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The World Through Your Dog's Eyes

Updated on April 8, 2020
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Yuliss has worked with sheltered dogs, training them to be adoptable to good homes. She has had her own dogs and now has 4 human children!

Look at this scene through typical human eyes (left) and dogs eyes (right)
Look at this scene through typical human eyes (left) and dogs eyes (right) | Source

Ever Wonder How Life Appears Through Your Dogs Eyes?

A dog's world is very different than our world. Fifteen years ago, dog research had only come so far. It was generally thought that dogs saw only in shades of blue and white. Similar to putting a blue filter on a camera lens or wearing blue lense glasses. This would mean that dogs were in essence color blind, or dichromats. Today, research has moved forward to unlock how our world appears to a dog.

See how the color spectrum is so different between dogs and humans? We have a much more colorful world, but miss out on the scent and proprioceptive skills that dogs are gifted with innately
See how the color spectrum is so different between dogs and humans? We have a much more colorful world, but miss out on the scent and proprioceptive skills that dogs are gifted with innately | Source

What Color is Your Dog's World?

New research indicates that dogs are color blind, but see more color than originally thought. They see a similar color spectrum as humans do, but just not the same details. As you can see, some colors that we see are missing from their spectrum, such as red, green and deep purple. Your dog simply interprets these colors to the best of their visual field ability. So red may appear more beige, green appears more beige-white and deep purple would appear as light purple.

But is your dog missing out by not being able to see these colors?

Most likely, no. If you never saw those colors before you would not know they existed. The dog is gifted with the sense of smell and hearing so much, that sight takes a back seat in importance. Where the dog's visual field lacks in color it makes up for in range.

A dog's peripheral vision range is almost 360 degrees, a human's peripheral vision range is very limited.
A dog's peripheral vision range is almost 360 degrees, a human's peripheral vision range is very limited. | Source

Dogs Peripheral Vision is Far Superior to Ours

Before you start to feel too upset that the nice red teddy bear or Lofa you got for your dog, is not being appreciated in it's entirety; please note that color matters less to your dog than his or her range of peripheral vision. Where you and I can only see about 160 degrees to either side while looking straight ahead, your dog can see anywhere between 200 and 270 degrees while looking straight ahead! This was a built-in safety feature to protect your dog prior to the days of domestication, when a predator could have been advancing in on him or her from behind in the wild. It also helped him or her know where the prey was at all times on the hunt!


This is an example of farsightedness on the human color spectrum.  Dog's are also farsighted which means close objects appear blurry and far objects appear more clear.
This is an example of farsightedness on the human color spectrum. Dog's are also farsighted which means close objects appear blurry and far objects appear more clear. | Source

Your Dog's Keenness for Movement

Dogs vision is less colorful than ours, but they can almost see 360 degrees when looking straight ahead. Helps them literally - watch their back! Important ability for survival. They also have a keen sense for movement. Anything that moves within their vision spectrum - they know about. People's vision is less attuned to even slight changes in our surroundings. Dog's are also farsighted, which means that objects up close appear blurred, but objects in the distance appear sharp. Your dog also has instant built-in infrared at night. Now, I don't know what night-vision looks like to a dog, but apparently they see just as well during the day as at night because of the way their eyes accept the light. You and I, unfortunately, are much less effective with our lame human night vision.

Eyes contain cells called Rods and Cones. Dogs have many Rods, and only some Cones which are responsible for color. Humans have some Rod cells and LOTS of Cone cells

How Rods, Cones, and Pupil Size All Work Together to Create Sight

Pupil size benefits light absorption and maximizes vision in dark places

Research Says Dogs Don't See Red: What About Red Dog Toys?

Just because a dog can't see red, doesn't mean I don't believe in red dog toys or products. The fact is despite what research says, my dog is more keen to notice red things than objects of other colors. Whether it's his red crab toy, a red blanket, or a red sweater someone is wearing. He will notably take interest and look at the object for longer. He even prefers those bright pink tennis balls over the traditional yellow ones. So if it's only related to his sense of smell or hearing, how are all those situations providing a smell or sound that coincidentally has him favoring the color red? Is it possible that different breeds have the ability to see various color spectrums?

Did You Know?

Has this article changed your perception of how you thought your dog sees?

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What About Whiskers and Depth Perception?

What about depth perception? My dog has never fallen down stairs or anything, with their lack of color range and farsightedness, how well do they judge depth? Maybe it has to do with their sense of touch and their whiskers? In the future I hope that we can get some more specific answers into the world of our dogs and the way they explore their world. Thanks so much to those who already work hard to uncover the animal secrets so far!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Yuliss

Now You Know About Your Dog's Vision: What Are YOU THINKING?

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