Howling is one of the different vocalizations dogs use to communicate. It has been passed down to them from their canine ancestors, although it serves different purposes today. If you’re the owner of a howling dog, read on to find out why it happens and what you can do when it becomes excessive or when it seems to be an indication of an underlying problem.
Where does howling come from?
Howling in dogs is rooted in their ancestral lineage. Dogs, particularly those of certain ancient breeds, are direct descendants of wolves. Wolves howl to communicate with other members of their packs and other wolves at long distances as well as to establish their territories and more.
Why does my dog howl?
Wolf packs use howling as a form of communication over long distances, among other things. However, a 2023 study on dogs’ reactions to howls found that, unless your dog comes from an ancient breed — those that are genetically more closely related to wolves — howling no longer serves the same purposes. More modern dog breeds will most likely use howling for other things as a result of domestication. Some of the most common reasons dogs howl include:
- Responses to loud noises or high-pitched sounds
- Separation anxiety
- Expressions of emotions (stress, excitement, sadness, fear, etc.)
If your dog is howling constantly, they might be trying to communicate that something is wrong. Just as they can howl to express emotion or excitement, they can do it to convey pain or discomfort. Pet parents that are worried their dog might be howling because of medical issues should see a doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM).
If you’ve discarded any medical issues and the howling persists, the issue might be behavioral. If that’s the case, you might need the help of a dog trainer or animal behaviorist that specialize in canine behaviors.
Dog breeds that howl the most
Certain domesticated dog breeds are more likely to howl than others because of how closely related they are to their wolf ancestors. These are called ancient breeds. Others do as a result of selective breeding, as is the case with hounds or hunting dogs. Some of these breeds include:
- Siberian huskies
- Chow Chows
- American eskimo dogs
- Basset hounds
- Alaskan malamutes
Why Dogs Howl FAQs
Why do dogs howl when you leave?
Are dogs crying when they howl?
Why do dogs howl at sirens?
Summary of Money’s Why Dogs Howl Guide
- Howling is a normal dog behavior that they inherited from their ancestors, the wolves.
- Although it is a natural instinct, some howling dogs might be trying to communicate an underlying issue to their owners.
- Certain dog breeds are more likely to both howl and respond to howling than others.
- When howling becomes an issue, pet owners can consult animal trainers or behavioral experts to find out why the behavior is happening and how to approach it.
- Dog owners can correct excessive howling through training with positive reinforcement.