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What does it mean for babies to be born in the Year of the Dog?

According to some, you can tell a lot about your child by their astrological sign. Did you give birth to an Aquarius? Expect someone innovative and rebellious. A Virgo? Then expect someone logical, loyal and hard-working.

The same goes for the Chinese astrology. Under the Chinese zodiac, which follows a 12-year cycle, the year your child is born can determine their personality, their future success and how they’ll get along with others.

This year, the Chinese New Year happens on Friday, Feb. 16, and will mark the beginning of the Year of the Dog, which ends on Feb. 4, 2019. If you’re expecting a little bundle of joy this year, then expect to have a lovable and loyal child on your hands.

What does it mean for kids born in the Year of the Dog?

Their personality

Generally, people born in the Year of the Dog are considered to be loyal, patient and reliable—just like man’s best friend. Dog children are also cheerful, idealistic, honest, determined, supportive and have a strong sense of duty, according to China Highlights.

But this year is also an earth year, according to the Chinese solar calendar, which means babies born in 2018 will also have characteristics related to the earth element. Those personality traits include being communicative, serious, independent, resourceful and having a strong work ethic. (On the downside, they can be stubborn, cynical, prone to worry and have short tempers.)

“The Yang Earth Dog defining this year brings the image of a strong mountain,” says Laurent Langlais, a French consultant based in London who specializes in Chinese astrology and Feng Shui. “This ‘rocky nature’ represents great resilience and determination.”

Their time in school

Kids born in the Year of the Dog will thrive in school. Dog children are intelligent, determined, social and dedicated to learning. They will complete their assignments on time—every time—and triple check that every answer is correct. A child born in a Dog year also pays great attention to detail and will be able to absorb lessons well.

“They might later on benefit from a schooling system that encourage manual activities and do not judge children, and rather let them evolve, as they want,” Langlais tells Motherly.

But that doesn’t mean they will accept everything they are told; they are committed to truth, which means they will challenge anything they find to be inaccurate or morally wrong.

Their future careers

A Dog child is loyal, justice-oriented and have a strong sense of duty. They make valuable employees who aren’t afraid to take on challenging tasks head-on. Careers that put them in service of others are most suitable for kids born in the Year of the Dog. Think police officer, professor, politician, nurse, judge, lawyer, counselor or scientist.

Langlais tells Motherly that, because the Year of the Dog brings “a very strong earth element,” babies born during this year may also thrive in careers that have “to do with ‘digging the past,’” such as archaeology and museology. “The connection with the earth also means that they could be interested in landscaping, gardening, as well as farming,” he says.

Making friends

Dog children are likable, which means they get along with pretty much everyone. “Those babies will later on make solid friends and people who always watch one’s back,” Langlais tells Motherly.

But they are most compatible with people born in the Year of the Tiger, Rabbit or Horse, according to China Highlights. That’s because they share similar personality traits, such as being sensitive and compassionate.

Conversely, a Dog child will have a tougher time relating to people born in the Year of the Dragon, Goat or Rooster. They tend to be more creative, laid-back, sometimes overconfident and prone to procrastination compared to the hardworking and practical Dog child.

So how should you parent the Dog Child?

Nurture their inner leader

Kids born in the Year of the Dog tend to be introverts who are reluctant to take the reins. But, deep inside, Dog children have a strong moral compass that gives them the ability to become effective and fair leaders. Encourage leadership skills by trusting them with more responsibility, offering them choices and not orders, and taking their advice on things that affect them, such as when you create a bedtime ritual.

“What parents must understand about their babies born during the Dog year is that they have their own pace,” Langlais tells Motherly. “They are not kids whom you can force to do anything: they are too stubborn for this. So you must let them understand and experience things under their own terms.”

Encourage their free spirit

Dog children are strong-willed, stubborn and hardworking. They may become so focused on a task—like building that tower out of blocks—that they forget to have fun. Help them loosen up by teaching them to never sweat the small stuff. Let them know that it’s OK to make mistakes and that change is normal. You will help your Dog child to learn to be less self-critical.

Earth Dogs are fearless, lovable, friendly and outspoken. Parents lucky enough to have a baby born in the Year of the Dog will be in for a real treat.

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