Living day to day with your French Bulldog, it is only natural to become more curious about how your dog sees the world.
Canines and humans have lived side by side for millennia, and yet we still can't put ourselves in their paws in a literal sense. We can only rely on modern technology to give us an approximation of what it might be like to see out of a dog's eyes.
Can French Bulldogs see as people see? How well do Frenchies see in the dark? Learn all about Frenchie's eyesight in this in-depth article.
Can French Bulldogs See In the Dark? The short answer to this question is "yes." However, French Bulldogs certainly cannot see as well as felines and many other non-human species.
Differences Between French Bulldog and Human Eyesight
There are many ways to interpret eyesight, the most basic of which is pupil size. The reason pupil size matters is because the pupil is where the rods (light-sensing cells) are located. More rods equals better low-light vision.
French Bulldogs have larger pupils than people do
As Science Daily explains, Frenchies have larger pupils than we do, which infers they can see slightly better in low light conditions than people can.
Scientists feel fairly confident that dogs see better in low light conditions than people but less well than cats. The current estimate is that your Frenchie's night vision is about five times better than your own.
Scientists guesstimate that cats can see about one degree better than dogs, which would be six degrees better than we can in low light.
French Bulldogs have a retina that is closer to the eye lens
Another way that the French Bulldog's eyes are different than our own is the distance between the retina and the lens of the eye.
In Frenchies, the lens is closer to the retina, which has the effect of making the image reflected brighter to your dog than it is to you.
French Bulldogs have a tapetum and people don't
Dogs and many other species have a special structure in the eye called the tapetum, or tapetum lucidum. The tapetum is like a tiny mirror at the back of the eye. Its function is to reflect light back at the retina and boost low-light vision.
People don't have a tapetum, which is why your dog's eyes glow in low light and your own eyes do not.
See the Eye Glow in French Bulldog Puppies
This YouTube video gives you a good view of the eye glow in a litter of adorable French Bulldog puppies.
As the breeder explains, French Bulldogs can have different eye colors even within a single litter. Some eye colors will glow slightly brighter in the dark because of how much light the eyelets in.
How Canine Evolution Has Adapted Your French Bulldog's Night Vision
As the American Kennel Club (AKC) explains, it is thought that the ancient wild wolf species from which all modern domestic dogs are descended was crepuscular.
Crepuscular is a word that means the animal is most active at dawn and at dusk – in other words, in natural low light conditions.
Eyes specially adapted to see in crepuscular light
Ancient wolves-turned-dogs would have had a natural advantage hunting their prey in lower light conditions since their eyes were adapted to see in dim lighting. This could also have protected them from being preyed upon in turn by larger predators.
Faster flicker fusion frequency
Dogs also have a faster flicker fusion frequency (FFF) than do people.
The FFF is a measurement of how quickly the eye can adapt to flickering light. The faster the adaptation, the better the vision in dim lighting.
Amplified fluorescence improves brightness and color
Remember the tapetum you learned about earlier here? This special addition to the French Bulldog's eyes not only causes your dog's eyes to glow in the dark.
But the tapetum does more than just reflect the light and bounce it back to the retina, increasing visibility in dim light conditions.
According to Dr. Stanley Coren in Psychology Today, the tapetum also actually boosts the lighting and changes the color of the light so it is optimized for the light frequencies the rods in your dog's eyes detect most readily.
Field of vision is enhanced
The range of vision that the eye can detect is commonly called peripheral vision. But the real name in the field of vision.
Because owls can turn their heads nearly all the way around, people commonly assume owls have a 360 field of vision. But owls actually only have about a 110-degree field of vision, and this is because of where their eyes are placed at the front of the head.
As the Owl Pages explains, the field of vision has a lot more to do with where the eyes are located than how far the head can turn.
A human being's field of vision is about 180 degrees. As the AKC explains, a dog's field of vision is about 250 degrees – so quite a bit better than our own.
This is the whole reason why your dog can see up to five times better in the dark than you can.
See the World Through Your French Bulldog's Eyes with Dog Vision
Now, thanks to modern technology, you actually can get a glimpse of what your dog sees when you both look at the same image.
Dog Vision has developed a tool that will approximate what the canine eye sees when looking at an image.
All you have to do is upload an image and the tool will alter it to show you how it would look if you had your dog's eyes. (TIP: Be sure to click on "process" after you upload the image – this will change the image to show you the dog's eye view.)
The Downside to Seeing Better in the Dark: A Frenchie's Eye View
However, before you get too jealous of your French Bulldog's improved night vision, it is important to understand that your dog also had to give up something to get that better night vision.
As you probably noticed if you gave the free Dog Vision tool mentioned earlier here a whirl, your dog sacrificed two things in exchange for better night vision:
French Bulldogs have a narrower color spectrum to their vision
It is a common and still-popular myth that French Bulldogs are color blind. But in fact, canines are not truly color blind. Rather, they are color limited.
Your French Bulldog can see some colors, but they are not as intense, vibrant, or varied as the colors you see.
As Dog Vision explains, your own vision is trichromatic. This means you have three cones in your eyes dedicated to sensing and decoding color.
Your Dog's vision is dichromatic, which means your dog only has two color processing cones. So your dog doesn't really process the red-green color spectrum. Reds turn to greys. Greens turn to yellows.
French Bulldogs see with less sharpness
Another sacrifice dogs had to make was the clarity or sharpness of their vision. While dogs can see better at night, what they see is blurred.
Understanding how your dog sees the world by day and night is just one more way you can feel closer to your French Bulldog.
As a freelance pet writer and blogger, Shannon is passionate about crafting knowledge-based, science-supported articles that foster healthy bonds of love and respect between people and animals. But her first and very most important job is as a dog auntie and cockatiel, tortoise, and box turtle mama.