Do huskies bark? It seems rather an odd question because all dogs bark, don’t they? It’s just what they do, right?
Well, no, not huskies – they like to be different. More accurately, huskies sometimes bark, but not very often! This applies equally to Alaskan and Siberian huskies, whatever their other differences may be.
In this article, we examine why this might be and share information along the way about how huskies vocalize differently from most other dog breeds.
We’ll begin with a basic question…
Can Huskies Bark?
They can, but they mostly don’t! It isn’t a question of mechanics or physical biology. Huskies possess the necessary equipment to bark, just like any other dog. They just choose not to!
This has a lot to do with their development, their evolution over the past few millennia. Huskies have quite a different history compared with other breeds of dogs.
For many hundreds of years, they were (and still sometimes are) used as sled dogs, pulling heavy loads over long distances.
This required stamina, strength, obedience, and loyalty. They aren’t and never were hunting dogs, although the harsh conditions they endured gave them a strong prey drive.
Because of the closeness of the pack, they tend to form a strong bond with their families.
What has any of this got to do with either question, can huskies bark, or do huskies bark?
The answer lies in their wolf ancestors.
For most dogs, barking is their main form of communication. Wolves hardly ever bark but use howling, snarling, whimpering, and growling, as well as a mixture of these, to communicate.
For wolves, barking is used rarely, sometimes as an alarm call.
In this sense, the husky closely resembles its lupine ancestor – they can bark, but they prefer other methods of communication.
Do Huskies Bark At Strangers?
Barking is often a territorial call. Dogs bark at passing strangers, cars, noises in the night, or other dogs and animals because they are asserting their claim over a particular area that they see as being theirs.
Although opinions vary, the husky is generally not regarded as a territorial animal. They may be protective over their pack, but they make terrible guard dogs!
Compared with, say, the German Shepherd, which makes an excellent guard dog, the husky is more likely to want to see if a stranger wants to play rather than chase them off.
The German Shepherd will alert you to any potential threat and will make it clear that this is their territory. That loud and assertive bark is usually enough for most intruders.
A husky will, more often than not, stay quiet. Nobody really knows why this might be. Most dogs will react noisily if they sense a threat and sound a warning, usually by barking.
Huskies, even if they detect a threat, will often stay quiet. This could be another link to their wolf ancestors: wolves tend to stay silent when under threat. This allows them to remain undetected and to slip away from danger.
It has to be said, though, that a husky will be more likely to try to make friends with an intruder than see them as a threat!
Why Do Huskies Howl And Not Bark?
With a closer link to their wolf ancestors than most other breeds, the husky has an inbuilt instinct for howling.
They’re famous for it! Husky howling videos are popular across social media, showing these unique animals howling.
All it takes is a high-pitched sound, such as a siren, a baby crying, or someone playing a musical instrument, and off they go.
As we’ve seen above, howling comes more naturally to them. They just don’t see barking as being a necessary part of communicating.
In the wild, a howl will carry further than a bark. It’s good for zeroing in on a particular point, for finding your way in the dark through woods and wastelands.
Wolves have used this method for thousands of years to tell others where they are, to give warnings, and as means of bonding with the pack.
Of course, huskies are in a far different situation these days than their wolf ancestors. However, they retain a lot of the same genes – far more than many other breeds.
The preference for howling rather than barking is just one of the ways in which this is illustrated.
Do Huskies Howl A Lot?
Yes, if you let them! Some people suggest that Huskies will be more likely to howl when you’re around rather than when they’re left alone.
The trouble is, if you’re not around to hear it, how would you know? It often takes a neighbor to point out that your dog is crying when you’re not home.
As we’ve seen, they prefer to howl rather than bark. Howling can be a real problem, as cute or amusing as it might be at times. If they react all the time to a passing siren or any music playing in your home, it could become annoying.
The best course of action is to train them to howl on command. Then they’ll know that it isn’t something they should do all the time but will usually only howl when you ask them.
They’re so eager to please you that they’ll be happy to break into song when prompted and will understand that they should stay quiet most other times.
What Does It Mean When A Husky Barks?
We’ve covered the question, Do huskies bark? And we now know that although they can, and do, they really don’t like to. So, when they do bark, what does it mean? In all honesty, there are many possible answers!
Huskies are very vocal dogs, even without the barking. They communicate in a range of howls, chirps, whines, and the occasional bark.
However, if they start barking constantly, then it’s a sure sign that they want your attention. And It’s up to you to find out why!
It’s a sad fact that our pets can’t talk to us and tell us what’s bugging them. Life would be much easier – in some ways – for dog owners if they could.
Huskies sometimes make noises that sound remarkably like they’re trying to talk. Some of these ‘talking’ sounds can be endearing and comical, such as when it seems like they are saying ‘I love you.’
But this is not much help when our dog is yapping away, and we’re none the wiser as to what they are trying to say.
If you’ve seen all those reports (including this one) that say that barking is rare in huskies, then you’ll be concerned, understandably.
We’ll run through a few of the possibilities to give you an idea of what might be wrong when your husky starts barking.
• They want to play – playfulness is one of their great qualities. They might bark at you simply because they want you to join in the fun and games.
• They need the bathroom! – has it been a while since they went? It might be time to let them out again.
• They’re hungry – it might be a way of saying, ‘Hey, it’s way past feeding time!’
• They are agitated – barking is a way to get your attention. It could be that they’ve tried other ways, but you haven’t got the message.
A series of sharp barks could be their means of saying, ‘Hey! Listen! I’m not okay!’ It isn’t likely due to sickness or injury, as most dogs tend to go quiet rather than make more noise, but you should check them over just to be sure.
Seek medical advice if you suspect that they have anything wrong (brain injury can cause dogs to bark excessively).
Photo from @jackskellingtonthehusky
• They might just be made that way! – all dogs are unique, with their own character traits. Your husky puppy could be one that likes barking.
If it isn’t excessive and doesn’t bother you, then there’s no problem. If they seem distressed or unhappy, then it’s time to do something about it.
• Separation anxiety – though they’re more likely to howl, your dog might bark if they miss you. Try to limit the time you leave them alone, and give them something to keep them amused while you’re gone.
Dog training can be a great help in getting them used to the idea that you won’t always be there 24 hours a day, which could help resolve any unwanted barking.
• They aren’t getting enough exercise – the Siberian husky requires a minimum of two hours of exercise every day.
Without this, they will have excess energy, which will be channeled elsewhere. This could be seen in destructive behavior or howling and even barking, especially if they’re left alone. You may not hear this, but your neighbors will.
• They are bored – linked closely to the above point, these dogs need mental stimulation along with physical exercise.
If they get bored, they are more likely to find ways of expressing their frustration, and barking is one way in which they do this.
• They are young – puppies are learning all the time about themselves and their surroundings. They’ll try out different sounds, including barks and howls. They will probably grow out of this pretty soon.
Dogs are amazing creatures, with a sense of smell and hearing that is far superior to ours. They are also sensitive to subtle changes in their environment.
When your husky barks, they are trying to tell you something. Listen to them, try to understand what they are saying, take note of their body language, and take action accordingly.
Do Bark Collars Work On Huskies?
Most emphatically not.
We’ve answered our main question, Do huskies bark? quite early on in this article, so you might wonder why we’ve included this section.
There’s a good reason for this: bark collars, or shock collars, are not recommended for huskies.
In fact, animal welfare charities and NGOs unanimously agree that they are cruel and unnecessary. They are specifically designed to deter the dog through punishment, using pain.
Although they can be effective in eliminating certain behaviors, they create fear and anxiety.
Dogs experience physical pain and psychological distress. They can become aggressive and fearful, which contributes to behavioral problems as they get older.
Reward-based training methods are becoming more popular these days, and these are far more humane. They are also much more effective, as dogs soon realize that they will benefit from cooperating.
Most dog breeds are eager to please their owners, and some are more intelligent than others.
The smarter dogs learn very quickly through positive reinforcement, whereas they are more likely to react negatively to pain and yelling.
Are Husky Dogs Noisy?
Huskies are generally regarded as quiet dogs. As we’ve seen, they communicate in a series of strangely endearing sounds that makes it seem as though they are trying to talk to you.
Yes, they will howl at times. Do huskies bark? Yes, on the odd occasion. They’ll certainly make those weird noises that will make you laugh, but they are not usually noisy.
Most dog owners will know the feeling when they arrive home to be greeted by a whirlwind of barks, fur, kisses, and paws as your enthusiastic pooch welcomes you.
Huskies will probably stay silent but will run in circles before coming up for a hug or a pet before racing off again.
They really aren’t noisy dogs.
This is important, as when they do start making a noise, it could be a sign that something is wrong. We’ve established that they aren’t cut out to be guard dogs.
We also discovered that they need plenty of exercise. If you’ve played your part in looking after them, then there should be no reason for them to be unhappy.
If they suddenly become noisy, then it’s time to sit up and take notice.
What Should I Do If My Husky Doesn’t Bark?
Nothing at all! It’s pretty normal, and there’s really no need to worry about it.
In our quest to discover the answer to our question, Do huskies bark? we have learned that they do, but it’s usually rare. So why should you be concerned if they don’t show any inclination to do so?
The husky breed is built differently from others, as all husky owners will tell you.
However, if you really want them to bark, you’ll need to train them to do so.
While this might seem odd to some people, training your dog to bark on command will teach them that it isn’t something they should do all the time.
This might be difficult if your dog doesn’t bark at all, as it won’t have a clue what you’re trying to do.
This is something that will take a bit of time and a lot of patience.
On the whole, it might be better to let them be.
So, do huskies bark? Not very much!
Some won’t bark at all, and others will bark at certain times. You might own a unique husky that has found a liking for it. All of these scenarios are fine unless the barking is excessive or a sign that something is wrong.
And it’s your job to make sure that all is well. How do you do that?
Huskies are energetic dogs that need a couple of hours of exercise every day. Take them for a long run or a hike, let them zoom about in the yard, allow them to play in the dog park. A tired husky is a happy husky.
Feed them good-quality dog food, make sure they have access to fresh, clean water (especially after exercise), and groom them properly.
Check their ears for excess wax or dirt that can cause infections. Check that their nails haven’t grown too long and get them clipped. Carefully feel for any hidden wounds or lumps.
Take them for a routine checkup at the vet every six months or so.
You’re not likely to hear a husky barking, at least not very much. If they do suddenly start barking, you need to assess everything: the time of day, their body language, any signs of distress, obvious signs of illness or injury, etc.
You should keep in mind things such as when they last went out to the bathroom, were fed, or when they last exercised.
If you rule out any potential problems that might be causing them distress or discomfort, then it simply could be that they want your attention. They love to play and want you to join in.
Otherwise, if they don’t bark, then there’s no need to panic. Just enjoy them as they are in all their quirkiness.
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