How do dogs see?

How do dogs see?

The eyesight of our domestic dogs descends from when they were hunters and “wolves”. To get the prey animal, they had to see well in the dawn and quickly recognize movements. On the other hand, a diversity of colour was not needed.

In the past, one thought that dogs are only able to see black and white. But nowadays, it is common that dogs are able to see a colour spectrum that is different from the human’s one.

How is the eye composed?

Whether human or dog, every eye has a retina where rods and cones are placed. They are important for the colour recognition and light sensitivity. The rods are responsible for the light sensitivity while the cones on the retina recognize the colours.

Dog’s eyes – perfectly adapted to hunting:

Less colourful
Dogs have only two different kinds of cones. This is why their colour spectrum only covers blue, violet and yellow. Red appears yellow, green is not seen at all and magenta appears grey. Overall, dogs are seeing the world less colourful than humans.

Better sight at dawn
The dipping light is increased via the so-called “Tapetum lucidum”, which is a reflecting film that is located near to the retina (it is also responsible for the typical reflexion on the eyes of nocturnal animals, that are illuminated in the darkness). In combination with a big amount of rods, the sight at dawn is clearer and better in comparison to humans.

Faster recognition of movements
Dogs are a bit short-sighted and therefore aren’t able to really capture not moving objects. As soon as an object is moving, dogs are able to capture it from a great distance (e.g. escaping prey animals).

Wide view
The sight of a dog can range up to 240°, because the eyes stand more apart than human eyes. With this characteristic, the dog is able to scan for prey animals in bigger areas, but the spatial perception is worse than the human’s.


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