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NewsHow dogs see: dog vision and how it differs from ours

How dogs see: dog vision and how it differs from ours

Of course, we know that for them smell is much more important than sight, but does this mean that they see badly, or at least less well than people? How far can they see? And by the way, can they perceive colors?The question of how dogs see is a question that usually leaves us with a lot of unknowns and about which there is also a false myth (overview: dogs do NOT see in black and white, as they say), but in this article, we will dispel all your doubts.We are going to help you understand how dogs see people and how they perceive the world in general, and how their vision differs from ours. The truth is that there is no simple answer to this question. In general, during the day, human vision can be more accurate than dogs’, but dogs see better in the dark and are much more sensitive to motion than we are (we’ll explain why in a bit). Judging by the position of the eyes on the head, dogs have a field of vision of 240º, while ours is only 180º.Dogs see better in the dark than us and can detect movement very easily. But during the day, they have poor eyesight.Dogs’ vision is slightly blurry, especially at long and short distances. They can identify people, animals and objects from a distance of about 6 meters (we are getting closer to 25 meters), but they cannot discern their exact shapes. Large dogs tend to see farther than small ones. image source: freepik.comFor short distances, dogs must rely on their sense of smell. As a result, their olfactory and auditory memory is much broader and more precise than their visual memory.Not all dogs have the same visual acuity: while breeds like the German Shepherd or the Rottweiler tend to be myopic, there are others, like the Labrador Retriever (a dog bred and selected for hunting prey ), who see farther and with greater clarity.Regardless of race, some individuals may naturally have better eyesight than others.Another curious characteristic of dogs is that, like cats, they have a third eyelid which is not visible.

How do dogs see colors?

For a long time, experts believed that dogs saw the world in black and white (scotopic vision), which is why many people still believe so. But today we know that dogs have photopic vision, just like ours: they see colors, but not in the same form or in the same quantity. Dogs are sensitive to fewer colors and see them in more subdued tones. Cause? Anatomical characteristics of their eyes.Dogs perceive colors, but the spectrum on which they fall is smaller than ours, and they see them more attenuated.There are two types of photoreceptors in mammalian eyes: rods and cones. The former have a high sensitivity to light, while the latter detect a wide range of photons under good lighting conditions.Because we humans are diurnal, we have more bumps than sticks. This makes our vision very rich in daylight, with lots of detail and color, but poor in the dark. Shadowhunter dogs have far more canes than cones: they see better than us in low-light conditions, but in the daytime their color perception is poor.In fact, dogs’ vision is dichromatic, meaning they are only sensitive to blue and yellow. In contrast, our vision is trichromatic, meaning we are sensitive to red, blue, and green. It is curious that this characteristic, common to other animals, is the reason why hunters can wear orange clothes without problems: for other people it is a very attractive garment, but their prey does not distinguish it .Dogs are only sensitive to blue and yellow colors: they have dichromatic vision.

How do dogs see movement?

Shepherd.image source: freepik.comDogs’ sight is very sensitive to movement: as hunting animals, they see moving objects much better than stationary ones. The reason, again, is that they have more rods in their eyes, which not only serve for vision in low light conditions, but also react to movement.Even the quickest or most subtle movements aren’t usually overlooked by dogs, who capture and process images more frequently than we do.This is why your furry friend often turns his head quickly as soon as he sees what you are doing out of the corner of his eye, even if it is a minimal movement: he has seen it quite clearly, as in kind of slowed down.With this quality, dogs can be easily trained to respond to silent commands with hand gestures. Additionally, dogs can tell one person from another by the way they move, much better than by their clothes or appearance.Dogs easily catch even the quickest and most imperceptible movements. It will not be easy for you to surprise your furry friend!

How do dogs watch television?

On TV.image source: freepik.comWhen your best friend lies on the couch with you and stares at the screen for a few moments, you might be wondering: how do dogs watch TV? Do they see it the same way we do?The answer is no. And the reason for this is the special sharpness of the movements of the dogs, which we have just talked about.First, we need to understand what exactly we see on television: individual frames that pass so quickly that we don’t notice the pauses between them. We perceive the sequence, but in fact the camera produces a certain number of images per second.And since dogs can capture more frames per second, what they see on TV is something of a slideshow. So if dogs don’t pay attention to television, it may be because they don’t perceive it as something too bright, among other things.Dogs watch TV like a slow slide show. Perhaps for this reason, most of them do not find it interesting.For us, individual frames are indistinguishable from 40Hz (hertz measures the refresh rate of a display, i.e. how many frames per second it can display), but dogs will need 75Hz or more.Note that more modern devices offer ever higher refresh rates (100, 200 Hz, etc.). On these televisions, dogs will really see something that is more like a movie in the sense that we understand it.

How do dogs see in the dark?

Dogs’ vision in low light conditions is much better than that of humans. Along with subtle motion perception, it is their primary strength of vision and a fundamental part of their natural “equipment” as hunters.Dogs’ high visual acuity in the dark is due to four factors:The greatest number of rods on the retina, which we have already talked about A pupil with a large dilation, able to catch even the smallest amount of light In a dog’s eyes, the lens is closer to the retina than in ours. This makes images brighter Tapetum lucidum: This is a layer of tissue between the retina and the optic nerve found in many vertebrates (this does not apply to predominantly diurnal animals such as humans). It’s like a mirror: it reflects the brightness of the environment, increasing the amount of light available to the eye’s photoreceptors. By the way, it is she who is responsible for ensuring that the dog’s eyes glow in the dark, like the eyes of cats.Tapetum lucidum, a membrane that reflects light like a mirror, makes dogs’ eyes shine in the dark. It is also found in cats and many other animals.

At what age do dogs start seeing?

Walking.image source: freepik.comDog puppies are born blind, hairless and dependent on their mother in every way.During the first days, the female dog provides them with everything they need: food, warmth, shelter and protection. In zoology, species whose babies are born so helpless are called altricial (just like dogs, humans also have altricial babies. On the other hand, species whose babies become self-sufficient within hours are said to be presociable.)The puppy opens its eyes for the first time at three weeks of age and fully develops its peripheral vision at five weeks. At this stage of his life, the dog begins to really pay attention to his surroundings and can therefore begin to train. It is believed that from the age of three months the puppy already sees and perceives his world in the same way as an adult dog.Also read: Anti-stress beds for dogs – what are they, advantages and best models.


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