Your lucky guide to the year of the dog!

Your lucky guide to the year of the dog!

It may not seem like much in some countries, but did you know that the Lunar New Year is a major festival that is widely celebrated in China, Korea, Vietnam and several other Asian countries? 

This year’s edition of Chinese New Year is fast approaching, starting on the 16th Of February. Oh, and this Lunar New Year is extra special!

Why so? Because it is the year of man’s best friend! The year of the dog!

[blockquote font="3"]Did you know? Donald Trump was also born in the year of the dog, on June 14th, 1946[/blockquote]

Want to know more about the upcoming Chinese Year Of The Dog, or planning to participate in this festival with your family/friends? You have come to the right place. This article will aim to provide you with some basic knowledge about the history, traditions, customs and practices that truly make this holiday a wonderful spectacle to cherish. 

Firstly, what exactly is the Lunar New Year?

singapore dog image

(Photo credit: Christy Yip)

Well, it is obviously apparent that this celebration is not based on our normal calendar. Instead, this holiday marks the new year of the Chinese Lunar Calendar. In simple terms, it is like new years but with a different calendar and a longer celebration.

Why is this year known as the year of the dog?

Dog word in chinese
The evolution of the chinese character for dog

(Image taken from: vividict)

The Chinese people believe in a certain animal zodiac/horoscope. It may seem very complicated at first, but please bear with me.

The Chinese Zodiac is a repeating 12 year cycle, as there are 12 animals in the zodiac which are assigned to their own individual year in a certain order. The animals of the zodiac cycle in order are: Rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. In simpler terms, year 1 of the cycle is the year of the rat, year 2 is the year of the ox, year 3 is the year of the tiger, and goes on all the way to the 12th year. After the 12th year, the cycle will repeat itself again.

We are currently at the 11th year of the cycle, and thus this year is the year of the dog.

[blockquote font="3"]Famous people born in the year of the dog include Bill Clinton, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Justin Bieber[/blockquote]

You will have to wait 12 years from this Lunar New Year for the next year of the dog. The last 5 Chinese dog years were: 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, and 2006. The next time we are going to see the year of the dog is 2030.

Why was the dog included as one of the 12 zodiac animals?

(Image taken from: imgur)

Why was the dog on the zodiac? What made it so special as to be included in something like this?

It is more or less impossible to know who exactly came up with the zodiac, but there are potential reasons as to why it was put in.

Well, the dog is well known for its close relationship with people- even way back then. China is one of the earliest countries to have domesticated dogs, which are derived from grey wolves. Shih Tzu breeds were especially popular amongst the royal family during the Ming and Manchu dynasties.

The Dog is the eleventh of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Monkey, Rooster and Dog were in another country, helping a god defeat evil spirits. After, they set off to the party together. Because they arrived at the same time, the Jade Emperor went by the order they met the god in the other country. Thus, Dog became eleventh.

The Dog is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) xū (戌), and the hours 7–9 in the evening. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Dog is yang.

Your guide to the animals of the Zodiac, and your Lucky Colors of 2018

(Image credit:

Which Zodiac animal represents the year you were born in, and how does it affect your life? 

Well, It is an extremely popular belief amongst the Chinese people that your luck will be influenced each year based on your zodiac animal and how compatible it is with that year’s animal. Your luck for the year varies with your zodiac animal.

I will take myself as an example. I was born in 1999, which makes my zodiac animal the rabbit. I am compatible with sheeps, monkeys, pigs and dogs. Since this is the year of the dog, it is expected by most beliefs that I will have a good year this year.

To many Chinese people, it is also an extremely popular belief that there are certain lucky colors to wear on this year based on your own zodiac animal. For instance, a person born in the year of the dragon should wear pink, white and blue in order to be extra fortunate this year.

You can check your Zodiac animal based on the year that you are born in as well as your lucky colours for this year by referring to the panels below. 

rat zodiac

Zodiac Animal: Rat
Born in the year
 : 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
Lucky colours for 2018 : yellow, blue, white
Colours to avoid during 2018 : beige[/panel] [panel]
ox zodiac

Zodiac Animal: Ox
Born in the year
 : 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009
Lucky colours for 2018 : yellow, green,red
Colours to avoid during 2018 : black[/panel] [panel]
tiger grass

Zodiac Animal: Tiger
Born in the year
 : 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010
Lucky colours for 2018 : brown,cyan,beige
Colours to avoid during 2018 : white[/panel]

rabbit garden

Zodiac Animal: Rabbit
Born in the year
 : 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011
Lucky colours for 2018 : yellow,black,green
Colours to avoid during 2018 : white[/panel] [panel]

Zodiac Animal: Dragon
Born in the year
 : 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012
Lucky colours for 2018 : pink,white,blue
Colours to avoid during 2018 : cyan[/panel] [panel]
snake coil

Zodiac Animal: Snake
Born in the year
 : 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013
Lucky colours for 2018 : green,brown,black
Colours to avoid during 2018 : red[/panel] [panel]
horse evening

Zodiac Animal: Horse
Born in the year 
: 1942, 1954,1966, 1978,1990, 2002, 2014
Lucky colours for 2018 : pink,white,cyan
Colours to avoid during 2018 : black[/panel] [panel]
goat grass

Zodiac Animal: Goat
Born in the year 
: 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015
Lucky colours for 2018 : beige,black,yellow
Colours to avoid during 2018 : green[/panel] [panel]
monkey banana

Zodiac Animal: Monkey
Born in the year 
: 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016
Lucky colours for 2018 : yellow,cyan,white
Colours to avoid during 2018 : pink[/panel] [panel]
rooster day

Zodiac Animal: Rooster
Born in the year 
: 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017
Lucky colours for 2018 : beige,cyan,black
Colours to avoid during 2018 : pink[/panel] [panel]
dog close up

Zodiac Animal: Dog
Born in the year 
: 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018
Lucky colours for 2018 : yellow,beige,blue
Colours to avoid during 2018 : cyan[/panel] [panel]
pig grass

Zodiac Animal: Pig
Born in the year 
: 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019
Lucky colours for 2018 : yellow,black,white
Colours to avoid during 2018 : red[/panel]

The above information is provided by For more information, click here to enter their website. 

Personality and characteristics

Men born in the Dog year are straightforward and genuine. They are energetic, though they’re more pessimistic inside.

Very opinionated, they’re always ready to correct others and defend their stance. It’s not that they want to show off. They just feel it’s necessary to help others realize their mistakes.

These men care deeply for their family. Their stubbornness fades in the face of their loved ones. They work to understand and compromise, resulting in a harmonious family life.

Women born in the Dog year are very cautious. They are indifferent towards people they don’t like, and don’t trust easily. But once they do, it’s permanent. They are intensely protective of their friends and family.

They are genial and independent. They love outdoor activities and being in nature. However, they are also hard workers and don’t give up until they succeed. Security and a stable income are her requirements for a career.


Most compatible with Dog: Rabbit, Tiger, Horse

Dogs are the most compatible with Rabbits. They’re attracted to the Rabbit’s kindness, while the Rabbit supports Dogs in the background.

Dogs are often pessimistic and needs a Tiger’s reassurance. Tigers also need a Dog’s loyalty. With Horses, both understand and respect each other’s opinions.

Least compatible with Dog: Dragon, Ox, Goat

Dogs and Dragons clash strongly and are the least compatible. Neither trusts each other and they have intense arguments.

There’s a cold relationship with Oxen. They have different interests and can’t interact smoothly. Dogs and Goats are able to tolerate each other, but there’s not much else.

Chinese New Year greetings.

(Image taken from: Kata Mutiara Bijak)

We constantly greet each other during our respective festivals, be it Merry Christmas, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Hanukkah or Eid Mubarak. So, how do we greet one another during the Lunar New Year?

The answer is simple. We greet each other by saying Gong Xi Fa Cai (恭喜發財).

But there is also another lesser known alternative specifically for the year of the dog.

You can REALLY impress your friends by using Wang Wang Fei Cai (旺旺吠财) instead of the common Gong Xi Fa Cai. This is a specific greeting used for the year of the dog by some people. This entire phrase roughly translates to 'proseprous barking for fortune.' The word Wang (旺) could mean two things. It could either mean a dog's bark/woof, or it could mean prosperous. The word Fei (吠) specifically means a dog's bark and the word Cai (财) means fortune. 

In China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and countries with large chinese communities like Malaysia and Singapore, it is still popular to name dogs Wàng Cái (旺财). It means “prosperous wealth” and comes from dogs’ barking sounds (旺旺—wàng wàng).

How the Chinese people celebrate Chinese New Year: The customs and practices.

lion dance

(Image taken from Youtube user Kent England) 

There are many activities and practices that the Chinese people partake in during Chinese New Year.

In my opinion, the most iconic one is self explanatory: The Lion Dance. This tradition involves 2 performers or more dancing under a lion costume to the rhythm of gongs, cymbals and drums. Fireworks and oranges are often also involved. 

Another very famous practice is the giving of red packets from the older generations to the younger generations. This practice may vary depending on certain families, but what my family does is this: The younger generations would kneel down with a cup of tea and wish the older generations well. In turn, the older generations would hand down a red packet filled with money to them. These money-filled red packets are called Hong Bao ( 紅包) in the Chinese language.

Besides this, there is also the food that are served during the festivities. Food is of the utmost importance for families in Chinese New Year, and the food itself will represent a lot. There is a meaning behind each and every food item served. 

Here are just 3 examples of common foods that could be served during the festivities and what they represent: 


Noodles- Represents longevity (longer lifespan)

chinese noodle

(Image taken from: trbimg)

Dumplings- Represents wealth and luck

(Image taken from: tablespoon's dumpling recipe)

Steamed Fish- Represents surplus and wealth

steamed fish

(Image taken from: thewoksoflife) 

For more meanings of the various common foods served during Chinese New Year, you can click here to read them.

Additional reading: Besides the more popular ones that I have listed out, there are many more customs and practices that the Chinese follow during Lunar New Year. You can read about them by clicking here. 

Also, you can look up the do's and dont's of the Lunar New Year by clicking here.

Do you have any other information regarding the upcoming Lunar New Year? If you do, please feel free to share them in the comments section.

Until next time, both me and the Petbacker team would like to wish you all a very happy Lunar New Year!

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