A new study reveals that dogs can distinguish different languages without specific training

Kirsty Kendall

A Hungarian study reveals that dogs can tell if someone speaks their native language or a foreign language.

The study was conducted at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary.

Brain scans from 18 dogs revealed that different areas of their brains activated based on which language they were hearing

In the study, the researchers conducted an MRI brain scan on 18 dogs of different breeds. 16 dogs had Hungarian as their native language, and two dogs had Spanish as their native language.

A native Hungarian speaker and a native Spanish speaker read sentences from the book The Little Prince to the dogs while they were in the MRI scanner. The dogs were not familiar with the text or the readers.

The result was that the dogs showed different brain activity based on which language they had heard. The two areas of the brain where the different activities took place are linked to understanding the meaning of speech and if it’s emotionally positive or negative.

Older dogs and long-nosed dogs can distinguish different languages better

According to the research, the differences in brain scans were more pronounced in dogs with longer snouts and in older dogs.

The study author Laura Cuaya believes the older dogs were better at distinguishing different languages because they had spent more years listening to their native language. However, she couldn’t tell why long-nosed dogs were better at distinguishing languages.

Dr. Katherine Houpt, the James Law Professor Emeritus in the section of behavior medicine at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, suspects the reason might be that a long snout is common among sheepdogs. Sheepdogs need to understand what a shepherd is saying to them.

The study indicates that dogs learn from their social environments

The results of the study indicate that dogs are social learners. Just like humans, dogs are interested in their environment. They constantly learn new things from their social environments.

However, according to NBC News, the result of the study surprised Dr. Houpt. She didn’t know dogs would react differently to different languages.

Who knows what else dogs can do? It seems that new studies show over and over again that dogs are smarter than we thought.

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MA in literature. Writer, unicorn lover, snail mom. I write about unicorns, animals, home and living, and other intriguing topics.

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