Have you ever wondered if dogs see in the dark? Your pup’s sight is actually quite different from yours! In order to understand how your doggie detects the world around him, it’s important to first comprehend how humans do. People see the world in color because most of us have three types of color receptor cones in our eyes. The receptors detect red, green, and blue, plus the different intensities and proportions of those colors. This information is then pieced together by the brain to create the colorful world around us as we know it.

Do Dogs See in Black and White?

While your canine’s color vision is somewhat limited and different than ours, they do see color. Dogs have dichromatic color perception. Meaning they have only two color receptors: yellow and blue. This doesn’t mean they can’t see red or green, just that they can’t recognize the difference between certain objects based solely on color. They would rely on the perceived brightness of objects to differentiate them.

Similar to a person suffering from deuteranopia (red/green color blindness), dogs perceive red, yellow and green as one hue. Blue and purple are perceived as a second hue and aqua and magenta are seen as a gray or neutral tone.

Can Dogs See in the Dark?

Though your pup can’t see well in the dark, they can see well in dim lighting. This is due to the structure of their eyes; dogs have large pupils which allow for more light to come in. Furthermore, their rods (light and motion sensitive cells inside the retina) easily distinguish light from shadow. And like cats, dogs’ eyes have a mirror-like membrane called the “tapetum lucidum” which takes in more light, allowing them to see better at night. Conversely, in bright light, dogs see the world a bit blurry. According to specialists, canines’ visual acuity is only about 20/75, but this is also dependent on breed.

Dogs Explore the World Through Smell

Though they can’t enjoy, with clarity, the colorful visuals we can, don’t feel bad for your little buddy. Dogs actually have several sense-based advantages to us. For example, your furry friend can spot fast moving objects (like prey) much easier and faster than a human can. Additionally, dogs have a far wider field of view due to the positioning of their eyes. And don’t even get us started on their sense of smell! Our noses can’t compare to the way a dog’s can explore and discover the world through their snout. Their olfactory receptors are estimated to be up to 100 million times more sensitive than ours!

So, the next time your pup can’t find his yellow toy in your green yard, you’ll understand why!