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In a post about my latest brouhaha; whits mentioned how Addie greets with howls and ear chews...

Oban is my 4th cairn but my first with a wide range of vocalizations. I particularly love his enthusiastic woo-hooing when I come home from being somewhere. I hear "woo-hoo, mom's home!" I have decided I need to get some videos of his vocal virtuosity.

And I thought it would be fun - if you already have some - if you all would post them for us. Anyone have anything?

What does your dog say?




Edited by Kathryn
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Couldn't begin to document Angus's vocal skill which are, to me anyway, extraordinary. There's the regular bark with variations in intensity from an hardly able to hear 'woof'  through loud "there goes that cat again" bark. Variations in tone, lower for something unusual up to a bark which includes a high happy squeal when a familiar person/and or vehicle approaches.There's the growl ranging from happy play growl, up a bit to naughty growl when running off with a towel or some such, then a growl lowering intensity to threat level. There's the scream, both excited (rabbit) or fierce (bear). Then there's a myriad of throaty noises from pathetic cry when I tell him to quit barking at the squirrel, to sounds approaching bark or growl but not quite getting there. And also an adorable throaty aaarh noise he makes when I pet him where he specially likes with the right intensity.

I've had other dogs including other terriers but none with anything like the variety of talk, chat, alert, warning, happy or sad sounds and I don't think I've even mentioned all the commentary on life that come out of that little 16lb guy. Amazing!

Edited by Hillscreek
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Addie is the most talkative dog I've ever known. Like Hillscreek, it would be hard to document them all, but some highlights:

  • Her howl when I come home; it almost sounds like she's saying "helllllllllooooooooooooooooo" but a bit mournfully, and with a wolf howl tilt of her head and a bit of an owl hoot in the ooooo
  • Her various "I need something" growls:
    • There's a short "gr" when she's first alerting me to her need
    • A longer "grrr" when she thinks I'm ignoring her and is trying to get my attention
    • An under-the-breath "grrrrrrr" when she knows I'm ignoring her and isn't happy about it
    • A more insistent ruling "grrrrrrrrrrrr" when she's like "seriously, mom I need to pee get up!"
  • The louder but still short "err!" when she's frustrated, either that an intruder is outside the window or that I'm keeping something (toy, treat) from her for too long
  • The 100% air "huff" of frustration, usually once she's escaped from being held and needs to express her disdain that I even dared to try to make her into a lap dog
  • The short but very deep yip to alert me to potential intruders
  • The short but higher pitched yip when she thinks there could be an intruder but really isn't sure (it's almost like there's a question mark built into it!)
  • The deep and rumbling barks that are more traditionally associated with dogs (although hers sound like they're coming from a guard dog in the 100b range, not 20) when she is very unhappy at how close something has come to the window and seriously do they not know this is her property and GET OUT
  • The Cairn Screech of Death which I am so grateful not to have heard for a couple years now (it seemed like a one-way trip to eviction for us apartment dwellers). 

Addie has been the easiest dog I've ever taken care of, because she is so vocal. She's never hesitated to express her opinion, that's for sure. I'm sure I've missed hundreds of vocalizations because they've just become a normal part of my life. She'll hold what feels like conversations with me, of little grunts and growls. She's not a particularly barky dog, and I've never worried all that much about her disturbing our neighbors, because her vocalizations are typically at the volume of human conversation. 

It's remarkably really, to have a dog so genuinely talkative. 

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"as far as i am concerned cairns are the original spirit from which all terriers spring, and all terriers are cairns very deep down inside." pkcrossley

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I'm laughing but I can totally relate to everything said here! Nikki has a wide range of sounds varying from his very loud "Something is out there!" Bark to very soft little "buff buff" woofs when he wants to bark but he doesn't want me to tell him "Quiet." He has a questioning bark and huff.  I love the "anga anga" and "num num num" sounds he makes when he's flustered. He grumbles a lot under his breath after giving an alert bark over something he is sure he heard and was certain he needed to scare off, but he doesn't hear it anymore.  

i have heard the cairn screech, too. Eesh. The squeals, squeals, and yelps he makes when he is left alone in a car make people think he's being tortured. But he quiets down on his own and won't make a peep after he finishes his tantrum. 

His play growl sounds like a Star Wars character. I love hearing that so I encouraged him to vocalize while playing. I think that was a mistake though because he knows it's okay to growl at me if he has a toy in his possession and sometimes he brings me toys and invites me to play just so that he has an excuse to cuss me out with snarls. and growls. He has a mean sounding snarl, a growl that sounds like "Rahrah" and ends in a snap, and that escalates to a "RAHHGHK" roar that sounds like it ought to choke him with saliva. He doesn't get away with roaring or snapping at me though, and as soon as he realizes he's gone too far, he gets really really quiet and treads on eggshells around me for a while. He knows his limits. 

I've heard him howl when he was alone in the house and thought I had already left the garage.  He also makes his own "purr" sounds by breathing in steadily and loudly for ten minutes or so at a time. He purrs when I'm scratching a good spot, or he's hoping for a treat, or when he's just enormously comfortable in his bed and about to doze off. He also has mastered the huff of disgust when I irritate him, accompanied by an equally irritated facial expression before he turns his rear to face me and ignores me.  His "whoop whoop whoop" bark when he is dreaming is the cutest little squeaky sound I can imagine, and he blows out of his lips and "roofs" before he goes into his dream barking. He dreams the same way every night but by the time I can get a recorder on him, he usually stops or wakes up. Lol

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Idaho Cairns

Here's Bonnie's vicious play growl--when she is daring  you to go for her ball--which is, of course, exactly what she wants you to do!  Notice the contradictory tail wagging that undercuts her thuggish looks and sounds.  She is by far the most verbal of my two.  Sammi is much quieter as a whole.

Edited by Idaho Cairns
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8 minutes ago, Idaho Cairns said:

Here's Bonnie's vicious play growl--when she is daring  you to go for her ball--which is, of course, exactly what she wants you to do!

Even I was grumbling at the screen in frustration that you weren't getting off the couch and playing with the ball! At the end I actually said, "Finally!"

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"as far as i am concerned cairns are the original spirit from which all terriers spring, and all terriers are cairns very deep down inside." pkcrossley

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One of these days I have to get a recording of Buffy's squealing when she sees Bob the mailman coming.  (Bob loves dogs and hands out treats when he delivers the mail.)  It is unlike any other vocalization and is reserved for Bob only.  Her level of excitement is comparable to a 5-year-old realizing he's getting a pony, a cart full of candy and all the toys he's ever wanted.

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I love and recognize the many expressive vocalizations. I regret the only recorded one I have to share is Dundee's frantic pre-dinner squeaking. Every day it's like he hasn't been fed in a week … or ever.


I needle his breeder (and puppy nanny) frequently about this. Apparently it is genetic and his mother, father and some siblings share this annoying habit. How she could double-down on that gene is beyond me. Good thing he's cute!

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That is so adorable... How I envy you, Brad, (or maybe I should be careful what I wish for). In comparison to other cairns, Ruffy only does the garden variety huffs, chuffs, grumbles, etc.. And of course, non-stop barks when he's treed a squirrel.  

Only once did I hear the "screech" when I held him, wriggling in my arms to prevent him from charging to greet my neighbor, Sara, who he adores. The sound was so amazing to behold... Sara and I just looked at each other, not believing what we heard. I actually thought it was some kind of electric siren coming from somewhere down the street and had to ask Sara, "was that Ruffy"??

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