Do Border Collies Howl? A Comprehensive Guide to Border Collie Vocalizations

Border Collies are a highly intelligent and energetic breed of dog that are known for their herding abilities. And while not typically known for being vocal, some Border Collies may howl from time to time.

So Border Collies don’t usually howl. But why do Border Collies howl, and what does it mean when they actually do? Howling can be a way for a dog to express their emotions, and a Border Collie may howl if they are feeling anxious or excited, it can be because of loud noises, other dogs or simply for play.

With that said, understanding why your Border Collie is howling can be important for discarding any underlying health issues.

If your dog is howling due to anxiety or other emotional issues, it may be helpful to work with a trainer or behaviorist to help them feel more comfortable and secure.

By understanding your dog’s behavior and providing them with the support they need, you can help ensure that they are happy and healthy.

Do Border Collies Howl

Understanding Border Collies

Border Collies are a breed of dog known for their intelligence, working ability, and herding skills.

They are a highly intelligent and energetic breed, making them a popular choice for working dogs and agility competitions, and other jobs.

Border Collies are known for their intense focus and workaholic nature. They are often used as herding dogs, as they have a natural instinct to control the movement of other animals.

This instinct can also make them excellent at agility training, as they are able to quickly learn and execute complex tasks.

The breed’s intelligence and herding instincts can also make them prone to certain obsessive behavioral issues if not properly trained and socialized.

For example, some Border Collies may become obsessive about herding or display anxiety when left alone for long periods of time.

Overall, Border Collies are a unique and highly intelligent breed of dog that requires a lot of physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

With proper training and socialization, they can make excellent working dogs or family pets for the right owner.

Border Collies and Howling

Border Collies are not known to be an extremely vocal breed. Not even close to being in the top of most vocal dogs in the world.

With that said, it’s not that they can’t howl. They are capable of making various sounds, including barking, yodeling, and howling.

Howling is a natural behavior for Border Collies and dogs in general. There is nothing unusual about it, and every dog does howl from time to time and in response to different triggers.

It’s a form of communication that they use to alert their owners or other dogs of their presence.

Border Collies can howl to express their emotions, including excitement, fear, and anxiety. They can also howl in response to other dogs or sounds in their environment.


While howling is common in dogs, Border Collies are more inclined to bark.

In some cases, Border Collies may howl excessively, which can be a sign of a problem. Excessive howling can be caused by:

  • Separation anxiety.
  • Boredom.
  • Irritability.
  • Or other underlying health issues.

Overall, Border Collies are not a very vocal breed. They do howl from time to time, as it is a form of communication.

And while howling is a natural behavior, excessive howling is not natural in this breed, and can be a sign of a different problem.

The Behavior of Border Collies and Howling

Border Collies are known to be a highly energetic, working breed that been bred for herding sheep.

As a result, they have a strong instinct to herd and may try to herd other animals or even children.

They can also be vocal, even though they’re not necessarily the most vocal dogs. And as we’ve mentioned before, howling is one outlet for that energy.

The length of time a Border Collie howls can vary depending on the circumstances.

  • If they’re feeling joy or excitement, they may howl for a short period.
  • However, if they’re feeling sad or frustrated, they may howl for a longer length of time.

Border Collies require a lot of attention, exercise, and mental stimulation. Without a good dose of this, they can become bored and may start howling out of boredom.

They also require a lot of socialization and may become stressed or anxious if left alone for long periods. Separation anxiety is common in Border Collies and can lead to howling.

The environment in which a Border Collie lives can also affect their behavior.

They may become protective of their territory and may start howling if they feel threatened. They may also howl in response to loud noises such as thunderstorms or fireworks.

Thus, it’s important to provide Border Collies with mental stimulation and exercise to prevent boredom and howling in the long run. And don’t forget affection and socialization! 

Common Triggers For Howling In Border Collies

Howling is not always spontaneous. In fact, most of the time as you might deduce, there’s a reason behind it

Let’s look at some of the triggers that can induce howling in Border Collies:

Sirens and Noises

Border Collies have finely tuned senses, and sudden, high-pitched noises like sirens from emergency vehicles can trigger their howling instincts.

The sound of sirens is often reminiscent of howling, so the dog might join in, perceiving it as a form of communication.

Similarly, other loud noises like musical instruments, alarms, or even loud voices can stimulate their vocal nature, leading to a harmonious howling session.

Social Howling

Border Collies are social animals, and they often respond to the howls of other dogs as a way to communicate or simply to be a part of the vocal exchange.

This behavior is deeply rooted in their herding background, where communication with other dogs was crucial for coordinating activities.

So, if your Border Collie hears a distant howl, don’t be surprised if they answer back with their own melodious howl.

Artificial Howling/Mimicry

Interestingly, artificially howling at a Border Collie can trigger their instinct to respond in kind.

If you demonstrate a howling sound yourself, your Border Collie might interpret it as an invitation to join in.

This can lead to an amusing back-and-forth howling session, where your dog tries to mimic your vocalizations. It’s a playful way to engage with your furry friend and explore their vocal abilities.

Loneliness and Separation Anxiety

Border Collies thrive on companionship, and when they feel lonely or anxious due to separation from their loved ones, they might resort to howling.

Howling can be a way for them to express their distress and seek the presence of others. This is especially common if your Border Collie is left alone for extended periods without proper mental and physical stimulation.

If you notice excessive howling when you’re away, it could be a sign that your dog needs more interaction and engagement in their daily routine.

Pain or Discomfort

Border Collies, like all dogs, may howl in response to physical pain or discomfort.

When they’re experiencing pain due to injury, illness, or any kind of physical distress, howling can be their way of seeking help.

Howling in response to pain might sound different from their usual vocalizations, often being more plaintive or intense.

If you notice sudden and unusual howling accompanied by changes in behavior, appetite, or mobility, you might want to check with a veterinarian to be sure.

Do Border Collies Howl 2

Training Your Border Collie

If you want to try to keep their howling at a minimum, then training your Border Collie, might be a good idea.

Training your dog, is essential to ensure they are well-behaved and obedient.

Here are some tips to get started with training:

Start training early

It’s best to start training your Border Collie as early as possible, ideally when they are still a puppy.

This will help to establish good habits and prevent bad behaviors from developing, and will take less effort than having to correct it later on in life.

Use positive reinforcement

Even if your dog is an adult, most behaviors are created by repetition (this is true in humans too).

And since that is so, behaviors can be corrected, and positive reinforcement is the way to do it.

Use treats, toys, and praise to reward good behavior and encourage them to repeat it. If you ask your dog to “stop” when it starts barking, and it does, then give them a treat. Do that a couple of times, and your dog will learn quickly.

Don’t use punishment or negative reinforcement, as this can lead to fear and anxiety in your dog.

Be consistent

Consistency is key when training your Border Collie.

Use the same commands and signals every time, and make sure everyone in the household is on the same page. This will help your dog to learn faster and avoid confusion.

Use a training guide

There are many training guides available that can help you to train your Border Collie.

Look for a guide that is specific to the breed and covers all the basics, such as obedience, leash training, and socialization.

Do Border Collies Howl: Conclusion

In conclusion, the Border Collies howling holds a fascinating blend of instinct, communication, and response to various triggers.

These intelligent and expressive dogs, utilize howling as a multifaceted tool to convey emotions, establish connections, and respond to their environment.

They don’t usually howl much but of course, just like any dog, do use howling as a way to communicate and express themselves.

Howling as a response to sirens, other dogs, and even their owners mimicking a howl, showcases their remarkable adaptability and the deep-rooted instinct to communicate within their pack, be it human or canine.

Excessive howling could indicate underlying issues such as separation anxiety, loneliness, or pain, so monitoring the frequency, context, and emotional state of your Border Collie’s howling, is also something to keep in mind.

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