London - Pet dogs can understand far more words than many of their owners give them credit for.
Though most will react to "walkies", "sit" or "fetch", a new study shows that their language comprehension is far wider.
They can identify slight variations such as "hid" and "had" and recognise the same word said in a variety of accents.
When a team led by the University of Sussex played 70 dogs four different people saying the same word and a fifth saying a slightly different one, the first and last voices provoked the most interest.
Lead author Dr Holly Root-Gutteridge said: "Dogs probably gained the ability to distinguish between the growls of other dogs to work out their size, and then they started paying attention to our language after we domesticated them. I actually know dogs that can respond to 75 different commands."