Dog Questions
can dogs look up dog myths

Can Dogs Look Up? - Myths About Dogs

Written by Ryan Gliozzo


We might think we are sophisticated humans at the peak of technological innovation, but we still ask questions which we somehow acquire from movies or popular culture. Let's take a look at some of these myths today and smash through some common misconceptions.
A close up of a dogs eyes looking up


Since prehistoric times, dogs have been man’s best friend, yet we still don’t know everything there is to know about them.

As human beings, we love stirring facts, manipulating the truth, and forcing our ridiculous misunderstandings to give birth to kooky suspicions and crazy myths.

Our poor dogs also ended up being one of the many victims of our silly idiosyncrasies.

You would think that over the years, we wouldn’t be confused about the apparent aspects of our furry friends.

Yet it is not that hard to come across some crazies that believe bigger dogs are always aggressive, or they are colourblind, and that German Shepards must be trained only in German.

Amongst all the absurd theories out there, a genuine query for most non-dog owners is, ‘Can dogs look up?’

Thankfully Waggel is dedicated to answering all your impawtant questions about our friendly neighbourhood doggos by applying a little common sense and good research.

Have other pertinent questions as a pet owner? Like all about worms in dogs, or how to stop a puppy biting? Or need help with the ins and outs of puppy insurance? Well, we've got a great collection of uber-helpful articles to help you live your best life with your best friend.

Really, Dogs Can't Look Up?

A dog straining its neck to look up

Humans have cooked up a ton of tall stories and fibs when it comes to dogs. Some are harmless and silly, while others are plain misinformation. One of the more understandable and common myths is- can dogs look up?

Now, all dog owners (and most pet owners) would be able to comprehend the level of triviality this question poses.

After all, why wouldn’t a dog be able to look up? How else are we supposed to fall for their irresistible puppy-dog eyes every time and let them snuggle up next to us at night on our beds or when we give them an extra treat?

The misconception probably began with a pretty popular zombie movie from which all these conspiracies, sagas, and kidologies stem.

This is the 2004 film, "Shaun of the Dead", which gave birth to the myth that dogs can’t look up with the dialogue, “Yeah, but Big Al says dogs can’t look up!”

Apparently, according to Simon Pegg’s character, the pub landlord ‘Big Al” could not be trusted because he (Simon Pegg) believed that dogs could not look up. But, interestingly enough, Big Al may not have been entirely off the mark.

The short line from the zombie comedy triggered several thousands of people, pushing them to search the internet to find an answer every month.

Although considering the context of the dialogue- Big Al was supposedly a character that had some funny ideas and wasn’t the best source of information- Al’s words weren’t to be taken too seriously.

At the end of the profound question, ‘can dogs look up?’, the answer (that every dog owner is screaming for Big Al and the world to hear while banging their heads onto a table) is yes.

Yes, but to a certain degree only. So, ‘Big Al’ was almost right (half victory for those who believed Big Al!).

Dogs can be seen directing their eyeballs upwards and lifting their heads skywards as well. If you’ve ever played with a dog and held a treat over their heads, you would know that it will have no trouble tracing their snacks while drooling all over the ground.

But, the dog’s anatomy doesn’t allow them to bend their necks a perfect 90 degrees (like most mammals, including humans!). The dog’s head does not have the same range of motion as a human's. Dog's do have a wider peripheral vision of humans though, so one point to the doggo in this respect!

Behaviorally, dogs tend to have their nose planted to the grass rather than upwards and stay focused on the ground. So, your pups may not look straight up. However, restricted or not, there is no denying that dogs do look up. Hence, myth debunked!

Other dog myths

While on the topic of misconceptions and debunking dog myths, Waggel is here to clear the air!

Dogs can only see in black and white

A dog in black and white

Most people have lived thinking that animals, even cats and dogs, can only view the world in black and white. However, research says otherwise.

In all animals, humans, and dogs alike, a group of specialised cells is responsible for the perception of colour. There are different types of these cells, known as cone photoreceptors, and their types and presence determine the level of colour vision.

The human eye has three cones - red, blue, and green which allow us to see all the colours of the rainbow. On the other hand, dogs only have two kinds of cones sensitive to blue and green light.

So, dogs may have a muted perception of colour (compared to humans), and they have a useful level of colour vision. This dull perception is similar to what humans know as colour blindness.

While dogs can distinguish red from blue, they may get confused between red and green. But being colour blind and only seeing in black and white are two very different things.

So, can dogs only see in black and white? No. Hence, myth debunked!

Dogs eating grass means they're sick

a dog eating grass

The next myth on our list is that dogs eating grass means they are sick.

This common assumption is more relevant than some crazy theories one can encounter while scrolling the internet. New dog-owners can easily get confused and frequently visit the vet’s when they spot their pups chewing on grass.

Some people have guessed that dogs eat grass to relieve an upset stomach.

However, urgently chewing on the grass can lead to dogs vomiting shortly after. But then the question arises- do dogs eat grass because they are already sick, or do dogs become ill after ingesting grass?

Studies point out that less than 25% of the doggie population vomits after consuming grass and so we can cross out the probability that dogs turn to some greeny snacks as a form of self-medication. The point is that most dogs do not get sick after eating grass.

However, dogs eating grass may simply be a digestive need. Grass is a good source of fibre that can supplement roughage in a dog’s diet. Consumption of roughage, especially when it is difficult to pass stool, can help normal bodily functions.

Another reason why dogs chew on grass may be related to typical anxious behaviour. Most dogs focus on their owner’s daily life and routine.

They watch them leave and impatiently wait for their return, alone. While playing outside can be fun, sometimes dogs can get bored alone and nibble on grass leaves to pass the time.

So, if dogs eat grass, does that mean they are sick? Not necessarily. Hence, myth debunked!

One dog year is equivalent to seven human years

a dog in a party hat

A myth that has been around for as long as dogs have been domesticated is that one dog year is equal to seven human years. While no one knows where the myth came from, it has become one of the most popular doggie facts that isn’t exactly true!

According to the myth, each year a dog spends on earth is equivalent to seven years for a human. Say a dog lives to be 12 years old. Then, it will actually be equal to 84 years in a human’s lifespan. Although accurate in its sense, no one knows where this maths comes from.

The problem with the whole proportion is that it does not seem realistic. Priceonomics writes that if this ratio was anywhere near the truth, humans should have been capable of reproduction by seven years old, and the average lifespan would have been 150 years.

To take things further, over the years, several people have put forth their own ratios and connections of a dog’s age to human years. But all of them share a common aspect– they are not practical. Simply put, the 7:1 ratio is a gross oversimplification of how dogs age. So, does one dog year equal seven human years? The answer is no. Hence, myth debunked!


Dogs have remained loyal and by our side for centuries now, and we still can’t help but believe in old spun myths. The problem isn’t the myth itself but the wrong assumptions and decisions dog owners may make because of them, causing all sorts of trouble.

At the same time, some lores make for good giggles like- can dogs look up? Waggel is here to debunk all misconceptions regarding dogs and guide owners to the truth when it comes to their pets.

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