How Dogs Bark Around the Rest of the World

CC BY 2.0. philhearing/flickr

In which we explore the seemingly multilingual nature of the pup.

Drip, honk, splash ... onomatopoeia words are parts of speech based on sounds and they add a lot of whimsy to language. And a beautiful thing about the planet's diverse tongues is that onomatopoeia differs around the world, reflecting the flavor and pizzazz of each different language. While a heart might beat with a thump thump in the United States, its French cousin pulses with a bum bum.

Because of the nature of onomatopoeia, many mimetic words in different languages can be similar – but when it comes to giving human voice to animal sounds, quirky interpretations abound. With dogs, Americans take the cake with the number of sounds we’ve assigned, but take a look at how dogs speak in other parts of the world. If your dog has always gone ruff ruff, then the Hungarian pronunciation of, say, ham ham may seem quite odd. But after trying most of these out (in your best dog voice) you’ll likely find that they all have their canine charm. How lovely that from Albania to Vietnam, our species gives so much vocal color to its best friends.

Dog bark sounds

Anja Pietsch/flickr/CC BY 2.0

Albania: ham ham
Arabic countries: haw haw, hab hab
Armenia: hav hav
Bangladesh: gheu gheu, bheu bheu, bhou bhou
Bulgaria: bow bow, djaff djaff
Catalan: bup bup
China: wāng wāng, wōu-wōu
Croatia: vau vau
Czech Republic: haf haf
Denmark: vuf vuf, vov vov, bjæf bjæf
Estonia:auh auh
Finland: hau hau, vuh vuh
France: ouah ouah, ouaf ouaf, wouf wouf
Germany: wau wau, waff waff, wuff wuff
Greece: ghav ghav, woof

Dogs bark sounds

Ruth Raymond/flickr/CC BY 2.0

Hungary: vau vau
Iceland: voff voff
India: bho bho, bau bau, bhuu bhuu
Indonesia: kung-kung, guk guk
Iran: vāq vāq, hāf-hāf
Israel: hav hav, haw haw
Italy: bau bau
Japan: wan wan
Korea: meong meong
Latvia: vau vau
Lithuania: au au
Macedonia: av av, dzhav dzhav
Mexico: guau guau
Netherlands: waf waf, woef woef
Norway: voff voff, vov vov

Dog sounds

bark/flickr/CC BY 2.0

Philippines: aw aw
Poland: hau hau
Portugal: au au, ão ão, béu béu
Romania: ham ham
Russia: gav gav, tyaf tyaf
Serbia: av av
Slovenia: hov hov
South Africa: woef
Sri Lanka: buh buh, vovw-vovw, loll-loll, vazh vazh
Sweden: vov vov, voff voff
Thailand: hong hong, bok bok
Turkey: hav hav
United States: woof, yap, bark, yelp, arf, bow wow, ruff ruff
Vietnam: gâu gâu, sủa sủa