Ever hesitate to bring up a hard-to-pronounce foreign name because you’re afraid you’ll pull a Travolta and totally butcher it? To help you avoid these uncomfortable moments, WOOFipedia presents this handy pronunciation guide to five breeds whose names you’re embarrassed to say aloud at the dog park.
This Swiss herder’s name comes from the valley of its birth, Entlebuch. In German, you add an “er” to a place name to describe someone from that place. (“Ich bin ein Berliner!”—“I am a Berliner!”—President Kennedy famously proclaimed in Berlin.) So, a dog from Entlebuch is an Entlebucher. The proper German pronunciation is ENT-leh-boo-cur, though English speakers often pronounce it ENT-lay-boo-cur. ENT-el-boo-cur is a less defensible variant.
Petit Basset Griffon Vendéen
Puh-TEE Bah-SAY Gree-FOHN VON-day-uhn
A popular pastime among the French is snickering at Americans who mangle their language. But don’t be intimidated: You can sound passably Parisian if you pronounce this name Puh-TEE Bah-SAY Gree-FOHN VON-day-uhn. The trick is stressing the right syllables and rattling it off quickly. Try it. The faster you say it, the Frencher you’ll sound. Happily, the small French hound with the big French name is universally known as the PBGV. But even the initials have a distinct pronunciation: PEE-bee GEE-vee.
Portuguese Podengo Pequeno
POR-cha-geez Poe-den-go Pe-KEN-o
This little rabbit hunter’s whole story is in its name: Portuguese (they’re from Portugal) Podengo (this means “pack-hunting dog”) Pequeno (“small”). English speakers usually trip over “Pequeno,” pronouncing it pe-KWEN-o. But it’s properly pe-KEN-o, the middle syllable pronounced like the name Ken.
This name is Flemish, a Dutch dialect spoken in the Flanders region of Belgium. It translates as “little captain,” a reference to this small but tough dog’s origin as a shipboard ratter. In Flanders it’s pronounced SHEEP-er-ker, the final “r” almost silent. Americans and Brits, though, say SKIP-er-kee, or Schip (“skip”) for short.
This Mexican hairless breed came into the AKC in 2011, along with the Entlebucher, leading one reporter at Westminster to observe: “In any other year, the Entlebucher might seem a little tricky to pronounce. This year, it’s a gimme.” Actually, pronouncing Xoloitzcuintli is simple once you get the hang of it. It’s show-low-eats-queen-tlee, usually shortened to Xolo (show-low). Notice that the first four syllables sound like common English words. This makes it easier to remember.