In various blogs we have been talking about the wavelengths used in the industry for inspection as in the case of thermography and hyperspectral cameras, so following this thread today we are going to tell you a curiosity that, surely, will surprise you, and is that how do dogs see?

Debunking the myth

It is widely believed that dogs can only see in black and white. This is because they do not have the same light receptors that humans have and that allow us to see in the typical color range of colors. For our part, humans have three types of color sensors, called cones, and each one is responsible for capturing a different color: blue, green and red. These colors are those of the globally used RGB scale (Red, Green, Blue), the same one used by the vision cameras that we use in our projects.

Because humans have these three types of cones, the most common vision technologies try to reproduce them, and that is why camera systems usually record in RGB scale.

As we well know, from these three colors any other can be obtained, and then there are black and white, which correspond to the absence or presence of all colors at the same time respectively. The CMYK scale may sound more familiar to many of you, where the fundamental colors are cyan, magenta and yellow, but in reality both scales are complementary.

This is where the myth that dogs see in black and white is based, since by not having the same receptors or colored cones that we do, it was assumed that they could only capture the presence or absence of color, to a greater or lesser extent, viewing in a grayscale.

However, dogs, although they do not have the three types of cones that people have, they do have two of them, specifically green light and blue light receptors. This makes them actually able to distinguish some colors, seeing everything on a scale between yellow and blue.

Physical foundation

Once we have learned that dogs actually see certain colors, we are going to delve a little deeper into the bases of this fact. It is curious that just the three types of cones capture the RGB colors that are fundamental, and with which all other colors can be created.

This, however, when looking at the wavelength of the three colors, is not a coincidence, since they are located at the ends and the center of the visible wavelength range: red 700 nm, green 530 nm and blue 430 nm. .

Night vision

Dogs have less visual acuity than humans, however they can see perfectly at night, as if everything was illuminated.


Humans have color receptors and another type of receptor, called rod. These rods are responsible for capturing light from the environment, being capable of detecting the energy of a single photon.

While it is true that humans have more types of cones than dogs, they in turn have many more rods than humans. This fact allows them to capture light more easily, and therefore they have better vision in low light conditions.

In addition, they have a layer on their eyes, similar to a mirror, that reflects the rays of light, allowing the rods to capture it more easily. This layer is also the one that causes their eyes to light up when taking a photo.

Kinetic vision

Through kinetic vision, dogs are able to capture movements more slowly than humans.

As we have mentioned, the poles are in charge of capturing the light, they are also in charge of detecting movement. Therefore, dogs having a greater number of canes have a greater ability to capture movements, reducing the time between visual stimuli. This means that they see things at a different speed than humans, having a greater number of visual stimuli and processing them faster.

In short, it is as if for them life passes in slow motion, which makes it much easier for them to calculate speeds, trajectories or distances of moving objects.

Other visions of the animal world

The vision of dogs is unusual for human beings, but we must not forget that in nature evolution has chosen very different paths depending on the animal, and there are other types of visions:

  • Vision of the eagle: they are one of the animals that have the best visual acuity, because they are the ones that have the greatest number of cones, and therefore detect the greatest amount of light and its variations.
  • Vision of the gecko: it is known that geckos can see very well at night, but in reality they are able to distinguish even colors in the dark. This is because their eyes are about 350 times more sensitive to color than those of humans, giving them an exceptional ability to see colors.

Did you find the blog interesting? Do you want to know more about vision and wavelengths? Do not hesitate and contact us!

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