Follow TV Tropes


Analysis / National Animal Stereotypes

Go To

List of animal stereotypes by world regions:

    open/close all folders 

The Americas

    The Americas (in general) 
  • North America in general is represented by the turtle by certain Native American groups, most notably the Iroquois, due to a legend that the land is held on the back of a turtle. North America is even sort of shaped like a sea turtle.
  • The Arctic regions of North America (including the US state of Alaska; the Canadian territories of Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut; and the Danish territory of Greenland) will be usually portrayed as Eskimo Land in media.
    • The Inuit people of the area may be represented as different animals native to the area, the walrus and the polar bear being popular choices.
    • Out of dog breeds, the Alaskan Malamute is a popular choice, as it is often used as sled dog in the area. The Siberian Husky, being another sled dog, is another popular choice.
    • Penguins will occasionally be portrayed as Inuits as well; despite actually being from Antarctica, and live nowhere near the Arctic.

  • Canada is strongly associated with some of its typical wildlife: including beavers, moose, black bears, grizzly bears, and polar bears(which is featured on the toonie), and Canadian geese.
  • Canada is also sometimes associated with raccoons. The northern part of the raccoon's range extends into British Columbia and Ontario.
  • Canada is sometimes associated with the horse because they are the animal that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ride.
  • Out of the various dog breeds, the Labrador Retriever and the Newfoundland are the most associated with Canada.
  • Despite being depicted in animated and live action media a fair amount, the Sphynx cat breed is almost never associated with Canada despite having originated there.
  • Like in the USA, Ravens are often associated with Pacific Northwest tribes, due to the Raven being the Trickster God there.

    United States 
  • Bald eagles appear in the coat of arms of the USA, being native to the North American continent, and also a symbol for freedom. This association named the trope Eagleland; the eagles will often be portrayed as Captain Patriotic. Eagles are perhaps the best known American personification (aside from Uncle Sam of course).
  • The two major US political parties are also often represented by animals; donkeys for the Democratic Party, and elephants for the Republican Party. This association was popularized by Thomas Nast and many other political cartoonists, while the Democratic Donkey and Republican Elephant were eventually adopted as official symbols of these parties.
  • Some dog breeds such as the Boston Terrier, bull terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and American Pit Bull Terrier (the latter three dogs are collectively known as pitbulls), are also associated with America. Sometimes, the Golden Retriever (which originated in Scotland) is associated with America.
  • Native Americans will most often be portrayed as bison, mostly due to certain Plains Indian tribes that specialized in bison hunting. Crows may also represent Native Americans, due to one tribe being called the Crow Nation. Similarly, ravens are often associated with Pacific Northwest tribes, due to the Raven being the main Trickster animal there.
    • Less often, coyotes, black bears, cougars, bobcats, and raccoons may be portrayed as Americans, due to these animals being native only to North America (or all over the Americas in the case of the cougar), unlike other similar animals, either in Eurasia or with more extended ranges (incidentally, the Coyote is also a common trickster figure in the mythology of several Native American tribes in the Western states).
  • Americans are also occasionally portrayed as foxes. A certain joke has one act as the foil for a Mexican burro. Anti-American propaganda also associates this with their cunning nature.
  • In any story involving rural American farmlands, expect typical domestic livestock (cattle, chickens, pigs, sheep, horses, etc.) to show up. Often, they'll talk with a stereotypical Midwestern or Southern "redneck" accent.
  • Texas and the Southwestern states are sometimes associated with armadillos. Texans will also be occasionally portrayed as Longhorn cattle, since cowboys and cattle-ranching have a long tradition in the state. The Southeastern states, especially Florida and Louisiana, are associated with alligators and opossums.
  • If using regional seafood stereotypes, New England is associated with lobsters and the Pacific Northwest is associated with salmon.
  • Other miscellaneous regional animals: the American state of Washington is apparently represented by its totem animal, a sea-slug. Tennessee is more orthodox and has a rattlesnake. Wisconsin has the American badger. Oregon has the beaver. California has a grizzly bear (which appears on the state flag), though somewhat ironically, there are very few grizzly bears left living in California, especially compared to more rural western states. Similarly, Michigan has the wolverine, which has actually been essentially extirpated from Michigan for around 200 years (there was one animal living in the Thumb in the late 2000s, the first seen anywhere in the state outside captivity since the 19th century; it was found dead in 2010).
  • Alaska and its animal stereotypes are described under The Americas (in general) folder (see the part about The Arctic region).
  • Hawaii and its animal stereotypes are described under the Pacific Islands folder.
  • Puerto Rico and its animal stereotypes are described under the Caribbean Islands folder.

  • Golden eagles and rattlesnakes represent Mexico on their flag and currency, due to an old Aztec folktale describing a snake-killing eagle standing on top of a cactus on top of a rock in the middle of a lake, where they later built Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City) on top of.
  • Much like Spain, bulls are often associated with Mexico too, due to both bullfighting and rodeo shows. Donkeys are also often associated with Mexico, partly because of similar cultural ties to Spain, and also because donkeys are commonly kept there as pack animals.
  • Mexico has the Chihuahua and the Xoloitzcuintle (Mexican Hairless Dog) as their native dog breeds.
  • Occasionally other animals such as burrowing owls and armadillos can also be as Mexican stereotypes. The Wild West Armadillo is sometimes portrayed as Mexican.
  • Coyotes are also portrayed as Mexican, due to their name originating from the Nahuatl "coyotl," and also because of a literal pun on a certain type of border crosser.
  • Roosters are portrayed as Mexicans because they are loud and temperamental, which is a Mexican stereotype.
  • The Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa are sometimes represented by white-tailed deer, due to them being on Sinaloa's state flag and seal, Mazatlan in Sinaloa being named in reference to said deer, and to the Danza del Venado, The traditional deer dance done by the Yaqui and Mayo peoples.
  • Axolotls sometimes show up in media, but unless it is a Mexican work, they are not portrayed as Mexican, let alone specifically Chilango, that much, despite being native to Mexico City.
  • Jaguars, snakes, vampire bats, and quetzals when in Mexico, are more likely to be depicted as ancient Mesoamericans, due to their status as sacred animals in the Aztec and Mayan cultures. Quetzals and snakes are the inspiration for the Feathered Serpent, both the Mayan deity Kukulkan and the Aztec deity Quetzalcoatl. These Mexican animal stereotypes are shared with Central American countries.

    Central America 
  • Central America includes parts of southern Mexico and all the countries from Belize and Guatemala to Panama.
  • Jaguars, snakes, vampire bats, and quetzals, when Central American, are likely to be depicted as ancient Mesoamericans, due to their status as sacred animals in the Aztec (Mexico and Guatemala) and Mayan (southern Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, and western Honduras) cultures. These Central American animal stereotypes are shared with Mexico.
  • Parrots are also sometimes depicted as Central American due to certain species being native to there.
  • Red eyed tree frogs, which range from southern Mexico to western Colombia (in South America) are likely to be depicted as Central American, especially Costa Rican.
  • Occasionally other animals such as burrowing owls and armadillos can also be portrayed as Central American stereotypes.

    Caribbean Islands 
  • The Caribbean includes Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Dominica, Aruba, Trinidad and Tobago, The Virgin Islands, and the Bahamas. Bermuda is often lumped under this category.
  • The Caribbean region is often associated with parrots, because the place is most well-known for The Golden Age of Piracy, and parrots are often seen as the pets of pirates.
    • The flag of Dominicanote  is the only national flag with a parrot. Parrots are also present in the country's coat of arms. Specifically, the bird species depicted is the imperial amazon parrot (also known as the sisserou).
  • Crabs and lobsters are also considered emblematic of the area, due to its association with seafood.
  • The country of Jamaica is associated with lions, due to the animals playing an important role in the Rastafarian religion (see the expression "Lion of Zion"), and because their mane can make them look like a Dreadlock Rasta.

    South America 
  • The Amazon Rainforest region often comes to mind when one thinks of "tropical jungle". Most notably there are jaguars, but a lot of other spectacular wildlife such as capybaras, New World monkeys like capuchin monkeys, sloths, armadillos, anteaters, boa snakes, parrots, toucans, etc. can be found here too. The Amazon River is also known for being the home of piranhas.
    • Brazil is represented by some of the above-mentioned rainforest fauna (mainly the jaguar, which is one of Brazil's most notorious endangered species), but also by macaws, which are more endemic to tropical forests like the ones lining the South American Atlantic coast. Parrots are also likely to represent their country due to the species normally having green feathers, since along with yellow, green is one of the country's national colors (so, bonus points if the parrot also has a few yellow feathers).
  • The countries of the Andes Mountains are associated with condors and (especially) llamas, due to their symbolic and economic importance, respectively, among native people of the area like the Quechua. A few rodents such as guinea pigs (despite their name) and chinchillas also originate here.
    • The condor appears on the coat of arms of Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Chile. The vicuña (from a similar family to the llama's) is in Peru's.
  • Those in the know about Argentina's gaucho cowboy traditionnote  may associate the country with cows, sheep or horses.
    • Argentina's national bird is the rufus hornero.


    Britain and Ireland 
  • The British Royal Family will often be portrayed as lions, partly because of the King of Beasts stereotype, but mostly because of the lion in the UK's coat of arms (despite the irony of modern lions not being even remotely native to the British Isles). note 
    • Nevertheless, lions are perhaps the most frequently used British national animal, as seen in political cartoons (like the one at the top of this page).
  • Foxes are also often depicted as British, due to their association with with the sport of fox hunting, a traditional upper-class pastime. Foxes are also portrayed as Irish due to being the prey in fox hunts and the Irish being oppressed by the English historically (not to mention the Irish stereotype of them all being redheads).
  • Britain, especially England, is sometimes associated with the toad, often to contrast the iconic French frog. The Reptiles Are Abhorrent trope generally doesn't apply to the former unless the toad in question is an Evil Brit.
  • The city of London is associated with ravens, due to the real-life ravens living in the Tower of London.
  • England is most often associated with several breeds of dogs: the English Bulldog, the Corgi, the Beagle, and the Old English Sheepdog. The Bulldog's unique facial structure invokes the Stiff Upper Lip stereotype, the Corgi got famous as the pet of Queen Elizabeth II, the Beagle is associated with the traditional fox hunts, and the Old English Sheepdog has, well, "English" in its name.
  • The mythical unicorn is historically associated with Scottish royalty. Oh, and speaking of (probably) mythical creatures, the Loch Ness Monster has become a well-known Scottish mascot. The Highland Cow (or Heilan Coo) and Scottish Wildcat represent the Scottish Highlands region.
  • Scotland has the Rough Collie, Scottish Terrier, and Scottish Deerhound as typical dog breeds, they will be portrayed speaking with a Scottish accent, and occasionally fitting the Brave Scot or Violent Glaswegian stereotypes. The Scottish Deerhound will occasionally be confused with the Irish Wolfhound below (as Scotland and Ireland are often conflated together). Another Scottish dog breed, the golden retriever, on the other hand, is rarely portrayed as Scottish.
  • Scottish Folds, a domestic cat breed, are sometimes associated with Scotland when it comes to cats.
  • Wales, on the other hand, is often associated with sheep (sometimes leading to zoophilia jokes about the Welsh people). Though the flag of Wales prominently features the reddish Welsh Dragon.
  • Occasionally, the ancient Saxons are symbolized by the white dragon to contrast with the red dragon.
  • Older depictions often associate the Irish with wolves, both due to an image as savages and to reflect wolves being more common and sacred in Ireland than in Britain.note  As the native wolf population was driven to extinction this became largely a Dead Horse Trope, but a remnant can be seen in the national dog breed - the Irish Wolfhound - being one bred to fight them.

    Spain and Portugal 
  • Spain is most often associated with bulls, as the first half of the trope name Toros y Flamenco implies. The association comes from the traditional sport of bullfighting. Also due to the "Running of the Bulls" event in Pamplona.
    • The bulls will always be black, despite fighting bulls also being available in brown, white, and spotted coats.
  • Less often, donkeys and mules are also associated with Spain, probably because of the iconic image of Sancho Panza riding a donkey.
  • The association of Spain with bulls or donkeys is often also shared with Mexico.
  • Horses, if identified as coming from Spain, will almost always be Andalusian horses, and often also black. Even if not, they will be noted for their speed, strength, elegance, or simply for being better than other horses.
  • Although European rabbits, native to Spain and Portugal note  and the progenitor of the domestic rabbit, are common in fictional media, they are rarely associated with Spain or Portugal or portrayed as Spanish or Portuguese.
  • The rooster (specifically a brown rooster decorated with swirls and hearts, known as the Rooster of Barcelos) is widely recognised as a symbol of Portugal, although for some reason this has not led to Portugese roosters being common in media.

  • The association of the French with frogs probably comes from the fact that frog legs are part of the French cuisine, thus foreigners (especially the British) tend to mockingly call them frog-eaters or simply frogs.
  • Snails, also being part of the French cuisine, may also be portrayed as French stereotypes.
  • Less frequently, chickens will also be portrayed as French, since the Gallic rooster (a.k.a. cockerel) is their national animal. This may be rooted in the fact that Galli (the Gauls) sounds like "roosters" in Latin. The Gallic rooster also represents their strong temperament.
  • Out of the dog breeds, Poodles will most often be portrayed as French - although the breed originated in Germany, their puffy fur resembles the wigs that French people used to wear in the distant past, and the breed was popular in Early Modern France.
  • Despite the trope name Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys, French are rarely ever portrayed as monkeys.
  • Skunks also tend to be portrayed as French, due to the popularity of Pepé Le Pew and stereotype of French people smelling bad. This is despite the fact that they're not native to France or anywhere in Europe.

  • Germany is associated with its heraldic animal, a black-feathered eagle, which may be substituted with other birds of prey, such as falcons.
  • The dog breeds associated with Germany are the Dachshund, the Doberman Pinscher, and the German Shepherd. The latter two will often be portrayed as Angry Guard Dogs, playing up the "Germans are strict, humorless people" stereotype. The German Shepherds were also historically used as a dog version of Nazis, due to the fact that Adolf Hitler was a big fan of the breed and owned a German Shepherd named Blondi.
  • Germans during the Nazi era are also often associated with wolves, as they were Hitler's favorite animals (one of the reasons he liked German Shepherds so much was their close resemblance to wolves). He gave himself the nickname "Wolf", and several of his military headquarters were called "Wolf's Lair", "Wolf's Gorge", and "Werewolf". In addition, German submarine units during World War II were commonly referred to as "wolfpacks."
  • Citizens of Nazi Germany are sometimes portrayed as cats, since Cats Are Mean, especially when paired with Jewish mice. Ironically, as this article points out, the Nazis admired wild cats such as lions and tigers, but characterized domestic cats as "treacherous, false and antisocial", calling them "the Jews among the animals."
  • Also during the Nazi era, Germans are depicted as geese, due to its association with the goose-step, also the perception that the Mother Goose tales were originally German, hence the pun.
  • The city of Berlin is often associated with bears, due to the animal being on the city's coat of arms; this is a pun (German for "bear" is "Bär," pronounced exactly like the first syllable of "Berlin").
  • Bavarians, on the other hand, will always be portrayed (or rather, like to portray themselves) as lions, since they're on their coat of arms.

  • The Roman Empire was associated with the wolf (particularly the she-wolf) due to the legend of Romulus and Remus, and also the eagle. The wolf sometimes carries over to modern-day Italy, especially Rome itself. The eagle, however, has fallen out of use in modern-day Italy due to its association with the Fascist party before and during World War II.
  • The double-headed eagle associated with many eastern European countries, originated with the split of the Roman Empire into east and west, with the Eastern Roman Empire becoming the Byzantine Empire after the west fell.
  • Venice, the Italian city famous for its waterway and canal streets, may be represented by the winged lion. Similarly, Milan is associated with the biscione, a giant snake (usually in the act of swallowing a human figure) that was the heraldic figure of the House of Visconti, the city's medieval rulers.

  • Ancient Greece was associated with the dolphin, due to the importance of maritime trade. This carries over to modern Greece as the country's national animal.
  • The city of Athens is associated with the owl, as was its patron goddess Athena.
  • Greece is also associated with sheep and goats, the latter of which inspired the half goat, half human mythological creatures known as satyrs, due to them being common livestock in the country.

    Central Europe and the Alps 
  • The Alps is a mountainous region straddling the borders of Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia, and Switzerland. The German-speaking areas (Austria, Liechtenstein, most of Switzerland, and southern Germany) tend to be portrayed as Yodel Land.
  • Mountain goats, because they are found in Alpine areas.
  • Austria, when not portrayed as another Yodel Land, may also be represented by its heraldic birds, the two-headed eagle and the black feathered Bundesadler eagle.
  • Bears may be represented as Swiss due to being the country's heraldic animal.
  • The Swiss may also be a represented by the cow due to their iconic status in Switzerland.
  • Out of native dog breeds, Bernese Mountain Dogs or St. Bernards, as they originate from Switzerland where they were bred as rescue dogs.

    Northern Europe and Scandinavia 
  • Since most Scandinavian countries are monarchies, they also use lions in their heraldry.
  • Scandinavian nations are perhaps best known for moose and reindeer (some people even confuse the two deer species). The former is mostly associated with Sweden, while the latter is kept as livestock by the Sami people of northern Scandinavia.
  • Polar bears and occasionally Arctic foxes may be portrayed as Scandinavian due to living in the far north, even though these animals are actually fairly rare in Scandinavia.
  • Finland's national animal used to be a bear, but they don't use it anymore due to the country distancing itself from Russia.
  • Seabirds such as puffins may also be associated with Nordic countries, particularly Denmark and Iceland.
  • Walruses are also heavily associated with the Nordic countries, due to playing an important role in the folklore and religion of the Arctic peoples.
  • Norwegian Forest Cats, due to being shown pulling Freya's chariot, sometimes represent Norway.

    Eastern Europe and the Balkans 
  • Due to Small Reference Pools, these nations are rarely depicted in media.
  • Most Eastern European countries get the Ruritania/Überwald treatment in media, lacking a clear animal stereotype. Wolves might be portrayed as coming from this area, due to their association with werewolves; and similarly, bats may also show up due to their association with vampires.
  • Poland is sometimes represented with its heraldic white eagle, which is based on its national bird the white tailed eagle. Poland is also represented by pigs sometimes, as the Nazis called them "schwein" (German for pig).
  • Balkan nations such as Bulgaria and Serbia can identify with the heraldic animals they've had since the Middle Ages, a golden lion for Bulgaria and a white double-headed eagle, derived from the Byzantine one, for Serbia.
  • European Jews will occasionally be portrayed as mice, especially when paired with Nazi (or otherwise antisemitic) cats or German Shepherd dogs in a World War II setting. European Jews were often portrayed as rats, but the rats portrayal is more rarely used in the modern day because it is perceived as too negative.
  • Romani people (otherwise known as Gypsies) will occasionally be portrayed as gypsy moths, as a play on the name of the species (the gypsy moth originates from North America, and is considered a pest in Europe). They might also be associated with magpies due to the Thieving Magpie stereotype (Romani are often stereotyped as low-life thieves and con-artists) and the black feathers (the Romani originated in India and despite centuries of intermarriage with Europeans they still have darker skin and hair on average than most of their neighbors).

  • Russia is located in both Europe and Asia, but is more seen as a European country geopolitically speaking.
  • Bears (both brown and polar) are commonly chosen to represent Russia, as they are very big and strong beasts, thus ideal for the Husky Russkie and Mother Russia Makes You Strong stereotypes. Also Bears Are Bad News, and during the Cold War, Soviet Russia was certainly bad news for the Western world. Also see the trope Make the Bear Angry Again (which refers to Western anxieties about post-Soviet Russia).
    • A bear was originally featured on the coat of arms of Novgorod, a "feudal republic" in the Northwestern part of Russia, that was first politically subdued and then conquered and absorbed by the Russian grand prince Ivan III in the 15th century.
    • Since then, the official Russian heraldic symbol was a Byzantine two-headed eagle, but most foreigners still associate Russia with bears — and these days, so do many of the Russians, including leaders of the ruling party. Thus, in political cartoons, Russia (and earlier, the USSR and the Russian Empire) is often depicted as a bear.
  • Less frequently, the Siberian tiger will also be portrayed as a Russian stereotype, as they are native to the Russian Far East, and their size and strength also fit the Husky Russkie stereotype very well.
  • It's not as popular as the bear or tiger, but Russia is sometimes associated with the grey wolf, due to the stereotype of Russians being tough as all hell, and the fact that there is a fairly large population of grey wolves in Russia. Whether this association is used to portray Russians as brave and fearless or cruel and ruthless depends on the author's opinion of Russia.
  • Out of the dog breeds, the Siberian Husky may be portrayed as a literal Husky Russkie; and the Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound), associated with Tsarist Russia, is also common.
  • The Russian Blue cat breed is sometimes associated with Russia. So does the Siberian Forest Cat for those who want more Husky Russkie.
  • In the 19th century, it was almost as common for comical maps to represent Russia as an Octopus, particularly if the author was anti-Russian and wanted to depict the Russian Empire as expansionist, but this is now a Forgotten Trope.


    West Asia 
  • Dromedary camels are common domestic animals throughout the Middle East region, especially among Bedouin desert nomads, therefore they will often be portrayed as Middle Eastern (usually Arab) stereotypes. Naturally, Arabian horses are also a common sight in this setting.
  • Donkeys, goats, and sheep will also be portrayed as Middle Eastern, as these species are often bred there as livestock.
  • Arab countries often use the golden eagle and hawk as symbols (mostly notably on the Egyptian flag and coat of arms). The former is supposed to have been the sigil of Saladin and his house, and thus represents Arab resistance to European domination; the latter is a symbol of the Quraish tribe, of which The Prophet Muhammad was a member.
  • Cats in general are also associated with these (and many other) Muslim-majority countries, since Islam considered cats as clean and playful animals when it comes to pets.
  • Within the region, lions are often associated with both Iraq and Israel: Iraq, because of ancient Mesopotamian (particularly Assyrian and Babylonian) depictions of the animal; and Israel, because of the "Lion of Judah". A rampant lion is on the emblem of Jerusalem, Israel's capital.
  • Iran has been portrayed by the Persian cat in political cartoons.
  • Also, wolves are associated with Turkey and other Turkic peoples. They even provide the name of the Grey Wolves, an infamous Turkish nationalist militia.
  • Turkey, especially the city Istanbul, is also associated with cats, due to their prevalence there. Turkey is known for cat breeds like the Turkish Angora, named for the capital Ankara; and the water-loving Turkish Van, named for Lake Van.

    India and South Asia 
  • The Indian subcontinent (which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives) has a number of iconic animals native to the region, which are also strongly associated with Hindu mythology. They include:
    • Asian elephants, which dwell in both jungles and human settlements, and some have been tamed as beasts of burden for physical labor. The Hindu god Ganesh is known for having an elephant-like head.
    • Tigers are also associated with India as well as Bangladesh (or China, see the next folder below); though they are now endangered and rare in the wild. Tigers are sometimes depicted pulling the carriage of the Hindu goddess Durga.
    • Monkeys also tend to show up in India, as they can be found hanging around in both jungles and big cities alike. If a specific species is shown, it is likely a langur, bonnet macaque, or rhesus macaque, which are all native to South Asia. The Hindu god Hanuman has monkey-like features.
    • Zebu cattle will also be portrayed as Indian, mostly due to their popular reverence as literal sacred cows by Hindus.
    • Cobras are also often portrayed as being from India, primarily because of snake charmers. Also, the naga creatures of Hindu mythology resemble cobras or other snakes.
      • Though due to their association with fighting cobras, there may also be an occasional mongoose following along.
  • Leopards, both black and spotted, are sometimes seen representing India, though they are also commonly associated with other Asian (and African) countries.

  • The animals that are most commonly associated with China are pandas, which are native to the country, and their iconic appearance makes them ideal for a national mascot (and a good opportunity for exploiting their cuteness).
    • If there is need for an animal martial artists, you can bet that it will be a Fighting Panda.
  • The other "animal" most commonly associated with the country is actually a mythical creature, the dragon (or more specifically, the Chinese Dragon). A dragon was even prominently featured on the Qing Dynasty flag.
  • Just like with other Asian countries, tigers sometimes show up too, especially when paired with dragons. Though they are now endangered and rare in the wild.
  • Monkeys also have their place in Chinese culture, due to Sun Wukong being a monkey-like trickster god.
  • Out of dog breeds, the Shar-pei, the Pug, and the Pekinese may represent the Chinese.
  • Less often, the other animals of the Eastern Zodiac (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog, and pig) may be portrayed as Chinese, as the zodiac is mostly associated with China by Westerners.

  • Raccoon dogs are animals that are endemic to Japan and play a large role in Japanese folklore, therefore will be occasionally portrayed as Japanese stereotypes.
  • Foxes also play an important role in Japanese myths, therefore Japanese foxes may also pop up in media from time to time.
  • The Japanese are also associated with dragons, due to their (and Koreans') cultural similarities with Chinese cultures. This association is also carried into their multimedia industries and franchises, such as Dragon Ball and Dragon Quest.
  • Perhaps the most well-known dog breed from Japan is the Shiba Inu. Foreigners may be familiar with the Doge meme, which involves funny pictures of a Shiba Inu dog. The Akita is another, less often seen dog breed associated with the country.
  • Calico cats are associated with Japan due to being highly auspicious there. The Maneki Neko ("beckoning cat") figure is a popular talisman originating from Japan; the cat is most often a calico cat. Japan also has the Japanese Bobtail cat breed and is also known for bob-tailed housecats in general. Even cats in general portray Japan, as the country has a great love for cats.
  • Monkeys are also occasionally associated with Japan, due to Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) being native to the country. And they'll always be shown relaxing in natural hot springs in the mountains during winter.
  • Japanese carp (koi) are sometimes seen, due to the Japanese tradition of keeping and breeding them.
  • Sometimes, Japan may be associated with the octopus, due to Japan being an expansionist empire before and during World War II, not to mention certain stereotypes about erotic anime. Another (more tame) reason is that octopus meat is an occasional ingredient in sushi, and a main ingredient in takoyaki, a popular Japanese street food.
  • The Imperial Japanese were sometimes portrayed as rats or mice in Allied wartime propaganda during World War II, complete with having racist caricuatures of Japanese facial features.

  • Koreans have an affinity to the tiger and is considered their national animal.
  • Sometimes, Koreans are portrayed as dogs, due to their infamous but largely disappearing stereotype of eating dog-meat.
  • North Korea is represented by it's national animal, a mythical winged horse called the Chollima.

    Central Asia 
  • Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan and Mongolianote  are seldom seen in media, and when they are (and are not conflated with East or West Asia), they are depicted as steppe nomads from the time of Genghis Khan.
  • As mentioned above in West Asia, wolves are associated with Turkic peoples, and the Savage Wolves stereotype matches with the foreign idea of the savage horde.
  • Horses can also appear due to their association with horse-riding nomads, as well as some of the other common domestic animals of the area, such as goats, yaks, and bactrian camels.
  • Birds of prey like falcons and eagles are also often associated with these countries due to falconry (i.e. hunting with tamed birds of prey) being a common practice there.

    Southeast Asia 
  • Cats, particularly Siamese cats are often associated with Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries. Older works often portray Siamese cats as a generic (and often very offensive) East Asian stereotype in the vein of Yellow Peril.
  • Tigers, being native to the area, are also a common choice, despite now being endangered and rare in the wild.
  • Elephants are also native to the region and a frequent choice when representing the region's traditional monarchies. As Thailand is the last remaining traditional monarchy in the area, the link comes most often in a Thai context. White elephants in particular are often seen as distinctively Southeast Asian, as they were considered sacred (and therefore expensive to maintain, since you couldn't put them to work—hence the term White Elephant).
  • Other Southeast Asians are usually portrayed in their own media as water buffaloes, hard-working, but stubborn-headed; they are a common beast-of-man there.
  • Despite being native to Southeast Asia, Komodo dragons are rarely portrayed with such stereotypes, due to the fact they are Seldom-Seen Species, despite being the largest of the monitor lizards.
  • Singapore has the merlion, a mythical creature with the head and body of a lion and the tail of a fish.


    North Africa 
  • As North Africa is usually considered (both culturally and geographically) an extension of the Middle East (which we named as "West Asia" in a folder way above this one), other familiar desert animals, such as dromedary camels, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, etc. will often be used for North African Arab countries as well. See the "West Asia" folder for more details.
  • Egyptians will often be represented by the various animals that were venerated in Ancient Egyptian Mythology as certain animal-headed gods; including cats (Bastet), jackals/dogs (Anubis), falcons (Ra and Horus), Nile crocodiles (Sobek), hippopotami (Set), and ibises (Thoth), the latter two also being characteristic Nile River animals note .
  • Modern Egypt is sometimes represented by its national bird, the steppe eagle.
  • Out of the dog breeds, Pharaoh Hounds will most often be portrayed as Egyptian - although the breed doesn't originate from there; they are often used as the representative of Anubis. Salukis, although originated from Egypt and other Fertile Crescent countries, are rarely portrayed with Egyptian stereotypes, either ancient or modern.
  • Canaries, although a bird native to the Canary Islands, are seldom ever portrayed as Canary Islanders in fiction and is also still a Seldom-Seen Species in cartoons.

    Sub-Saharan Africa 
  • In media, all of Sub-Saharan Africa will usually be condensed into just one generic country/region, covered by savannas and rainforests. South Africa in Western media usually gets clumped together with the rest of the Sub-Saharan region (or worse, even North Africa), unless it's a story specifically about The Apartheid Era.
  • A lot of iconic African wildlife are very strongly associated with the continent; including but not limited to African elephants (national animal of the Ivory Coast), giraffes (national animal of Tanzania), lions (national animal of Sierra Leone, Gambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Togo), leopards (national animal of Gabon, Somalia, and Rwanda), cheetahs, monkeys including mandrills and baboons, chimpanzees (new national animal of Sierra Leone), Nile crocodiles, etc. But these animals, despite being the most commonly depicted animals in media, will rarely be portrayed as African stereotypes.
  • In the case that predators are used to represent Africa, more admirable-looking creatures, like big cats, will represent the mighty kingdoms of the past, while newer depictions may show them as jackals or hyenas.
  • Zebras (national animal of Botswana) seem to be commonly portrayed as African, though, particularly when contrasted to Eurasian/American/Amerindian horses. Centaurs whose top part looks like a black human will tend to have a zebra as their bottom part.
  • Occasionally, Cape buffaloes, rhinos, and gorillas will be portrayed as the Scary Black Man stereotype, due to their menacing appearances, and (in the case of the buffaloes and gorillas), having black fur.
  • Hippos, if their (black) African heritage is acknowledged, might be portrayed as a Sassy Black Woman.
  • Africa is well-known for being home to numerous species of Old World monkeys, apes, and other primates (including but not limited to the aforementioned baboons, chimpanzees, gorillas, etc). However, explicitly attaching ethnic/racial stereotypes of any group of people onto these non-human primates (primarily the monkeys and apes, rarely applicable to the more distantly related bushbabies) is extremely controversial, because words such as "ape" and "monkey" have been used as racist slurs, especially against black people.note 

    East African Islands 
  • While lemurs are the most iconic animals of Madagascar, they are also Seldom-Seen Species in media and the country is also rarely featured outside of nature documentaries, so this national animal stereotype is rarely used. When lemurs are used, it is most frequently Madagascar's national animal, the ring-tailed lemur that is used.
  • While dodo birds are commonly portrayed in media, they are seldom portrayed as being from their native Mauritius, let alone represent Mauritians, so this is national animal is rarely used this way.


  • Australian Wildlife provides us a high number of interesting species that are associated with the Land Down Under. These animals will usually be portrayed with a heavy Aussie accent, and often fitting the Awesome Aussie stereotype.
  • To state the obvious, kangaroos represent Australia, but koalas aren't far behind. Occasionally dingoes, emus, cassowaries, and saltwater crocodiles will also make the cut.
  • Surprisingly, despite their popularity, the platypus is rarely acknowledged to be an Australian species and more rarely a national animal stereotype for Australia (although it is New South Wales' state animal and appears on the Australian 20 cent coin). While koalas are not Australian national stereotype animals a fair amount of the time, they are one far more of the time than platypodes are.
  • Some Australian states and territories have their own animal stereotypes: Queensland has the cane toad (an introduced invasive species) and, along with the Northern Territory, the saltwater crocodile; South Australia has the crow; Tasmania the Tasmanian devil and the now-extinct thylacine (also nicknamed the "Tasmanian tiger" or "Tasmanian wolf"); and Western Australia the black swan, which was first discovered in what is now known as the Swan River, Perth's main watercourse, and occasionally the numbat (the official state animal) or the quokka (especially for Rottnest Island). A full list of Australian state animals, birds and fish can be found here.
  • Aside from the aforementioned dingoes (which, although of the very same subspecies as the domestic dog, are wild and untamed), dog breeds associated with Australia include the Australian Terrier, Kelpie (Australian Sheepdog), and Blue Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog).
  • Though mice and rats are widespread worldwide, Australia is home to many unique subspecies of mice and rats, notably rakali (water rats), melomys, and hopping mice.

    New Zealand 
  • The kiwi bird is native to New Zealand, being a national mascot and appearing in the country's coat of arms. "Kiwi" is a common nickname for people from New Zealand (and also gave the current name for the kiwi fruit, which is actually from China). Their adorable appearance certainly helps.
  • The other animal often associated with New Zealand (and shared with Wales, see above) is the sheep, which is indeed very commonly kept as livestock on these islands.
  • Thanks to a certain NZ-based special effects company, the weta cricket is occasionally seen nowadays.

    Pacific Islands (Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia) 
  • The sea turtle, especially the green sea turtle is used to represent Hawaii because Hawaiian culture has a high opinion of them and lots of Hawaiian art features them. Sea turtles may represent other Polynesian islands as well.
  • The Polynesian islands are also associated with chickens, due to Polynesian natives taking chickens on their marine journeys as livestock.
  • The Polynesians also took pigs as livestock on their marine journeys, so, like chickens, the Polynesian islands are associated with pigs. Also, Hawaii has Kalua pork in Luaus, furthering the association.


  • Although there are no countries or permanent human habitation on the continent, Antarctica is best known for its penguins, so Antarcticans are most commonly portrayed as penguins.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: