Have you ever wondered whether some dogs gossip? Or whether some dog breeds do so more than others? You know, the dogs who like to hear their own voices, speak their minds — the talkative dogs? My guess is that these chatty canines do indulge in the exchange of personal information with the other talkative dogs in the apartment building or in the house next door. And don’t even get them started at the dog park — a talkative dog is bound to air his grievances and catch up on the local lowdown for hours at this social gathering. And why shouldn’t he? Talkative dogs have every right to broadcast their opinions and share their thoughts.
But talkative dogs don’t limit themselves to canine chitchat — they like to expound on things (such as the fact that their owner left an hour ago and still isn’t home); explain a situation (such as their food bowl being empty); and express themselves (such as dramatically reciting the Dog Bill of Rights). Many talkative dogs also like to keep their owners up-to-date on their lives, yapping happily away throughout dinner, on a walk, and sometimes at 3:00 a.m., when they remember something they forgot to mention earlier.
What Makes a Dog Breed Talkative?
There are many reasons a dog has the gift of gab. Here are some “talkative dog types,” which show up in talkative dog breeds:
- Bluffers: When a teeny dog barks incessantly at a bigger dog, the teeny dog is usually bluffing his way through the encounter, hoping to convince the bigger dog that he has what it takes to hold his own.
- Brave Hearts: These are the same dogs as Bluffers, only they believe they can take on anything, even the family cat.
- Attention Grabbers: These dogs tend toward jealousy, and a new family member or a guest can trigger their effusiveness.
- Nervous Types: These dogs are usually easily disturbed by sounds or sudden movement, and vocalize their displeasure.
- Complainers: Some dogs complain all the time; others choose specific instances such as when you clean, when you paint your toenails, or when you talk on the phone.
- Bored Stiffs: You can’t expect a naturally talkative dog to keep quiet if he’s left alone for too long.
- Gossips: This is fanciful, of course, but if you’ve ever had a talkative dog that sits next to you and actually converses with you, you’d feel that, indeed, secrets were being shared.
Why Some People Love Talkative Dog Breeds
We don’t all want to sit in eerie quiet all the time, wondering what our dog is thinking. Some people like to have the sound of a loquacious canine filling the house, letting them know they are not alone and that things are happening. Lovers of talkative dogs will tell you that it masks the habit of talking to yourself, because someone always answers back. Talkative dogs are outgoing, gregarious extroverts, and they are usually friendly, engaging, and make wonderful companions.
Why Some Dog Breeds Are Talkative
Well, the silent types tend to be the bigger types (note: “tend”). The larger a dog, usually the less vocal — think of a Tibetan Mastiff or a Great Dane. Quite a few of the larger dog breeds were bred as guard dogs, which meant they were meant to be imposing and had to be prepared to take someone down. Silence goes with these traits. On the other hand, many smaller dog breeds were bred to be watchdogs, which meant they were supposed to warn their owners of intruders and also discourage intruders with their noise. There are other reasons as well.
- Experience: Over the years of development, a dog learns his place in the modern dog pack, which includes many breeds and sizes. A breed that develops as an alpha tends to be more vocal in order to give commands and to keep everyone in his place. Think of a dog park.
- Original Purpose 1: If a dog was bred to just be a lapdog, that breed is likely more vocal, as he has been indulged since his beginning.
- Original Purpose 2: Dogs bred to run prey down, such as Hounds and Terriers, tend to be more vocal, as do watchdogs.
- Distance from Original Purpose: Conversely, dog breeds that were not originally bred to be noisy can become talkative breeds when they’re redirected to a more sedentary and “boring” lifestyle. (See Bored Stiffs, above.)
- Wildcard: Some breeds are talkative even though they don’t have the traits of a talkative breed.
The 10 Most Talkative Dog Breeds (My opinion, feel free to weigh in below.)
- Yorkshire Terrier: This breed may be small but he has the heart of a Terrier, which means confrontation comes naturally, and he’s very vocal about most situations.
- Chihuahua: This tiny breed was originally bred to be a sacred figure and also a lapdog. They appear to remember the time when they were bowed to, and demand the attention due them.
- Beagle: A Hound — enough said. While lumbering over fields in packs, Beagles bark or bay as a part of their job to signal the owners of their whereabouts and out of pure excitement.
- Dachshund: Long in body and loud in voice. He has a lot to talk about, considering he was bred not only to hunt prey his own size (such as rabbits) but also wild boar and deer.
- Australian Shepherd: This herding breed barks while he works to direct his herd. Both his herding skills and working voice tend to show up in his role as companion dog.
- Rat Terrier: Another Terrier who is very vocal, especially if left alone too much. Rat Terriers were bred to run rats to the ground and often worked in packs, communicating with one another by barking.
- Standard Schnauzer: Despite his origin as a guard dog, which usually indicates a silent type, this dog is very talkative.
- Siberian Husky: The Siberian Husky was bred to pull sleds and live together in packs. They howl more than bark and often also say “Woowoowoo.” They are a talkative breed because they need to communicate throughout their work.
- West Highland White Terrier: Westies are more known for the loudness of their bark than their gregariousness, but they do have a talkative nature. Again, as Terriers, they were bred to be noisy as part of their job. They’re also jolly little creatures who just like to express their mirth.
- American Foxhound: Another Hound who was bred to work in packs and used barking in that work. The American Foxhound is a more moderate talker, but you never know when you’ll be jolted by his powerful bay.
Whether a dog is talkative is not solely based on his breed. Certain factors in his life can either make a talkative dog more talkative or actually make a quiet dog talkative. These include:
- Owner Encouragement: If you want to encourage your dog to be talkative, reward him when he barks. If you want to discourage a barking dog, reward him when he’s quiet.
- Lack of Socialization: If a dog is overly communicative, especially around other dogs, it could be a sign of poor socialization.
- Environment: If a dog lives in a noisy household, he is more likely to raise his voice to get noticed. A lot of commotion, with kids running around and adults bickering, will often encourage or create a talkative dog.
If you own a talkative dog, you know the benefits of having a canine conversationalist at home, despite what some family members or neighbors may think. Dogs do not live in a silent world, and many adapt freely to a noisy environment. If you’d rather not live with a gabby canine, there’s always the Basenji.
Editor’s Note: What breeds would you add to this list? Do you live with a talkative pup? We want to hear all about it.