104 German Animal Names Plus Other Animal-related Words and Phrases

Knowing some animal vocabulary in German is infinitely useful for talking about nature, the world at large and even for all sorts of interactions in day-to-day life.

While you might have reviewed a basic list of animal names that include “cat” and “dog,” get ready to learn 100 animals in German and over 20 verbs, animal parts and phrases!


Farm Animals ( Bauernhoftiere )


Bauernhoftiere (farm animals) are some of the first animal names that children learn in school.

So they’re the first ones we’re going to learn in German! These animals live on der Bauernhof (the farm) and are cared for by der Bauer (the farmer).

Common Animals and Pets ( Haustiere )


Unless you live on a farm, you’re much more likely to see the following group of animals in your everyday life. You might even have one of these animals as a Haustier (pet).

In fact, 45% of all German households had at least one pet in 2019. Imagine the lengthy conversations in German that you could have with native speakers about their beloved furry (or scaly) companions!

Forest Animals ( Waldtiere )


The German-speaking regions have a variety of wildlife and that includes a good amount of Waldtiere (forest animals). Most of the animals in this list could be found there. 

Some of these might surprise you and be a little less common, such as wolves or moose. But they’re slowly making a comeback, either through conservation efforts or through natural causes. 

Insects and Household Pests ( Insekten und Schädlinge )


If only we lived in a world where only cats, dogs and other cute animals populated our homes. But we don’t! Sometimes we get an unwanted housemate, known as der Schädling (pest).

There are also some helpful and friendlier insects in this list as well. 

Aquatic Animals/Sea Animals ( Wassertiere / Meerestiere )


Germany is a land full of lakes and rivers. In the north, it borders the Nordsee (North Sea) and the Ostsee (East Sea). Germany is also home to many Flüsse (rivers), most notably the Rhine, Danube and Elbe rivers that run through many German cities and towns. 

As such, Germany is home to many Wassertiere (aquatic animals), both in its local waterways and in its Aquariums (aquariums) and Tierpark (zoos).

Zoo Animals ( Zootiere )


A visit to a Tierpark (zoo) will expose you to animals from all over the world. Germans love going to the zoo, and there are zoos in many of Germany’s big cities such as Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt.

Baby Animals ( Tierbabys )


Animals, while cute, are always cuter when they’re babies! As in English, German has specific words for animals when they’re young.

Note that the ending -chen can be added to many nouns to make them diminutive (referring to the smaller version of something).

As in the cases of die Katze (the cat) and die Ente (the duck), we get the words das Kätzchen (the kitten) and die Entchen (the duckling).

This can also be added to other nouns such as das Hündchen (the little dog) and das Mäuschen (the little mouse) to describe the younger or smaller version of the animal.

Keep in mind, however, that by adding the ending -chen to animals, they automatically become neuter in gender despite what their previous grammatical gender was. This means that these nouns will take the definite article das (the) in the nominative case.

eg; “der Tisch” (the table) → “das Tischlein” (the little table)

Where possible, you also need to add in an umlaut to the first vowel in the diminutive: 

eg; “die Maus” (the mouse) → “das Mäuschen” (the little mouse)

Animal Body Parts ( Tierkörperteile )


Animals—regardless of what language is being used to talk about them—have different body parts than us.

Common Verbs and Phrases Related to Animals in German

Finally, animals also have different needs than humans, and these require special verbs that describe the caring for and interacting with animals.

Some of these verbs can be extended to humans, but some are specifically for animals and will be pointed out as such in the list.

Fressen (to Eat) vs. Essen (to Eat)

In addition to having different body parts than humans, animals also eat differently in German than they do in English.

While we use the verb essen (to eat) in German to talk about the act of humans eating, the verb fressen (to eat) must be used to talk about an animal eating.

While fressen is commonly used to describe the act of an animal eating, it can also be used to mean “to gobble” or “to gorge” when a human is eating.

Despite being a different verb, fressen conjugates similarly to the verb essen. Check out the verb conjugation pattern here. Pay particular attention to the er, sie, es (he, she, it) conjugation of the verb:

How to Practice Animal Vocabulary in German

Now that you’ve learned all these words and phrases to talk about animals in German, you’re going to need a way for it all to sink in! Luckily, there are many places online where you can practice them all.

Digital Dialects

Digital Dialects offers a challenging, interactive online game for learning German animal vocabulary. Who doesn’t love a game that’s fun and educational, after all?


If you want to see how native speakers use animal words, you can do that on FluentU.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Click here to check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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Sporcle has a quiz for practicing the spelling of a variety of German animals.

German spelling can be tricky, so this resource will prove to be very beneficial for learners who are looking to improve their writing skills.


ToLearnFree offers a few quizzes for practicing.

The first allows you to practice farm animals, and the second is specifically for practicing baby animals. The third quiz will help you practice aquatic animals.


Now that you’ve learned over 100 words and phrases related to animals in German, you’re on your way to the lion’s share of German fluency!

And One More Thing...

Want to know the key to learning German effectively?

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