How do dogs see humans? If you have dog this is something you have probably wondered sometime. When you have your four-legged friend around you he can look at you and make you think, what should he be thinking right now. We were thinking about this as well so decided to figure it out!
How dogs see colors
Let’s start of by talking about the colors. Dogs see colors in a very different way then humans. Some say dogs are color blind or only see black and white. This is actually not 100% true. Dogs see colors very different, but they see everything different. The colors they see are more flat. You can compare it with a haze in front of your eyes. As an illustration, the image below shows the color spectrum of a human and a dog. Weird isn’t it?
So dogs can see colors, but as said the colors are more flat and not so bright. Besides that they can’t see all colors. Do you want to read more about the way dogs see colors? You can read it all in this blog about the way dogs see color!
What do dogs think when they see us?
Dogs don’t only look at us. They also have an amazing smell, so the smell of humans is a recognition as well. But this still doesn’t really answer the question how dogs see us. Dogs really see humans, especially there caretakers, as true friends. That is also the reason why your dog might go crazy when there are other people in your house. They want to protect their humans at all cost. They can really feel a bond, just like how we feel a bond with our dog. Dogs are also capable of noticing the mood you’re in. When you are sad you probably had your dog sitting next to you. Dogs can feel your not in a right mood and will come close to “protect” you.
It is hard to understand how this is possible. Dogs are very focused on the eyes and the face in general of humans. Because we have a lot of facial expressions dogs can read our face. There is something called the “theory of mind”, this explains the way someone else experiences the world. This theory we see in dogs as well. They look at a humans face to determine what you will do and anticipate to this.
Why do dogs see humans this way?
The reasons for this nest a very long time back in the history. The dog – then still a wolf – was the first animal to be domesticated by humans. Recently it turned out that dog and man have been together for so long that they have gone through a good part of their evolution together. A wolf was found that lived some 35,000 years ago and had the same ancestors as our modern, domesticated dog.
Remember that man came to Europe some 40,000 years ago. So man and wolf had quickly found each other, at a time when humans were still living as hunter-gatherers. In evolution, the brains of man and wolf became attuned to that other species, with which they had contact throughout that period.
The fact that humans and dogs survived with each other all that time, is probably partly due to the enormous team spirit of these purebred pack animals. They love to be together, they do everything together: playing, hunting, sharing prey. Just as wolves can cry when an important group member leaves, so can my dogs sit by the fence when a beloved family member leaves. They then cry a real wolf cry that I never hear from them otherwise.
Want to read more about dogs behavior? Read all our behavior blogs!