Animals in English grammar are divided into two groups: higher and lower.
Although there is no strict definition between them, "higher" animals are generally larger, more complex and more intelligent while "lower" animals are simpler in form.
Higher animals often have two grammatical genders: male and female, e.g.
When talking about lower animals and we need to specify the gender we'll often use this form:
When talking about animals we generally use the personal pronouns it and they:
However, if we are referring to a pet, we'll use a gender specific pronoun:
We can also optionally use male or female pronouns when we refer to higher animals:
In English there are special terms for collections of animals called collective nouns. This dates back to the great hunting tradition of England from the Middle Ages onwards. These words are often evocative and poetic.
Some examples include: