Do Dogs Recognise Through Sight or Smell?

  • Dec 05, 2022
  • By Sri Priya
  • 0 Comment

The question of whether dogs recognise though sight or smell has been debated for a long time. Our furry friends show certain traits and do things that make it hard for humans to decide which sensor is their strong suit. Thanks to evolution, doggos have stellar olfactory prowess when compared to us humans. They will be sure to find that one long-forgotten treat that’s buried under the sofa. At the same time, they also stare deeply into the eyes of the person they love and not break eye contact for a long time.

Which one is Stronger: Sight or Smell?

If you are a pet owner then you must have noticed that your floof always knows when you’re coming home even if you haven’t done anything to alert them of your presence. The simple fact is that dogs usually tend to have a smelling radius of roughly 20 km. So that’s one point for Smell and none for Sight. Here are some other interesting points to keep in mind:

  • Dogs' eyesight is slightly on the disadvantageous side because they do not have the ability to see a lot of colours. Unlike humans who have the cones to see the RGB (red, green, blue) colour spectrum, our doggos can only see YB (yellow, blue). This makes them heavily rely on their sense of smell. 
  • Research has shown that dogs can smell items that don’t even have a specific odour relating to it. The saying ‘dogs don’t forget smells’ seems quite substantial.
  • Your pup(s) can also figure out the way back home, sense if there are other dogs in the vicinity and if you are anxious all thanks to their superior olfactory sense.


Why Does My Dog Have a Wet Nose?

New pet parents often are curious as to why their furry baby has a wet nose all the time. Dogs need a wet nose to retain the particles in the air and sniff the smell better. The moisture helps retain the particles and give dogs extra time to process the smell. So there is no need to worry about the constant wet snoot of your pup.

Facts about Dog’s Sense of Smell

While we have established that a pup’s sense of smell is better than their sight, here are a few interesting facts that will blow your mind.

  • Dogs possess 220 million olfactory receptors, unlike humans who only have 50 million.
  • Floofs not only possess a higher number of receptors but they can also control their nostrils in order to independently detect the direction of the smell.
  • They also have a special organ in the roof of their snout closely located near the opening of the nasal cavity. This organ, also known as the Jacobsen’s organ, helps dogs to quite literally detect things in the air rather than smell things in the air. 
  • You must’ve noticed dogs panting sometimes while smelling because they can detect more smell through the extra organ and detect things that humans cannot.
  • As a final fun fact, your furry friend has a specific smelling chamber that breaks down each smell and understands the make-up of the smell with very high intensity. 



Dogs are gifted with the ability to not only smell a wider distance but also break down and understand the chemical make-up of each smell. That is why dogs can be trained to sniff out drugs and become an official part of the police force. To answer the age old question of ‘Do dogs recognise through sight or smell?’, we can safely say that their sense of smell is better evolved than their vision. 


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