Sophie is smiling and has her arm around her rescue dog Tamsin, who is brown
Sophie Barton with her own rescue dog Tamsin, an Australian Shepherd x Labrador Retriever mix

As over 50 episodes of Dogs with Jobs to date has shown, breeding is a key element of dogs’ working ability.

In this episode, Kate Fairweather talks with Sophie Barton of the Canine Brains Project, based in the Hecht Lab at Harvard University in Boston.

Sophie oversees the Working Breed Study, which aims to identify the specific brain regions involved in different working behaviours and the extent to which they are influenced by training for working roles. A major goal of this research is to benefit the working dog community by improving breeding and training practices.

The Canine Brains Project is conducting a non-invasive brain imaging study aimed at understanding the brains of dogs from selected working breeds.

How might a guide dog’s brain differ from that of a hunting hound, for example?

Kate Fairweather speaks to Sophie to find out more.

Sophie (kneeling, left) is part of the ]all women, multi-disciplinary Canine Brains team, led by Erin Hecht (standing, 2nd from left) (Photo credit: Canine Brains Project)

Do you work your dog or dogs?

Get in touch with Kate via if you have a dog that does an interesting job. She loves to hear about working dogs.