Why Do Border Terriers Howl?

why do border terriers howl

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Do you have a Border Terrier? If so, do you know why border terriers howl? Some people say it’s because they’re trying to sound like a coyote, while others say it’s just their way of communicating. Whatever the reason, it’s certainly a unique behavior! Keep reading to learn more about why Border Terriers howl and what you can do to help stop them.

Are Border Terriers Vocal?

The short answer is yes, border terriers are a vocal breed. They have a high energy level and are known for their running, barking, and digging behaviors. However, they can also be trained to control their vocal tendencies with proper obedience training and socialization.

It’s important to channel their instincts into acceptable behavior. While some may find their vocal nature excessive or bothersome, for others it’s just part of owning a border terrier. Overall, with the right care and training, these active and enthusiastic pups can make for loving companions.

Reasons Why Your Border Terrier Howl:

While some breeds of dogs, such as Huskies, are known for their vocalizations, the Border Terrier may surprise their owners with unexpected howling. So why do these pups make this particular sound? Here are some reasons your Border Terrier may be howling: 

Separation Anxiety 

Separation anxiety is a common issue for dogs, particularly with certain dog breeds such as Border Terriers. One reason for their howling when left alone is their strong bond with their owners.

These dogs have been bred to work closely with humans, and they may struggle with being separated from their favorite person.

This strong bond can lead to distress when left alone, causing them to howl as a means of trying to reunite with their owner. While it can be difficult for owners, it is important to address separation anxiety through proper training and behavior modification practices to ensure a happy and healthy relationship with your Border Terrier. Seek out the guidance of a professional trainer if necessary. Remember, every dog deserves the chance to feel confident and secure when left alone.

Attention-Seeking Behavior

In some cases, Dog Howling may be a way for your Border Terrier to get your attention. If you consistently give in to their demands for attention, they may learn that howling gets them what they want and continue the behavior even when they do not need anything.

It’s important to be consistent with your attention and only give it when they’re quiet and calm. Otherwise, you risk reinforcing the unwanted behavior.

Learn More: How Many Puppies Do Border Terriers Have

When Senses Small Animals 

Border Terriers breed was originally bred to hunt small animals. When they sense their prey, they have the instinct to kill and may let out a distinct cry. When they sense a target, they will let out a distinctive “kill cry” to alert their human hunters. Terrier kill cries can sometimes sound like howling to an untrained ear, but they are an intentional vocalization used during the hunt.

Border Terriers may also howl as a form of communication with their pack or to express excitement or distress. Owners need to be aware of this breed’s hunting instincts and provide appropriate outlets, such as playing fetch or participating in organized hunts, to prevent unwanted behaviors. Understanding the reason for dogs’ howling can also help owners appropriately train and manage their dogs.

A Border Terrier howling due to separation anxiety when left alone for extended periods.


Another common reason for howling is boredom. If your Border Terrier isn’t getting enough exercise or stimulation, it may start to howl out of sheer boredom. Be sure to give your Border Terriers plenty of opportunities to run and play so they don’t become bored. Puzzle toys and food dispensing toys can also help keep their minds active and engaged.

Learn More: How To Breed Border Terriers

Border Terrier Howl To Express Joy And Success

The Border Terrier breed is known for its athletic abilities and high energy and also has a unique way of expressing joy and success. Unlike some dogs who may bark or yip, Border Terriers sing” or howl. 

This howling can range from short trips to longer drawn-out sounds, usually accompanied by jumping and excited body language. So the next time you hear your Border Terrier howling, it likely means they are feeling happy and successful at that moment – just be sure to provide them with an outlet for their energy so the howling doesn’t become excessive. 

Genetic Predisposition

It’s a commonly held belief that dogs howl due to a genetic predisposition inherited from their wolf ancestors. However, not all dogs howl – while some breeds, like the Border Terrier, may have a genetic tendency to do so, other dogs may only occasionally or never howl at all.

In addition to genetic factors, their unique vocal anatomy and development can also play a role. Owners of these breeds need to understand and monitor their dog’s behavior to prevent excessive or disruptive howling. 

Overall, while genetics may contribute to why dogs howl, it is not the sole determining factor. With proper care and training, owners can work with their dog’s tendencies and need to ensure they are happy and well-adjusted members of the family.

Learn More: Are Border Terriers Good Hunting Dogs?

A Border Terrier howling to express excitement or anticipation, such as when waiting for their owner to return home.

They’re In Pain

If your Border Terrier suddenly starts howling for no apparent reason, it could be a sign that they’re in pain or discomfort. If this is the case, it’s important to take them to the vet so that they can rule out any medical problems and provide treatment if necessary.


It could also be a trigger for howling in Border Terriers. If your dog is used to being fed on a schedule and starts to get hungry outside of their usual meal times, they may start to howl in an attempt to get your attention. To avoid this, make sure you’re sticking to a regular feeding schedule and always have plenty of food available for them.

They’ve Been Rewarded For Howling In The Past

Dogs are smart creatures and quickly learn that certain behaviors result in rewards (like treats or attention). If you’ve ever given into your Border Terrier’s howling by giving them what they want, they may have learned that this is an effective way to get what they want from you.” To break this habit, ignore your dog when they start howling and only give them attention when they’re quiet.” 

Learn More: How Much Water Does A Border Terrier Need?

A Border Terrier howling as a territorial warning to deter other animals from entering their territory.

Learn More: Why Does My Border Terrier Smell So Bad?

What are the Origins of Howling in Border Terriers?

A Border Terrier howling as a form of attention-seeking behavior or boredom.

The history and origin of howling in Border Terriers can be traced back to their early days as working farm dogs. This type of dog was used by farmers in the English-Scottish borders to help control vermin and other unwanted animals from the fields and farms. 

The loud, deep bark of the Border Terrier was believed to scare away these animals much more effectively than any other sound. Over time, this barking developed into a distinctive howling sound that has become part of the breed’s identity today. 

Some believe that this is an instinctive behavior — one that Border Terriers use to let their owners know they are nearby or if an intruder is present in their territory. It’s also possible that these dogs picked up this behavior from other animals, such as wolves and foxes, who howl for similar reasons. 

Regardless of the cause, Border Terriers are known for their unique howling — a trait that has been further honed over generations and remains today.  This breed is very loyal to its owners and loves being around them, so it’s not uncommon for Border Terriers to follow their owners everywhere they go and even start howling when they leave. 

No matter what the reason behind it may be, one thing is certain: howling is an integral part of the Border Terrier’s identity and continues to be a beloved trait in this beloved breed. 

What are the Different Types of Howling Specific to border terriers and What Do They Mean?

Border Terriers can make a variety of different howling sounds, each with its unique meaning. The most common type is the traditional “howl” — an extended sound that typically starts as a low-pitched growl and then rises to a high pitch before fading away. 

This type of howling is typically used when the dog wants to get your attention or alert you to something important. This type of howl is usually short and repeated several times. Another type is the “lonesome howl” or the mournful sound that they produce when they feel lonely or sad. 

This sound can be quite heart-wrenching as it expresses their feelings of isolation. Other types of howls include yipping (a series of short yips or barks) and whimpering (a softer, more plaintive sound). 

Yipping usually signals excitement or joy in the dog while whimpering can be also used to express sadness, fear, or distress.  Regardless of the type of howling being made, it’s clear that Border Terriers are very expressive animals with a wide range of emotions they can communicate through their howling.  

What are the ways to Calm a Border Terrier’s Howling?

dogs howling as  a sign of alertness

The best way to manage a Border Terrier’s howling is to be consistent and persistent in your response to it. Start by teaching them the “quiet” cue, which involves telling your dog to stop barking when they do so and rewarding them with treats or praise when they comply. 

If you find that this isn’t effective, try redirecting their attention away from whatever has sparked the howling — such as playing fetch or offering them their favorite toy — as this can help take their mind off of the stimulus and allow them to settle down faster.  In some cases, desensitizing your dog to triggers that cause excessive howling may also be necessary. 

This process involves gradually introducing your dog to situations that spark their howling behavior while providing positive reinforcement when they remain calm and quiet. With a combination of consistent training, redirection, and desensitization techniques, you should eventually be able to reduce or even eliminate your Border Terrier’s excessive howling behavior.

What are the benefits of Allowing Your Border Terrier to Howl?

Howling is a natural behavior for Border Terriers and an important part of their breed identity, so allowing your pup to howl can be beneficial in many ways. For one, it helps them express themselves and communicate with you — even if they don’t understand the words that come out of your mouth! 

Additionally, it can be therapeutic for dogs who are feeling lonely or anxious as well as a great way to bond with them and show them love. Lastly, allowing your Border Terrier to howl can also help keep other dogs away from your home since the loud sound can act as an effective deterrent against intruders. 

So while it may take some getting used to at first, allowing your dog to howl can have many long-term benefits. 

Why do dogs howl at 12 am?

A Border Terrier howling to communicate with other dogs or animals in the area.

One possible explanation for why some dogs may howl at midnight is that they are responding to a primal instinct. Wild canine predators, such as wolves or foxes, tend to howl in the late evening or early morning hours just before dawn. 

This is thought to be part of their mating ritual — one which has been passed down through generations and persists in many domesticated dog breeds today. Additionally, it’s also believed that this type of howling serves as a call between members of the pack and can help them stay connected even when they’re separated by large distances. 

Your dog may be howling at midnight out of habit or simply because they want you to know that they’re there! No matter what the reason may be, one thing is certain: howling is a natural behavior that can be calming and comforting to both you and your pup.  

Why does my dog howl when I talk to her?

Your dog may be trying to communicate with you when they howl in response to your talking. Dogs are very vocal animals and often use different types of noises like barking, growling, whining, and howling to express themselves. 

Howling is usually a sign of excitement or joy — so it’s likely that your Border Terrier is responding positively to hearing your voice! Additionally, some dogs may also interpret the sound of human speech as something akin to a song or melody — which could explain why they feel the need to join in with their version of singing. 

Whatever the reason may be for why your pup is howling when you talk, one thing’s for sure: it’s an incredibly sweet display of love and loyalty!

Aspect Border Terriers and Howling
Instinctual Behaviors Border Terriers are descendants of hunting dogs that would howl to communicate with other dogs or signal prey
Attention-Seeking Some Border Terriers may howl as a way to seek attention from their owners
Separation Anxiety Howling can also be a symptom of separation anxiety, a common issue in dogs that are left alone for extended periods
Health Issues In some cases, howling may be a symptom of underlying health issues such as thyroid problems or cognitive decline in older dogs
Lack of Exercise and Stimulation Border Terriers are active and intelligent dogs that require regular exercise and mental stimulation. If they are not provided with enough outlets for their energy, they may resort to howling as a form of frustration or boredom
Breed-Specific Traits Some Border Terriers have a genetic predisposition for vocalization, which may include howling or barking excessively
Training and Management Addressing howling behavior in Border Terriers may require a combination of training, management strategies, and addressing any underlying health or behavioral issues

Wrapping Up

If you want to know why border terriers howl, the answer is simple: they’re trying to communicate with you. Border terriers have a lot of energy and enthusiasm, and they want to share it with you. When they howl, they’re telling you that they’re happy, excited, or even lonely. Howling is just one way for them to express themselves – so make sure you listen!

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Tony K.

Tony K.

I got our Border 3 years ago "for my daughter" and this bundle of joy became a beloved member of our family, so I thought why not share the love!

About Me

I got our Border 3 years ago “for my daughter” and this bundle of joy became a beloved member of our family, so I thought why not share the love!

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