We were practicing new phrases when my friend and teacher Chika drew a picture of a little dog with a talk bubble that read “guk guk” Confused why the dog was guking instead of barking, I had to learn more. What follows might just be one of the strangest things I have learned in all my travels.
“What the hell is that? Is that a dog?! What noise do dogs make here?!?!?” I asked incredulously. Turns out it was. Apparently the dogs in this country make different noises than the traditional “bark bark” I grew up hearing. The more countries I traveled, the more I realized that dogs around the world make different noises in different countries.
How dogs bark in Central Europe, the Balkans, and Russia
Farther east in Europe, let’s pay a visit to the Czech Republic and Poland, where dogs say haf haf and hau hau, respectively. Hungarian dogs change Poland’s version up a little bit with vau vau.
Over on the southeast end of Europe, on the Balkan peninsula, dogs saying ghav ghav is Greek to me! People in North Macedonia prefer the similar-but-shorter av av. Dogs in Albania say ham ham (pronounced closer to “hom hom,” not like Easter dinner!). In Bulgaria, they say bow bow, interestingly not quite the familiar English “bow wow.” And finally, if you’re Russian, your pooch will say gav gav or tyaf tyaf. Already quite the variety! This makes sense because there are lots of different dog breeds that hail from all around the world. Find out what the world’s most (and least) expensive dogs are.
We know that our pups have their own language full of barks and yips and wiggly noises, but did you know that dog sounds are different in every language? Onomatopoeia is awesome. Protip: Say all of these sounds out loud.
70 People Imitate What Cats and Dogs Sound Like in 70 Countries | Condé Nast Traveler
Woof is the conventional representation in the English language of the barking of a dog. As with other examples of onomatopoeia or imitative sounds, other cultures “hear” the dog’s barks differently and represent them in their own ways. Some of the equivalents of “woof” in other European and Asian languages are as follows: