German Pet Names as Terms of Endearment for Family and Friends

From 'Schatz' to 'Waldi,' Germans love these charming pet names

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Germans often use animal names such as Hasi and Maus as terms of endearment for loved ones, according to popular German magazines. Kosenamen (pet names) in German come in many forms, from the simple and classic Schatz to cuter ones like Knuddelpuddel. Here are some favorite German pet names, according to surveys carried out by the German magazine Brigitte and the German website spin.de.

Classic German Pet Names

NameVariationsMeaning
SchatzSchatzi,Schatzilein,Schätzchentreasure
LieblingLiebchen, Liebeleindarling, sweetheart
Süße/rSüßlingsweetie
EngelEngelchen, Engeleinangel

German Pet Names Based on Types of Animal

MausMausi, Mausipupsi, Mausezahn, Mäusezähnchenmouse
HaseHasi,Hasilein, Häschen, Hascha (combination of Hase and Schatz)*bunny
BärchenBärli, Schmusebärchenlittle bear
SchneckeSchneckchen, Zuckerschneckesnail
SpatzSpatzi, Spätzchensparrow

*In this context, these names mean "bunny," but they usually mean "hare."

German Pet Names Based on Nature

RoseRöschen, Rosenblüterose
SonnenblumeSonnenblümchensunflower
SternSternchen

star

English-Language Names

Baby
Honey

German Pet Names Emphasizing Cuteness

SchnuckelSchnuckelchen, Schnucki, Schnuckiputzicutey
Knuddel-Knuddelmuddel, Knuddelkätzchen, Knuddelmauscuddles
Kuschel-Kuschelperle,Kuschelbärcuddly

Germans love their pets, so it only makes sense that they would use pet names as terms of endearment for their human children, significant others, or other beloved family members and close friends.

Germans Are Animal Lovers

More than 80 percent of Germans describe themselves as animal lovers, even if significantly fewer German households include a pet.

The most popular pets are cats, followed by guinea pigs, rabbits, and in fourth place, dogs. A 2014 Euromonitor International study found that 11.5 million cats were living in 19% of German households in 2013 and 6.9 million dogs were living in 14% of households. Other German pet populations were not mentioned, but we do know that Germans spend about 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion) a year on all their pets.

That's a lot in a population of  86.7 million. The Germans' willingness to spend big on pets is a reflection of the pets' increasing importance as companions at a time when single-person or small households in Germany are growing at nearly 2 percent a year, resulting in increasingly isolated lifestyles.

And Their Pets Are Beloved Companions

"Pets are considered beloved companions that enhance their owners’ well-being and quality of living," said Euromonitor. Dogs, which enjoy a high status and high profile among pets, are also viewed as "supporting their owners’ fitness and health and as helping them to reconnect with nature on their daily walks." 

The ultimate German dog is probably the German shepherd. But the very popular breed that has won the Germans' heart seems to be the cute Bavarian dachshund, typically named Waldi. These days, Waldi is also a popular name for baby boys, and the dachshund, in the form of a small bobblehead toy in the rear window of a good many German cars, is a symbol of the country's Sunday drivers.

'Waldi,' the Name and the Olympic Mascot

But in the 1970s, dachshunds were synonymous with the rainbow-hued dachshund Waldi who, as the first official Olympics mascot, was created for the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, the capital of Bavaria.

The dachshund was not chosen so much for this accident of geography but supposedly because it possessed the same qualities as a great athlete: resistance, tenacity, and agility. At the 1972 Summer Games, even the marathon route was designed to resemble Waldi.  

Additional Resource

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