Have you ever wondered what colors dogs can see? It is believed that dogs can only see the colors black and white. However, several studies have denied that theory.
While dogs cannot appreciate all the colors of the rainbow as we do, their world is not black and white as many people think.
Dogs can see colors, but the way they do it is very different from that of humans. In fact, the vision of dogs is dichromatic, which means that their perception of color is limited.
But what colors can dogs see?
Blue and yellow as well as combinations and shades of both. Dogs have dichromatic vision.
Humans and dogs experience color in completely different ways. The human eye has visual cones that allow it to detect three different colors; red, green, and blue.
However, dogs can only appreciate blue and yellow. As mentioned, this limited perception of color is called dichromatic vision.
Although dogs cannot perceive red and the predominant colors of their vision are yellow and blue, they can see a limited amount of color.
Dogs see blue-green and purple, for example, as different shades of blue. Meanwhile, shades of green and red may look more like shades of brown or a grayscale.
What is the difference between the vision of dogs and humans?
The eye has nerve cells to distinguish color, and the retina has two main types of those cells to perform the said task: rods and cones.
Rods are cells that are sensitive to light, and they also detect movement. On the other hand, the cones are in charge of differentiating the colors.
As explained above, the human eye has three types of cones that allow it to distinguish red, blue, and green. But dogs only have two types of cones, being sensitive only to blue and yellow.
However, dogs have more canes. This means that they can see better even in low light and identify moving objects more easily in the dark.
Are dogs color blind?
Many people also believe that dogs are color blind, and it can be said that this is somewhat true.
Color blindness is the term used to describe the inability of a human being to differentiate or see some colors. The cause behind this condition is the abnormality in the eye’s receptors that detect color.
When we talk about human beings, there are two types of color blindness: blue-yellow color blindness and red-green color blindness.
The type of color blindness that a person can suffer depends on which color-sensitive receptors have been affected or are not working properly.
If we say that a person suffers from red-green color blindness, it means they cannot appreciate those two colors.
Therefore, since dogs have yellow-blue dichromatic vision, their vision is quite similar to that of a red-green colorblind person.
Does that mean dogs can’t see other colors?
Well, understanding how dog vision works isn’t that simple. But the answer to this question is a big ‘no.’
Although those adorable furry friends are very good at distinguishing between different shades of blue and yellow, they can’t see green and red very well.
However, the fact that dogs cannot appreciate the whole spectrum of colors that humans usually see does not mean that they cannot perceive different colors.
Actually, what really happens is that dogs do not see the actual color of an object. Red and green shades can look like brownish-gray, dark brown, or even black.
Besides, a dog may see green and orange as slightly yellowish colors. And they won’t be able to distinguish between blue and purple.
Does limited color vision affect a dogs’ life?
Dogs can survive without problems even if they cannot see some colors as the rest of their senses, such as smell and hearing, are very good.
In fact their vision has some advantages, such as a greater field of vision or peripheral vision compared to the human eye. Moreover, thanks to the increased number of rods, they can see perfectly in the dark or in low light environments.
Interestingly, the most popular colors for dog toys today are red or orange, and this can pose a challenge in training and game routines.
However, after a while, dogs can identify various objects by other characteristics. An example is by their smell.
The way dogs view color has been the subject of study for many, many years. The latest research allows us to learn a little more about their visual qualities and understand how they appreciate and perceive certain colors compared to humans and other animals.
Nonetheless, there is still a long way to go. Veterinarians and scientists continue to investigate the interesting vision of dogs, so there may be new and surprising findings regarding this topic in the future.