What are the 12 animals used as the Chinese zodiac signs?


Quick Answer

The Chinese Zodiac features 12 animals, one for each year of the 12-year cycle. These animals include a rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

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Full Answer

Each animal is said to have particular characteristics. Individuals born in the year of the particular animal are thought to have these same characteristics. Those born in the year of the rat are thought to be clever, sharp and funny. These individuals are thought to seek knowledge and enjoy a good challenge. The year of the ox brings people who are goal-oriented and hard-working. The tiger year features people who are authoritative and strong leaders.

Each animal is thought to be more or less compatible with some of the other animals in the Zodiac. For example, those born in the year of the tiger are thought to be compatible with horse and dog years. This compatibility offers a suggestion about who makes good friends and even life partners.

Legend has it that these animals were selected as the Zodiac symbols when Buddha invited them all to a race. The rat was reportedly the first one to finish the race, so the rat became the first animal in the 12-year cycle.

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