Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bark.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Dogs in their wild state never bark; they howl, whine, and growl, but do not bark. Barking is an acquired habit; and as only domesticated dogs bark, this effort of a dog to speak is no indication of a savage temper.   1
   Barking dogs seldom bite. Huffing, bouncing, hectoring fellows rarely possess cool courage.   2
   French: “Tout chien qui aboye ne mord pas.”   3
   Latin: “Canes timidi vehementius latrant quam mordent.”   4
   Italian: “Can che abbaia non morde.”   5
   German: “Ein hellender hund beisst nicht leicht.”   6
   To bark at the moon. To rail at those in high places, as a dog thinks to frighten the moon by baying at it. There is a superstition that it portends death or ill-luck.   7
“I’d rather be a dog, and bay the moon,
Than such a Roman.”
Shakespeare: Julius Cæsar, iv. 3.
   His bark is worse than his bite. He scolds and abuses roundly, but does not bear malice, or do mischief. The proverb says, “Barking dogs never bite.”   8



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