich habe gelesen, dass es wichtig ist, ein Haustier zu haben, das zu deinem Lebensstil passt. Denkst du, er passt gut zu dir?” (Anna: “Dogs are great companions. I read that it’s important to have a pet that fits your lifestyle. Do you think he fits well with you?”)
Peter: “Ja, absolut. Auch wenn er nicht das schnellste Tier ist, bringt er viel Freude.” (Peter: “Yes, absolutely. Even if he’s not the fastest animal, he brings a lot of joy.”)

9. Do you know the animals in German? Practice now!

Complete the sentences with the correct German animal names based on the context.

More animal words and phrases in German are waiting for you! Click the button now and get more exercises from our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

10. Learn more about animals in German with Conversation Based Chunking

No matter if you’re learning German for travel, work, or just for fun, mastering animal vocabulary can be an excellent way to build your skills. Conversation Based Chunking, where you learn words and phrases in relevant contexts, helps make new vocabulary stick.

Instead of just memorizing the German word “Katze” for cat, you could learn the phrase “Ich habe eine Katze” (I have a cat) or “Die Katze jagt die Maus” (The cat chases the mouse). Hearing and practicing these chunks of conversational German will make the words far more memorable.

So, learn those furry vocabulary words and don’t be afraid to have imaginary conversations with all the Hunde, Pferde, and Eichhörnchen you can think of! The more you can tie new animal names to common dialogues and situations, the faster they’ll become a natural part of your German language abilities.

Viel Spaß beim Lernen! (Have a great time learning!)

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