Dog figurines on a shelf

The Year of the Dog: Everything You Need to Know

While every year is a Fido year for dog people, in 2018 it's official. Starting February 16 it's the Year of the Dog according to the lunar calendar. On that day, Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, begins. This two-week celebration is enjoyed all over the world, and, for many Asians, is the biggest holiday of the year.

An earthy dog year

Since there are 12 animal signs on the Chinese zodiac, your birth sign comes around once every dozen years. To figure out if you’re the Year of the Dog, you can subtract intervals of 12 from 2018. Or just look at this handy chart.

Each animal year is also assigned one of five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. So 2018 isn’t just a dog year but an earth dog year. Because colors are associated with each element, it might also be described as the Year of the Yellow Dog.

The dog’s personality

Those born in a mutt year are thought to be loyal, honest, responsible, clever, courageous, and playful — perhaps too playful. There’s a reason why the Dog came in second to last in the Great Race that determined the order of the animals on the Chinese zodiac, despite being a good swimmer: he was too busy enjoying life. Or so the legend says.

But dogs can be emotional, stubborn, overly critical, and pessimistic. They’re not great communicators, and when things get difficult, they sometimes blame it on the world.

Each dog element has specific attributes as well.

The Wood Dog (1934, 1994) is sincere, reliable, considerate, understanding, and patient.

The Fire Dog (1946, 2006) is hardworking, intelligent, honest, and cautious.

The Earth Dog (1958, 2018) is persistent, meticulous, responsible, and good with money.

The Metal Dog (1910, 1970) is conservative, helpful, and has a strong sense of self-respect.

The Water Dog (1922, 1982) is brave, responsible, good with money, but can be self-centered.

Dog’s best friends?

It's believed that certain zodiac signs are better suited for each other than others. In other words, some pairs are a match made in heaven while others belong in hell.

As for people born in dog years, they're said to get along best with rabbits while they should stay away from dragons, sheep, and roosters.

Stay lucky this dog year

It’s believed that during the year of your birth sign, you’re more vulnerable to misfortune. But there are some ways you can add good luck and avoid bad this year.

Numbers. Play the lottery? Your lucky numbers are 3, 4, 9, and any combination thereof. Numbers to avoid are 1, 6, and 7.

Colors. Keep fortune on your side by wearing green, red, and purple. Meanwhile, you’ll want to avoid blue, white, and gold.

Months. The most favorable times of the year will be the sixth, 10th, and 12th lunar months, which translate roughly as mid July to mid August, early November to early December, and early January to early February, respectively. Less lucky lunar months are the fifth (mid June to mid July) and the eighth (early September to early October).

Directions. Feng shui fiend? You’ll want to take note of these auspicious directions: east, northeast, and south. But the southeast? Don’t go there.

Flowers. Turns out there are no ill-fated flowers, just felicitous ones, including the rose, cymbidium orchid, and oncidium orchid.

Famous dogs

You’ve figured out you were born the Year of the Dog — so what famous folks share your birth sign?

Arguably the most famous is our President, Donald Trump. Born in 1946, he’s a Fire Dog (as well as a Statue Dog, at least in Shanxi province in China). Former U.S. presidents, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, share the same birth year as do Confucius, Mother Teresa, Elvis Presley, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Bieber, and Prince William.

Learn more about the animals of the Chinese zodiac.
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