Do dogs say woof or bark? Tips and Tricks

Sounds like: “Grrr, grrr.” Pause. “Grrr.”

Growling means your dog is begging you or someone (or something) else to stop whatever is happening in that moment. Never ever punish a dog for growling. That would basically turn the safety off of a gun.

When your dog growls, stop, listen, interpret and react to your dog’s growling by stopping whatever is happening. It’s important to understand you’re not rewarding a dog for growling when you stop a situation from happening; you’re preventing aggression from escalating. If your dog is growling at an object, never force him toward the object because that will only make it worse. Check out these tips on growling.

How dogs bark in Western Europe

First stop: French and Spanish. En français, you have a couple of different options for how to describe dog-speak. You can say ouaf ouaf, ouah ouah, or wouf wouf. As you can see, we’re still in “woof”-ish territory here. Spanish, though, is another story; in Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, dogs say guau guau! (Take a listen here; the “g” is muted so it sounds a bit like “wow wow.”) Also in Spain (northeastern Spain, to be exact), as well as Andorra, you’ll find speakers of the Catalan language, where dogs say bup bup.

Moving east, you’ll find dogs saying waf waf and woef woef in the Netherlands; wau wau, waff waff, and wuff wuff in Germany; and vuf vuf in Denmark. All the way down in geography’s most famous boot, Italy, dog-speak is represented as bau bau. For some more language trivia, do you know about these unique words in English that don’t have foreign equivalents?

Do dogs say woof or bark?

Dogs, in a way, are “multilingual”; humans who speak different languages have come up with different ways to represent the sounds dogs make. So if you talk about how dogs say “woof” in a non-English-speaking country, you’ll probably be *dogged* by confused looks.

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Do dogs say woof or bark?

Different languages use pretty much entirely different sets of words; onomatopoeia, including animal noises, is no different. So, no; dogs don’t say “woof woof” or “bow wow” in non-English-speaking countries. Especially since animal noises don’t actually make phonetical sounds, so languages can each come up with their own interpretation of how best to represent that sound, adhering with phonetical conventions of that language. And, interestingly, while many languages are in agreement about the sound cats make, there’s a vast variety when it comes to dog barks. Case in point: These vastly different interpretations, from the book The Weird World of Words, of the sound a dog makes from 28 different languages. But first, if you journey to any of these countries, you’ll want to know how to say “Hello” in different languages first!

Do dogs say woof or bark?


Dogs can make many different sounds besides just barking or growling sounds. Certain dog breeds will grunt, yelp, yep, yodel, rumble and howl, and some of these dog sounds are downright hilarious. What’s even more interesting is pet owners can identify their dog’s vocalizations even when intermingled with other dogs barking in the same area. Once, while showing our Rottweiler at a dog show with more than 200 other Rotties, I could hear his whine, signaling he needed to potty. Plus, we can all identify with picking up our dogs at the vet clinic (or grooming salons or kennel) and distinguishing our dog’s sounds from the other dogs in the facility.

Just remember: it’s important to interpret your dog’s body language while he is making dog sounds to make sure you understand exactly what your dog is saying.