By Langley Cornwell
One of my favorite childhood memories involves me standing on a makeshift stage, hairbrush “microphone” in hand, singing full voice – with our little Terrier mutt harmonizing. Well, it sounded like harmony. That dog could sing! Every time I took the stage, she assumed her position right there beside me, ready to entertain the imaginary masses. She was my best friend, duet partner and constant companion.
My current four-legged love, an American Bulldog mix, is not a vocalist; she never sings and doesn’t bark much. If I were to put on a singing performance now I’d probably get a lot of head cocks, but I’m certain I wouldn’t hear any harmonies. (Confession: I just tested my theory. I was right, no sing-a-long. It’s a good thing I work from home!)
According to Modern Dog Magazine, scientific analyses reveal that dogs like to “sing” and they do have a sense of pitch. In fact, recordings of wolves show that each one will change his tone when others join in. It seems that none of the wolves want to end up on the same note as any other in the choir, as if they are actually trying to harmonize. That’s why a dog howling along with a recording or singing along with a group of human singers is instantly noticeable. The canine is deliberately “singing” in a different register than the other voices, and he seems to enjoy the discordant sound he is creating.
There’s no official breed standard for singing, but Huskies seem to take the unofficial prize. I suspect it’s because Mishka is such a YouTube sensation. Generally speaking, most hounds have a trademark howl that may sound musical. You can kill hours (speaking from experience) laughing at singing dogs of all types on YouTube. Oh, if only YouTube was around when my Terrier and I were in our prime… but I digress.