A-oooooo! Why Do Dogs Howl?

Dog howlingDogs use vocalization to express all kinds of emotions. Yips, barks, muffled snorts and even sneezes all have meanings that the dog is trying to express. Try hiding a tasty treat in your closed fist and your dog will let you know just how he feels about that. The most primal, hair-raising sound the dog makes comes from deep in his throat, when he holds his nose high, purses his lips and howls like a wolf. Indeed, dogs get their habit for howling from their closest ancestor, the gray wolf. What does it mean when dogs howl? Read on to learn more about dogs that howl and find out more.

Similarities Between Dogs and Wolves

In evolutionary terms, pet dogs are separated from wolves by mere minutes. Our Pomeranians and poodles still retain many wild instincts from their tougher ancestors. If your dog howls, digs in the yard or steals your socks, you can probably blame the wolf. Or, just sing along.

Why Dogs Howl?

Wolves howl in groups to warn a rival pack about territory boundaries and to beckon home pack members that venture from the den to hunt. Both the timbre and volume of howling carries much further than barking, so a wayward wolf can find his way back to the pack by following the call.

Can All Dogs Howl?

Domestic dogs are a member of genus Canis that forms part of the wolf-like canids. As a result, all dogs have wolve-like behaviors but some are a bit more vocal than others. Dog breeds that howl like wolves include Alaskan Malamutes, American Eskimo Dogs, Beagles, Bloodhounds, Coonhounds, Dachshunds, Foxhounds, Huskies, and other traditional hunting dogs.

Why Do Dogs Howl At Sirens?

With enough prompting, most dogs will howl along with sustained noises like sirens, which mimic the low-to-high sound of a classic howl. You might coax your dog to sing along with you if you hold certain notes in your favorite song, too. This type of howling might be akin to cheerleading, a common practice among wolves that involves short duration howls, yips and yodels meant to pump up the pack before a hunt.

Why Do Dogs Howl At Night?

Howling in pet dogs can indicate separation anxiety or loneliness. This may explain why dogs howl at night more than during the day. The next time you go out to dinner or to a late movie, circle around the block and take a listen in front of your house. If you hear a low-pitched wailing, your dog may just be missing you and trying to call you back home as his wolf cousins would do.

Do All Dogs Howl Like Wolves?

Hound breeds like beagles and basset hounds hardly need a stage to bust out their best vocal performance. Part of the reason these breeds love to vocalize is their hunting function. Their big voices tell a hunter they have treed their prey or trapped it in a burrow. Breeds that look much like wolves tend to use their vocal skills too, like Siberian huskies, malamutes, and any sled dog mix. These working dogs have the adventurous trait of wanting to see what is over that next hill, and since they often live in groups with other like-minded dogs, howling becomes a bonding activity between them.

Video: Wolves Howl Like Dogs

Here is a video of a wolf howling. Notice the body language and the upright position of the wolf’s nose. The breeds mentioned above howl similarly to this wolf.

What Emotion Is Expressed When My Dog Howls?

All howling is not sad, despite how it may sound to our ears. Dogs express joy by howling, too. They may tilt their noses up and howl when they see a best pal at the dog park, or to announce the arrival of a favorite friend or college kid returning home for spring break, like the human version of “Woo hoo!!” when pizza delivery arrives.

Howling Beliefs In Egypt

The belief that dogs have supernatural or psychic abilities has a long history and is found in many cultures. In ancient Egypt, a howling dog was often thought to portend a death and was thought to be very bad luck. Anubis was worshipped as the god of the dead, and was depicted as having the head of a dog, so many believed that a dog that howled at night called a soul to the god Anubis.

Your Dog Barking Up The Wrong Tree?

If your dog is howling so much they should be on the next season of American Idol or The Voice? Don’t worry. There are remedies to help your dog keep an inside voice. You can try an online dog training course, a sonic collar, a no bark dog collar or a combination of all three. You can also learn more about why dogs bark to better understand what they might be trying to communicate.


Why do you think your dog howls?

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