Dog Vision | How dogs see the colors of the world?

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  • How is the dog’s vision of the world?
  • Have you ever wondered how dogs see?
  • A human and a dog see the colors the same way?
  • Are dogs color-blind?
  • Is true the myth that dogs see everything in black and white?

So many questions about the dog vision, but don’t worry! In this article, I will answer all of them.

Let’s see also in detail how a dog sees the world:

  1. Visual field,
  2. Proximity
  3. Distance,
  4. Depth
  5. Dog vision at night,
  6. Color perception.

In Short, every dog sees the world a little less colorful than ours, but for sure not only in black and white, as many think about the dog vision.

These are useful news to know that can help us in everyday life: for example, to play with our best friend, is it better to throw him a red or blue ball on a green lawn?


Dog Vision – Do Dogs See Everything in Black and White?


 NO, a dog sees a less colorful world than ours, more faded, but not only made of black and white. In the eyes, we find two types of structures:

  1. The rods,
  2. The cones.

#1 The Rods

The rods are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye that detect movement and are sensitive to low light.

Rod Cells are responsible for the dog’s vision at night.


#2 The Cones

The cones are also photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye that give color perception and detailed vision, in bright light. (the opposite of rods)

If dogs only had rods, they would be able to see only in black and white, but they also have cones.

Humans have 150 cones, while dogs have only 40. Dog vision and the way dogs see depends on this factor.


The Visual Field – Dog Vision

Dogs have a greater field of vision than humans. For example, the German shepherd, whose eyes are positioned laterally, has a very wide field of vision.

Instead, the pug or the boxer has a more limited field of vision, having a short-muzzled face. The Dog- Human visual field comparison:

  • Dogs have a field of view of about 250°
  • Humans have a visual field of about 180°


Dog Vision: Proximity, Distance, and Depth

jack russel with big magnify glassAs predators, dogs don’t see very well what is close to them. They need a distance of at least 50 cm from their eyes to focus well, something or someone.

The sight of the dog beats man over long distances, and in particular, if the object is in motion; It is also the result of the evolution of dogs as predators.

So, when you want to call your dog back, move around a little, and it’ll be easy for him to see you, even if you’re far away!

The eyes of the dogs are at an angle of 20 degrees. This increases the visual field, that is, the peripheral vision of the dog.

But this excellent peripheral vision compromises the amount of binocular vision (where the visual field of each eye overlaps with that of the other, which confers perception of depth and distance) Therefore, dogs have a better binocular vision when they look straight forward.


Night Dog Vision

german shepherd police dog k9 units Each of us asked at least once in a lifetime: do dogs see in the dark?

Dogs see better than humans at night.

The answer is, once again, connected to the structure of their eyes. Dogs eyes have more rods than humans; These photoreceptor cells allow for greater visibility at night and therefore improve predatory night-time abilities.

In addition, Tapetum Lucidum is present in the back of the dog’s eyes, a layer of reflective cells that intensifies the light that is absorbed, to further increase the dog’s vision at night.

Humans, on the other hand, because they live mainly by day, have a greater capacity than dogs in the perception of colors, also because they have more cones. ​

How Do Dogs See Colors?

While humans see the whole range of colors (blue, yellow, green, red, etc.), Dogs recognize two ranges of colors, blue-violet and yellow, and can distinguish between shades of gray.

However, they are unable to distinguish the shades ranging from green to red, yellow, orange. They also have difficulty distinguishing green from gray. dog vision How dogs see colors 3 Comparing the spectrum of colors as perceived by the dog and the human, we see that the dog perceives as yellow what we see as red, orange, yellow, and green.

In certain shades of green and turquoise, the dog perceives them as white.

The blues distinguishes them similarly to us, while the violet sees it gray. In any case, sight is not the most important sense of our best friend; the most important and developed is the sense of smell.

Dogs possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in humans.

Crazy right!

I personally think that dogs can almost smell the colors with their nose :)

Dog Vision – Are Dogs Color-blind?

 Human beings have in their eyes three kinds of cones, each with cells that are sensitive to their color: red, yellow, and blue.

This is known as trichromatic. On the other side, dogs have only two receptor types: blue and yellow.

This means that the dog’s vision of the world is similar to what a human color-blind sees (red-green color blindness). This is called dichromatic.


Sweets Can affect Dogs Sight – Dog Vision Disease 

dog vision how dogs see labrador retriever puppy sadThat sweets can cause problems in the sight of dogs is something that many people know. Read my blog post about Homemade Dog Food to learn how to feed your pet healthy recipes.

What we should know is that the loss of sight is due to a disease that our dog can get if the intake of sugar is excessive: diabetes. Dogs have great difficulty in assimilating glucose, which is why this disorder can appear in their lives if they assimilate big amounts of sugar and sweet foods for a longer time.

Diabetes brings with it a series of problems in various areas of the body. One of them is the eye of the animal. ​

I hope you have learned something new in this blog post, if yes please share it, this helps me a lot. Thanks.

Paws up for sharing this dog-related article!
Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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One comment

  1. Thanks for this post. I have shared it on my Fb account.
    I hope, a few of my friends and family will pay you a visit ….

    not in physical form :)

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