Types of Bark and What They Mean

Types of Bark and What They Mean
Francisco María García

Written and verified by the lawyer Francisco María García.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

There are many different types of barks, and each one expresses your dog’s mood or a specific need. Therefore, it’s important to know them well to understand what they want.

Barking is a fundamental part of a dog’s nature. Dogs are the only canine family members that use barking as a predominant sound. Wild animals such as wolves, coyotes, and foxes rather howl than bark, as mean of long distance communication.

Oral Expression in Other Animals

Barking isn’t exclusively a dog trait. There are some mammals belonging to the marsupial or ruminant subspecies that also make similar noises that perform the same function as barking. For example, the Muntjac, or the Marsupial Cat.

A dog barking

A dog’s bark so special because it’s their main form of expression. They do it to establish an understanding between dogs and humans. Barking is the most common form of communication, which require interpreting their barks in order to understand it.

A dog reveals a lot about how he’s feeling when barking. Some dogs bark to express their feelings or moods. Otherwise, they bark to alert their owners or other people about danger. They may also use it to tell you they’ need to drink, urinate, among other things.

However, excessive barking can be a sign that something is not quite right with your dog. A dog that barks too much could be trying to tell you that they’re in pain, uncomfortable, or sick. In such cases, the bark is a symptom and shouldn’t be ignored because their health is at risk.

Therefore, if your pet shows significant changes in behavior, you need to go to a vet. If they begin to bark too much or become aggressive. An early diagnosis can increase their chances of survival and to recover completely.

What are the types of bark?

Barks can have either internal or external causes. Internal causes are instinctive to each breed, bloodline, or animal, and determine the frequency and types of bark they prefer. External causes are things found in their surroundings.

Just like people, some dogs are more extrovert and like to communicate frequently. Others come from a typically hunter or guard dog breed and they need to stay alert to respond to the slightest stimulus around them. A Terrier is a good example of this.

A terrier barking

Types of Bark

  1. Stress. Dogs may bark to relieve stress, energy or built-up anxiety. They may also be trying to express concern about a person or situation.
  2. Enthusiasm. Many dogs tend to bark when a situation or stimulus really excites them. For example, they express happiness when they think it’s time to eat or go for a walk.
  3. Boredom. Dogs also bark because they’re bored and are trying to get your attention.
  4. Frustration. Your dog may be upset or trying to express their frustration about not getting what they want.
  5. Being sedentary. A lack of exercise to spend energy could provoke excessive barking. It’s a way for your dog to use up their energy and get your attention.
  6. Warning. Dogs possess heightened senses and detect danger easier than humans. They bark to warn you about threats or dangerous situations.
  7. Poor training. This is one of the most common causes of barking. This happens when the animal is used to misbehaving.
  8. Health problems. Some illnesses, or sight or hearing conditions. The ageing process and temporary irritations can provoke certain types of bark.
  9. Possessiveness. It’s really common for dogs to develop possessive behavior regarding their owners or other objects when they’re not socialized or trained properly.

Certain types of bark say a lot about your dog, how they feel and live in their surroundings. Therefore, it’s important to be attentive to how they’re trying to communicate. Little by little, you’ll learn to recognize their signals. Understanding them well will help you take care of your dog better.


The contents of My Animals are written for informational purposes. They can't replace the diagnosis, advice, or treatment from a professional. In the case of any doubt, it's best to consult a trusted specialist.