Do Wolves And Coyotes Bark?

You have probably heard that wolves and coyotes are both related to dogs, so you may be wondering if these wild animals bark just like our pets do. If so, read on to find out more about wolves and coyotes, as well as their relationship to dogs.  

Do wolves bark? 

Wolves are extremely vocal animals. The vocalizations that wolves make can be broken up into four different categories, one of which is barking! The four categories that wolves’ vocalization can be broken up into are: barking, growling, whimpering, and howling.  

Barking – Like dogs, wolves bark! A mother wolf may bark at her pups to warn them of danger and wolves will also bark to defend other members of their pack or to defend their territory.  

Whimpering – Wolves will whimper to say “I give up” or to show that they are submissive of another wolf. Nursing wolves will also whimper to her pups to tell them that she is ready to nurse. 

Growling – Wolves will growl as a warning to other predators or wolves and they will also growl to show their dominance. 

Howling – Howling is the sound that wolves are most known for. Wolves howl to communicate with other wolves over a long distance. Howling also helps wolves locate other members of their pack, as well as to help them keep strangers away. 

Do wolves bark as often as dogs? 

The voice box of dogs and wolves are very similar, but wolves bark far less frequently than pet dogs. And when a wolf does bark, the sound is often paired with another sound. For example, a wolf might combine a bark and a howl to defend its pack’s territory without having the sound be heard too far away.

As you probably know, domesticated dogs bark often and for a wide variety of reasons. So why, when these animals are so closely related and both have the ability to bark, do wolves bark so much less? Scientists think it is because since dogs are domesticated, they use barking to communicate more to their human family members, whereas wolves communicate, for the most part, only with other wolves. Dogs have evolved to learn that humans best understand them when they are barking, and wolves do not have much interaction with humans.  

Do coyotes bark? 

Coyotes do in fact bark! And interestingly enough, their scientific name (Canis latrans) literally means “barking dog.” Like wolves and pet dogs, coyotes are very social animals and because of that, they have a wide range of vocalizations. The vocalization that these creatures make is different than a wolf’s though. Coyotes have a higher-pitched voice than wolves and when they howl, it is usually broken up with a bit of barking, as opposed to the low, steady howl of a wolf. 

Coyotes will often bark at other coyotes who enter their territory, as well as at people, dogs, and other animals that they come across. Coyotes can also tell who is who in their pack based on their bark- much like how we can recognize people we know when they talk, coyotes can recognize their pack members based on their bark. 

Do coyotes howl? 

On top of barking, coyotes also communicate with howls, yips, and huffing. Coyotes will howl to communicate with other coyotes in the area. A male coyote will also howl to let other males know that this is his territory and not to come to it, but female coyotes are welcome to visit.

The howl of a coyote can usually be heard in the evening or at night, and it can sometimes even be heard in populated suburbs and in the outskirts of cities, not just in wilderness areas. 

How closely related are wolves, coyotes, and dogs? 

These three animals are all part of the canine family and they are all extremely closely related. In fact, these species can interbreed and produce healthy and fertile pups (known as wolfdogs, coywolves, and coydogs). It has been discovered that wolves and dogs share about 99.9% of the same DNA and that wolves are in fact the ancestors of our pet dogs.

Additionally, they are so closely related that DNA analysis cannot distinguish between wolves, dogs, and wolfdogs. However, coyotes can be distinguished from their DNA from the two other animals. Also, the red wolf is believed to be a coyote and wolf hybrid.  

How closely related are wolves, coyotes, and dogs?
How closely related are wolves, coyotes, and dogs?