The French proverb "Les chiens ne font pas des chats"

On this page, we are going to explain you everything you have to know about the funny French proverb “Les chiens ne font pas des chats”.

This include a full definition of what it mean and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. And because learning a new language is a big deal, we also added some super useful stuff like dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio, synonyms and more!

If you are interested, more of these proverbs are available on this page plus all our French words guides on this page. Ready to learn? Let’s go!

Table of Contents

Artboard 1
Artboard 1
Artboard 1
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French to English

How to pronounce it

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?


  • Les chiens → Dogs
  • Ne font pas → Don’t make
  • Des chats → Cats

Even though we can be very different, we all tend to have few similar features with our parents. These genetic common traits can be physical, about character or even about tastes and likes. 

That’s why two teachers are more likely to have a child who becomes a teacher than non-teachers couples. And why (obviously) dogs are not making cats.

How to use it

This proverb is a dangerous weapon that can save you as much as it can hurt you, here is how to use it:

For children: if your parents are mad at you about something you do and they actually do the same thing, reminds them “Les chiens ne font pas des chats“. 

I mean, this is not your bad after all. They started first and transmitted it to you, right? (*wink*)

But be careful, parents can also use it against you…

For parents: if you are proud of a certain quality of your child, use this proverb to brag about it. If they have this quality, it’s 100% because you are so good that you ended up transmitting it to them. (*wink again*)

Ideally, keep this trick in case your child is using the technique above against you.

Synonyms and similarities

  • La pomme ne tombe jamais loin de l’arbre. (“The apple never fall far from the tree“)
  • Tel père, tel fils. (“Like father, like son“)
  • Bon sang ne saurait mentir. (“Good blood can’t lie“)

Example with audio dialogue

Audio dialogue by French natives

Dialogue audio

Dialogue script

” Tu es vraiment comme ta mère ! “
” You are really like your mother! “
” Les chiens ne font pas des chats. “
” Dogs don’t make cats. “
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