Wonderful World of Woof

Dog barks: meaningful or meaningless? Some experts will tell you the latter, and we’ll tell you that those people are far from experts. In our experience, dog barks vary in speed, pitch, and frequency depending on their intent. Playful, alarmed, hungry, dogs use different sounds to express each. Heck, knowing certain dogs we’ve spent time with, we might argue that some dogs bark because they enjoy the sound of themselves.

If you’re leery about situational barking, PBS’s Nova has an interesting online test that allows you to decipher the barks of six dogs. A sound clip of a bark will play, and you have to identify its origin by clicking the correct dog picture. Click this sentence for the test. You will be surprised at how many you answer correctly.

If you don’t do well, that’s okay. Barking is an acquired language that can differ culture to culture. What sounds like woof in America, sounds like meong in Korea. ESL (English as a Second Language) has a page of animal sounds from around the world that you can listen to. Click here for the page. Some of the sounds are quite similar, while others, like Korea and America, are quite unalike. Since small dogs and large dogs make dissimilar sounds — small usually having a higher pitch — the dichotomy among cultures might exist depending on what size canine they choose their main barking noise from. What do you think?

Comment below or tweet us @Chicdogwalkers. We’d love to hear your thoughts and stories on barking.


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