What’s Your Chinese Zodiac Animal? Let Your Birth Year Tell Your Personality

As I write this in 2023, it’s the Year of the Rabbit, at least in Chinese culture. If you thought Western astrology was complicated, then you haven’t yet heard of Chinese astrology. It is a beautiful classification system with a repeating cycle of 12 years according to the Chinese calendar. Every zodiac year or ‘ben ming nian’ is represented by i) an animal, ii) yin and yang energy, iii) and the 5 Chinese zodiac elements — Earth, metal, water, wood, and fire.

Today, we’ll try to unravel how Chinese culture uses animals as zodiacs. “What is my zodiac animal and how does it affect my future and personality?” — We’ll answer all of this, and more.

12 Animal Signs In The Chinese Zodiac Year — And The ‘Great Race’

What are the 12 zodiac sign animals in the Chinese horoscope? Before that, let’s talk about what makes the Chinese system of zodiac signs more complex than the Western one. As we talked about, a person’s ‘shengxiao’ (‘sheng’ is the year of birth, ‘xiao’ means resemblance) combines the following: The five elements mentioned above, the 12 animals mentioned below, and the concepts of yin-yang. This combination predicts their individual personality and prospects. Also, there are lucky years or days (or unlucky) for crops, relationships, to ward off evil spirits, etc. This classification system based on zodiac animals has been adopted in the human history of many Asian countries.

However, today, we will only talk about one of the elements: The animals. Here are the 12 animals that represent the Chinese zodiac, in the right order. Each represents a different set of personality traits and Chinese zodiac story.

  • Rat
  • Ox (or bull)
  • Tiger
  • Rabbit
  • Dragon
  • Snake
  • Horse
  • Goat (or sheep)
  • Monkey
  • Rooster
  • Dog
  • Pig

Related Reading: 10 Signs You Are In A Spiritual Relationship With Someone

At the root of this system where animals are associated with birth years, there are many versions of origin stories. One of them is more popular in Chinese culture. Once, an emperor declared ‘The Great Race’ of animals. The order in which the animals finished the Jade Emperor’s race would determine their chronology in the 12-year cycle. A piece of trivia is that the rat cheated, hence winning first place in the rotation. And the cat drowned because of the rat, hence the forever enmity between cats and rats across all human history, as well as between cats and water.

Find out your real animal sign according to the Chinese zodiac system

The Chinese zodiac year starts with Chinese New Year, which ranges from late January to mid-February. Are you curious to know what zodiac animal is related to your birth year? “What is my zodiac animal in Chinese culture? What’s my Chinese zodiac sign if I was born in ____?” If these are your questions, our image of the zodiac cycle would have helped a bit. But we have something better for you. Here is a Chinese zodiac sign calculator for your question: “Which Chinese zodiac animal sign am I?” Happy fortune-telling!

Difference Between Western Astrology And Chinese Astrology

You might think, “There’s a Cancer zodiac animal – The crab. There are other animal signs in Western astrology too, like the ram and the scorpion which help predict zodiac sign compatibility. So, what’s the difference between Western astrology and Chinese astrology?” Here it is:

  • The Western system is dependent on planetary shifts and positions of constellations while Chinese astrology is dependent on the year you were born, yin-yang, and the five elements
  • In Western astrology, personality traits are divided into 12 – According to the 12 months of the year. In Chinese astrology, personality traits are divided into 12 as well – But according to a 12-year repeating zodiac cycle where every year belongs to one birth year
  • Western astrology does have animals signifying certain astrological signs – Like the zodiac animal for Cancer is a crab, the zodiac animal for Capricorn is a sea-goat, the Aries animal is the ram, etc. But it’s a division of zodiac animal signs by month, whereas in the other, it’s by year
  • There are zodiac signs in Western astrology that don’t have an assigned animal like there’s no Aquarius animal or Libra zodiac animal. However, Chinese people grow up believing that every zodiac and every year is related to an animal, and each of them is associated with certain personality types and fortunes

Related Reading: Happily Ever After: The Perfect Zodiac Pairs for Marriage

But there are many other belief systems too. Take the Celtic Tree Astrology; it believes that human personalities are associated with different species of trees. The Celtic zodiac signs are thus formed of 12 trees, like birch, ivy, holly, etc. This is a great reminder that all cultures have a unique cosmic or nature-driven significance attached to human birth.

Why Is Your Zodiac Sign Important For You To Know?

If you’re on your spiritual path or a believer of astrology, and you wish to know what your zodiac animal is, then look no further – we’ve put together several reasons that this knowledge can be an important and rewarding milestone for you. As research points out, humans share their more ancient brain regions with animals. Knowing that humans and animals exist in an equal realm helps “dismantle the illusion of human exceptionalism.”

Knowing about your zodiac animal can be beneficial to you in the following ways:

  • You get an in-depth insight into your core personality, characteristics, and overall vibe
  • You become conscious of your patterns and get to know the positives and negatives of your zodiac sign characteristics. This helps you accept your flaws as well as work on them
  • You can relate to these creatures about your inner desires and spiritual energy
  • You can surrender to them for strength, love, comfort, and hope during dark/dangerous situations. It can offer you deep lessons/secret messages
  • Zodiac animals are considered to be good omens. Spotting them helps you feel grounded and reassured
  • Knowing that some social creature out there shares the same passion as you makes you feel less alone
  • Some people believe that zodiac animals protected our ancestors by providing them with healing and wisdom; they also helped predict the future
  • It gives you a sense of resonance with others who have similar personality traits as you and helps you understand people from other signs better too

12 Animal Signs Of Chinese Astrology

In the Chinese horoscope, what is the animal of every zodiac? Let’s find out the unique human traits of these Chinese zodiac animals so you understand yourself and your partner even better. If you resonate with these traits and think your partner is your soulmate, do let us know. If you don’t relate to these at all, then have fun reading anyway!

1. Rat – The primal zodiac animal in Chinese astrology

Rat is the first zodiac animal in Chinese astrology

Recent birth years of the zodiac Rat include 2020, 2008, 1996, 1984, 1972, 1960, 1948, 1936, 1924, 1912, and so on. This Chinese zodiac personality represents spirit, alertness, wit, flexibility, and delicacy. Rat people are known for fertility and survival rates as well, hence the Asian Rat is a lucky year (and sign) for people hoping to conceive.

Chinese zodiac signs most compatible with zodiac Rat: Ox, Dragon, and Monkey

2. Ox (or Bull)

what is my zodiac animal
You can rely on a partner who’s born in the Year of the Ox

Recent birth years of Ox include 2021, 2009, 1997, 1985, 1973, 1961, 1949, and 1937. What’s a Chinese zodiac sign got to do with a person’s personality? Ox people are known for honesty, diligence, and dependability. They are good planners, strong-willed, and family-oriented as well as career-driven.

The best matches with the Ox animal sign: Rat, Snake, and Rooster.

Related Reading: How To Know If She Is The One – 25 Clear Signs

3. Tiger

chinese zodiac
Do you relate to the Tiger?

The recent birth years of Tiger include 2034, 2022, 2010, 1998, 1986, 1974, 1962, 1950, 1938, 1926, 1914, and so on. People born under this animal sign are born leaders but also a little cocky and impulsive. They have a great sense of adventure, ambition, and justice. Brave, cruel, forceful, and terrifying, they are the symbol of power in Chinese astrology. Tiger people are lovers and are not superficial in their affections.

Chinese zodiac signs most compatible with Tiger animal sign: Dragon, Horse, and Pig people

4. Rabbit

chinese zodiac
2023 is the year of the Rabbit

The recent birth years of the Rabbit are 2023, 2011, 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927, and so on. People born in the year of the Rabbit are called ‘Rabbit people.’ They are vigilant, ingenuous, and witty. 2023 is the year of the Water Rabbit (Jan 22–Feb 9, 2024), and it is also being called the year of hope. Of all the zodiac animals, Rabbit people are symbols of longevity, peace, and prosperity.

The best matches with Rabbit birth animal: Goat, Dog, and Pig

5. Dragon

chinese zodiac
Dragon people are passionate and powerful

The recent birth year of the Dragon is 2012, and the next year of the Dragon is 2024. Before that, it was 2000, 1988, 1976, 1964, 1952, 1940, 1928, and so on. It’s the most popular zodiac sign and is associated with good fortune. Dragon people born to these years are confident, natural leaders, ambitious, adventurous, and have the dragon’s fortune. They are passionate, powerful, and strong-willed but they are also impulsive and stubborn. People born in the year of the Dragon are family-oriented and career-driven just like the Ox. They have a strong sense of justice like the Tiger. Love is coming your way for sure if you’re dating a Dragon person and these are the qualities you desire in a partner.

Chinese zodiac signs most compatible with Dragon: Rat, Monkey, and Rooster

6. Snake

chinese zodiac
2025 will be the birth year of Snake

The recent birth years of Snake are 2025, 2013, 2001, 1989, 1977, 1965, 1953, and so on. The mother goddess of the Chinese people, Nüwa, is said to have created humanity – She has the body of a snake and the head of a human. Many people believe that a snake brings good fortune. People born in the Year of the Snake are considered rational, thoughtful, and loyal, but snake people can be jealous in relationships and greedy too.

Chinese zodiac signs most compatible with Snake: Dragons and Roosters

7. Horse

chinese zodiac
Horse people are sincere in love

The recent birth years of Horse are 2014, 2002, 1990, 1978, 1954, 1942, 1930, 1918, and so on. Horse people are considered geniuses and symbolize boldness, generosity, energy, and freedom. They have excellent power of observation and independent thinking. People born as Horses are said to seek true love which lets them be free and authentic.

Zodiac signs most compatible with Horse animal sign: Tiger, Goat, Rabbit, and Dog

Related Reading: 20 Signs You Are A Hopeless Romantic

8. Goat (or Sheep or Ram)

what is my zodiac animal
Do you think you are the Goat?

The recent birth years of zodiac Ram in Chinese astrology are 2015, 2003, 1991, 1979, 1967, 1955, 1943, 1931, 1919, and so on. People born under the sign of Goat are pretty reasonable and calm, even in romantic relationships. They are artistic, gentle, compassionate, well-mannered, and reserved. They are also opinionated, deep thinkers, and resilient.

Signs most compatible with zodiac Ram/Goat/Sheep: Rabbit, Horse, Goat, and Pig

9. Monkey

what is my zodiac animal
Partners with the Monkey sign are funny and naughty

The recent birth years of Monkey are 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, 1968, 1956, and so on. Similar to humans, the Monkey people are considered sacred by many, including Chinese culture. People born under this animal sign are lively, likable, sociable, mischievous, quick-witted, brave, righteous, and have a great sense of humor. According to legend, during the Jade emperor’s race, Goat, Monkey, and Rooster came to the heavenly gate together and cooperated with each other to finish the race.

Zodiac signs most compatible with Monkey: Rat, Dragon, and Dog

10. Rooster

what is my zodiac animal
You can expect an equal relationship with a Rooster person

The recent birth years of Rooster (or chicken/hen) are 2017, 2005, 1993, 1981, 1969, 1957, 1945, and so on. Honest, charming, hardworking, and active, they love to be the center of attention. They are the symbol of good luck, and they want equality and freedom in their relationships. Rooster people can be vain and impatient.

Zodiac signs most compatible with Rooster: Ox, Snake, and other Roosters

11. Dog

what is my zodiac animal
People born in the Year of the Dog are compatible with those who appreciate loyalty

The recent birth years of Dog are 2018, 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, and so on. Loyal, supportive, playful, and friendly, people born with this astrological sign are reliable, genuine, and honest in relationships. Dog people can be pessimistic and critical too, though, and it is hard for them to express their thoughts.

Signs that have Chinese zodiac compatibility with Dog: Tiger, Rabbit, Horse, and Monkey

Related Reading: 7 Ways To Build Loyalty In A Relationship

12. Pig – The last animal sign in Chinese astrology

what is my zodiac animal
Pig people are good with money in relationships

The recent birth years of Pig are 2019, 2007, 1983, 1971, 1959, 1947, 1935, and so on. Pig people are happy, steady, generous, and persuasive, and act as the symbols of wealth and opportunity. This is why piggy banks are pig-shaped. They are a great catch when it comes to long-term, simple relationships.

Signs that have Chinese zodiac compatibility with Pig: Tigers, Rabbits, and Goats


Key Pointers

  • Chinese astrology is a classification system with a repeating cycle of 12 years
  • Every birth year is represented by an animal, which reflects your core personality and innermost desires, and is considered a good omen in Chinese culture. Some of these 12 animals are tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, etc.
  • Western astrology has 12 zodiac signs for every month of the year. Some of them are symbolized with animals. For example, an Aries can resonate with the fiercely protective Aries animal: the ram, Cancer zodiac animal is the family-oriented crab, zodiac animal for Capricorn is the sea-goat, etc.
  • Five of the zodiac signs in Western astrology are not animals. For example, an Aquarius animal doesn’t exist. There are no Virgo, Gemini, Sagittarius, or Libra zodiac animals either

That’s the end of this list of all the zodiac animals in Chinese astrology. Now, remember this. The zodiac animal for Cancer might be the crab, or maybe it’s the Asian Rat that you resonate with, but these signs and their meanings are just for guidance and support. Their meanings are not fixed in your life, and you have control over what you do with the traits discussed above. If you don’t see Chinese zodiac sign compatibility with your crush or your partner, then don’t treat it as a universal instruction. It’s simply a nudge to nurture your relationship a little more.

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