12 Animals That Bark (With Videos)

Animals That Bark
Fact Checked and Reviewed by: Mark Rhodes, Ph.D. - Wildlife Biologist
Dr. Mark Rhodes holds an MS in Fisheries and Wildlife along with a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology. He helps maintain our editorial standards of accuracy and quality. You can read more about Dr. Rhodes here.

It shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that there are animals that bark like dogs, especially wild dogs, and related members of the Canidae family like coyotes and wolves. But did you know that squirrels and capybaras bark, too?

Barking is described as a “sharp, explosive sound” associated with dogs and wolves. But, there are plenty of other critters out there capable of making these sharp, explosive sounds, too.

So, what are some other animals that bark?

Of course, wild dogs, coyotes, foxes, and wolves all bark. Some non-dog animals that bark, however, are squirrels, meerkats, deer, baboons, antpitta birds, barking owls, seals, and capybaras. They bark for different reasons, such as territory, danger, to scare off predators, to communicate with other members of their species, or even as a mating call. 

Now, let’s take a closer look at these animals that bark like a dog. I’ll also talk about reasons these critters might bark, as well as other sounds that they make.

Squirrels

Squirrels generally mind their own business. You may find them chattering away in trees and most of them are timid, running away or hiding when humans or other animals get too close.

While you’re more likely to hear a squirrel chatter than bark, squirrels are capable of producing a bark. A squirrel barking is meant as a warning sound to scare people and animals away. Squirrels may also bark as a warning if they’ve spotted predators in the area.

In addition to barking, squirrels make chirping, crying, and moaning sounds, but you are most likely to hear them chirp (or chatter). Their barking sound isn’t exactly like a dog’s, as it sounds like it has a little more air in it. It’s something like a dog bark with a hiss behind it.

Meerkats

Meerkats are likely to bark when they sense a predator is nearby. They are also known for whistling in these situations. Usually, they emit this sound to warn other members of its species and then they run and hide- meerkats aren’t known for standing their ground in a predator-prey situation.

The barking sound that a meerkat is known for sounds similar to what you’d hear coming from a toy dog breed. It is very high-pitched, though it’s well-suited because meerkats look a little like toy dogs when sitting up on their haunches.

In addition to barks and whistles, meerkats chatter when nervous, squeal when they are in danger, and even purr when they are happy. They are noisy little creatures and even use sounds to communicate with other meerkats when hunting for grubs and termites.

Deer

Deer are known for their quiet, graceful nature and perhaps for their nature of running out in front of cars. They are generally timid creatures, though, and a person likely won’t hear them bark unless they are warning other deer that someone is nearby.

Deer use barking as a warning sign when a predator, hunter, or other danger is nearby. It’s meant to make other deer run. They may also bark when introducing themselves to a deer that isn’t part of their herd. Additionally, deer bark to intimidate other deer and stop fights with rivals.

A deer’s barking sound is something that can go on for an hour or longer in some situations. These generally quiet creatures are also associated with sounds like grunts, bleats, snorts, sniffs, stomping feet, whines, distress calls, and so many others. With some of these sounds, you can even tell whether it’s a doe, buck, or fawn making the sound based on its pitch.

Baboons

Baboons don’t just bark, but they bark using different tones depending on what they are trying to communicate. For example, it’s been noted that baboons let out a clear, tonal bark when young are separated from their mothers which is identified as a “contact bark”. Baboons may also bark harshly when predators are nearby, which is identified as “alarm barks”.

In addition to barking for these reasons, baboons often bark when trying to obtain a mate. Male baboons are rather aggressive and will fight amongst themselves for the right to mate with females in the troop. They rely on their long canine teeth to help them show dominance in these situations, too.

Baboons produce a large variety of sounds in addition to barking. They may grunt, yak, and wahoo, which is a long distance call males make most often. Female baboons also make copulation calls.

Antpittas

Many of us have heard the chirps and songs of birds, especially early in the morning. But did you know that some birds can bark like a dog?

Antpittas are not like parrots or other birds that mimic the vocalizations of other animals. They bark all on their own and the pitch can be compared to the high-pitched bark of a chihuahua or other small dog breed.

Unlike the other animals on this list so far, the antpitta actually doesn’t have a wider range of vocalizations. They are only known to make their unique “barking” call. Some species are known for only barking during mating season, which some scientists believe is the reason this bird wasn’t discovered until 1998.

Barking Owls

Like in the case of the antpitta, barking owls did not learn to mimic vocalizations like other birds. This owl’s ability to bark is its natural vocalization.

In the case of barking owls, they bark in a territorial way or even just to call to another owl during mating season. Softer barks might be an owl calling to a potential mate, while a harsher bark could be confrontational in nature.

Unlike antpittas, barking owls are capable of making more than one sound. They may growl, trill, howl, and in rare cases, scream. That’s why they are sometimes called screaming owls.

Seals

If you’ve ever visited the seal exhibit at your local zoo or seen them put on a show at the aquarium, then you’ve likely heard the loud, dog-like bark of a seal. While seals are more likely to communicate using grunts or growls, they are also very capable of barking.

Seals bark most for territorial reasons, though they may also bark during mating season. Seal barks are deep as they get older, however, they are much squeakier when the seal is young.

That being said, the reason they bark when putting on a show is because they’ve been trained to do so. So, the behavior of seals in the wild is a little different than what you’d see in a zoo setting.

Capybaras

Like deer, capybaras are usually associated with their peaceful nature. Some live solitary lives, but others live in groups. Those in groups often chatter back and forth to each other, and one of the ways that they communicate danger perceived by one of the groups is by barking. Barking is meant to put the others in the group on alert. It’s a very rough, deep sound.

Barking in capybaras has also been observed in a zoo setting, where there wasn’t an imminent danger. Instead, a capybara would bark when a member of the zoo staff brought food. Other capybaras responded by coming closer to the bark, rather than being on alert.

Capybaras also make a wide range of other sounds, especially chattering. Chattering can be done at different pitches and rhythms, just like the way that humans use intonations for speaking. Other sounds capybaras make include whistles, purrs, and huffs.

Coyotes, Foxes, Wolves, and Wild Dogs

Of course, there are many other members of the Canidae family that dogs belong to that bark, including coyotes, foxes, wolves, and wild dogs. They bark to communicate a lot, though many wild dog species bark less than the domesticated version.

Coyotes are one of the most vocal of the wild dogs. They bark to communicate a perceived threat to other members of their pack or to scare off a predator. Coyotes are also called “song dogs” because of the way that they howl and yip at night, often making what sounds like “music”.

Foxes are also known for barking, though it is at a higher pitch than the average-sized dog’s bark. They may bark if they feel threatened, but they also bark to communicate with other foxes. It’s also not uncommon to hear a high-pitched bark when two foxes are mating.

Wolves, by contrast, are a lot less likely to bark. They are more likely to communicate using howls or whines than bark. In fact, wolves generally only bark when they are threatened by something nearby or when they are on the attack. It may also be used to communicate the presence of a threat, like when a mother barks to warn her pups of danger.

What Is A Bark?

When it comes to sounds, a bark is a short, explosive sound that comes from an animal. It happens when they expel air forcefully over their vocal cords and is described as rough sounding, or sometimes sharp. This can sound a little different depending on the animal, but in all cases, it’s a short explosive sound that scientists describe as a bark.

Why Do Animals Bark?

Animals bark as a form of communication. In the case of dogs, they bark to get their owner’s attention, out of boredom, to communicate with other dogs, when expressing emotion, and for other reasons.

This seems to be true in the case of other barking animals as well. Barking is a form of communication. For example, baboons bark when they are being territorial or fighting with other males and they are trying to communicate their dominance.

Why Do Dogs Bark More Than Other Animals That Bark?

According to evolutionary biologist Kathryn Lord from UMass Amherst, dogs bark more than other animals because of their long history of hanging around humans. You see, when a dog barks at you, it doesn’t necessarily have a specific message in mind.

Instead, dogs bark whenever they feel an internal conflict. For example, if there were an intruder, a dog might have a conflict of whether it should run or stand and defend its humans.

This internal conflict is something that can be traced back to the earliest domesticated dogs, who allowed humans to get close because that meant they didn’t have to stop foraging for food every time a human was nearby. The dogs that allowed humans to get close overcame the internal conflict of their fear of humans and they were more likely to survive as a result.

Final Word

So, what are some animals that bark, aside from dogs? Members of the dog family like coyotes, wolves, foxes, and wild dogs all are capable of barking, though their motivation for barking is different than that of dogs we keep as pets.

Other animals that bark include squirrels, meerkats, baboons, antpittas, barking owls, seals, and capybaras. They all bark for different reasons, such as territory, mating, or feeling threatened. Additionally, most of these animals can make sounds in addition to barking, with the exception of the antpitta bird.