Dog Vision

Wednesday, November 14, 2018 | 


A Word From Dr. Joyce Ashamalla

Dog Vision

Dogs express their emotions through their eyes, some breeds more than others. From the beautiful eyes of the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to the soulful eyes of a Pug, we can tell a lot about what a dog is thinking by looking at his eyes. If you have ever wondered what your dog sees when he looks at you, with those big, brown eyes, read on. In this blog, we’ll cover the differences between dog vision and human vision and discuss whether or not dogs can see color.

Do Dogs See Black and White?

Many people think that dogs only see in black and white. Why? Because it was widely believed that dogs were colorblind and could only detect variations in brightness, not actual colors. It was not until recently that scientists discovered dogs can actually see colors. In an experiment performed in Russia in 2013, dogs were trained to receive a food reward that they learned to associate with different colored pieces of paper. Dog’s ability to see color was thus proven as true because of the colors they chose in order to receive the food reward.

Do Dogs See Color?

As we mentioned above, the answer is yes! Although dog vision differs greatly from human vision. Humans see in red, green and blue, thanks to the color receptive cells in our retinas. Dogs, on the other hand, only have two of these, in yellow and blue. Therefore, dogs perceive red, yellow and green as one hue, blue and purple as a second, and cyan and magenta as a third (gray). So despite being a tad limited, dogs do see in color.

Do Dogs Have Good Vision?

Dogs actually have better vision than humans when it comes to seeing motion at a distance and for seeing in limited light, such as at dawn and dusk. They also have better peripheral vision thanks to the placement of their eyes on the side of their head. These traits – the heightened sensitivity to motion and light combined with increased peripheral vision – make dogs incredible hunters.

Now that you understand how dog’s vision works, think about viewing the world through your dog’s eyes. Remember that when you see a red ball lying in green grass, your dog perceives both as a dark hue and may be unable to see the ball. And when your dog gets pulls on the leash during an evening walk at sunset, it’s probably because he spotted a squirrel in the distance that you did not see. If you enjoyed learning about dog’s vision, read about their most acute sense here.