Canine Facial Phenotypes and Expressive Behaviors

Published: 3 August 2023| Version 2 | DOI: 10.17632/br92x9768y.2
Courtney Sexton


This data repository includes individual coding sheets for facial behavior and features (including DogFACS behavioral analyses and original schematic physical phenotype analyses), along with owner-reported survey responses for N=103 companion dogs. Full dataset and dictionary also included for all subjects in final sample. To assess the complexity of facial physical phenotype and assign a corresponding score, each dog’s face was evaluated using an original matrix (Sexton, 2023) that accounted for both pigmentation and perceptible marks/patterning. Dog facial phenotypes were scored by humans unfamiliar with the individual dogs (i.e. not the human participants). Objective behavioral measure of facial movements (expressivity) were assessed by independent coders using the Dog Facial Action Coding System (DogFACS) (Waller, et al., 2013). Two certified DogFACS coders manually coded the video samples independently according to the DogFACS manual (Waller et al., 2013). Data associated with: Sexton, C.L. 2023. “What is Written on a Dog’s Face? Implications of Phenotype Diversity in Human-directed Canine Communication. Doctoral Dissertation. The George Washington University (ProQuest); Sexton, C.L.; Buckley, C.; Lieberfarb, J.; Subiaul, F.; Hecht, E.E.; Bradley, B.J. What Is Written on a Dog’s Face? Evaluating the Impact of Facial Phenotypes on Communication between Humans and Canines. Animals 2023, 13, 2385.



George Washington University


Animal Communication, Canine Behavior, Canine Genetics, Human-Animal Interaction, Animal Domestication, Evolutionary Anthropology