%%Note: This trope is about literal howling. As in, the noise canines make. If your example involves a human character, it's probably not this trope.%%

->''"Howl, howl, howl, howl! Oh, you men are made of stone!\\
If I were you with eyes and a tongue to speak with,\\
I'd crack heaven wide open with my laments!"''
-->-- '''Theatre/KingLear'''

When a character howls or screams in a raw, somewhat primal fashion to express their grief and anguish. Obviously, it's done most often by canines, [[AllAnimalsAreDogs but not limited to them.]]

Can overlap with ClifftopCaterwauling, when this is done at the edge of a cliff. Similar to BigNo and DeathWail.
See also WolvesAlwaysHowlAtTheMoon and HowlingToTheNight, for other howling tropes.


* The wolves in ''Anime/WolfsRain'', quite literally, after finding [[spoiler:Toboe]]'s dead body.
** Toboe does this in remorse after [[spoiler:accidentally killing a girl's pet hawk.]]
* In ''Anime/CodeGeass'', Lelouch does this [[spoiler:when Shirley dies.]]
* The dogs of ''Manga/GingaNagareboshiGin'' and ''Anime/GingaDensetsuWeed'' are known to do this when a fellow soldier dies. It's often a source of {{Narm}}, as they often sound more like humans screaming or coyotes barking
* Erza does this in ''Manga/FairyTail'' after washing ashore when she thought she was finally free from the slave life on an island only to experience that her best friend/love interest turns evil, betrays her, makes all of her other friends slaves again and threatens to kill her and them if she ever tries to rescue them. She even howls to the full moon, cue the chapter title "Howling to the Moon".
* ''Anime/SCryed'': After the only person he calls a friend dies to save him, Ryuho tries to keep his cool. Until Kazuma tells him it's not unmanly to cry. At which point Ryuho lets out a ''wail'' and collapses, a sobbing wreck.
* Shinji Ikari from ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' does this more than once, specially in the TV series when [[spoiler: he discovers that Touji was the pilot of EVA 03]] and in ''End of Evangelion'' when [[spoiler: he sees the remains of EVA 02]].
* Hayate does this in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs'' during her TraumaticSuperpowerAwakening.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/{{Wolverine}}'': In Origin, young James Howlett lets out one of these after [[WolverineClaws his claws]] [[TheReveal come out]] when his [[DeathByOriginStory father]] is murdered. A description of the howl is at the beginning of the next chapter:
-->'''Rose:''' ''(OpeningMonologue)'' I will remember that sound until the day I die. It was an awful, revolting noise~not a scream, but the birth-cry of a new creature that surely had no place on God's earth. The thing mewled and whimpered in pain, and those of us who could stand in witness were transfixed~both repelled and fascinated by the grotesque spectacle of it.
* In ''ComicBook/ElfQuest'', the Howl is a formal mourning and remembrance ritual among the Wolfriders and their wolves.
* {{Tintin}}'s dog Snowy howls if something befalls his master, often [[TimmyInAWell saving his life]] by alerting others to his plight.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* ''Disney/LadyAndTheTramp'':
** Jock after [[spoiler:Trusty]]'s DisneyDeath.
** The dogs in the pound have a song made up entirely of sorrowful howls.
* In the "Pecos Bill" sequence of Creator/{{Disney}}'s ''Disney/MelodyTime'', the coyotes howl at the moon out of sympathy with Pecos, who howls for sorrow at [[spoiler:losing Slew Foot Sue.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooInWheresMyMummy'': Scooby does this when he and the rest of the gang think Cleopatra's curse has turned Velma into stone.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AlphaAndOmega'', [[spoiler:Humphrey lets out a howl when [[DisneyDeath he believes Kate has died]]]] - particularly notable since earlier in the movie, howling is done by having the character sing, whereas this one is a wordless, melody-lacking real howl.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In the ''Film/VanHelsing'' movie, the eponymous character does this in the werewolf form after having a cure injected into his body at the cost of [[spoiler:the ActionGirl LoveInterest's life.]] It morphs into a BigNo as he transforms back into a human.
* The title dog of ''Film/TurnerAndHooch'' does this after his owner, Amos, is murdered.
* In ''Film/TheMuppetsTakeManhattan'', a lonely and overworked Rowlf succumbs to howling.
* In Francis Ford Coppola's ''[[Film/BramStokersDracula Dracula]]'', it's what the eponymous character does after reading Mina's letter, the sheer anguish reaching levels where EmpathicEnvironment is actually triggered as he howls, "Wiiiinds!".
* This is how the Wild Things say goodbye to Max in the film of ''Film/WhereTheWildThingsAre''.
* In ''Film/JohnWickChapter2'', John falls into angry, anguished screams [[spoiler:after his home is destroyed and he's forced back into The Life.]]
* ''Film/TheReturnOfGodzilla'' has two given by it's titular kaiju in the theatrical release; [[spoiler:One occurs when Mount Mihara erupts and the second, which is only present in the theatrical releases, is bellowed when Godzilla himself falls into Mount Mihara. Several cast members are crying by the time Godzilla dissapears into the volcano.]]
* ''Film/{{Maleficent}}'' has the titular character respond this way after noticing that her wings have been cut off in her sleep.
* ''Film/ManOfSteel'': Superman lets out an agonized scream after [[spoiler: killing Zod.]]

* In [[Myth/CelticMythology Irish and Scottish folklore]], the banshee (or [[OurBansheesAreLouder bean-sidhe]]) is a [[TheFairFolk fairy-woman]] and often guardian spirit of the old Gaelic families who can [[PortentOfDoom foretell death]] in "her" family; she [[DeathWail wails]] and [[OneWomanWail cries]] through the night to warn the family that one of them will soon die; if the family hears her crying three nights in a row, they know that they should begin planning a funeral. As she can foretell death in the family that she protects, the banshee is also grieving for the family as well as warning them of impending death.
* Much of Latin America believes in the legend of [[LaLlorona La Llorona]], the spirit of a woman who died after she drowned her children and cannot enter Heaven until she has found them; she is heard crying "¡Ay, mis hijos!" ("Oh, my children!") as she searches for them. Those who hear her crying supposedly are doomed to die soon.
* Japanese folklore had it that if a traveler didn't return home, a Honshū wolf (a coyote sized Japanese subspecies of the gray wolf that was [[NobleWolf revered]] at the time before it went extinct) would go to his home and howl mournfully to signify his death.

* [[spoiler:Gaspode]] starts a mourning howl, which is passed on into the night by unseen wolf packs, near the end of ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant''.
** Worth noting that [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent Angua]], in human form at the time, joins in with a throat-rending primal scream of grief.
* ''[[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians The Last Olympian]]'' crosses this with DeathWail when Percy comes down from a Curse-of-Achilles-induced BerserkerRage and realizes one of the Apollo kids who was fighting alongside him is missing. Made even more heartbreaking by [[AmbiguousSituation the fact that it's ambiguous if one of Kronos' troops killed him or if he drowned when Percy broke the bridge to drive them back]].
* In ''[[Literature/EarthsChildren The Mammoth Hunters]]'' Wolf (a domesticated [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin wolf]]) howls during the funeral of [[spoiler:Rydag.]]
* Creator/JRRTolkien's ''Literature/FarmerGilesOfHam''. When Giles rides off to slay a dragon, his dog Garm howled all night because he thought Giles would be killed.
* In ''Literature/WhiteFang'', the canine protagonist does this when his master goes away.
* The furcots from ''[[Literature/HumanxCommonwealth Midworld]]'' and its sequel use a communal howl to pay homage to dead tribe members, furcot or human. Unusual in that furcots aren't canine in the slightest [[spoiler: or, indeed, even animals: they're mobile plants.]]
* In ''Literature/ANightInTheLonesomeOctober'', Snuff the watchdog overhears a mournful canine howl in the distance, which translates as "''Lost!''" in the language of dogs and wolves. Later events suggest that [[spoiler: the howler is Larry Talbot the werewolf, wracked with remorse over having lost control of his lunar bloodlust and killed someone.]]
* In ''Literature/TheVoyageOfTheDawnTreader'', Lucy and Edmund's younger cousin [[TheDragAlong Eustace]] gets magically transformed into a dragon, and at first, he is excited about being "invincible", but quickly realizes that he doesn't ''want'' to be. He then realizes that [[HeelRealization he's not been as nice as he thought he was]], and is now "a monster cut off from the human race". and cries his eyes out under the moon.
--> '''Narrator:''' "A powerful dragon crying its eyes out under the moon in a deserted valley is a sight and a sound hardly to be imagined."
* ''Literature/IAmNotASerialKiller'': John tends to descend into inchoate screams when unhappy. Most prominently displayed in ''Literature/IDontWantToKillYou'' when he hears that another person has died despite his best efforts. He even punctuates it with a solid, splintery punch to the nearest door.
* In ''Literature/{{Beowulf}}'', the monster (or whatever he is) Grendel lets out a truly horrifying scream when he realizes that he is beaten:
-->''(...) Then an extraordinary \\
wail arose, and bewildering fear \\
came over the Danes. Everyone felt it \\
who heard that cry as it echoed off the wall, \\
a God-cursed scream and strain of catastrophe, \\
the howl of the loser, the lament of the hell-serf \\
keening his wound.''

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'', the demons known as tomescu know exactly when they're going to die, and so do this twice a day, at dawn and dusk. [[MundaneUtility This is how demons tell the time.]]
* Some authors/media have the Space Wolves of ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' do this when a friend or leader is killed in battle, due to their (almost literal) pack mentality and general lupine association. They ''also'' tend to express their grief by hacking the killer into pieces so hearing this is a sign it's probably time to be elsewhere.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Nanaki (also known as Red XIII) does this for his father Seto in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''.
** In the prequel ''VideoGame/CrisisCoreFinalFantasyVII'', Cloud unleashes one after Zack's death.
** If he's in the party at the time, Red XIII also does one for [[spoiler:Aerith]]
* Galfor's dog Poppy from ''VideoGame/SamuraiShodown'' does this when he's defeated.
* Amaterasu does this at the end of ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'' [[spoiler: after she defeats Yami. Issun pops up on her nose and says to give a triumphant howl like normal.]] Once she realizes she imagined it, she gives a sorrowful howl, only before getting attacked again. In its sequel for DS, ''VideoGame/{{Okamiden}}'', Chibiterasu gives a howl of sorrow after [[spoiler: Kurow dies.]]
* Kevin, the [[HalfHumanHybrid hybrid]] beastman from ''VideoGame/SeikenDensetsu3'', emits a piteous howl after killing his wolf cub pal Kevin by accident. [[spoiler:So he thinks.]]
* If in the party, your [[HeroicDog mabari hound]] from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' will let out a mournful howl upon finding the corpse of King Cailan in the ''Return to Ostagar'' DLC.
* There's a part in the first ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'' where you see a wild dog and are ordered not to shoot it. [[SchmuckBait If you shoot it anyway]], it lets out a mournful howl, [[ZergRush summoning 13 other dogs to kill you.]]
* [[spoiler:Berserker and Wrath Asura]] does this almost constantly in ''VideoGame/AsurasWrath'' also mixed with anger and hatred. His most notable roar, however, is when [[spoiler: the small girl died and sent him into his OneWingedAngel form.]]
* In ''VideoGame/MOTHER3'', Boney does this when he notices a piece of cloth from [[spoiler:Hinawa's dress]] stuck on a branch on top of a cliff.
* In ''VideoGame/DarkSouls'' ''[[DownloadableContent Artorias of the Abyss]],'' if you [[spoiler: save Sif when he was a puppy,]] [[NobleWolf Sif]] will [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Mzx-Mxsfs whimper softly then let out a mournful howl]] when you finally encounter him. [[spoiler: He recognizes you, so is reluctant to fight [[IGaveMyWord as his oath to Artorias demands]]. [[PlayerPunch The player is given no option to spare him]].]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* One use of werewolf howls in ''Webcomic/DominicDeegan'' is to announce the break-up of a pack. Given what breaks up a pack...this is generally a combination of rage and painfully deep sorrow.
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'': Coyote tells Annie about the time that he helped The Great Spirit put the stars in the sky. After rushing through the job, he realized that he'd forgotten to make a constellation of himself. His frustration over that is why he howls at the sky now.
* [[http://kevinandkell.com/2001/kk1129.html Once done by Kevin]] in ''Webcomic/KevinAndKell'' after difficulties with his family, who really don't approve of his marriage to a wolf. Being that he's a rabbit, somewhat understandable.
* The wolves in ''Webcomic/OffWhite'' do this after [[spoiler: Gebo's old pack is killed.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/ThereWillBeBrawl'': Wolf does this [[spoiler:as he lies dying]].
* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'' in his review of ''Film/ScoobyDoo''. Not actually PlayedForLaughs, as this is after a rant about how miserable he is. Watch the commentary to hear Doug squirming (as this was improvised) and Rob be in SarcasmFailure.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Snoopy from ''WesternAnimation/{{Peanuts}}'' will howl to show his distress, whether it's being lost or just hearing a sad song.
* Bronx from ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' has been known to express his dislike of a situation by howling.
* More of a scream than a howl, ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'' does this whenever Eustace chopped down the magic tree. He goes up to the cliff and screams so loud that he ''shatters the freakin' moon to pieces''!
* {{Invoked|Trope}} in the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' episode "What Have You Done" when the Ice King accidentally causes a disease that can only be cured by the sound of him howling in pain. Princess Bubblegum captured him to get the howls herself, but Finn and Jake, who didn't know what had happened, free him considering he is innocent, causing Ice King to think of them as friends. Finn eventually plays dead to get a pained howl out of him to cure the disease.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'': Well, a bat-hybrid (who's just a woman, in reality) has a ''shriek'' of sorrow at what she's become. Doesn't make it any less sad (and comforting to know this didn't last long).
* Wilford Wolf in ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'', who isolates himself and cry-howls to the sky after Minerva has utterly rejected him. And then the moon comes out and [[MrFanservice he starts transforming]], [[YouSexyBeast turning it into a normal howl]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLittleRascals'' episode "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat", Pete howls mournfully after Captain Smokey declares that loss of business aboard the ''Mississippi Queen'' has left him with no reason to live.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* The legendary wolf Lobo is said to have done this after his mate was killed.
** One of the supposed reasons why wolves howl is grief.
* Wolves have been observed to pace in the area where a packmate died and howl for hours. Biologists have also noted that when a pack member dies the howls of the remaining wolves take on a distinct change in pitch.
* Many dog owners can attest to this trope after a human/other pet has died, though only the dogs know whether this is truly sorrow or simply the dogs looking for their missing packmate.
* The [[Myth/CelticMythology Irish and Scottish]] tradition of [[DeathWail keening]] (singing a lament combined with wailing) over the body during the funeral procession and at the burial site is strikingly similar to the death wail of the [[OurBansheesAreLouder Banshee]]
** "Keen" comes from the Gaelic verb "caoin", meaning "to cry/weep, to mourn" and its active article "caoineadh" ("weeping", "crying", "wailing") can also be translated as "elegy/lament". The caoineadh itself was often composed and performed in an improvised way, with at least one keening woman (bean chaointe) hired to lead the rest of the mourners, who generally joined with the chorus. The caoineadh generally consisted of [[StockCharacter stock poetic]] elements (the genealogy of the deceased, praise for the deceased, emphasis on the sorrow of those left behind etc.) set to vocal lament.