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Dogs vision vs human vision

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Dogs vision vs human vision, which is the best? Dogs and humans share very similar worlds in terms of vision. 

Unlike the sense of smell which is dominated by the dog, our senses of sight provide us both with views of the world that look alike, we can see what they see and they see what we see.

But there are some interesting differences.

Can dogs see close up?

Dogs have less fibres than humans do in the optic nerves. This is the area that carries information from the eye to the brain.

What this means is that in certain areas dogs are less effective than humans. The nerves in a human eye connect to a single eye cell, whereas in a dog a nerve connects to several cells.

This means that the dog has less detail in his vision than a human does.

If you were able to take your dog to an optician for any eye test then he would give the dog a rating of about 20/75 vision – a good standard in humans is 20/20.

What this means is that the dog can see something in detail that is 20 feet away, but you see the same item, in the same or better detail if it were 75 feet away.

dogs vision vs human vision

Dogs have trouble focusing on things that are closer than 1 foot from their faces.

Dogs’ vision is superior when:

It is dark. A dog’s eyes are far better when light levels are low, this is a hereditary quality of a species who hunted at nighttime.

If you have ever shone a torch towards your dog at night and the beam has hit his face then you’ll have noticed the glow that comes from his eyes.

This glow is caused by special cells behind the retina that reflect unabsorbed light enabling a dog to see well when the light levels drop.

Dogs also have a wider field of vision, due, in part to the shape of their skulls, meaning that some breeds can see slightly behind them.

There is also some suggestion that dogs can see some parts of ultraviolet light and also detect magnetic effects on some types of light too.

Do different breeds of dogs see differently?

There are some differences between some breeds of dogs that provide different breeds with different vision qualities.

Short nosed dogs are better at close up vision while long nosed dogs are better at long range sight and have wider fields of view.

Dogs such as pointers and setters with long skulls have good long distance vision which aids them in chasing and catching distant birds and other prey.

How does dog color vision compare to humans?

Humans have vision that is sensitive to red, blue and green light wavelengths, whereas dogs are tuned into blue and yellow light waves.

Dogs are not colour blind per se and do see colours but they do struggle to deal with red/green mixes which is why, if your dog does not fully work with his nose, he will find it difficult to see and red toy on green grass.

In many ways this is similar to the colour blindness that is experienced in many humans which is often call red/green deficiency.

Dogs struggle to detect differences between red and orange and yellow which is why TV programmes such as Dog TV use colours that are suitable for dogs to watch and enjoy.

Motion and speed of vision

Have you ever played fetch with your dog or seen a dog catch a frisbee?

Dogs are able to process their visual information more quickly than human beings. This is likely to be another hereditary trait from hunting fast moving game such as rabbits and hares.

The speed of the dog’s vision means that it sees fast moving things moving at about a quarter of the speed that a human would, so, in effect, it appears slowed down making interception easier.

The best way to describe it from a human viewpoint is to think about what happens when you are in a dark room with a strobe light flashing. Items moving in the room appear to be jerky or moving more slowly.

It is a similar effect for your dog.

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Conclusion – Dogs vision vs human vision

On the subject of dogs vision vs human vision, the two share very similar qualities and are, surprisingly, not that different.

Humans are superior at long distance and close up vision whereas dogs are better when it is dark or when things are moving quickly.

When combined with their sense of smell, dogs probably have the advantage.

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Last update on 2022-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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