How Dogs Bark Around the World

Kimberlie Wong / © Culture Trip
Kimberlie Wong / © Culture Trip
Photo of Joe Coates
13 June 2018

The late and great Terry Pratchett once said that cats were revered and treated like gods — back in Egyptian times — and that they have never forgotten this. Dogs on the other hand are pillars of love and loyalty, earning a worldwide reputation as humanity’s closest companions. To honour our furry friends, we’ve compiled a list of the ways different cultures interpret their barks — a universal language of canine affection.

Russia: Siberian Husky


The Siberian Husky is probably one of the most resilient and hard-working dogs on the planet. With a genetic proclivity to be able to run for hours on end in sub-zero temperatures, you shouldn’t buy one of these if you can only give it a ten-minute walk around the block twice a day — at least, not if you want to avoid coming home from work and entering a house that looks like a grenade has gone off in it.

France: Poodle


What some cynics might say this dog lacks in the looks department (come on — it’s a bit ridiculous looking), it makes up for with brains. This breed is the second most intelligent dog behind the ingenious Border Collie. While this French icon might be synonymous with all that is feminine and pampered, its ancestors were gun dogs used to retrieve felled ducks.

Kimberlie Wong / | © Culture Trip

Vietnam: Phu Quoc Ridgeback


This breed of Ridgeback hails exclusively from the Vietnamese island of Phú Quốc. As the name suggests, it has a ridge of fur running down its spine that grows in the opposite way of the rest of its coat. Yes, that’s right — this dog has a natural mohawk.

Thailand: Thai Bangkaew Dog


Firstly, these guys have a ruff that, with a bit of imagination, looks like the mane of a lion. That’s always a plus. Also, they are hardy, loyal and friendly, but have the ability to be fierce hunters and guard dogs.

Japan: Shiba Inu


Small, muscular and agile, these dogs were originally bred for hunting. They excelled in retrieving and tracking animals in the mountainous Japanese terrain. Not a breed that gets on well with other dogs.

Kimberlie Wong / | © Culture Trip

China: Chow Chow

wo-wo (Cantonese)

wang-wang (Mandarin)

This is one of the last ancient breeds of dog left in the world today. Some people think that the Chow Chow originated in China over 2000 years ago! This dog is surrounded by legends, one of which is that the original teddy bear was modeled off one of Queen Victoria’s Chow Chow puppies.

South Africa: Boerboel


Coming from the Afrikaans/Dutch words for ‘farmer’ and ‘dog,’ this is quite literally the ‘farmer’s dog.’ It’s one of the most powerful breeds out there, and was originally bred to protect the homestead. Being calm, composed, intelligent and incredibly obedient, these dogs are still very popular as guard dogs.

Mexico: Chihuahua


Ah, the old handbag dog, made famous by Paris Hilton and so many others. This is the world’s smallest breed and got its name from the Mexican state of Chihuahua. There are two different varieties: the smooth coat and the long coat.

Kimberlie Wong / | © Culture Trip

Wales: Corgi


Speaking of royalty, the Corgi has become almost an emblem of the British monarchy, thanks to Queen Lizzy II. The name isn’t quite as dignified however, as it’s Welsh for ‘dwarf dog!’

Germany: German Shepherd


This is a very popular breed of dog, and one that has only been around for a little over 100 years. Originally, the dogs were bred to herd sheep, but because they are so strong, obedient and intelligent, they’ve become the go-to in disability assistance roles and security for the armed forces or police.

Iran: Saluki


Going by the romantic alter-ego of the Persian Greyhound, the Saluki is a sight-hound. This means that this breed hunts its prey by sight and then runs it down. A pretty efficient and ruthless hunter for a breed that is so sleek and beautiful. The Persian tribes are said to have used them to chase down foxes, jackals and even gazelle.

Kimberlie Wong / | © Culture Trip

UK: King Charles Spaniel


These guys are your quintessential family dogs. So much so that it’s recommended that they aren’t left alone for long periods of time. They require heaps of human interaction, which makes them perfect for children. This dog makes the perfect pet, at the cost of long holidays.

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