For centuries, on the first day of the New Moon of each year, the Lunar New Year is celebrated throughout Asia. In China, this celebration is called the 春节, Chūn jié, or Spring Festival, and begins with the Spring Lantern Festival, where red paper lanterns with notes placed inside are lit with candles to honor ancestors, celebrate deities and bring good fortune. In the West, we know this as Chinese New Year. And this year—starting Friday, February 16th—it’s The Year of The Dog.

What’s Your Chinese Zodiac Animal?

Rat — 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008

Ox — 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009

Tiger — 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010

Rabbit —  1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011

Dragon — 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012

Snake — 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013

Horse — 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014

Goat — 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015

Monkey — 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Rooster — 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017

Dog — 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018

Boar — 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, 2019

What It Means to Be Born During the Year of the Dog

In Chinese Astrology, the Dog, an animal sign known for its loyalty, diligence and sharp sense of intuition, holds the 11th position out of 12 in the Chinese Zodiac. So, if you’re born in 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 and 2018, it’s your year.

Still, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be all fun and games. During a “you” year in the Chinese Zodiac, it’s said that both great challenges and great victories surface in order to help us cultivate a more fulfilling and meaningful life. For those born in a Dog year, one of the core messages of 2018 will be to focus their energy on how they show up in the world and their health. Throughout this next 12-month cycle, Dogs might find themselves asking questions like: What’s holding me back in my career? How can I be more creative? Do I practice self-care and self-love enough? How on top of my finances am I?

The Traits and Characteristics of the Dog in Chinese Astrology

The strengths of the Dog are many. For one, Dogs are intensely loyal and rarely turn on friends or the people they love. In work, Dogs are diligent, and once given a task, they work hard to complete it and are less likely to be as distracted as other animals. Yet at times, Dogs can be too suspicious, often sticking their noses into business that doesn’t involve them, causing tense arguments and unnecessary quarrels. Dogs can also be very picky, but they are even more observant, which makes them the best at finding details others have overlooked.

The Dog: Lucky Numbers, Colors, Symbols and Associations

Lucky Directions — East

Unlucky Directions — Southeast

Hours — 7pm–9pm

Day — Friday

Lunar Month — 9th

Season — Autumn

Yin/Yang — Yang

Lucky Numbers — 3, 4, 9

Unlucky Numbers — 1,6,7

Lucky Flowers — Rose, Cymbidium, Oncidium

Lucky Colors — Green, Red, Purple

Unlucky Colors — Blue, White, Gold

The Five Types of Dogs in the Chinese Zodiac

Although many think of the Chinese Zodiac as a 12-year cycle, it’s actually a 60-year cycle, as each animal is paired with a different element every 12 years. Based on the five Chinese elements of Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water, Dogs of separate elements are known for slightly different traits.

Element: Wood / Years: 1934, 1994 / Traits: genuine, empathetic and patient

Element: Fire / Years: 1946, 2006 / Traits: bright, hardworking and honest

Element: Earth / Years: 1958, 2018 / Traits: communicative, thoughtful and accountable

Element: Metal / Years: 1910, 1970 / Traits: supportive, charming and vigilant

Element: Water / Years: 1992, 1982 / Traits: thrifty, fearless, egocentric

What The Year Of the Dog Means For The Rest Of The Chinese Zodiac

The Origin of The Chinese Zodiac and the Myth of the Great Race

When 玉帝 (Yù Dì), the Jade Emperor, first decided that the heavens should measure time, he decreed that a great race be held, and that only the first 12 animals that were able to cross the river and reach the opposite shore would appear on the zodiac calendar. The Dog was one of the best runners, but at the end of the race it came in 11th out of 12, faster only than The Boar, who took a break to nap after eating.

This is the basis for the order of the Chinese Zodiac, and though simply a myth, it offers deep insights on how the Chinese created such an intricate system for making sense of time, human nature and life’s many mysteries.

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About the author

Micah Hurley is a writer and student on both Eastern and Western history as well as myth. From a young age, he enjoyed the research of ancient lore, first on Egyptian and Greek legends before widening his scope to learning about traditions and mythologies the world over.