Dog may be the most commonly used, general word for referring to a canine (regardless of its gender), but it's not uncommon for a regular person to enquire, "is it a dog or a ❤❤❤❤❤?" In England it is, anyway.
I think there is a difference: "chiens" is "she-Anne" whereas "chiennes" is "she-En". It would also be "les petites chiennes" and the second "t" would be audible in "petites". (In practice, it would be very clipped and an ear attuned to English might miss it whereas one attuned to French would be sensitive to it.)
I learned French to A-level (university entrance) in the UK in the 1980s and spent a lot of time in France. I have never heard people there use the female forms of le chat or le chien in everyday settings even when the pet and its given name was clearly female.. eg "ou est le chat?" met the reply "elle n'est pas ici" So is this la chatte and la chienne usage new in the last 30 years because we were told all animals retained the generic noun gender except, as people have said, when talking about breeding and to veterinarians
This is a useful comment. Duolingo should perhaps avoid the use of these feminine versions. But the reference to vets and breeders is about English usage of ❤❤❤❤❤, not French. And it's incorrect. Chatte is a different story, and though 'tom' is common, 'queen' is very rarely used in that context.
I was recently in France and when I visited a friend of my homestay I commented, "Ton chien est très mignon." Which the owner corrected to, "Ma chienne est mignonne."
Whether or not this usage is a new development, or even common, I do not know. I do know that this woman was a ceramic artist, not a veterinarian.
It's the wrong word. A puppy is an infant dog. The French sentence does not reference a puppy or young dog. :)
Le chien is the word for dog.
Le chiot is the word for puppy.
If the sentence required the femine of dog and unlike cat English actually has a word for it, it is not my problem it became derogatory with time. ❤❤❤❤❤ is the female for chienne. Portuguese has cadela and we don't translate it for cão just because it is also derogatory.