Features and Occasionals

Chinese Astrology: The Year of the Dog

By Valerie Litchfield

The tail-wagging, lovable and loyal dog, man’s best friend, will be jumping into all of our lives and laps on February 16, 2018 for the Chinese New Year. This will be a year filled with hearts, licks, barks and wet noses, a simpler year than the past two. Dogs, being uncomplicated animals, want nothing more than to play fetch and be rewarded with treats. Dogs are loyal pack animals that don’t like being alone; instead they follow us around and watch us with their dancing eyes as they lay their head between their paws.

The annual celebration of the Chinese New Year is based upon the Hsia Lunar Farm Calendar that has been kept for 4,717 years. The new year begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice and is celebrated with festivals, foods and fireworks. The two-week celebration culminates with the Festival of Lanterns on or near the full moon.

Prior to Chinese New Year’s Day, houses and businesses will be ritually swept clean, discarding the dirt and energy from the previous year. Fresh energy is encouraged to enter by placing a bowl of mandarin oranges near the front door. Mandarin oranges symbolize gold and invite financial luck. For 2018, placing a Dog figurine near the entry of your home or office will invite the festive mood and the good fortune of the year.

There is a complexity to the ancient Chinese calendar that adds additional dimensions to the equation of figuring out the energetics of the year. The first dimension is the polarity of the year: Each year is either yin or yang, large or small, male or female. The second dimension is the element from nature: water, wood, fire, earth or metal. 2018 is a Yang Earth Dog year. Earth Dog years are characterized as a time of idealism, social justice, innovation and lifestyle changes. The positive qualities that accompany the element of earth are those of grounding and stability—like that of a mountain. Strong earth energy brings into focus issues pertaining to real estate, agriculture and the environment. This energy also is protective and watches over people. Dogs are seen as guardians in Chinese Astrology and are linked to spirituality and religion. During the Earth Dog year, it is believed that the Dog will watch over people from a place on the mountain.

The Earth Dog invites us to have a down-to-earth attitude. This is a time to listen and learn and not to act impulsively. If you’re considering big changes this year, don’t act to quickly as you may end up worst off. The element of earth is expected to bring prosperity in 2018, as earth produces metal or money in the Chinese elemental system. People who are proactive, hard working and communicate well will see spectacular results this year. Those who show generosity to others will reap the greatest benefits.

Marriages in the Year of the Dog bring happiness and good fortune. This is a great time to marry your best friend.

If you’re having a baby in 2018, you can know that children born in Earth Dog years are born with common sense as their greatest virtue and blossom when given tasks that require responsibility. They are able to amuse themselves for hours when given toys that stimulate their imaginations and artistic abilities. Children born in the year of the Dog might be slightly introverted but will emerge as leaders because of their stable minds and their ability to exercise emotional intelligence. The Dog being a pack animal makes 2018 a great time to rekindle and strengthen family ties. The dog’s unfailing loyalty is expected to bring happiness to relationships, both with family and friends.

The animal sign which is most unfavorable in 2018 is the Dragon. It is in direct conflict with the Dog. People born in the year of the Dragon can anticipate change, more traveling, or movements such as changing jobs or residence. Carry the image of the Rabbit as protection, and to attract the Dog away from your path. When the Dog encounters their own year, they are made to look inside of themselves and can experience disharmony, worries and frustrations, as well as sickness. They, too, benefit from carrying the Rabbit, to minimize the negative effect.


The Dog is the 11th of the 12 animal signs in the Chinese Zodiac and is combined with the element of earth for 2018. The current 12-year cycle will end in 2019 (this cycle began in 2008 with the year of Rat, the seed of the cycle, and will end with the sign of the Pig). One main aspect of Dog years is that they’re a time for consolidating the events and experiences of the cycle. It’s a great time to retire, or move to a new residence that will be a better fit for future plans. By identifying and consolidating the events that have occurred since 2008, we will ready ourselves for the completion of the cycle next year and a new start in 2020.

Lap Chun, each February 4, is the official beginning of spring in the Chinese Solar Calendar. When the lunar new year comes after this date as it does in 2018, falling on February 16, then the coming year is deemed to be a time of slow growth. If you’re getting ready to launch a business it’s best to get it started before February 4. Add a green plant to your home or office to fill the void of the missing Lap Chun and infuse your undertakings with vibrant yang energy.

Dog years are defined by idealism and new ways to interpret the human condition. One such way is by advancing spirituality and paying closer attention to spiritual matters (one possible solution to growing religious intolerances which have caused much disharmony in the last decade). The Dog is related to spiritual matters and so there will be tension and conflicts that arise around religious and cultural causes, but the Dog is also the bringer of peaceful resolutions and long-term advancements.

The Dog is a lover of the great outdoors, preferring the countryside where it can be off leash and free, to city streets. For this reason Dog energy represents the environment and is linked to environmental issues. The Environmental Protection Agency was formed during the Dog year of 1970. And on April 22, 1970, millions of Americans celebrated Earth Day, spreading the idea that each of us plays a role in taking care of the Earth and its resources. This year our focus may be ending plastic pollution, biodiversity vs. extinction, and extreme weather. There may also be increased international cooperation around issues such as nuclear power and climate change.

Earth element in its yang form, the mountain, will bring forth tremors from deep inside for change. These tremors will come from social awareness and a demand for truth and justice. The intelligent, empathetic and protective Dog will reject actions based on individual desires and will create a time of taking action for the many, rather than the few. During the year, ordinary people who have been feeling hopeless and excluded will not hesitate to make demands for their own living conditions and the conditions of their children. These demands will be heard, even by those who might not want to hear it, and will result in political debates about war, the environment and social justice.

The Earth year, being a large mountain, could bring about more natural disasters such as drought, earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions and avalanches. An Earth year could also bring more traffic accidents or problems involving roads.

The faithful and protective Dog has a strong sense of morality and is regarded in China as an auspicious animal that brings peace. Great strides will be made this year in humanitarian efforts to alleviate the suffering of people through education and improved health care. During the Dog year of 1934, we saw the passage of the National Housing Act in support of affordable public housing and the creation of UNICEF, an international organization that protects and defends the rights of children. Fundamental questions of how to improve care for the elderly, the homeless and animals will all be revisited and will motivate people to participate in philanthropic gestures.

Thanks to the dog’s intelligence, training and discipline, the Year of the Dog is a good time to make lifestyle changes (quit smoking, move your residence or start a new business venture). Dog years are slower paced, making it easier to consider pros and cons. The Dog year of 1946 brought about the advent of Mensa, while other Dog years saw the creation of the Nicotine Patch, Tupperware, the microchip, jumbo jets—Boeing 747 and the Concorde. New philosophies and new authors emerge in Dog years, as well as renewed interest in forgotten texts by great classical writers and poets.

Markets are associated with the Earth element. The real estate market in particular has had strong activity in the past two years and is anticipated to continue flourishing in 2018 along with the other markets associated with Earth: insurance , hotels, recycling and renewable energy.


Eleven Down to Earth

Ideas for 2018

  1. Take time to weigh the pros and cons of changes that could have the biggest impact in your life: Is it time to move your residence, start a new business or quit smoking?
  2. Success in the Year of the Dog will come by making sure that one task is completed before taking on another.
  3. Volunteer for humanitarian causes such as Habitat for Humanity, Doctors without Borders or Make-a-Wish.
  4. Establish new traditions in your life and revisit old ones.
  5. Adopt a rescue dog or donate your time or resources to a shelter.
  6. Take a family vacation to a place in nature.
  7. Take (and give) common sense advice.
  8. (Re)connect with your spiritual or religious tradition.
  9. Practice devotion, a trait our four-legged friends are known for.
  10. Dogs are pack animals and understand hierarchies; take time this year to identify the leaders, mentors, advocates and detractors in your life.
  11. Read or reread classic books, stories and poetry—paws for thought .

Dog people

Those born under the sign of the Dog are said to be caring, altruistic, honest and loyal. By nature, Dog people are generous, loving, friendly and have a strong sense of justice. They always have a kind word, a reassuring smile and are excellent listeners. They will always be the first to lend support, and offer wise counsel from their deep well of intuition. Because Dogs are observant and cautious they make excellent judges of character and human nature. Dogs are constructive and efficient thinkers and are devoted to their ideals. They proceed in life by having a well-defined purpose and plan. With a strong sense of justice, Dogs are brave, forthright and like righting wrongs. They have a profound sense of duty in their careers and tend to stick to them when they find them to be worthwhile. They won’t waste their time job-hopping; instead they will take the time to specialize and become an expert. As an employee, they will be loyal and will perform well in their jobs. They are also good working partners and are held in high regard by their superiors.

Like the animal itself, Dog people are homebodies who care deeply for their family and always put them first. Dogs are undemanding and have simple needs in relationships. As partners they seek a simple and comfortable love life. As partners they are kind-hearted, considerate and provide a sense of security. Dogs stick by their partners, offering support and sharing the highs and lows of life together. Giving Dog people an appropriate amount of space and distance is an effective way of keeping love fresh. Dogs create traditional homes that are happy and safe places for their children to grow and develop. Dogs as parents encourage their children to question and explore the world. Dogs support their children’s choices and wouldn’t dream of standing in their way, but will be there for them if they are ever in need.

Dogs can foresee and catch many golden opportunities when it comes to business and moving up the corporate ladder. They’re usually willing to take on extra responsibilities and are goal-oriented people who will fight for the achievement of their goals. Dogs are very careful with money and finances. They have little interest in accumulating money just for money’s sake. Their goals and motivations around money come from making themselves and others comfortable. They are very generous with family and friends, with their time and resources. Generally speaking, most of them have busy and challenging jobs that require their involvement in many social activities. Their charming personality makes them popular among colleagues and business partners. Although they have stable and abundant incomes, they will conserve their resources and save money. Those born in the Year of the Dog make great teachers, lawyers, judges, scientists, counselors, builders and politicians. Three out of the four last U.S. Presidents were born in Dog years: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

Though very friendly and calm, Dogs can also be very secretive and they don’t like to reveal their problems. In private they have a tendency to worry, a characteristic which if left unchecked can lead to deep-seated anxiety. Dogs can find it hard to compromise and at times are overly judgmental—nothing is good enough for them. Though diplomatic and even-handed, Dogs can be equally fast with razor-sharp comebacks (we have witnessed this in the last year with President Trump’s Twitter feed).

Famous dog people include Mariah Carey, Tommy Lee Jones, Ellen DeGeneres, Michael Jackson and a man who told us that “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog,” Elvis Presley.


Animal Horoscopes – 2018


Rat (1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008)

Unfortunately, the Rat will be facing a demanding year that is filled with obstacles. The Dog brings worry and anxiety to the Rat that could affect self-confidence and inner strength. Rather than forcing things to happen, relax and make peace with what does. Rats are advised to watch spending and be cautious with investments or taking financial risks. Love is possible this year, but it will require work and dedication and will be average in nature.


Ox (1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997, 2009)

Oxen will have strong personal energy in 2018 and will bulldoze through the year. This will be an excellent year for finding love and romance but it will take someone special to woo and capture your heart. With the right person, you will find happiness and a sense of calm. When it comes to finances it’s best to use common sense where investments or projects are concerned. Carefully thinking through things rather than acting impulsively will bring positive results.


Tiger (1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010 )

The Tiger’s forecast for 2018 shows many positive indications. Strong life force energy will bring success and creative new ideas. The Tiger’s enthusiasm about life in 2018 will attract exciting opportunities for achieving wealth that could come from his ideas. Tiger’s strong positive aura will bring many admirers and the Tiger will be in mood to flirt and play. A serious committed relationship could come in the later part of a very satisfying year.


Rabbit (1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011)

2018 will be time when Rabbit can make up ground that might have been lost in 2017. Rabbits will experience quick and unexpected success. The coming year will be a time when Rabbits can better focus on their goals and how to achieve them. Spending time with loved ones and taking care of yourself will be important in 2018. The Dog year will bring major leaps in progress and success but it will be necessary to put in the hours needed to achieve your desires.


Dragon (1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000, 2012)

2018 is a tricky year for the Dragon. It will take clever and strategic thinking to help the Dragon navigate because they are in direct conflict with the Dog. With careful planning and work, Dragons can expect to have their share of financial success. Your hunches should not be relied upon this year; lying low is a good strategy to avoid attracting negativity.


Snake (1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, 2013)

2018 is a promising year for the Snake. They can set their own rules and control their own destiny. Opportunities are theirs for the taking . With forethought, it will be surprising how well the year ends up. Good fortune extends beyond finances into relationships where admirers may make the first move and romance will unfold when it is right.


Horse (1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002, 2014)

An auspicious year for the Horse will unfold in 2018, as Horse is an ally and friend with the Dog. There are good indications that wisdom and romance are in store. Horses are in a place to create rapport with others, which can lead to happiness. Horses seeking lasting love could find it, with someone special easily coming along. This could be the year to settle down.


Sheep (1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003, 2015)

Sheep can look forward to a remarkable, year. Major developments come to the Sheep because of strong life force energy. This will give the Sheep motivation to work harder in achieving desired goals. Investments and money-making opportunities will be promising. Relationship luck is also favored, for both singles and those already in partnership. All in all, this could be a very pleasant year for the Sheep.


Monkey (1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980,1992, 2004, 2016)

The 2018 forecast for the Monkey looks quite promising and filled with good fortune. New people, bringing new projects and opportunities, will be coming into the lives of Monkeys. The Monkey’s confidence and positive attitude will build rapport with these people and help create something new. Finding someone to fulfill your life and marry are all possible in 2018. Aim high, make ambitious plans and follow your inner voice for great results in 2018.


Rooster (1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2017)

A fabulous year awaits the Rooster, with an abundance of energy, strength and confidence. Career, business and relationships look successful and joyous this year. There are romantic times ahead and this could be the year that the Rooster decides to take love seriously. Your instincts and mind are at their best, making it clear that beneficial decisions can be made. Confidence runs high and mentally you’re ready to take on the world! 2018 will be a year to remember!


Dog (1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006)

Many benefits are within reach for the Dog in 2018. Dog’s own year promises to be an auspicious time when they can recoup on recent losses. Rather than going with your instincts and taking a chance, be open-minded and trust in the victory energy that is backing you. Dog’s carefree attitude will be charming to admirers and should you feel that you are ready to settle down with that special someone, this could be the year where an engagement or marriage could happen.


Pig (1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007)

Luck is a mixed bag for the Pig in 2018. There is an expectation of happiness and success but the Pig has poor life force energy that affects their confidence and strength. The key is for the Pig to focus on the good things that happen and not engage with the negative ones. Career and business outlooks are good but will require that Pigs decide to give it their all to help make their dreams come true.

This article was originally published on January 31, 2018.