Why Do Dogs Howl or Sing?

Sometimes it's joy. Sometimes it's a protest. Or a reaction to a siren. Do your dogs sound off too?

A new guinea singing dog.

Dogs love to bark for numerous reasons. They bark to let you know someone is outside or at the door. They bark to let you know how the feel, whether they’re happy or not feeling well. Heck, sometimes it seems they don’t need a reason at all. After all, barking is one of the main ways they communicate with us and each other. Yes, nearly all dogs like to bark, but do all dogs howl or sing? Is it only certain breeds of dogs? Why do they sing?

A beagle puppy.
Beagle puppy by Shutterstock.

Some of the dogs in my life loved to sing. My Schnauzers always seemed to like singing. When excited or stressed my Schnauzer boy Woody would pucker his lips and let out a “Woo, woo, woo!” My Schnauzer boy Buzz would rarely sing, though he’d occasionally express himself with a low bass, “Wooo,” when he was frustrated.

My Schnauzer girl Dusty lifts her head all the way back and lets out an ear piercing siren, “Woooooooo, woooooooo, woooooooo!” She will sing when she hears a siren or if we laugh and sing with her. Each one of them had a different reason and method for singing. However, my two Pomeranians never showed the least bit of interest in singing. They would look at other dogs singing with a puzzled look as if to say, “What’s all the fuss?”

According to DogBreedWorld.com, certain breeds are known for their singing –- Alaskan Malamute, Beagle, Foxhound, and Coonhound, among others. However, I have seen all types of dogs sing -– Chihuahuas and Fox Terriers, to name a couple. So I am really not convinced that it depends on the breed. I believe dogs howl or sing based on their own unique personalities and reasons for singing.

Those reasons can be as unique as the breeds themselves. For my boy Woody, it all had to do with separation anxiety. If the pet sitter showed up and he knew we were leaving, he would let his dissatisfaction be known. He would sing his song over and over until we explained everything to him and calmed him down. He also showed these signs on our infamous mountain vacation family trip. We put him in his crate with his brother Buzz while we went to get a bite to eat. Though we explained we would be back in an hour, he was not thrilled at being left behind. As soon as we closed the cabin door, the singing began.

For my girl Dusty, the sounds of sirens are a sure sign the singing will begin. The sirens could be from a television or a fire engine. If a siren is in the area, she will definitely let you know and burst out in song.

Some dogs howl or sing if they are lonely, bored, or worried. Some sing to notify other dogs that they are there, and to vocally mark their territory. Some dogs sing if they aren’t feeling well and need some medical attention. If the singing goes on longer than usual and there are no other trigger indicators that you can identify, a visit to your veterinarian may be in order.

So, if your dog starts singing, you can sometimes attribute it to the breed. Or, you can attribute it to a certain reason or trigger for your dog. Better yet, if you know your dog is healthy, try singing along. Maybe you both can hit the musical stage and make it big!

Do your dogs howl or sing? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for more on why dogs howl, sing, or make other noises? 

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