A Dog’s Eye View

Sometimes (well, most times) you walk the dog because he needs to be walked. Sometimes you walk the dog just because it is beautiful outside. Today is a beautiful day. Temperatures are in the mid 70s, spring flowers are blooming, and there is a slight cooling breeze.  You are enjoying the walk. What about the dog? Is he seeing the same beauty that you see?

All my life, I have heard that dogs see only in black and white (and gray, of course). That doesn’t sound very exciting, especially in Springtime. However, toward the end of the 20th Century, experts proposed a new theory, that dogs do see in color, although with color vision still more limited than that of humans.

I though it would be interesting to document what a dog might be really seeing from his perspective.  I tagged along on a dog walk, photographing what I thought was interesting and/or beautiful, but from his elevation (i.e., about 20 inches off the ground).

I found a website, dog-vision.com, that provides an on-line application for converting a human-visible photo into a dog-visible image. This website and application were copyrighted by Andras Peter in 2013. The options I chose were:

  • Deuteranopia (red-green color blindness)
  • Decreased brightness discrimination
  • Reduce visual acuity by a factor of 5

First, I want to thank the dog who allowed me to participate in his walk. He is a lovely, gentle dog, and I am glad to know him.

Dog watching bees watching forsythia

For the record, I will say that he was more interested in the bees flying around the flowers than he was in the flowers themselves.

Needless to say, if the experts are correct, his walk was much less colorful than mine. Where our experiences agreed the most was where shadows and lack of color were prevalent. The comparison images show my view on the left amd his on the right.

The colors that are lost to a typical dog are red and green, being replaced by yellow and blue (and gray and white). I suspect that the beauty of the following images is lost to my canine friend.

Fortunately, yellows and blues (and whites) are plentiful in this Spring season.

So consider yourself lucky if you have yellows or blues in your backyard or on your walk, because you and your dog can both enjoy them. If you don’t? Your dog will enjoy your backyard or the walk, anyway!

3 thoughts on “A Dog’s Eye View”

  1. Fascinating – I wonder how much difference there is between sight in dog breeds, my hound is a “gaze hound bred to hunt by sight and can spot a hare moving in the grass a very long way away, whilst being seemingly very little motivated by smell or sound.

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    1. While I am not an expert, I have read that, even though dogs have poor vision in general, they have an exceptional ability to detect motion.


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