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How to Write the 12 Chinese Zodiac Animal Signs

You’ve probably already heard of the 12 Chinese zodiac animal signs. In the traditional Chinese calendar there is a repeating cycle of 12 years, and each year is represented by a different animal sign.

In order, the animals are the mouse (rat), ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep (goat), monkey, chicken (rooster), dog and pig.

If you want to ask somebody which animal they are you can say 你属什么? nǐ shǔ shénme? (literally, what do you belong too).

It’s also a subtle way of asking somebody you know well how old they are!

You would respond to this question by saying 我属 (兔) wǒ shǔ tù ‘I am a rabbit’ replacing the rabbit (tù) with your sign of the zodiac.

Because the year of a particular animal comes around every 12 years, you will have your animal year when you are 12, 24, 36, 48, 60 and 72. It’s actually thought to be unlucky when your year comes around, and the best way to fend off this bad luck is to wear something red like an item of red clothing such red socks or underpants. Worth remembering if your year is coming around this year!

The animal signs of the Chinese zodiac

Rat – 鼠 shǔ
Ox – 牛 niú
Tiger – 虎 hǔ
Rabbit – 兔 tù
Dragon –  龙 lóng
Snake – 蛇 shé
Horse – 马 mǎ
Sheep – 羊 yáng
Monkey – 猴 hóu
Rooster – 鸡 jī
Dog – 狗 gǒu
Pig – 猪 zhū

What Chinese zodiac animal sign am I?

If you don’t know what animal sign you are, you can find out using the guide below. Remember that the date of Chinese New Year is calculated using the lunar calendar, so if your birthday lies in January or February, then look carefully, because your animal sign will depend on whether you were born before or after Chinese New Year.

Year Chinese New Year Date Animal Sign
1940 1940-02-08 Dragon (1940-02-08—1941-01-26)
1941 1941-01-27 Snake (1941-01-27—1942-02-14)
1942 1942-02-15 Horse (1942-02-15—1943-02-03)
1943 1943-02-04 Sheep (1943-02-04—1944-01-24)
1944 1944-01-25 Monkey (1944-01-25—1945-02-12)
1945 1945-02-13 Rooster (1945-02-13—1946-01-31)
1946 1946-02-01 Dog (1946-02-01—1947-01-21)
1947 1947-01-22 Pig (1947-01-22—1948-02-09)
1948 1948-02-10 Rat (1948-02-10—1949-01-28)
1949 1949-01-29 Ox (1949-01-29—1950-02-16)
1950 1950-02-17 Tiger (1950-02-17—1951-02-05)
1951 1951-02-06 Rabbit (1951-02-06—1952-01-26)
1952 1952-01-27 Dragon (1952-01-27—1953-02-13)
1953 1953-02-14 Snake (1953-02-14—1954-02-02)
1954 1954-02-03 Horse (1954-02-03—1955-01-23)
1955 1955-01-24 Sheep (1955-01-24—1956-02-11)
1956 1956-02-12 Monkey (1956-02-12—1957-01-30)
1957 1957-01-31 Rooster (1957-01-31—1958-02-17)
1958 1958-02-18 Dog (1958-02-18—1959-02-07)
1959 1959-02-08 Pig (1959-02-08—1960-01-27)
1960 1960-01-28 Rat (1960-01-28—1961-02-14)
1961 1961-02-15 Ox (1961-02-15—1962-02-04)
1962 1962-02-05 Tiger (1962-02-05—1963-01-24)
1963 1963-01-25 Rabbit (1963-01-25—1964-02-12)
1964 1964-02-13 Dragon (1964-02-13—1965-02-01)
1965 1965-02-02 Snake (1965-02-02—1966-01-20)
1966 1966-01-21 Horse (1966-01-21—1967-02-08)
1967 1967-02-09 Sheep (1967-02-09—1968-01-29)
1968 1968-01-30 Monkey (1968-01-30—1969-02-16)
1969 1969-02-17 Rooster (1969-02-17—1970-02-05)
1970 1970-02-06 Dog (1970-02-06—1971-01-26)
1971 1971-01-27 Pig (1971-01-27—1972-02-14)
1972 1972-02-15 Rat (1972-02-15—1973-02-02)
1973 1973-02-03 Ox (1973-02-03—1974-01-22)
1974 1974-01-23 Tiger (1974-01-23—1975-02-10)
1975 1975-02-11 Rabbit (1975-02-11—1976-01-30)
1976 1976-01-31 Dragon (1976-01-31—1977-02-17)
1977 1977-02-18 Snake (1977-02-18—1978-02-06)
1978 1978-02-07 Horse (1978-02-07—1979-01-27)
1979 1979-01-28 Sheep (1979-01-28—1980-02-15)
1980 1980-02-16 Monkey (1980-02-16—1981-02-04)
1981 1981-02-05 Rooster (1981-02-05—1982-01-24)
1982 1982-01-25 Dog (1982-01-25—1983-02-12)
1983 1983-02-13 Pig (1983-02-13—1984-02-01)
1984 1984-02-02 Rat (1984-02-02—1985-02-19)
1985 1985-02-20 Ox (1985-02-20—1986-02-08)
1986 1986-02-09 Tiger (1986-02-09—1987-01-28)
1987 1987-01-29 Rabbit (1987-01-29—1988-02-16)
1988 1988-02-17 Dragon (1988-02-17—1989-02-05)
1989 1989-02-06 Snake (1989-02-06—1990-01-26)
1990 1990-01-27 Horse (1990-01-27—1991-02-14)
1991 1991-02-15 Sheep (1991-02-15—1992-02-03)
1992 1992-02-04 Monkey (1992-02-04—1993-01-22)
1993 1993-01-23 Rooster (1993-01-23—1994-02-09)
1994 1994-02-10 Dog (1994-02-10—1995-01-30)
1995 1995-01-31 Pig (1995-01-31—1996-02-18)
1996 1996-02-19 Rat (1996-02-19—1997-02-06)
1997 1997-02-07 Ox (1997-02-07—1998-01-27)
1998 1998-01-28 Tiger (1998-01-28—1999-02-15)
1999 1999-02-16 Rabbit (1999-02-16—2000-02-04)
2000 2000-02-05 Dragon (2000-02-05—2001-01-23)
2001 2001-01-24 Snake (2001-01-24—2002-02-11)
2002 2002-02-12 Horse (2002-02-12—2003-01-31)
2003 2003-02-01 Sheep (2003-02-01—2004-01-21)
2004 2004-01-22 Monkey (2004-01-22—2005-02-08)
2005 2005-02-09 Rooster (2005-02-09—2006-01-28)
2006 2006-01-29 Dog (2006-01-29—2007-02-17)
2007 2007-02-18 Pig (2007-02-18—2008-02-06)
2008 2008-02-07 Rat (2008-02-07—2009-01-25)
2009 2009-01-26 Ox (2009-01-26—2010-02-13)
2010 2010-02-14 Tiger (2010-02-14—2011-02-02)
2011 2011-02-03 Rabbit (2011-02-03—2012-01-22)
2012 2012-01-23 Dragon (2012-01-23—2013-02-09)
2013 2013-02-10 Snake (2013-02-10—2014-01-30)
2014 2014-01-31 Horse (2014-01-31—2015-02-18)
2015 2015-02-19 Sheep (2015-02-19—2016-02-07)
2016 2016-02-08 Monkey (2016-02-08—2017-01-27)
2017 2017-01-28 Rooster (2017-01-28—2018-02-15)
2018 2018-02-16 Dog (2018-02-16—2019-02-04)
2019 2019-02-05 Pig (2019-02-05—2020-01-24)
2020 2020-01-25 Rat (2020-01-25—2021-02-11)