March 24, 2021 3 min read


The wolf howl is a communication ritual between pack members. This social call is a means of interaction between wolves, which they also use to signal, without conflict, foreign wolves that the territory is occupied by their pack. This mysterious call is inherited in part by the domestic dog. But, why does the dog act like a wolf?

dog howl

Generalities on the howling of the dog

The howling is an instinctive reaction related to a genetic heritage. Indeed, the wolf and the dog belong to the same genealogical branch. Therefore, both share certain similarities in their behaviors, such as howling. It is a natural action that is part of the dog's communication language. It is a natural action that is part of the dog's communication language and allows him to express himself and his feelings.

The howl is often associated with a bad omen and is often referred to as a gloomy and annoying sound that generates a feeling of discomfort, especially when it is emitted in a repetitive manner or when it is a prolonged cry. However, it is more adorable when made by a puppy.


Howling: a breed-specific means of communication

Howling is observed in certain breeds of dogs such as the canid species: the wolf and in the most "lupoid" dogs. These animals are less frequented by man and they resemble wolves in their physical appearance and characteristics, such as: the Saarloos wolfdog, the Husky, the Greenland dog, the Czechoslovakian wolfdog,...

different dogs

Some breeds of dogs howl more than others. This is mainly true of the larger breeds, such as the Siberian Husky or the Alaskan Malamute. On the other hand, some smaller breeds, such as Beagles and Dachshunds also tend to howl. However, some shy breeds can be found that never howl.

It's not always easy to decode a dog's howl, but understanding it helps you get to know your dog better.


Why does my dog howl?

Dogs usually howl like a wolf (or death howl) instinctively in response to sounds that they consider to be howls or social calls (similar to the howls of their ancestors).

The dog's call is easier to distinguish at night, because of the quiet atmosphere and lack of noise pollution. It is also easier to hear from a long distance at night.

In the case of a domestic dog, howling is a bit of an odd behavior, as it is often related to wild dogs that do not live in a home. Surely, you are wondering why my dog is acting like a wolf? Why does he start howling when a siren sounds or when he hears me singing? Why does he act like a wolf when he's home alone and annoys the neighbors?

If your dog belongs to a breed that has howling as part of its communication language, then it may be acting like a wolf:

  • Call you when you're back home.
  • Communicate with other dogs in the area.
  • Express his anxiety when he is alone or to draw attention to himself.
  • Warn people and strange dogs that the territory (where he is located) belongs to him.
  • Inform you that he has found prey while out hunting.
  • Call for help in case of distress.
  • Counter boredom. Your dog may start howling to occupy himself when he is bored.
  • express pain from an injury, for example.
  • Respond to your song. In this case, the wolf sees the song as a social call, to which it reacts instinctively.
  • Respond to certain loud sounds, such as an ambulance siren, a car horn, a fireman's siren, etc. The dog may howl because of confusion between the cry of a pack of dogs and the loud sound of the siren. This is a natural behavior in reaction to the sound he has heard.

Once you understand why your dog is acting like a wolf, you will know what actions you need to take to react properly.

How to behave when your dog is wolfing?

In order to avoid disturbing the neighbors by your dog's howling, give him something to occupy himself with and provide him with a reassuring environment so that he is not alone and bored. There are several ways to keep him busy for a long time. You can give him a large butcher bone to chew on. Also, give him treats, food and toys. Think of all the things that can fill his time while you are away.

When you return, stimulate your pet by giving him flowers for example, they are very popular for their relaxing effect. Take him out for a walk and let him meet his peers.

Understanding your dog's character is essential to understanding his behaviors, such as howling. This will allow you to create an effective plan of action to address the needs that cause him to howl.


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