China-based Megvii Technology Limited, which supplies facial recognition surveillance software to the Chinese government, has expanded its biometric technology to include man's best friend.
The AI (artificial startup) startup, however, isn't focusing on the entire face of the dog but just the nose, which is unique to each canine, just like how the fingerprint is for humans.
Abacus News reports that Megvii chose "nose printing" as it's cheaper and less invasive than the more common identification method of chip implants.
Once a shot of the dog's nose is taken, Megvii will scan and locate key identifying markers to create a unique profile of the dog in the company's database.
The company says this method is able to verify a dog's identity against its record with 95 per cent accuracy and may be adapted to support a larger database.
According to Abacus News, using AI to identify dogs is not new - the Finding Rover app, for instance, claims to have helped locate and reunite 15,000 missing dogs with their owners.
Using machine learning algorithm developed at the University of Utah, the app builds a profile based on the owner's photos and compares it to databases from shelters or other Finding Rover users to locate a missing animal.
Megvii says in addition to identifying lost pets, its tech can be used by the authorities to monitor "uncivilised dog keeping", a term used in China to describe irresponsible dog owners who, for instance, don't leash their pets or pick up poop.
Abacus News reports that pet ownership has surged among China's middle class, increasing the cat and dog populations to 91 million in urban areas.
Unfortunately, there has also been a corresponding increase in complaints against pet owners, which has prompted the government to impose stricter regulations.