"Their dog eats."
Translation:Ο σκύλος τους τρώει.
Do some animal names have both a neutral and masculine form? In this case, it seems to me dog is both masculine, ο σκύλος, and neutral, το σκυλί. Is the neutral used when the animal sex is unknown or what?
No, they are interchangeable. It's just a preference of the speaker. The diminutive of the mascculine version (ο σκυλάκος) is used to show affection to the dog whereas the diminutive of the neurum version (το σκυλάκι) can be either used for affection or to talk about pups. That is their only difference, i think. Other animal names have both masculine, feminine and neutrum p.e. ο γάτος, η γάτα, το γατί. Then, its a matter of gender but the rule above still applies.
Thank you very much! Did I overlook some explanation during the course up to this point? It does not seem something one would get only by practice.
The truth is that you cannot sum up all this because the masculine, feminine or neutrum version of an animal may be used differently. For example you can say for all dogs ο σκύλος or το σκυλί, but η σκύλα is used only for female dogs (or as an insult-❤❤❤❤❤), but for cats you can say η γάτα or το γατί for all cats and ο γάτος only or the male cats. So, it's a matter of practice... :/
I beg to disagree… such an explanation should be given, it is quite hard to fathom from practice alone.