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What Is the Only Breed of Dog That Can’t Bark?


There’s a canine breed that is globally recognized for its inability to produce the familiar dog sound we all know: barking. Continue reading below to find out about this unique breed of dog that literally can’t bark!

What is the only breed of dog that is unable to bark?

The Basenji, often referred to as the “barkless dog,” is the only breed of dog that is unable to bark in the traditional sense.

This small to medium-sized breed communicates through a range of unique sounds different from the conventional dog bark. Most notably, they make a distinctive yodel-like sound known as a barroo.

This lack of typical barking does not imply the Basenji is a silent breed; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. When excited, these dogs are known to produce high-pitched sounds which are sometimes referred to as “Basenji Singing.” Originally from Central Africa, they were used for hunting and were prized for their intelligence, agility, and quiet demeanor.

Despite their inability to bark, Basenjis are excellent communicators and make a great family pet for those willing to engage with their unique form of vocal expression.

Why don’t Basenjis bark?

The exact reason why the Basenji dog can’t bark is not completely understood, but it is widely accepted that the anatomy of their throat plays a major role.

Even though the throat of a Basenji encompasses the same fundamental elements as all other canines, there is a subtle discrepancy that sets them apart.

In Basenjis, the ventricle of the larynx is less deep which supposedly inhibits the vocal folds from vibrating sufficiently enough to produce a traditional bark sound.

Some believe that the breed’s inability to bark was purposefully incorporated through selective breeding in their homeland of Africa. However, others suspect it’s a naturally evolved trait that progressed over time. Regardless, this absence of barking at every minor noise could have been instrumental in their survival during their semi-wild life. It may also have made them a valuable asset to African hunters as silent and clever sighthounds, as well as reliable watchdogs for villages.


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