Most of us know that dogs see the world differently than we do, but there are many misconceptions about this that many of us have heard. Do dogs really have excellent vision? Do dogs really see everything in black and white? With advances in technology, we now have resources on the internet and even apps for your phone that can show us what the world looks like through our fur baby’s eyes.
Dogs, contrary to what many of us have heard, do not see the world only in black and white. Their vision is actually most similar to that of a human with “red-green” color blindness. As well as this, a dog’s vision also differs from ours in that it is less sensitive to different shades of gray and levels of brightness.
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COLORS AND BRIGHTNESS
If you take a trip down memory lane to your high school biology class, you’ll remember that our eyes contain 2 kinds of cells that allow us to see…rods and cones. The rods deal with peripheral and night vision…and the cones deal with day vision and reception of colors. Where humans have three types of cones, dogs only have two. This means that they don’t see the same spectrum of color that we do. It is thought that dogs can see colors like yellows and blues the best. They can tell the difference between blues and reds, but have a hard time distinguishing between greens and reds.
Here we see a beautiful autumn scene, full of vibrant colors as a human sees it:
And here we have the same scene the way a dog would see it:
Visual acuity is the measure of how small a detail that is visible can be and still be detected by a person. If you’ve ever had an eye exam or even a physical, you’ll probably remember seeing an eye chart (known as a Snellen Eye Chart). This is the most common way to test visual acuity. If you were to take the test from 20 feet away and score the same score as a person with normal vision at 20 feet away, this means that you have “20/20 vision”. If your vision isn’t that good, you’d need the letters to be larger. If you’re reading letters at 40 feet away that a person with normal vision would read at 20 feet away, then you would have “20/40 vision”.
Scientists obviously couldn’t get a dog to read the letters for this test, so they used a combination of black and gray patterns. After using this method for testing, they found that an average dog has “20/75 vision”, according to Psychology Today. So this scene of a family having a picnic in the park looks like this through our eyes:
But it looks like this through our dogs eyes:
But if you’re feeling sorry for your pup because he has less than stellar vision, you shouldn’t be. Dogs are designed differently than us because they function differently than eyes. In the wild, they use a keen sense of motion tracking while hunting…noticing even the smallest movements. When you add to this their excellent sense of smell and hearing, they actually “see” the world much better than humans do.
If you’d like to have a little fun and see what your dog sees there’s an app for that! “Dog Vision HD is a revolutionary new iPhone app that lets you see the world how your dog sees it. Now “See Like Dog”. Based on scientific research, the app creates a view through your iPhone camera on how dogs see color, acuity and brightness. Not just a fun toy, it can help you see why your pets find a toy more interesting or have problems navigating space.”
If you use a desktop computer or laptop instead of a smartphone, you can use a website called Dog Vision.