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

You are in the right place to find out all the things you want to know about the basic proverb “Les chiens ne font pas des chats”.

It includes a full definition of what it mean and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. Along with the cool informations we added like literal meaning, slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

If you want, more of these proverbs are available on this page plus the ultimate list of all our French words guides on this page. Wishing you a good learning!

Artboard 1
Showcase of this quote from our Instagram account
Daily posts like this on Instagram → @all.french and Telegram

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, remind them “Les chiens ne font pas des chats“.

I mean, this is not your fault 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.


  • 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 in a story with translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
La course de Formule 1
The Formula 1 race
Jacques regarde une course de voiture à la télé.
Jacques watches a car race on TV.
Alice:   Encore une de tes courses stupides ?
Again one of your stupid races?
Jacques:   C’est pas stupide ! C’est la Formule 1.
It’s not stupid! It’s Formula 1.
Alice:   Je m’en fiche, baisse le son s’il te plaît. C’est vraiment fort.
I don’t care, please turn the volume down. It’s really loud.
Jacques:   Ok.
Alice:   Je n’arrive pas à croire que tu regardes ça, c’est tellement ennuyeux !
I can’t believe you’re watching that, it’s so boring!
Jacques:   Tu parles comme maman…
You talk like mom…
Alice:   Et tu agis comme papa !
And you act like dad!
Jacques:   Les chiens ne font pas des chats, n’est-ce pas ?
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, isn’t it?
Get access to 365 French Texts and Quizzes

Become a member to access the full version of 365 texts and quizzes! 

Already a member? Login here