What Does Fido See?

09/14/15 at 01:24 PM | Published Under Dog Behavior by Cristen Underwood

It’s certain that few scents get past a canine’s nose. But when it comes to vision, it’s a totally different story. While dogs are not colorblind, it’s believed that they see only shades of blue, yellow and gray. This enables their brains to distinguish blue from yellow, but not red from green. That's because canine eyes have only two types of color-sensitive cone cells as compared to the three in the eyes of humans.

Studies have uncovered quite a few distinctions between human and canine vision that should make it easier to see why they may react in certain ways. Canines:


1) Have a lower visual acuity that makes everything appear blurrier.

2) Can see in much dimmer light than humans.

3) Are more sensitive to detect motion at a distance than humans – making them well suited for hunting.

4) Detect flickering light better than humans.

5) Lack the ability to focus as well on the shape of objects.

6) Have an estimated 20/75 vision, meaning they can see at 20 feet what a normal human could see clearly at 75 feet.

7) Have a different perception of the world since their eyes are about 12 inches off the ground as apposed to those of a human.

8) Have a wider degree of peripheral vision than humans.


Naturally, the immense versatility in dogs means that certain breeds have better – or worse – vision than others. While pugs are known for their challenges, others hunt by their vision alone. Referred to as sight hounds or gazehounds by the AKC, these breeds include the Afghan Hound, Whippet, Saluki, Greyhound, Borzois and Irish Wolfhound.


While scientific proof is still lacking to prove that these sight hound breeds have better vision than other dogs, it’s widely accepted that they are more reactive towards fast moving objects – especially in the peripheral vision.


So, the next time your dog struggles to spot a red ball you toss onto your green lawn, keep in mind that his world tends to be a bit less colorful than yours. No doubt they out-sniff a human with a sniffer that is estimated to be 100 million times more sensitive than ours!


You may have noticed that many of our goDog™ durable plush dog toys are made with super bright and contrasting color palettes. While most of the fun color is designed for human enjoyment, your dog may still seem to show a preference of color or paired contrasting colors, especially in blue and yellow hues. 


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