7 Interesting Facts On How Dogs See The World

Have you ever wondered how your pet dog perceives the world? What do dogs see?

This is one of the questions that most people ask but don’t bother finding out the answer to. There is a common misconception out there dogs see just black and white, not true at all.

Finding out how your dog sees the world is a good way to understand what your dog does.

Dogs have a wide field of view. Their eyes are more to the side, so they have a wide field of vision. Dogs also have a dichromatic vision which means they only see shades of two colors, blue and yellow.

Here are some interesting facts on how dogs see the world.

How Dogs See

How Dogs See

First of all, we have to understand that dogs do not “see” only using their eyes. Dogs also have a really good ability to smell and hear things, far better than humans. We’ll talk about that in a second, for now, let’s focus on the eyes.

Dogs and humans do have that much of a different eye structure. Their eyes, like ours, rely on rod cells to perceive light and cones to perceive colors.

The number of these rod cells and cones inside the retina is not the same in dogs and humans. However, the mechanism is the same.

How Do Dogs See Color

Unlike us, dogs are not particularly blessed to see many shades of colors. Remember the cones inside the retina we talked about? Well, dogs only have  1,200,000 cone receptors inside the retina.

Although that number may seem big enough, let’s compare it with humans. The human eye has 6 million cone receptors for color perception. The first number does not look that big now, does it?

Because of that dogs are able to see only shades of 2 colors. This is called dichromatic vision. Dogs are not the only dichromatic vision animals. Humans have trichromatic vision, we are able to see shades of green, blue, and red. [Source]

How Do Dogs See Color

Take a look at the photo of the spectrum of color above. As you can see dogs mostly see shades of blue and yellow. They have red-green color blindness. Colors they can’t perceive they mostly see as a shade of grey.

[Related Article: Shocking Truth Whether Dogs Are Colorblind Or Not]

How Far Do Dogs Can See

Canine vision does not depend only on colors. We need to talk about how clearly and how far can dogs see. For that, we need to mention those rods we mentioned earlier. Rods are a part of the retina that perceive light and dark.

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Dogs are actually really light-sensitive. We don’t exactly know how many rods there are in a dog’s eye but we know that is much more than humans. We have 120 million rods in our retinas.

This combined with the large pupils gives dogs the ability to see much wider and to see better in the dark. It depends on the dog breed but dogs usually have a field of vision of 250 degrees vision.

Humans have a 190-degree field of vision. And we mostly see what’s in front of us, and barely to the sides. Dogs are able to see the sides really well.

There is a trade-off though, dogs can’t really see far away. They are nearsighted, they see things clearly only 20 feet away from them. Further than that, things are just blurred.

However, this also gives them the ability to detect motion really well. Were you ever amazed by how quickly your dog noticed a squirrel or a cat running?

Can Dogs See In The Dark

Can Dogs See In The Dark


The huge number of rods in the dogs’ eyes gives them another advantage over humans. We’ve already said that the rods register light. However, there is another part that comes into play here, the tapetum.

Commonly knows as tapetum lucidum. It’s a tissue layer behind the eye retina. It reflects the light back into the retina so it increases the number of photons the retina registers. [Source]

This is how dogs and many other animals are able to see in the dark. Also, the reason why they have dark green shiny eyes when they are photographed in the dark with a flashlight.

[Related Article: 13 Eye Catching Dog Breeds With Blue Eyes In The World]

How Does The World Look To A Dog

Well, now that we know what makes up a dog’s vision, we can talk about how it sees the world. This is a question that we do not have an exact answer to. We know that they only see things that are near and that they mostly see shades of blue and yellow.

With VR technology uprising, we can maybe get a glimpse of what it’s like. A content creator has already tried to demonstrate this. Check out the video below.

In this video, we have a good representation of how dogs see the world. But there are things missing, dogs also rely on smelling and hearing. The thing is, dogs do not rely on their vision as much as we think.

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Their vision mostly serves for detecting something that’s up close and in motion. They use their nose and ears to locate objects and experience the world. So, we can’t really talk about how dogs see the world without including smelling and hearing.

In fact, most dogs have their eyes and nose down to the ground when looking for something. This is because they rely on their other senses more than their eyes. Dogs actually have a stereo smell which means they can smell with each nostril separately. They are able to remember and smell 100 million more scents than us. [Source]

Related Questions And Other FAQs

How Do Dogs See Human Faces

Dogs are able to recognize human faces although not that clearly. They can recognize emotions and remember a face but that’s not what they focus on. Dogs focus on the scents around humans, looking at faces is not really their thing.

What Do Dogs See In Their Owners

Dogs can see and recognize their owners really well. They can recognize their owner’s smell from far away. Dogs see their owners not only as a loved one but as family members.

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