There is nothing lovelier as a dog owner than coming home after a long day at work and seeing how happy our pups are to see us. Their adorable, whiskery faces are often the highlight of our return home.
And it's obvious that dogs love and feel affection for us, too - but do they actually respond to our faces, the same way we respond to theirs? New research suggests not!
Interestingly, it's being suggested that dogs get just as excited at seeing the back of our heads as they do the front. They don't respond specifically to faces - unlike humans, who value facial recognition a lot.
This is doubly interesting because dogs are the only animals on the planet who use eye contact to communicate with humans. They are also the only animals who are able to take 'cues' from humans. So it's odd to think that dogs just don't feel the same about our faces as we do about theirs.
The study (which you can find here) scanned the brains of 20 family dogs (including labs and border collies), and 30 humans. Each was shown 6 sequences of 48 videos containing either the front or the back of a human/dog head.
Dogs showed no difference in brain activity when shown the back or the front of a human's head. In contrast, human's showed a greater response when viewing a person's face.
These new results suggest that dogs don't find faces as important as they do body cues and smell. They aren't hardwired to respond to faces, unlike us.