Can beagles see in dark?


Beagle standing in dark

Yesterday I woke up in the middle of the night for water and saw that my beagle was playing around. This made me wonder, can beagles see in the dark?

Beagles cannot see everything clearly in the darkness, but they can see a lot better than humans. Their eyes have a higher number of light-sensitive cells that help them see much better in dim light situations.

We will further look into how your beagle sees in the darkness and also understand the elements that make their vision better than us.

Can beagles see in total darkness?

You might have heard the myth that dogs can see in the night as clear as day. Well, that’s not true. Beagles do have better night vision than humans, but it has its limitations. Beagles cannot see in complete darkness as clear as day. But they will be able to see everything in much more details than you.

Beagles eye reacts to light reflections, their eyes instantly take in all the reflective lights and increase their vision power. The tapetum lucidum gives dogs the ability to locate objects in dim light.

The lights reflecting from their tapetum lucidum allows them to make their surrounding environment more illuminated than otherwise. In short, there has to be some light available to reflect so that the vision can be enhanced. However, this reflective mechanism has its downfalls.

Your Beagle’s eyes glow in dim light becuase of Tapetum Lucidu.

This mechanism reflects 130 times more light than human eyes. The scattering of the intense light results in low quality of the visual details, which results in a poor image in the retina. This is why beagles can’t see well in complete darkness, and they need reflecting lights.

This is How Beagles see in Darkness

Beagles see in dark

As you can see in the above image, beagles can see everything in much more details at night than you. They even sense both moving and stationary objects in darkness.

Beagles may stumble upon the thing in the darkness, but they cannot see everything clearly.

Beagle may see better in dim light, but they cannot distinguish the difference between red, green, and yellow. You can read more about it in Can Beagles See Colors.

Why can Beagles see Better than Humans?

Dogs are said to be the direct descendants of wolves. Wolves, as we all know, live in the wild and survive by hunting. Evolution has gifted them with better night vision so that they can hunt at night.

Even though modern dogs have been domesticated, they still inherit the ability to see better in the dark. Their retina has motion, and light-sensitive cells called a rod. This ability is passed on by their ancestral wolf DNA.

Let’s have a look into the elements that contribute to their advanced vision.

1. Eye structure

Any creature’s ability to see in the darkness stems from the structure of their eyes. Beagles have large pupils, and this helps in better vision. Bigger pupils allow them to absorb more light and see better. They have a high number of rod photoreceptors in their eyes compared to humans, which makes their eyes flexible to reflect a low concentration of light through their retina.

2. Visual Capability

Visual capability is a mixture of light and motion detection, the perspective of width and depth, visual acuity, etc.

3. Sensitive to light

Dogs have a peak sensitivity to light of a wavelength of 505 and 510 nm, whereas humans have a much shorter wavelength of approx 490 nm.

The sense of sight is powered by the key components of cones and rods. Cone photoreceptor allows beagles to have a slightly colored vision. They can see color, but only specific ones and the actual number of cone photoreceptors decide the range of shades they can see.

They have two photopigment populations, which allows them to see blue tones clearly and warmer tones like red, yellow, and green with difficulty.

Rod photoreceptors, when teamed up with cones they allow beagles to see even in low light. They provide a peripheral vision for both humans and dogs.

4. Sensitive to motion

Let’s get a little technical here. According to a study in 1936 on dogs’ visual performance, dogs can sense a moving object from a distance of 850 to 900m and stationary objects at a distance of 590m.

This proves that dogs are sensitive to motion. Plus, photoreceptors and the cones are well suited for detecting moving objects and shapes even in the dark.

5. Perspective about width and depth

They have a specific view of the depth and width of the field. They have a high-quality depth perspective; thus, they can easily estimate distance and catch fast-moving or flying objects.

6. Visual Acuity

Visual acuity is different from light sensitivity and motion. It refers to the ability of the retina to process and interpret a high-quality image. In short, it refers to the ability of eyes to generate a focused image.

If you are interested, you can read more about the Vision of Dog.

Final Thoughts

You may be disappointed if you were expecting your beagle to have night vision like an owl. But they are a much better vision and ability to detect motion than us.

Raaj Mehta

I am a parent of two adorable beagles and I share everything I learn about them, along with lots of tips, tricks, and advice.

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