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  • 1 Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
  • | 2 MTA-ELTE ‘Lendület’ Neuroethology of Communication Research Group, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary
  • | 3 MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group, Budapest, Hungary
Open access

Background and aims

Conspecific individual recognition using vocal cues has been shown in a wide range of species but there is no published evidence that dogs are able to recognize their owner based on his/her voice alone (interspecific individual recognition).


In our test, dogs had to rely on vocal cues to find their hidden owner in a two-way choice task. From behind an opaque screen, both the owner and a control person uttered neutral speech (reading sentences from a receipt) before the dogs were allowed to make their choice. Correct choices were reinforced by food and by verbal praise.


During the six-choice trials, dogs chose their owner’s voice significantly more often than the control person’s voice. There was no effect of learning throughout the trials, and dogs did not show side preference.


Thus, dogs are able to discriminate interspecific voices, suggesting that they are able to identify their owner based on vocal cues alone. This experimental design allows exploration of the role of individual acoustic parameters (such as fundamental frequency) in voice discrimination.

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Biologia Futura
Language English
Size A4
Year of
2019 (1950)
per Year
per Year
Founder Magyar Tudományos Akadémia  
H-1051 Budapest, Hungary, Széchenyi István tér 9.
Publisher Akadémiai Kiadó
Springer Nature Switzerland AG
H-1117 Budapest, Hungary 1516 Budapest, PO Box 245.
CH-6330 Cham, Switzerland Gewerbestrasse 11.
Chief Executive Officer, Akadémiai Kiadó
ISSN 2676-8615 (Print)
ISSN 2676-8607 (Online)