What dog breeds howl most often: what is the reason

Yulia PoteriankoLife
The more closely a dog is related to wolves, the more likely it is to howl

Among the ways a dog communicates with humans, howling is not a very pleasant one. It comes from the time when animals were still wolves and communicated with each other in this way over long distances. And, technically, nothing can be done about it. But it's worth trying to understand where the howling comes from and why the dog behaves this way.

According to Earth magazine, a team of ethologists from the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary set out to study dog howls. They selected 68 purebred domestic dogs and played them a recording of wolves howling. To test the influence of breed, the scientists also measured the genetic relationship of each dog to wolves.

Why dogs howl

It turned out that the breeds that were more similar to wolves, the older dog species, were more likely to howl in response. Those that were less related to their ancestors, the so-called modern breeds, were more likely to respond to a high-pitched, long-lasting sound by barking.

Scientists have concluded that howling has lost its functionality in dogs because of the social environment in which they live. They no longer need to send messages to each other across kilometers of distance.

It also turned out that dog breeds that howl more often also show more signs of stress when they are forced to do so. At the same time, they process information in wolf sounds better. Thus, the ancient breeds from the study demonstrated the ability to experience stress when invading the territory of a wolf pack.

An interesting finding was that dogs over 5 years old are genetically predisposed to howling. Scientists explained this by the influence of experience or some kind of age-related personality effect. In particular, such sounds can be caused by stress and fear. However, these assumptions require further study.

The gender and reproductive status of the dog also influenced the tendency to howl. Thus, spayed and neutered females were equally prone to this behavior, but males showed differences. Neutered dogs that lacked testosterone howled more in response to the recording of wolf sounds. The scientists assumed that this was their way of telling their counterpart: "I'm scared, don't come any closer."

In what situations can a dog howl

So, as the Hungarian ethologists found out, stress and fear can make a dog behave in this way. But in what situations can these emotions be manifested? An approximate, but certainly not exhaustive list looks like this

  • the animal is stressed because of loneliness, bored, and wants to socialize and play;
  • a request for a walk - the dog needs to go to the bathroom;
  • it is your pet's way of reminding you that it is thirsty or hungry;
  • an unsterilized dog may react in this way to the approach of another animal;
  • Howling can also be a reaction to pain or other physical discomfort;
  • It can also be a reaction to the distant howling of another dog or other sound that resembles it.

Which breeds are most prone to howling

As Hungarian scientists have found, ancient breeds and breeds that have a greater genetic relationship with wolves are more likely to react in this way. These breeds include:

  • huskies;
  • Malamutes;
  • Eastern European huskies;
  • Eskimo spitzes;
  • Scottish sheepdogs;
  • basset hounds;
  • Bloodhounds.

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