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Sabrina Karl, Dipl.-Biol.

Curriculum Vitae

Sabrina Karl graduated as biologist from the Martin Luther University in Halle/Saale in April 2010, focusing on behavioural biology and zoology (basic studies at the Ernst Moritz Arndt University of Greifswald). Preparing her diploma thesis, she carried out a two-month study on the social behaviour of dwarf hamsters semi outdoors. In her thesis she compared two populations of common toads within and around the city of Halle/Saale concerning migration patterns, size and weight, size of population, socialization and age distribution. She did a two-month internship at the GREH dog grooming school in Berlin in spring 2008.

From May 2010 to mid-October 2014 she worked then as a dog trainer at the GREH dog grooming school, teaching different dog owners in single and group training. She gave weekend classes on dog occupation (search tasks, training with obstacles), basic and traffic education or distance training, as well as group lessons for dogs of every age - starting with puppies. Furthermore, she was regularly involved in the training of mold detection dogs and therapy dogs.

From mid-October 2014 she has been working as a dog trainer/ research assistant at the Clever Dog Lab, training dogs for scientific studies, e.g. studies by Zsófia Virányi and Soon Young Park, comparing the attention to faces of humans and dogs (WWTF project: The semantics of talking with eyes and gestures) and by Ludwig Huber and Anjuli Barber about processing and discrimination of human emotions by pet dogs using an eye-tracker (WWTF project: Like me: The evolutionary and neuro-cognitive basis of the link between imitation, empathy and prosocial behaviour in dogs and humans) and and for an oxytocin-study in collaboration with the Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig/ Germany in which dogs were trained to wear an inhalation mask for certain time. From January to August 2017 she trained dogs and wolves at the Wolf Science Center, Ernstbrunn, to voluntarily give saliva samples 1-2 times weekly.

Main Fields of Research

Human-dog relationship

Social Cognition

Functional brain imaging 

Research Projects

  • In September 2017 she started her PhD at University of Veterinary Medicine of Vienna. The PhD project „Human-dog relationship: from behaviour to functional brain imaging“ is supervised by Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Ludwig Huber, Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Claus Lamm (Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, University of Vienna) and PD Dr. Friederike Range and is associated with the “Doctoral Program Cognition and Communication – DK” (FWF funded).


Ceara Byrne*, Sabrina Karl*, Dana Vilker, Sebastian Meller, Brendan Thompson, and Sarah Webber. 2020. Monitoring the Welfare of Bears in Captivity. In Seventh International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI’2020), November 10–12, 2020, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 6 pages.

Tom Menaker, Anna Zamansky, Dirk van der Linden, Dmitry Kaplun, Aleksandr Sinitica, Sabrina Karl, and Ludwig Huber. 2020. Towards a Methodology for Data-Driven Automatic Analysis of Animal Behavioral Patterns. In Seventh International Conference on Animal-Computer Interaction (ACI’2020), November 10–12, 2020, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 6 pages.

Karl, S., Boch, M., Zamansky, A. et al. Exploring the dog–human relationship by combining fMRI, eye-tracking and behavioural measures. Sci Rep 10, 22273 (2020).

Völter, C.J., Karl, S. & Huber, L. Dogs accurately track a moving object on a screen and anticipate its destination. Sci Rep 10, 19832 (2020).

Boch, M., Karl, S., Sladky, R., Huber, L., Lamm, C., & Wagner, I. C. (2020). Tailored haemodynamic response function increases detection power of fMRI in awake dogs (Canis familiaris). NeuroImage 224 (2021) 117414.

Schaebs, F. S., Deschner, T., Range, F., Karl, S., & Marshall-Pescini, S. (2020). Consistency and efficacy of two methods of intranasal oxytocin application in dogs. Domestic Animal Endocrinology, 106436.

Karl, S., Boch, M., Virányi, Z. et al. Behav Res (2019) Training pet dogs for eye-tracking and awake fMRI.

Karl, S. & Huber, L. (2017). Empathy in dogs: With a little help from a friend - a mixed blessing. Animal Sentience 14(13).

Karl, S.; Grosse, W.-R.: Vergleichende Untersuchungen zu zwei Laichpopulationen der Erdkröte (Bufo bufo Linneaus, 1758) im Raum Halle (Saale). – Hercynia N. F. 43 (2010): 319–336.

Complete publication list