Meet the dogs that understand more than one language

November 10, 2023

Do you speak to your pet in more than one language?

Well, a surprising amount of language learners out there do.

We recently reached out to the Busuu community to find language learners who have pups with a vein for languages. The results amazed us!

Almost half of our learners share their love for languages with their four-legged friends:

44% of dog owners have pups that understand commands in more than one language. 

In a bid to see these talented dogs in action, we asked our community to send in videos of their dogs responding to commands in more than one language.

Here’s a video of some of our favourite multilingual dogs:

Commenting on the results, Busuu’s Head of Education Kirsten Campbell-Howes said: “Whilst our pets don’t have to worry about grammar or complicated vocabulary, they also don’t seem to have a fear of trying, especially for a reward.”

“One of the most common barriers for people learning a new language is shyness or fear of getting things wrong. Our pets, it seems, have no such qualms.”

Looks like we have a thing or two to learn from our furry friends!

Sarah Whitehead, animal behaviour specialist and canine body language expert, says dogs are “the ultimate in multilingual communicators, and can rapidly add words to their repertoire of response – no matter what language they are spoken in.”

Why? You might wonder…

The answer is simple:

The meaning of a word isn’t just in its sound or the language it is in. It is mainly conveyed in facial expressions and small movements that go with it.

“Dogs have evolved to be able to ‘read’ us like true experts – in fact, research tells us that dogs even ‘scan’ human faces in the same way that people do, picking up on our emotional states as well as the clues as to what we are about to do next.” 

If you haven’t already, this is the perfect time to start talking to your dog in another language.

Here are the phrases you need if you want to talk to your pup in another language: 

Dog commands in different languages

Get downDescendsRunterVai giùAgáchateZejdź
Roll overRouleRolleRotolaDa una vueltaPrzewrót
PawDonne la patteGib PfötchenZampaToca con la pataŁapa
HereAu piedHierVieniAquíNoga
Lie downCouchéPlatzTerraTúmbateWaruj

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