Can you ask a pet's name in this way?

For example, この犬は誰ですか。

Who is this dog?

  • 3
    That doesn't work in English either.
    – James K
    Mar 3, 2021 at 21:24

2 Answers 2


Not really. It would be a rather odd way of asking. この犬の名前は何? is the natural way of asking.


No, and if you say that way people probably assume that you try to say "Whose is this dog?". (この犬は誰ですか?)

We don't use for something that is not human.

  • What if you were asking ゴミを散らかしたのは誰?? (i.e. "Which (dog) scattered all this junk everywhere?") How would you avoid using だれ to refer to an animal in this case?
    – jogloran
    Mar 4, 2021 at 1:32
  • 2
    If you meant to say "Which (dog) scattered all this junk everywhere?", you wanna say "どの犬がゴミを散らかしたの?" or "このゴミを散らかしたのはどの犬?". (but if you talk to your dogs, it's not unnatural to say "誰") In this situation, it sounds like you already know one of your dogs did it. If you are not sure who or what did this yet, then we usually say "ゴミを散らかしたのは誰?" or just simply say "なんでこんなに散らかっているの?". In this case, "なんで" can be interpreted in two ways; "Why" or "What(made this)".
    – Kaho
    Mar 4, 2021 at 1:43
  • Ah, interesting. In English, it is indeed acceptable to refer to dogs (particularly your own pets) with "who", so it wouldn't be unusual to say "Who scattered all this junk everywhere?" addressing your two naughty dogs. If I understand you correctly, 誰 is never appropriate for non-humans in Japanese, even pets that you have a personal relationship with.
    – jogloran
    Mar 4, 2021 at 2:08
  • 2
    It could be a debate topic...but I've never heard any dog owner uses "誰" for their dog(s). However, again, if you get your dogs to sit down before you and point them questioning who did this(as if dogs can understand our language), you can say "誰". I just came up with a situation like this: you come home and find out the whole house is a mess. Then, one of your family members comes into sight. In this situation, some people might say "誰" even if they know it's one of your dogs. But, I would say "なんで?" "何があったの?" at first and someone would reply what happened or who did this.
    – Kaho
    Mar 4, 2021 at 2:55

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