President Lyndon B. Johnson enjoyed singing with his mixed-breed dog, Yuki. I can’t vouch for it, but sources say the President sang appallingly off-key. Yuki, however, supplemented Johnson’s music with enthusiastic howls. Some individual dogs such as Yuki, regardless of breed, have a general fondness for vocalizing. Others reserve their musical offerings for distinct occasions, or specific people. My German Shepherd Dog, Zoey, for example, mainly sings when my daughter plays the piano. Zoey’s vocalizing seems relationship-focused. I wonder if President Johnson’s Yuki sang for anyone else?
Let’s hear (in this case, literally) from five notorious singing breeds:
My howling links me to my wolf ancestors. While we Malamutes (named after the Mahlemut tribe) howl less than wolves, we sure love to vocalize. We bark, grumble, howl, and make throaty noises that may be misinterpreted as growling. The Inuit people encouraged our howling, for they needed to hear us over vast distances in the arctic. We helped hunters by hauling carcasses and transporting supplies. We also pulled sleds for explorers such as Admiral Richard Byrd in Antarctica. These days, we howl when we’re happy, when seasons change, when we wake up, or when we have something to say (surely you speak Malamute too?).
I’m famous for my sensitive nose, but my singing is equally impressive. I’m associated with Hush Puppy™ shoes, but I’m not overly responsive to your shushing commands. I was bred in France to trail small game slowly, so hunters could keep up with me. Often we hunted in packs. We’re not troublesome singers, but we do bay and howl when it suits us. Valid reasons for my vocalizing include: I’ve got nothing else to do, I’m happy, I see intriguing animals, I want to accompany your singing, or when an ambulance drives by my house. And sometimes just for the heckuva it!
I’m a rare breed, so perhaps you haven’t heard of me, let alone heard me vocalize. I’m a small dog with unique features, such as additional toes for support that help me hunt Puffin birds. I can also close my ears to protect against dirt (or the sound of the Basset Hounds baying or the Malamutes howling above). I’m cheerful and inquisitive, with a strong prey drive and an inclination to bark at new happenings around me. Just pretend I’m singing your favorite song. I adore my family, but I was bred for independent action, including choosing when to express myself.
I’m legendary for my intricate vocals, including whines, howls, and yelps. I can dramatically vary the pitch of my howls. I developed naturally in the highlands of New Guinea many centuries ago. I’m an outstanding hunter. I climb and jump in a cat-like manner. My island remained isolated from the rest of the world for centuries, so until recently only the native people could appreciate my singing. Our reasons for singing may mystify humans, but we understand one another. When one of us starts to sing, others often join in the chorus. I frequently sing early in the day or at night. Perhaps consider it my good morning and good night serenade?
Although I’m a relatively quiet breed (at least compared to my cousins above), I woo-hooed right onto this list. Who can resist my woo-hooing when I’m happy, excited to see you, or joyful about life? And I’m a Golden so I experience joy frequently! I may also cry (does that count as singing?) with love when I’m greeting you after a long separation. As for my history, we were developed as gun dogs in Scotland with outstanding retrieving skills, and a love for water. Lord Tweedmouth didn’t breed us for vocalizing, but our woo-hoos come out rather naturally. Mine come out on the shoreline when you take me to a lake for a day of retrieving. Keep in mind only a handful of us are sufficiently talented to woo-hoo and swim at the same time!