What is a Male Dog Called? (Besides “Good Boy!”)

A young man with labrador outdoors.

We’ve all wondered what a male dog is called at some point or other. It’s just a topic we don’t normally think about. Unless you’re in the circle of dog breeders, it’s also something you probably don’t find very important. Maybe you want to get into dog breeding, want to sound like you know what you’re talking about, or are just curious, you came to the right place. 

The difference in the terms used to describe male dogs is really just about the technicalities. They’re simple to learn and you’ll sound like a breeder in no time. We all know what a female dog is called. But when we say “dog” in general, aren’t we referring to both male and female canines? The answer is not really. The truth is that male dogs do have specific names in the breeder’s world. 

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The Thing About Gender

If you’re like most folks, you don’t differentiate between male dogs and female dogs. You just simply say “dog”. This is perfectly okay. This is how it is for the majority of animals. But isn’t there a term for a male dog other than “good boy”? Yes, there is.

However, no one in society seems to think that male and female dogs have different names. We’re all just so accustomed to calling a dog a dog. If you’re a breeder, however, this isn’t the case. Breeders have very specific names that they use to identify the difference between male dogs.

A large group of dogs Golden retrievers running in the grass.

Unless they’re involved in breeding dogs, most people don’t know what male dogs are called.

So What Are Male Dogs Called?

When it comes to what the appropriate term for a male dog is, the answer is that it depends. There are three main terms associated with male dogs: stud, sire, and jerry. 

Your Dog Is A Stud

Despite what you may believe, the term “stud” doesn’t refer to the larger dog breeds and it also doesn’t refer to the most active dog breeds. The term is widely used despite the size of your dog. If you’re a male human, this is the term you probably wanted to be called when you were between the ages of 14 and 18. In reality, your dog may be more of a stud than you. The reason for this is that the term “stud” is an actual term used in dog breeding. 

This is also a term with which you may be familiar if you have an interest in horse breeding. The same translation applies to dogs. A stud is a term specifically used for a male dog who has yet to father a litter. It also refers to a specific pedigree–one that is a suitable candidate for breeding. 

The History Of The Term

The term “stud” has a rather long history. It dates back to old English where it was “studu”. Parental consent is required to read past here. In old English, “studu” literally means to prop upright. Translation: the dog has the ability to get an erection and use it for reproduction. 

Or He May Be A Sire

You could say that a sire is the exact opposite of a stud. A sire is a male dog who has fathered a litter of pups. This term is also used in relation to a specific litter. For example, you wouldn’t refer to a male dog as a sire in general. Instead, you would call him the sire of a specific litter. 

What About A Jerry?

This term is not as widely accepted among the dog breeders of the world as the previous two, however, you still may come across it. If you have a best friend by this name, you may want to avoid calling him this. Jerry is a term used to refer to dogs that are neutered. They may or may not be a sire, but they are no longer a suitable candidate for fathering a litter of pups.

Other Names For Dogs

Stud, sire, and jerry are just the three most commonly used terms for a male dog. There are, however, a couple of other terms that are predominately outdated.

The Story Of Curs

“Cur” is a term that is so old it was probably used by our ancestors. In the modern world, it could come close to the term “mutt”. It was commonly used to refer to a dog of a mixed or unidentified breed. It might have also been used to call a dog ugly or aggressive. If you were to call your dog that now, and he understood what you were saying, he may get angry and start to breathe heavily.

Two yorkshire terriers in a forest.


Yes, this was really a term used to describe dogs, albeit female dogs. As with curs, the term eventually evolved to adopt a negative connotation used to directly insult people. Its literal meaning, however, is the female version of a stud. It’s a female dog who has the ability to have a litter of pups. 

Terminology All Wrapped Up

Understanding all of the different terms you can use to refer to a male dog can be a challenge. The good news is that you will probably never need to know the difference unless you’re being challenged by a dog breeder. You may also just want to sound smarter than your friends. In that case, you came to the right place. 

To summarize, the difference between stud, sire, and Jerry is very simple. A stud has yet to father a litter. A stud is also a top choice candidate for fathering a litter.  A sire is a male dog who has fathered a litter of pups already and it the sire of that specific litter.  A Jerry is a term that isn’t widely used. All this means is that the male dog in question has been neutered. 

Succeeding in remembering these terms will set you on the path of sounding like an expert breeder.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is an animal lover and the proud dog-mom of a Golden Retriever named Brody and an Italian Greyhound named Jessup. Unfortunately, Jessup developed serious allergies to many different types of dog foods and ingredients when she was just a puppy. Meanwhile, Brody could eat seemingly anything and carry on as healthy as could be. Sarah spent hours of time researching and testing different foods and brands before finding something that worked for little Jessup. She wants Dog Food Care to simplify this experience for future dog-parents who face food allergy or tolerance issues of their own.