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Do Foreign Dogs Bark In Different Languages?

Do Foreign Dogs Bark In Different Languages?

Prepare for your jaw to hit the bleedin' floor mate: People in different countries speak different languages, obviously.

But what about dogs? Does a Japanese Akita in Tokyo have a different bark to a German Shepherd in Munich? Could a French English Bulldog understand an English French Bulldog? Or would their interaction remind you of the time your dad tried to order egg and chips in Marseille?


I'm afraid not. As hilarious as it is to picture full-blown Tower of Babel moments in the dog world, they don't occur. According to Psychology Today, virtually all dogs can understand the barks of other dogs regardless of where they come from.

However, the way people hear a dog's bark wildly differs depending on the language they speak and the culture they've grown up in.

So describing a dog's bark a 'woof' isn't as universal as you might have thought.

Explaining this phenomenon, Psychology Today said: "Linguists would tell you that the words that we use to represent dog barks are based upon onomatopoeia, which is the process by which we try to characterize a real world sound with a word that sounds something like it."

For example: 'Thwack', 'wallop', 'schlong', 'squelch'.


However, not every culture or people hear the word 'woof' when a dog barks, even though we Brits may hear it that way. Here are a few examples:

French: wouaff-wouaff; ouah-ouah; whou-whou; vaf-vaf; jappe-jappe (small dog)

German: wuff-wuff; vow-vow

Spanish: guau-guau; gua-gua; jau-jau

Universally, the only things that can be agreed on is that a dog almost always 'speaks' twice. For example, a Hebrew dog says "hav-hav", a Japanese dog says "wan-wan" and a Kurdish dog says "hau-hau".

To summarise, dogs don't speak different dog languages dependent on what region of the planet they're from. That would be absolutely preposterous, even though the idea of a dog woofing slowly so his foreign canine mate understands would be quite magical.

But, if you go to Latvia and start making 'woof' noises in the local park, not only will you look insane, they won't associate the noise with dogs at all.

Topics: interesting facts, Animals

Claire Reid

Claire is a journalist at LADbible who, after dossing around for a few years, went to Liverpool John Moores University. She graduated with a degree in Journalism and a whole load of debt. When not writing words in exchange for money she is usually at home watching serial killer documentaries surrounded by cats. You can contact Claire at [email protected]


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