Husky Vision: A Complete Guide & Veterinary Insight

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

Huskies are very intelligent and have amazing senses, but just how good is husky vision, and how does it compare to our own?

Huskies not only have beautiful eyes, but they also have excellent vision. While their color vision, distance vision, and visual acuity are inferior to humans, they have other features that dramatically surpass our own. Their motion, night, and peripheral vision are drastically superior to humans.

Read on to discover how good a husky’s vision is and what makes their vision different from ours.

Do Huskies Have Good Vision?

Huskies have excellent vision.

Although they are susceptible to some eye defects (read below), they have many abilities that outcompete not only other dogs but humans as well.

Compared to humans and other breeds, healthy huskies have superior vision in a few different categories, listed below:

  • Night vision
  • Peripheral vision
  • Motion vision

Can Huskies See In The Dark?

In traditional settings, huskies would often pull a sled through dark, arctic conditions. Since they can perform for their owners in the Alaskan winters, it raises the question: do huskies have night vision?

Unfortunately, huskies do not have night vision, but they are capable of seeing in the dark much better than humans.

3 Factors That Allow Huskies To See Better In The Dark

Here are some of the adaptations that allow huskies to see better in the dark.

1. Large Pupils

First, huskies have larger pupils than humans. Pupils change in size depending on how much light needs to get into the eye. Hence, when it’s dark out, our pupils are very dilated.

Since dogs have larger pupils than humans, they can let more light in than we are, which allows them to process objects in the dark better.

2. More Light-Sensitive Rods

In addition to having larger pupils, huskies also have more rods. Light-sensitive rods are the tools that their eyes use to perceive light.

Since huskies have more of these rods within their eye, they need less light to see clearly.

3. Use Of Their Tapetum Lucidum

Huskies, like other dogs, are able to use their tapetum lucidum more effectively, which allows them to reflect more light onto their retinas.

This means they are able to see reflect more light in dark situations, improving their vision.

So, huskies don’t have night vision in the literal sense, but they can see much better in the dark than humans can due to adaptations in their eyes.

How Far Can Huskies See?

Although our huskies beat us in the night vision category, we definitely have them beat in distance vision. Huskies are near-sighted and can’t see nearly as far as we can.

Whereas a human with healthy eyes has 20/20 vision, a dog with health vision has 20/75 vision. This means that an object we can see clearly from 75 feet away won’t become clear to our husky until it is only 20 feet away.

This is important if you use an extendable leash for your husky as they may not be able to see you properly if you get too far away.

Husky Peripheral Vision

On another note, huskies have excellent peripheral vision.

While Humans usually can see at a 180-degree angle when looking straight forward, Huskies can see much more. On average, Huskies have a field vision of approximately 250 degrees, just like other dogs.

So, while your husky might not be able to see as far as you can, they definitely have superior field vision.

Are Huskies Color Blind?

Another misconception about husky vision is that they are color blind. Luckily, they are not. While huskies see different hues than us, they aren’t entirely color blind.

Here are the colors your husky can’t see:

  • Reds, or any varied red hue (including pink)
  • Orange, or any varied orange hue
  • Greens, or any varied green hue

That means that if you have a red toy and a green toy, they look the same to your husky.

What Colors Can Huskies See?

However, huskies can see other colors.

With healthy vision, a husky sees varied yellow, blue, violet, and gray tones. Thus, the grass is more of a yellow hue to them, while sunsets are likely brown and blue.

So, contrary to popular belief, huskies don’t actually see in black and white.

How Clear Can My Husky See?

In addition to seeing colors more vaguely than humans, huskies also don’t have as great visual acuity.

On average, healthy huskies can see 20-40% as clear as their owner. Moreover, an object you can distinguish from your surroundings at 90 feet away, your husky cannot differentiate until the object is only 20 feet away.

However, huskies rely on their motion vision more than clarity.

Through their increased peripheral vision and night vision, they can detect the motion of an object much faster than their human counterpart.

Common Husky Eye Problems

Although huskies are often bred for their striking eyes, genetic disorders affecting the eyes are common for this breed.

The most common hereditary defects are juvenile cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, and corneal dystrophy.

1. Juvenile Cataracts

While cataracts usually start to appear in a huskies old age, this breed can sometimes develop them as a juvenile. More specifically, it’s estimated that 10 percent of the breed’s population is affected by this disorder.

The first signs of juvenile cataracts are dullness in the eyes of young puppies as young as three months.

2. Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy, or PRA, is a hereditary set of defects in the retina portion of the eye. This defect causes the retina in the eye to slowly lose its function, causing the husky to lose vision over 1-2 years.

While only 1% of huskies end up with this eye defect, it is important to test for it. Luckily, it can be easily avoided and tested for. It is hereditary, so usually, breeders will take huskies found with this defect out of breeding programs.

It is also sex-linked, so it’s mainly found in male dogs.

Early signs of PRA are night blindness, more reflection of tapetum, and dilated pupils.

3. Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy affects 3% of huskies and is defined by the unusual material deposits within the dog’s cornea. While huskies are prone to this condition, females are more affected than males.

Early signs include the unusual white material collection in the center of their cornea and foggy vision.

Do Huskies With Different Colored Eyes Have Vision Problems?

Huskies commonly have two different-colored eyes, formally known as heterochromia. While this feature is stunning, it leads some owners to worry about the health of their husky’s eyes.

Husky with bi-colored eyes

Fortunately, heterochromia does not affect the health of a husky’s eyes, and they are no more likely to suffer from any eye issues than other huskies.

The only feature that does make a husky more susceptible to eye damage is the lightness of their eyes. Studies have shown that light-colored eyes are more vulnerable to UV damage, leading to cataracts.

Can Huskies Go Blind?

Huskies can go blind, and as we mentioned before, nearly 10% of huskies are affected by canine cataracts.

This is why regular veterinary appointments are so important. Canine cataracts can develop at different speeds, and once fully developed, canine cataracts can lead to blindness in severe cases.

In other cases, visual impairment is common. Don’t worry too much, though; there are procedures that can be done to remove cataracts in huskies.

Summing It Up

So, a husky’s vision is not necessarily better or worse than its owners – it just has different advantages.

Therefore, when walking together, a husky and human companion make the perfect team.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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