Your canines won't need to sniff to identify their companions.

One thing that is sure to get your dog excited is when he or she catches sight of other canine companions—even on a socially distanced play date. But according to new research, dogs can actually spot one another in distinct ways (regardless of their breed, too). In a trending 2013 study published in Animal Cognition, researchers discovered that canines can recognize each other just by looking at a photo.

The study leads started their research by showing nine dogs two pictures at the same time: one being a dog and the other a human, cat, or other "non-dog." Each time the dogs correctly chose the dog picture, they were rewarded with a treat. During the next part of the study, the researchers gave the dogs treats even if they did not choose the dog photo. The end result? They found that dogs were still mainly able to recognize their fellow dogs without having to sniff like many usually do to recognize another dog.

woman sitting and looking at phone with dog
Credit: AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

While the study made its debut seven years ago, it is gaining traction again as one researcher in particular takes a look back at the participants—including Babel, Sweet, and Cusco.

His conclusion on the study? That dogs are great at identify other dogs and that the authors in the study made the right move by choosing their career paths and making this research. "Data analysis can be pretty dry and I was looking for a distraction, so all of a sudden it was the most important thing in the world for me to figure out how dogs know that other dogs are dogs," he told Bored Panda. "When I Googled it and found that the research was both rigorous and adorable, I was hooked."


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