Volume 18: pp. 033-058

Eye Tracking in Dogs: Achievements and Challenges

Ludwig Huber, Lucrezia Lonardo, and Christoph J. Völter

Messerli Research Institute, Unit of Comparative Cognition University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Medical University of Vienna, University of Vienna

Reading Options

Continue reading below, or:
Read/Download PDF | Add to Endnote


In this article, we review eye-tracking studies with dogs (Canis familiaris) with a threefold goal; we highlight the achievements in the field of canine perception and cognition using eye tracking, then discuss the challenges that arise in the application of a technology that has been developed in human psychophysics, and finally propose new avenues in dog eye-tracking research. For the first goal, we present studies that investigated dogs’ perception of humans, mainly faces, but also hands, gaze, emotions, communicative signals, goal-directed movements, and social interactions, as well as the perception of animations representing possible and impossible physical processes and animacy cues. We then discuss the present challenges of eye tracking with dogs, like doubtful picture-object equivalence, extensive training, small sample sizes, difficult calibration, and artificial stimuli and settings. We suggest possible improvements and solutions for these problems in order to achieve better stimulus and data quality. Finally, we propose the use of dynamic stimuli, pupillometry, arrival time analyses, mobile eye tracking, and combinations with behavioral and neuroimaging methods to further advance canine research and open up new scientific fields in this highly dynamic branch of comparative cognition.

Keywords: eye tracking, dog, gaze, face perception, pupillometry

Author Note: Ludwig Huber, Messerli Research Institute, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinaerplatz 1, 1210 Vienna, Austria.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ludwig Huber at ludwig.huber@vetmeduni.ac.at.