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10 Different Dog Sound in Words & their Meaning
10 Different Dog Sound in Words & their Meaning

10 Different Dog Sound in Words & their Meaning

Every dog has a distinct personality, and with this comes an equally adorable and compelling voice. 

Every dog has a distinct personality, and with this comes an equally adorable and compelling voice. Although much of what they feel goes unsaid, dogs can be very vocal about certain things… and mostly through barking. However, there are other sounds that dogs use to convey their wants and needs. Understanding what each of these sounds means can help you care for your dog better. While some of these dog sounds may seem similar, they have different meanings; hence, it is essential to learn more about these sounds.

Types of dog sounds and their meanings

Since dog sounds can seem similar, it is imperative to correlate a dog's body language with the sounds they make. So, let us dive in and understand the meaning of different dog sounds:


This is the most common sound a dog makes. Surprisingly, a dog's size plays a key role in the way they bark – larger dogs tend to have deeper barks, whereas small dogs have high-pitched, sharp barks. There is a lot more to learn about why dogs bark!

A dog's bark can have different meanings:

  • Dogs bark when someone familiar enters the house. They may also wag their tail along with barking.
  • Barking is an effective way for dogs to get their pet parents’ attention. They may do this when they want something to eat, play, or go outside.
  • Dogs bark to warn their pet parents of the presence of a stranger or if something unfamiliar is happening. This protective behavior is why dogs are considered the guardians of the house.


This sound is made when your dog forms an "o" shape with their mouth. It is a long and high-pitched sound where they look upwards. Their ancestors, the wolf, are infamous for this!

A brown dog is howling

A dog's howl can have different meanings:

  • They are feeling sad.
  • They hear other dogs howl. This could be to acknowledge their howling or as a response to join them wherever they are.
  • They hear music. Some dogs tend to howl when they hear music they like, especially high-pitched music.


These sounds can be low or high-pitched and heartbreaking for any pet parent to hear. They usually last for a while.

A dog's whimper can have different meanings:

  • They are in pain or feeling unwell.
  • They feel sad.
  • They are anxious or fearful.
  • They want attention.


Dogs growl by making a low-pitched sound like purring. They may be in an aggressive stance while growling.

A black and white dog looks angry

A dog's growl can have different meanings:

  • They want to convey threats or warnings.
  • They want to establish their territory.
  • They want to express confusion or pain.
  • They want to show dominance while playing competitively.


Yes, dogs purr too! Similar to cats, it is a throaty sound that's like a grumble. Dogs purr when they feel at peace or calm. You may have heard this sound when they settle down after playing.


This sound is a lot like a whimper, except it is usually more high-pitched and lasts for a longer duration. Dogs generally whine when they want something like food, attention, or playtime. They may also whine out of fear.

A pug is lying down


It is a curt and low sound that starts from the gut, much like a human grunt. Dogs make this sound when they feel happy or relaxed. They make this sound automatically as they stretch or move to a new sleeping position.


This is another sound that dogs make like humans! No wonder they are our best friends. They also exhale loudly from their nose or mouth.

It can mean two things when dogs sigh – either the dog is relaxed and happy or frustrated and disappointed. So, this can happen when they get their food on time or when they don't.


Dogs pant when they breathe loudly from their mouth with their tongue out. It usually goes on until they settle down. Panting can be a result of exhaustion, stress, or hot climate.

A corgi is looking up with it's tongue out

These sounds can carry different meanings according to your dog's body language. And now that you know all about dog sounds, you can understand your pooch better and be the best version of the pet parent you are!

Frequently asked questions

  • What sound does a dog make in words?

    The most commonly written dog sound is their bark, which is written in variations like "woof," "ruff," "arf," or "yip."

  • Why do dogs make sounds like grumbling and groaning?

    Dogs make these sounds out of frustration, usually when they feel like they're not getting enough attention from their pet parents.

  • Do dogs know words or sounds?

    It may seem like dogs understand a lot of our words, but in reality, they pay more attention to our tone. Dogs know a few command words, of course, but ultimately, they react more to the tone we use.

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