Bark

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.

Barking dogs seldom bite.
Huffing, bouncing, hectoring fellows rarely possess cool courage. French: “Tout chien qui aboye ne mord pas.” Latin: “Canes timidi vehementius latrant quam mordent.” Italian: “Can che abbaia non morde.” German: “Ein hellender hund beisst nicht leicht.”

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.

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.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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