The study was conducted by a group of scientists led by Laura V. Cuaya of Lorand Eoetvoes University (ELTE) in Budapest, who owns Kun-kun. Eighteen dogs, including her own, were taught to lie motionless during an MRI scan. Previously, each dog heard only one language from its owner: either Hungarian or Spanish.

 

They found that the brain response patterns to both languages in the dogs' auditory cortex differed. At the same time, the older the dog was, the more easily its brain distinguished between the two languages.

 

“Each language has its sound characteristics. The results of the study show that dogs are getting better at learning what their owner's language sounds like during their lifetime,” said study co-author Raul Hernandez-Perez.

 

As the head of the neuroethology research group at ELTE Attila Andras pointed out, however, it is still unclear whether dogs' ability to distinguish languages is due to changes in their brains caused by listening to humans for thousands of years, or whether other animal species may also have a similar ability. 

 

“Further experiments are needed to answer this question,” the researcher pointed out.