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DOMESTIC DOG (Canis familiaris)


Study Site: City apartments; Collection of Aborigine Windhounds of A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution RAS - Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.
Dates: Since 2000 onwards.
Participants: Volodin Ilya, Volodina Elena. Chulkina Marina.
Collaborators: Filatova Olga (Lomonosov Moscow State University).
Popular papers: <Priroda>, <Science & Life>, <Science & Life>.


Vocally active dogs of different breeds participate in this study. We examine vocalizations in standard situations, of greeting people with barking or calling in the state of frustration, when the dogs are unable to receive what they desire. We record calls in familiar to the dogs conditions, in the presence of their owners or other familiar people.

The project has a few research focuses:

  • Searching for the relationships among vocal structures and emotional state of a caller in dog whines.
  • Quantitative analysis of the occurrence and individual preferences in use of nonlinear phenomena in dog whines.
  • Presence in calls of the features allowing identifying the individual identity, sex and breed in dog barks.

For domestic dogs, bark is the most often vocalization, whereas in other canids barking occur much more rarely. The bark structure is complicated varying from the clearly tonal to noisy even within one call series coming from the same individual dog.
Whine is the most variable dog vocalization. Dogs can use the high structural variability of whines to attract attention of their owners, when the animals can not cope with the problem themselves.
As monotony sequences made up of similar calls evoke quick decrease of responding, nonlinear vocal phenomena can act as a mechanism, supporting a high unpredictable vocal variation, to ensure constant attraction of attention of listeners to the caller.
Vocal nonlinear phenomena (biphonations, subharmonics, deterministic chaos, sidebands and frequency jumps), arising from small variations in the work of the vocal apparatus, have been found in many canids: in whines and howls of timber wolfs Canis lupus, whimpers of African wild dogs Lycaon pictus, howls of jackals Canis aureus, barks and howls of domestic dogs and dog-wolf hybrids. Especial interesting is the canids' ability to call simultaneously the high-frequency and the low-frequency call components, what results in the production of calls with two fundamental frequencies in their spectra, traditionally abbreviated as the f0 and g0. Earlier studies were focused mainly on the description of the nonlinear phenomena and advanced a few the hypotheses of their probable functions. We focused also on the detailed analysis of the occurrence of nonlinear phenomena in individual animals. So far, in domestic dogs, barks and growls were studied most thoroughly. Our studies were focused on whines, whose structural variation is so high that allows to illustrate all vocal nonlinear phenomena found in mammals.


sound videoSounds in the Gallery.




  • Sibiryakova O.V., Volodin I.A., Volodina E.V. Polyphony of domestic dog whines and vocal cues to body size // Current Zoology, 2021, doi: 10.1093/cz/zoaa042 261.pdf
  • Volodin I.A., Volodina E.V., Filatova O.A. The nonlinear phenomena promote high structural variability of whines in the domestic dog Canis familiaris (Carnivora, Canidae) // Bulletin of Moscow Society of Naturalists, Biol. ser., 2007, v. 112, N 4, p. 11-17. (available in Russian). 153.pdf
  • Volodin I.A., Volodina E.V. The vocal behaviour of the domestic dog: mechanisms, functions and evolution // Problems of the domestic dog studying. Materials of the conference (Ed. Schubkina A.V.), Moscow, 2006, p. 43-52. (available in Russian). 149.pdf
  • Volodina E.V., Volodin I.A., Filatova O.A. The occurrence of nonlinear vocal phenomena in frustration whines of the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) // Advances in Bioacoustics 2, Dissertationes Classis IV: Historia Naturalis, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (Ljubljana), 2006, v. 47, N 3, p. 257-270. 147.pdf
  • Chulkina M.M., Volodin I.A., Volodina E.V. Individual, intersexual, and interbreed variability of barks in dog Canis familiaris (Carnivora, Canidae) // Zoologicheskii Zhurnal, 2006, v. 85, N 4, p. 544-555. (available in Russian). 144.pdf
  • Volodin I.A., Volodina E.V., Filatova O.A. Structural peculiarities, occurrence and functional significance of nonlinear phenomena in calls of terrestrial mammals // Russian Journal for General Biology, 2005, v. 66, N 4, p. 346-362. (available in Russian). 140.pdf