How Dogs Bark and Cats Meow in Every Country

As children, some of the first sounds we love to make are animal sounds, such as saying “woof woof” for how dogs bark. We may not share a common language with our furry friends, but communicating with them is worthwhile all the same.

Since Bicultural Mama celebrates different cultures, I thought it would be fun to include these maps on the pronunciation of cat and dog sounds around the world. Although the sounds our furry friends make are generally similar, it turns out that how we convert animal noises 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, animal-loving analysts at WordTips wanted to find out how dogs and cats — the world’s two most popular pets — sound around the world.

Here are some interesting findings:

  • Globally, there are at least 40 interpretations of how dogs bark.
  • 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).

Check out these fun maps below on how dogs bark and cats meow in every country!




WordTips began by determining the most spoken language in each country. In some cases, this meant the analysts ignored the official language of the country, which often was only used by government bodies or for written purposes. Then, using reputable online sources from existing articles, language resources, and dictionary entries, they found how they pronounced the sounds cats and dogs make (woof and meow) in each language. They noted the alphabetic versions of each word rather than their corresponding symbols, such as Chinese characters. The data that was collected for each country can be found here:

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