How do dogs see color

In the eyes of a dog the world is in white and in various shades of grey. This is due to the fact that dogs are believed to have no ability to see colors. Dogs are highly valued for their ultrasensitive senses. Dogs have protected humans using their excellent scenting and hearing abilities. Sighthounds are breeds highly valued for their excellent vision. One of the advantages of dogs over humans is the ability to see well in the dark . Humans therefore can sleep soundly at night, unmindful of intruders as long as there is a dog is in the house.

It is really quite surprising that in spite of these heightened senses, dogs were once believed to have no capability to distinguish colors. Dogs can see color but the colors they can distinguish are fewer than what humans can see. Canine vision was studied in the University of California and it was proven that although a dog’s capability to see colors is not as detailed as human’s, dogs can indeed see colors. Of course due to the less detailed vision, a dog may not be able to appreciate a bright red ball given that in the eyes of the dog the color of the ball would either be black or brownish gray.

Humans and dogs are very similar in genetics. Dogs like humans have cone photoreceptors cells that catch the light and manage color perception. The only difference is that while humans have three of these special cells, a dog’s eye only has two. The three cones in our eyes delivers 100% full range vision while dogs have approximately 20% range of color vision as they lack on cone. This makes the dog’s vision about six times less inferior than human vision.

The violet, blue, blue green, green, yellow, orange and red colors of the rainbow would be seen by a dog as blue, light blue, grey, light yellow, brownish yellow and dark grey. This means that in the eyes of a dog, the world is basically colored in blue, grey and yellow. Surprisingly, dogs have the ability to see the subtle differences in the shades of blues and violets.

The yellow pigmentation in the human eyes that blocks short wavelengths and reduces the eyes’ sensitivity to blue and violet eyes is the reason why humans do not have the ability to distinguish the slight changes in the shades of violets and blues. Dogs have an enhanced ability to see various shades of light and blue as the eyes of dogs do not have this yellow pigmentation.

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