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Husky Vision: A Complete Guide

Husky Vision: A Complete Guide

Huskies are known for their striking eyes. Although quite beautiful, some people believe that this feature makes the breed’s vision inferior to other breeds. In addition, others fear that Husky eyes are more susceptible to vision problems later in life.

Luckily, none of these beliefs are true. 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 outcompete 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:

  • Night vision
  • Peripheral vision
  • Motion vision

Can Huskies See at Night?

In traditional settings, Huskies 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. However, they do have adaptations that make them better at seeing at night than humans. Overall, they can see in conditions with 5x less light than we can.

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 better process objects in the dark.

More Light-Sensitive Rods

In addition to having larger pupils, Huskies also have more rods. Light-sensitive rods are the tools that our eyes use to perceive light. Since Huskies have more of these tools within their eye, they need less light to see clearly.

Tapetum Lucidum

Lastly, Huskies have an additional structure in their eye that reflects light back to the retina. Called the “tapetum lucidum,” this structure allows the retina a second opportunity to process any light coming in.

If you’ve ever taken a picture of your Husky with flash, this structure is what causes their eyes to “glow.” Interestingly enough, the color of glow is dependent on breed, age, and other factors.

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 an important aspect for off-leash walks and hikes, as your Husky will not be able to clearly see you if they go too far away.

How are Huskies 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.

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 pal.

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

How Clear Can My Husky See?

In addition to seeing colors more vaguely than humans, Huskies also don’t have as great a 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 Vision Problems in Huskies

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.

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.

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. 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.

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 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.

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.

Final Thoughts

So, a Husky’s vision is not necessarily better or worse than it’s owners – it just has different advantages. Therefore, when walking together, a husky and human companion make the perfect team.

Header image source.