"Cachorro" vs. "cão"

So, when I was first learning Portuguese many years ago, I was taught "cão" for "dog," and the instructor had spent many years in Brazil. Here at Duolingo, though, I'm taught "cachorro." Are they wholly able to substitute for one another? Is one or the other preferred in Brazil?

June 28, 2018


In the words of Luís on Unilang: In Portugal "cão" and "cachorro" are actually different words. "Cão" means "dog" and "cachorro" is "puppy". Somewhere over the Atlantic they lost their distinctive meaning. Both are used in Brazil for "dog", although "cachorro" is much more common, AFAIK.

June 28, 2018

Thank you!

June 28, 2018

nope, they are interchangeable actually, if you want to specify a puppy you would say something like cachorrinho or cãozinho

July 1, 2018

In Brazil, they mean pretty much the same and are interchangeable. "Cachorro" is used more frequently but both are perfectly acceptable.

June 28, 2018

Hi man I'm from Brazil.

Cão is frequently used to call the demon, or to say that a boy is behaving badly.

Sample 01

When something bad happen to you and you want to put the blame on the demon.

É o cão mesmo!

Sample 02

When a boy is not behaving well and you say to your friend " This boy is uneasy."

Esse menino é um cão!


June 29, 2018

My Brazilian engineering professor said “cão” is now uncommon among young people, but people his age and older use it more to mean the Devil. Perhaps the usage of “cão” is different among Nordestinos than other Brazilians.

June 30, 2018

Hi. In the hints to the lesson there is the sample "Gosto do cachorro de vocês". Can we say that another way? Is "Gosto do seu cachorro" correct ? Or maybe for "vocês" we should use another pronoun?

December 2, 2018

Both are fine: (eu) Gosto do seu cachorro/ (eu) gosto do cachorro de vocês. But the first one would be better in a context where you are talking directly to the owner of the dog. While the second gives an emphasis on Vocês so it express better the idea of the dog belonging to many people.

March 16, 2019

cão and cachorro is the same male dog. female dog (❤❤❤❤❤) are cachorra or cadela.

June 29, 2018

You can go either way, but "cachorro" is more common. For puppy we use "cachorrinho", "filhotinho de cachorro" or "cãozinho". The 1st and the 2nd ones are more common

June 30, 2018

It seems remiss of Duolingo to teach only one. I'd rather know the two common words for 'dog' and could live happily without knowing what the portuguese for armadillo was.

September 9, 2018

Believe me! We use ''cachorro''99% of the times. Cão is ''ok'' but it is way too formal.

April 11, 2019
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