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20 Dog Breeds That Howl: Pictures, Facts & History

Written by: Chris Dinesen Rogers

Last Updated on May 23, 2024 by Dogster Team

Samoyed dog howling outdoor

20 Dog Breeds That Howl: Pictures, Facts & History

While our pet dogs have a lot of quirks, some of which we try to train or breed out of them, howling is one thing that just seems to be a natural instinct for canines. Howling is one way that dogs communicate with the world, whether it’s to get our attention or make contact with other dogs. However, some breeds are more prone to howling than others. Whether you love it and are looking to adopt a chatty breed, or you hate it and are hoping to steer clear of a breed that makes too much noise, we’ve put together a list of 20 dog breeds that you can expect to howl from time to time.

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Why Do Dogs Howl?

Many people associate the howls of our beloved pets with the howls of wolves. Is this behavior related to their wolf ancestry though? Or do they howl for different reasons?

Wolves howl because it helps them communicate with their pack over long distances. It also serves to maintain the pack’s territory. Funnily enough, one howl can set off a chain reaction in wolves. On the other hand, dogs live very different lives from their wolf ancestors. While scientists aren’t completely certain as to why dogs howl, they assume that it is also a means of communication in dogs, just like how they growl, bark, and whine.

There are many reasons dogs can howl. Our best guess is that they howl to get attention, communicate with humans and other dogs, express big emotions (like separation anxiety), let others know that they’re there, and as a response to pain. Some breeds are more prone to howling than others, though. Interestingly, breeds that are more closely related to wolves howl more than breeds that are more recently developed.1 So, which breeds are most likely to howl?

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The 20 Dog Breeds That Howl

1. Beagle

beagle dog howling while sitting on the field
Image Credit: kobkik, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Hound Group
Origin: England
Original Job: Scent hound, hunting rabbits

The bay of a Beagle that’s hunting is a quintessential association with this breed. Even the sound of their bark is unmistakable. This breed was bred as a scent hound and for hunting, which explains why they would make this distinct sound. As rabbit hunters, Beagles will track down rabbits hidden under foliage and then bay loudly to let their owners know that there is prey nearby.

2. Dachshund

dachshund dog howling or barking outdoor
Image Credit: Zanna Pesnina, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Hound Group
Origin: Germany
Original Job: Hunting badgers

It’s hard to imagine a dog the size of the Dachshund going after formidable prey like badgers. They would enter the den of these animals, barking to alert their human companions of their location. A genetic mutation gave the breed their short legs and long, narrow body, which came in handy with this job.2

3. Bloodhound

Bloodhound dog standing on the field
Image Credit: Lenkadan, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Hound Group
Origin: Ancient Mediterranean area
Original Job: Scent hound

The amazing sense of smell of the Bloodhound is legendary. The breed’s abilities became evident early in the pup’s murky past. The dog is hard-working and steadfast. Their olfactory abilities are undoubtedly working faster than the human companion following them, and barking and howling are necessary for humans to be able to hear so that they can keep up while a Bloodhound follows a scent.

4. American Foxhound

American Foxhound dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: aruni udeshika, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Hound Group
Origin: United States
Original Job: Fox hunter

The American Foxhound is appropriately named, as it clearly highlights the dog’s original job. George Washington and others selectively bred their English counterparts to refine the breed for their needs. Howling is vital for them when on the hunt with a pack of hounds. Also, since foxes often live in forests, riparian habitats, and edges, their short stature allows this dog to stay on track while in challenging conditions.

5. Basset Hound

Basset Hound dog howling or barking at the park
Image Credit: Images by Dr. Alan Lipkin, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Hound Group
Origin: France
Original Job: Hunting deer and rabbits

The Bloodhound was the model for the Basset Hound with their comparable olfactory abilities. The short stature of the Basset Hound breed, however, proved an asset for hunters of small game, allowing the dog to maneuver in brushy habitats. This breed is an excellent example of the specialization of selective breeding, with a pup able to work various terrains and step up as a foot hound for people walking in the field with them.

6. Bluetick Coonhound

Bluetick Coonhound dog standing in the woods
Image Credit: Taylor Walter, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Hound Group
Origin: United States
Original Job: Scent hound of raccoons and other medium to large game

The name of the Bluetick Coonhound provides a clue to this breed’s job as a raccoon hunter. The dog’s intelligence and endurance made this canine suitable for hunting other game as well, though. Their distinctive voice made them easy to follow in the field. The aim is often to tree the quarry to prevent its escape. People have used this breed singly or in packs, depending on the prey species, but you can bet that they’re successful at whatever they’re hunting.

7. English Foxhound

English Foxhound dog walking in the meadow
Image Credit: RobertArt, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Hound Group
Origin: England
Original Job: Scent hound for medium and large game

The English Foxhound may have started with big game, but the breed soon segued into the role of its namesake. The Hunting Act of 2004 banned the sport in England and Wales.3 Barking and howling was an essential part of the dog’s job. They typically hunted in packs, making it easier for the canines to stay together and for humans to follow them.

8. Norwegian Elkhound

Norwegian Elkhound dog standing outdoor in snow
Image Credit: Vladimir Berny, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Hound Group
Origin: Norway
Original Job: Scent hound after elk and moose

The Norwegian Elkhound has been a loyal hunting companion for humans for thousands of years. This dog is fearless, considering the game they herded, hauled, and hunted. We listed Norway as the breed’s origin. However, its history goes back to the Vikings. Howling is a vital trait for this pup. Since their quarry is fast, the canines must keep up with their speed, and howling leads their hunting companions to the prey by being vocal.

9. Siberian Husky

Siberian Husky dog howling in the snow
Image Credit: SashaS Skvortcova, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Working Group
Origin: Siberia
Original Job: Sled dog

Humans have used dogs for sledding as early as 8,000 years ago.4 This job made these pups sociable with other canines. It also influenced the breed’s evolution for the tremendous physical demands. Siberian Huskies are very vocal, whether in or out of the harness. They howl so much and so distinctly, that it sometimes sounds like they’re actually trying to talk. Don’t believe us? Just look up a few videos of Siberian Husky howls on YouTube.

10. Samoyed

Samoyed dog barking outdoor
Image Credit: Zanna Pesnina, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Working Group
Origin: Siberia
Original Job: Sled dog, hunting companion, and watchdog

The Samoyed is an all-purpose hunting dog suited for bitterly cold weather. Like the previous breed, this dog worked on sledding teams, and it’s a job some of them still have. They are vocal with an almost shrill quality to their voices. Remember that barking is common among canines in this job, and we like to think that they are encouraging their teammates!

11. Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier dog standing on grass
Image Credit: OlgaOvcharenko, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Terrier Group
Origin: Scotland
Original Job: Ratter

The name of the Cairn Terrier is a clue about the breed’s original job as a ratter. Rodents scurried among the rocks of Scotland, finding places to hide from the dogs in pursuit. Howling is an alert to the owner that they’ve made a kill, and it’s also a function of their protective nature. Vocalizing is also an expression of their excitement while on the hunt, and it’s a common trait among breeds in the AKC Terrier Group.

12. West Highland White Terrier

West Highland White Terrier dog barking outdoor
Image Credit: Fotyma, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Terrier Group
Origin: Scotland
Original Job: Ratter or earth dog

Rodents were a plague for farmers, opening up a job for an intelligent and quick canine like the West Highland White Terrier. This dog is a genuinely happy pooch, as evidenced by their facial expression. They are loyal pets and protective of their families and homes. Like other terrier dogs, their howling was helpful to humans when they were hunting prey that hid in underground dens.

13. Miniature Schnauzer

Miniature Schnauzer dog standing in the field
Image Credit: dogist, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Terrier Group
Origin: Germany
Original Job: Ratter

Just one look at the Miniature Schnauzer and you know they mean business. This pup is a smaller version of their larger cousin. They are lively with a protective nature that comes from their farm-dog history. That sets the stage for a vocal pooch, which describes this breed to the tee. They are playful pets that will keep up with the kids—including the howling and roughhousing.

14. Pembroke Welsh Corgi

Pembroke Welsh Corgi dog howling or barking outdoor
Image Credit: Happy monkey, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Herding Group
Origin: Wales
Original Job: Herder of livestock

The size of the Pembroke Welsh Corgi is an advantage when herding livestock, such as cattle, because they were able to nip at their heels. This dog is tenacious and persistent enough for the job, but it also helps to have a big bark/howl to direct the livestock to where they need to be.

15. Border Collie

Border Collie dog running in the meadow
Image Credit: thka, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Herding Group
Origin: Great Britain
Original Job: Herder of livestock

The Border Collie is probably the most intelligent canine breed. Their job as a herder demanded a skill set that included intelligence, independence, and tenacity. It also demands strength and endurance to navigate in rough terrain. Their voice is a useful tool when on the job as well. Their high-pitched bark that sounds almost like a howl ensures they’re heard by all, mainly livestock and humans.

16. Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherd dog howling outdoor
Image Credit: Anna Pozzi – Zoophotos, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Herding Group
Origin: United States (California)
Original Job: Herder of livestock

The name of the Australian Shepherd is a misnomer. While the stock is from the Land Down Under, the development of the breed happened in the United States. This dog has many of the traits we discussed in the previous entry, as they are also livestock herders. The work is demanding, requiring many skills to succeed, and a loud howl is one of them. The dog must keep their livestock group together, making it an essential quality to direct them.

17. Collie

rough collie dog barking at the beach
Image Credit: Adam Serba, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Herding Group
Origin: Scotland
Original Job: Herder of livestock

The development of the Collie breed goes back to Roman times. Herding dogs need to be vocal, and this is also a howler due to the job they were bred for. They are somewhat protective and good with kids. Perhaps they view children like livestock they need to keep in check.

18. Shetland Sheepdog

Shetland Sheepdog barking outdoor
Image Credit: atiger, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Herding Group
Origin: Scotland
Original Job: Herder of livestock

The Shetland Sheepdog is yet another herder from Scotland. We see the same skills in this breed that help other canines succeed in their herding roles. This dog’s history speaks to the harsh life of livestock farmers. The impetus for this pup’s smaller size was to use them on smaller livestock, but it was their intelligence and learning capacity that made this pooch an excellent herder.

19. American Eskimo

American Eskimo dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Scarlett Images, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Non-Sporting Group
Origin: United States
Original Job: All-around farm dogs, circus performers

The American Eskimo is another breed with a misleading name. Germans were a significant influence on the development of this dog. It’s a non-sporting breed. Nevertheless, their use as circus performers undoubtedly encouraged howling as part of their acts, but being vocal was also useful on the farm.

20. Chihuahua

Chihuahua dog barking indoor
Image Credit: Dubin Mykhailo, Shutterstock
AKC Group: Toy Group
Origin: Mexico
Original Job: Companion dog

The Chihuahua is an anomaly on this list. Most have herding or hunting roles that make barking and howling essential. This pup, however, is a companion dog yet is quite vocal, but not for the reasons you may think. Many small dogs act like tough guys, despite their itty-bitty size. Scientists theorize these dogs vocalize to be noticed, but it may also result from a lack of proper socialization because of their small size.

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Some breeds are more likely to vocalize. Ancient breeds, such as the Akita, are less likely to part and will howl if they want to get their owners’ attention. Modern breeds that selective breeding has developed over the last 200 years may include pets more inclined to bark, like the Beagle because it was part of their job.

Understanding these differences can help prospective pet owners make an informed choice about what dog breed to get and the training they must use to prevent unwanted behavior.

Featured Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

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