Study: Dogs Recognize Familiar Faces in Images

Respond to photos of owners, other family pets

Your dog can likely recognize an image of you.     Photo: chippix / Shutterstock.com

Get ready for doggy Skype. A new study found that man’s best friend might have facial recognition skills similar to those of humans.

Researchers used to believe only people and possibly primates could recognize familiar faces, but a new article published in Animal Cognition suggests that dogs too can tell the difference between photos of their owners and of strangers.

Granted, dogs are still more interested in other canines than they are in humans, regardless of familiarity.

For the study, a team from the University of Helsinki tracked dogs’ eye movements as they watched images of familiar humans and dogs on a computer screen. The pups were also shown photos of strangers. The result? Dogs fixed their gaze more often on familiar faces, but they looked at images of dogs longer than images of humans­.

So yes, your dog loves you, but maybe not as much as his canine companion. And next time you’re away from home, maybe a video chat with your pup isn’t such a bad idea.

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