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Here is the paragraph from the book:

Sirius seemed a million miles away already; even now a part of Harry still believed that if he had only pulled back that veil, he would have found Sirius looking back at him, greeting him, perhaps, with his laugh like a bark ...

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  • Sirius is known as the Dog Star, that's all I know Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 14:31
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    @barrycarter I think that's enough. You could provide a cite for Sirius being the Greek name for the Dog Star and make an answer.
    – user888379
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 14:49
  • @user888379 feel free to turn my comment into an answer, I'm too lazy :) Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 14:50
  • Sirius also initially appears in the series disguised as a large black dog.
    – tbrookside
    Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 14:54
  • I don't think we need to know anything about the Dog Star. Simply, Harry remembers Sirius's laugh as sounding like a bark. Commented Jul 26, 2022 at 16:30

2 Answers 2

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Since Sirius' animagus form is a dog, he's often described as being a bit dog-like at times, so I'm guessing his laughter description is more of that. However, "barking laughter" or "a bark of laughter" is a phrase in English that describes a laugh that is loud and sudden. See definition 1.1 at this link.

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Sirius’s laugh is described as bark-like on several prior occasions:

Sirius let out a laugh that was much more like a bark.

(Goblet of Fire, Chapter Twenty-Seven)

Sirius gave a short, barklike laugh. “If my parents could see the use it was being put to now... well, my mother’s portrait should give you some idea...”

(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter Six)

Sirius, who was right beside Harry, let out his usual barklike laugh.

“No one would have made me a prefect, I spent too much time in detention with James. Lupin was the good boy, he got the badge.”

(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter Nine)

Snape’s wand flew twelve feet into the air and fell with a little thud in the grass behind him. Sirius let out a bark of laughter.

(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter Twenty-Eight)

This feature is somewhat unique to Sirius; throughout the whole series there is only one other instance of a laugh being described as bark-like:

Dudley gave a harsh bark of laughter then adopted a high-pitched, whimpering voice. “‘Don’t kill Cedric! Don’t kill Cedric!’ Who’s Cedric — your boyfriend?”

(Order of the Phoenix, Chapter Twenty-Eight)

Thus, when imagining Sirius laughing, Harry rightly associated it with a barking sound.

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