Scientific Research on Dogs

Scientific Research on Dogs

Jamie Whitehorn
Jamie Whitehorn

Is it just me, or does a certain amount of research on dogs seem to be money for old rope at the moment?

The latest one to surface is some research from Vienna showing that dogs can recognise human facial expressions. Ummm, duh!

BBC NEWS: Do dogs know a happy face?

Dog owners have know this for years, and there was research from the University of Lincoln reported in New Scientist in 2008, seven years ago, that showed dogs could recognise facial expressions. Further more they display left gaze bias - something only humans, primates and dogs do. And dogs only do it when they are looking at a human face.

2008: Dogs have evolved 'face reading' skills to detect if their owner is happy or sad.

In short dogs are extremely adept at reading human expressions and body language and this comes as no surprise to people who work with dogs.

So why is scientific reasearch on dogs "proving" things we already know, including things that have already been scientifically proven?


“I’m suspicious of people who don’t like dogs, but I trust a dog when it doesn’t like a person.”
— Bill Murray