Commentary Type

Invited Commentary


Kujala (2017) presents an extensive overview of existing research on canine emotions in comparison to those of other non-human animals and humans. This commentary provides some additional research results on the intensively debated field of empathy in dogs. We focus on recent advances in the understanding of a fundamental building block of empathy — emotional contagion — and on dogs’ remarkable sensitivity for human emotions, including the skills of assistance dogs.

Author Biography

Sabrina Karl is a PhD student at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna. Her PhD project is about the human-dog-attachment system including behavioral studies and functional brain imaging in dogs.


Ludwig Huber co-founded the Department of Cognitive Biology at University of Vienna, where he is professor of animal ethics and human-animal interactions. His research involves social learning, imitation, and empathy in dogs and marmosets. He is Head of the Comparative Cognition Unit and Clever Dog Lab at the Haidlhof Research Station.