Yes, your dog can recognize your face. That may not sound like a big deal – but up until now, it was thought that recognizing facial features was such a specialized skill that only humans and some primates could do it. Well, researchers at the University of Helsinki tested dogs – by tracking their eye movement to determine their ability to recognize faces. Dogs were shown photos of their owners and photos of unfamiliar people. The results? When the dogs saw photos of familiar human faces they looked at them more thoroughly than unfamiliar faces, and they were especially focused on the eyes. When they viewed faces of strangers, their gaze was less fixed and their eyes moved around more.
The researchers say this indicates that dogs are able to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces. In fact, they believe dogs may have a natural ability to do this, similar to the facial recognition skills of human beings.