Can Australian Shepherds See In The Dark?

You have probably already noticed that your Australian Shepherd‘s eyes look very ghostly and green at night. The green reflection is called tapetum lucidum (a light reflective surface). And many people believe that dogs have a superior eyesight, but is it true? Can Australian Shepherds see in the dark?

Can Australian Shepherds see in the dark? Well, it is believed that dogs see around 5 times better in the dark than humans. They have better forbearance, more targeted perception and faster visual reflexes. However, in a completely dark room, dogs are just as blind as humans.

How Well Can Australian Shepherds See in the Dark?

Although a dog‘s eyes are not as sensitive as cats, they see much better than humans in low light. This is because the cornea of the animal is very large. As a result, the pupil orifice can reach a considerable size, which increases the amount of light reaching the light-sensitive retina in poor night lighting conditions.

Also, below the retina is a reflective membrane, called a tapestry. It like a mirror, directs the light rays that reach it back to the receptors and increases their level of excitation. This has an effect similar to increasing the brightness and contrast of the image.

Why Your Australian Shepherd‘s Eyes Glow in the Dark

An Australian Shepherd‘s eyes glow green in the dark when light comes in, because it is reflected from the tapetum lucidum, which us humans do not have. Tapetum is a special layer that acts as a mirror and reflects the light that enters it. A dog‘s glowing eyes can come in all shades. Green, blue, orange, and even red. Glowing red eyes, which can be particularly scary, are the result of light reflections from blood vessels.

Safety Is Important in the Dark

Safety is especially important in the dark. Only let your Australian Shepherd off the leash if it can be retrieved with absolute certainty. Sometimes you may not notice the scrap of food or rubbish on the ground that your dog will quickly grab. A flashlight may help you to see what is edible, before your Aussie has it between their teeth.

When walking at night, it is also important that you make yourself and your Australian Shepherd visible. In this way, other dog owners, drivers, cyclists or passers-by can react in good time. Luminous collars are especially rescue on unlit roads or tracks.

Dog Equipment Checklist For an Evening Walk

  • Luminous collars:

Luminous elements ensure that the collar is visible, because with long-haired dogs it can be partially covered. Collars for the dark season are equipped with special effects such as light strips or flashing lights.

  • Reflective dog jackets and harness:

Compared to collars, reflective dog jackets cover a larger area of your dog‘s body and thus increase visibility in the dark. Most of the time, raincoats or winter coats for dogs have reflective elements included.

  • Reflective leash:

Reflective leash makes the connection to your dog, so other road users can see that your and your dog are a team.

How Do Dogs See?

Dogs see the world very much like humans. They have a much wider vision. Human vision only reaches those objects that are exactly to the side, 90° from the front to rear axle. A dog with elongated skull – such as Australian Shepherd has a field of view that can be called panoramic: a total of 270°.

In addition, due to the many receptors on the surface of the retina, these dogs can see even the slightest movement. They do not have to look in the direction of a moving object. They can easily observe it when it is at the edge of the field of view.

Dogs, compared to humans, have very little ability to adapt. It means, they have little ability to adjust the eye to alternate between near and far objects. Most varieties see objects perfectly at greater distances. However, they have a problem distinguishing the details of close objects (in humans, such a visual feature is treated as a defect – farsightedness).

When trying to check if a dog is seeing it is necessary to use their innate ability to see even if the slightest movement. Even if a dog‘s vision is blurred due to some disease or defect, it usually responds to rapid movement in the field of vision. The problem may be determining whether both eyes are performing their function. However, if the test object is in the dog‘s ear area, only one eye will be able to see its movement. Of course, such a study is indicative only.

Are Australian Shepherds Color Blind?

To understand our Australian Shepherds, we need to imagine not only how they think, what they feel, but also what feelings they follow. The most important of these senses is smell, but the dog‘s vision raises the most questions for the owners.

Most have heard that dogs do not see colors, but subsequent research has shown that this is not entirely true. Dogs see colors, but not as bright and less than humans see.

Most colorblind people do not see multiple colors, although other colors are distinguished. Most people in the retina lack one of three receptor types, while all dogs have only two. Instead of the rainbows we know (purple, blue, blue-green, green, yellow, orange, red) dogs see dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, dark yellow (almost brown), and very dark gray. In other words, dogs see a yellow, blue, and gray world.

Interesting and strange, the most popular colors for dog toys are red and bright orange. Although these two colors are hard to see for the dog. Red looks like a very dark gray or even black, almost no different from a green lawn. The next time your dog passes by a dropped toy, think about the color of the toy before accusing your Aussie‘s blindness or unwillingness to play. Blue and yellow are the best choices for a dog.


In the dark, Australian Shepherd or any other dog see better than we do. They have large corneas and pupils that are adapted to collect as much light as possible. In addition, they have a light-reflecting mirror membrane at the back of the eye. Because of it, the eyes of dogs and cats shine with lights in their photos and at night. Dogs see in extremely poor lighting, but not as well as cats.

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