There's a lot to keep in mind when choosing a new dog for your family. Is it as active — or as laid-back — as you are? Is it the right size? Will its fur trigger anyone's asthma or allergies? Will it love everyone it meets, or stay loyal to just one person? And is it a dog breed that barks a lot? Depending on what you want in a pup, this last one could be a deal breaker or a deal maker, because barking isn't always a bad thing.
"Dogs bark to communicate with other dogs, with people, with other species (like your neighbor's cat), and sometimes apparently just because they can," explains Jennifer Coates, DVM, one of the vet experts at Chewy. "But certain breeds of dogs have been bred to bark more than others."
Some families are less tolerant of noise than others, so they'll be far happier with a dog who keeps the woofs and yips to a minimum. (Or perhaps they live in an apartment building where neighbors might complain about excessive barking.) Other families, on the other hand, don't mind a more vocal pet. In fact, they prefer a dog who'll sound the alert when visitors come to the door, or whose protective barking will keep strangers from coming too close to their children on the street or at the playground.
Whichever your preference, there are certain breeds that tend to be more barky than others simply because of their nature, and depending on your needs, you'll want to put them either on the short list or the "not for us" list. Keep in mind, however, that each individual animal is different, even within a breed. Plus, any dog is likely to bark or vocalize when it's anxious or distressed. "Dogs left alone for long periods may develop separation anxiety, which leads to barking," explains Carly Fox, DVM, a staff doctor in the Emergency and Critical Care department of the Animal Medical Center in New York. "To avoid excessive barking, you have to keep your dog very well exercised and entertained."
These are the breeds our vet experts singled out as being the most naturally inclined to bark. Keep them in mind when you're looking for a new fur baby for your family.
1. German Shepherd
"Some dogs that have been bred to warn off intruders and provide protection, such as German Shepherds, tend to bark more than others," says Dr. Coates. Families looking for a smart, loyal dog who'll keep strangers at bay (and who are willing to put in the time for training) could find this breed a good fit.
"Beagles are notorious for being vocal," says Dr. Fox. "It's what they were bred for, many years ago." But even if you don't hunt rabbits or quail, your loyal Beagle will still be quick to let you know when it sees a bird outside, when it needs food, or if it's just tired of being left alone.
3. Yorkshire Terrier
"Toy breeds like Yorkies are very loud," says Dr. Fox. "I think it's mostly because toys tend to get more owner attention. When they don't get the attention they're looking for, they bark!"
4. Jack Russell Terrier
"Terriers like Jack Russells used their barks in their traditional roles during hunts, and to get rid of pest animals," affirms Dr. Coates. The Jack Russell, in particular, is a high-energy breed that uses its bark to command attention.
5. Siberian Husky
"Huskies are among the worst dogs we have in the hospital [as far as vocalizing], because they bark a lot and they're very high-strung," says Dr. Fox.
This popular small breed is described by the American Kennel Club as loyal and charming, but with a "big-dog attitude." According to Dr. Fox, that translates to a tendency to yap a lot, whether for attention or as a warning.
A favorite breed among city dwellers, this smart, lively, funny puffball of a dog is an excellent companion. However, like Yorkies, Poms are also apt to bark a lot, says Dr. Fox.
8. Basset Hounds
Unlike terriers and toys, Bassets are gentle and easygoing, per the AKC. However, says Dr. Coates, they're still hounds who were originally used as hunters, and they can get loud when they want to get your attention.