How Dogs Bark and Cats Meow in Every Country

We may not share a common language with our furry friends, but talking to them is worthwhile all the same.

Sadly, unless you’re Dr. Dolittle, talking to an animal is impossible.

Instead, humans can only interpret what animals say as best they can. And even though animals of the same species will generally make the same noises wherever they are on the planet, it turns out that how we convert them into human sounds often differs by language and country.

For example, if English is your first language, you’ll know that Old MacDonald’s famously noisy farm is full of pigs that oink. But did you know that pigs boo boo in Japan and nöff-nöff in Sweden? Meanwhile, a mouse will squeak to English speakers, but to a Dutch ear, mice will adorably piep.

With this in mind, our animal-loving analysts at WordTips wanted to discover how dogs and cats — the world’s two most popular pets — sound around the world.

Key Findings

- Around the world, at least 40 interpretations of a dog's bark exist.
- In 13 English-language countries, dogs are known to woof, woof.
- Meanwhile, dogs make a hau, hau or how, how noise in 22 countries.
- In most countries, cats make a noise beginning with 'm' (e.g., meow).

How Cats Meow in Every Country

Cats may be highly independent creatures, but their language is similar worldwide. Most cat sounds begin with an ‘m,’ including the familiar Meow (Australia, Kenya, and Micronesia, to name but a few). There’s Miau in Nicaragua, Myaoo in Nepal, and Miu Miu in Bangladesh. True to form, however, some felines will just do their own thing, including those in North and South Korea (Yaong) and Malaysia (Ngiau).

How Cats Meow in Every Country

How Dogs Bark in Every Country

The American Kennel Club currently recognizes 200 dog breeds, and although the sound dogs make is the same in every country, the way each language interprets that noise is different. 

On top of the common Woof, Woof (prevalent throughout the U.S., UK, and Australia), Guau, Guau is found in Spain and several South American countries, such as Argentina, Bolivia, and Colombia.

How Dogs Bark in Every Country


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