A littler of French bulldog puppies with their mother

Photo via zanerudovica/Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY)

All hail Merriam-Webster for the ‘good dog’ take we didn’t know we needed

Merriam-Webster isn't here for your gendered dog s**t.


Samantha Grasso

Internet Culture

Posted on Sep 29, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 3:47 pm CDT

The internet is obsessed with “good boys”—good dogs, specifically, but good “boys” is how the collective web has come to refer to our beloved furballs time and again.


I, too, have jumped on this slang train.


Even other animals (that are clearly female!) are referred to as “good boys.” The phenomenon has run rampant, clearly, with the internet’s obsession for inherently gendering fantastic animals as male.


Well, the rule of “good boys” ends today. Merriam-Webster, dictionary and unlikely voice of the resistance against President Donald Trump, has just added “gender equality” to its laundry list of qualms for which to rage against the machine.

When asked to define a “good boy” on Twitter, the dictionary’s account put its metaphorical foot down at the question’s phrasing.


Not all dogs are good boys, Merriam-Webster asserted. And why is that, you may ask?

Because some dogs are good girls.

*Cue mic drop GIF*

Yup, the gatekeeper to all that is correctly spelled and defined just spilled the hottest take that we all didn’t know we needed: The internet must check its obsession with good boys, stop attempting to gender all dogs as male, and realize that regardless of gender, all dogs are good dogs, first and foremost.

Immediately, owners of female dogs began weighing in with pictures of their own friendly animals, backing Merriam-Webster’s much-needed reality check.




Even Dog aficionado and Twitter personality darth tweet-gasped at the dictionary’s truth bomb.

While Merriam-Webster’s tweet might be the perfect clap back to the “good boy” obsession, its social media manager might have had a reasonable excuse for forgoing the “dictionary” definition for “dog.” It includes the word “bitch,” which might be too liberal for a social media account used to sharing dictionary search trends and definition-checking people in the public eye.


Or, we could just stick to calling all dogs good dogs and forget about the ulterior motives of a dictionary’s social media account. That seems appropriate, either way.

Share this article
*First Published: Sep 29, 2017, 4:37 pm CDT