Can a Wolf Bark like a Dog? – (Wolf Bark VS Dog Bark)

Most people got confused with a wolf and a dog’s bark. They count them the same. However, this is not the truth. As there’s a notable difference between a wolf’s and a domestic dog’s bark. 

wolf, howling, animal

No doubt wolves and dogs belong to the same canid family, but there are some major differences. So let’s get into the details to understand their dissimilarities and more about a wolf’s bark.

Do Wolves Bark Like Dogs?

Wolves and dogs carry a similar genetical trait, which is why they both can bark. But a wolf’s bark is significantly different from the bark of a domestic dog.

Domestic dogs bark to grab attention, to alert, or to show excitement to humans or other animals, and  their bark sounds like “woof woof.

While the wolves bark when they want to alert their pack members, and it sounds like a short sharp cry. Moreover, a wolf’s bark is low pitch, and less frequent, as compared to the domestic dog’s. 

Aside from barking, wolves have various vocals combinations that they use to communicate with other wolves, such as how-growl, whine, whimper, or growl-bark.

Why Do Wolves Howl at Night?

Wolves communicate with other members through different types of vocals. Each vocal has a specific meaning and purpose.

Like howling, for which wolves are well known, they use this for gathering their pack members and alerting other members about the possible danger to their territory.

Moreover, howling, an approach employed by wolves, helps them to communicate with other wolves across long distances. But usually, wolves don’t howl in the daytime, and rather, they howl at night. 

What does it mean if a wolf barks?

Wolves bark in specific conditions, and the purpose of their barking is to alert other wolves. They also might bark in response to involuntary reactions like sudden scares or shocks. 

Female wolves use bark to communicate with their young ones. For example, if a pup does something wrong or is in danger, the mother wolf barks to warn or stop her pup. They bark with mix sounds, such as bark-howl and whimper-bark.

Moreover, they use bark-howl in low pitch to protect their territory. They also use bark-howl to warn intruders to leave if they spot any nearer to their dens. 

Additionally, they use the whimper-howl sound to express their shock, surprise, or submissiveness.

What sound does a wolf make when happy?

Wolves show their emotions of happiness, a form of signal often seen in their breed. through different vocals. One of the specific sounds they use whenever they feel happy is rapid, high-pitched yips.

With their yips, they also use different body language, such as bouncing and wagging their tails, to express their happiness. 

Aside from yips, they also use other vocals to communicate, like a soft growl or a low-pitched whine. They use these sounds to communicate with other members of their pack. 

Moreover, they get into play-fighting and wrestling to show their happy mood and to build strong bonds with their other pack mates. 

The Relationship Between Wolves and Dogs

Wolves and dogs have a historical relationship, which has been discovered through their genetic traits. Both animals belong to the Canidae family.  

While dogs arrived from wolves, they have been domesticated for thousands of years and have developed unique traits distinguishing them from their wild cousins.

Conversely, wolves have retained their wild instincts and live in wolf packs with a strict social hierarchy. Moreover, wolves have thick coats as compared to dogs which help them to Wolves, a breed known to survive in extremely cold environments, are skilled at hunting prey. temperatures. 

Vocalizations of Wolves and Their Purpose.

Wolve uses many different sounds to communicate with other wolves and their packmates. One of their most well-known vocals is howling, which they use for multiple purposes.

Besides it, their vocals include howl, whimper, growl, snarl, whimper, yip, whine, and bark.


Wolves howl at night, which can be heard miles away and lasts a few seconds. Moreover, they use howl whenever they feel threatened, have to locate their packmates or defend their territory. 

An interesting fact about wolf howling is that the smaller pack of wolves avoid engaging in howl fighting, as this could be dangerous for them.

Growl and Snarl

Wolves usually growl at other animals and humans to warn them. They growl to express aggression or dominance. 

While a snarl is a high-pitched sound expressed by showing bared teeth. By snarling wolf shows that they are feeling threatened and ready for the fight. 


Wolves use whimpering to express fear or submissive behavior. These wild animals whimper when they are in pain or hurt. 

Moreover, the lower-position wolves whimper to show the alpha wolf that they are not any threat to him. Additionally, their young ones whimper to catch the attention of their mother.


Yipping is used for expressing happiness and excitement. Their pups yip when they want to play. Plus, the adult wolves yip to greet their new packmate.


This sound is low-pitch, which the wolf uses to express sadness or grief. They whimper in special circumstances, like hunger or pain.


Wolf barking is quick and repetitive, not like the bark of a dog. They bark in different tones and pitches and use other sounds with barking. Moreover, they bark when they feel alarmed or got afraid.

How to Differentiate a Dog Bark and a Wolf Bark

There is a notable difference between a dog’s bark and a wolf’s bark. A wolf’s bark is low-pitched and brief and uses it to communicate with other wolves. 

On the other hand, dogs bark for various reasons, including alerting their owners to potential danger, expressing excitement or frustration, and seeking attention.

With time, dogs have developed a wider range of vocalizations than wolves, which can vary in pitch, tone, and duration depending on the situation.

Other Forms of Wolf Communication

Wolves are known for howling, but this is not their only communication form. As they have no vocal and deep ways of communication. Their non-vocal forms of communication include territory marking and scent marking.

Their territory marking includes peeing on rocks, trees, or any other big object, and the aim behind it is to leave their scent behind and mark their territory. They do this behavior to show others that this area has been occupied.

Not only urination, but a wolf uses its scat to mark its territory and to communicate with other wolves. 

Like other animals, wolves communicate using pheromones. These are the chemicals they release in the air to convey different messages, such as availability for mating.

Body Language

The wolf uses different forms of body postures to communicate. Their body language includes dominance, submissiveness, grief, happiness, and excitement. Likewise, their dominant body language includes standing tall and wagging tails.


Most people question whether a wolf can bark like a dog. And the truth is that both belong to the Canidae family and can bark. But there is a difference between a dog bark and a wolf bark.

Wolf bark to communicate with other wolves, while a dog bark to show emotions, depending on the situation. Even there is a notable difference between their tone and pitch.

Think of wolves, they not only howl or bark to communicate, but also use scent communication and physical signals such as submission. But also use other sounds, including whimpering, yipping, growling, snarling, and whining, for communication.

With this, they also use non-vocal behaviors for communication. For more details on how wolves hunt and communicate, check out the video below.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why can’t a wolf bark?

Barking is an adopted behaviour and it’s not quite helpful in the wild for the wolves.

What does it mean if a wolf barks?

Wolf barks in alarming situations or to alert their pack members of potential danger.

Can a wolf sound like a dog?

Wolf bark is different from dog barking, as it uses a combination of sounds like growl-howl and bark howl.

How do wolves show dominance?

To express dominance, they carry their tails high and stand tall. Less dominant wolves exhibit submissive behaviour by holding their tails down and often lowering their bodies.

How does a wolf call to its pack?

A wolf uses a howl to communicate with its pack members and locate its pack. After the response, the wolf then replies with deep, even howls to inform the pack of its location.

Olivia Kepner