Dog howling is the half-pleasing, half-eerie sound our dogs make from deep in their throats. Almost any dog can howl, but some breeds (and some enthusiastic individuals!) are more likely to howl than others. Let’s meet five dogs who howl right here:
Video credit: Alaskan Malamutes howling. Courtesy Beth Dullea.
Wohoo! I’m the headliner for this group. Although I’m usually not described as a barky breed, I am among dogs who howl. My reasons are sometimes obvious; other times my howling may seem mysterious to you. Sometimes, we howl to communicate, expressing our emotions. Now and then we enjoy howling together. The largest sled dog, I’m named after the Mahlemut tribe of the Arctic. I assisted in Inuit hunts, pulled butchered carcasses, moved supplies and defended camps. Explorers such as Admiral Richard Byrd in Antarctica employed my forefathers on sled teams. Although we work with people, we also tend to make independent judgment calls. Consequently, we sometimes howl simply because we feel like it.
I’m frequently listed on vocal breed lists, but here I’ve been promoted to the howling category, too. Ah yes, I’m an over-achiever! We were bred in the Shetland Islands, where people needed small, rugged dogs to herd livestock, protect gardens from livestock and work with humans. Sometimes, my ancestors stayed with the sheep on remote sections of the island, barking away big birds to protect the lambs. These days, our reliable barking (which may segue into a lovely howl) guarantees we’ll ace our jobs as watchdogs and companions.
I’m guessing you recognize me by my facial folds and saggy skin, but my howling is noteworthy, too. Celebrated for my stellar sense of smell, my breed’s origins are aristocratic; we were favorites of European nobles. Gentry used my forefathers to catch poachers, and law enforcement used us for tracking. Sometimes mistakenly pictured as lazy on a porch, we’re actually eager for a hunt, hike or creative vocalizing. Listen carefully: my baying and howling is often extraordinarily melodious. Just don’t bother looking for a volume switch. We have wonderful minds of our own.
We were developed thousands of years ago by the Chukchi people to pull sleds. Social and strong, we’re highly adaptable to weather extremes. My double coat offers protection from both cold and heat. During cold arctic winters, I dig for warm spots. In summer, I may dig for cool spots (maybe smack dab in the middle of your garden!). For me, life’s a nonstop adventure. I’m an escape artist when exploration beckons. Along with digging and seeking adventure, howling comes naturally to me. I howl for many reasons, including saying hello, bemoaning your absence, celebrating my existence, and relishing in friendship.
While we’re honored to be included with renowned howlers like the Siberian and Malamute, we weren’t bred by northern Native Americans at all, but rather by German immigrants. We’re companion dogs, excelling at charming our humans. We’re more likely seen competing in agility than pulling sleds. Developed for a clever personality and sprightliness, some of my ancestors even performed in circuses. Smart, devoted and yet self-governing, we’re still entertaining families today. We’re also a solid, and oftentimes well-voiced, watchdog. And yes, the cleverest among us add howling to our vocal antics.
Thumbnail: Photography by Darina Matasova/Shutterstock.
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