The Not So Colorful World Of A Dog

The world as seen in the eyes of a dog will be in white and in different shades of grey. It was once believed that dogs do not have the ability to see colors. Dogs have ultrasensitive senses. A dog’s sensitive scenting and hearing abilities is what makes them outstanding guard dogs. Excellent vision is what makes sighthounds outstanding hunters. Dogs are claimed to have the ability to see better in the dark as well . With dog that taking on the guarding duty, the people in the house can have a good nights rest.

It is really quite surprising that in spite of these heightened senses, dogs were once believed to have no capability to distinguish colors. Dogs do have the ability to see colors but not in the same way humans can. A study on canine vision conducted in the University of California has proven the fact that dogs can see colors but their vision as compared to human’s vision is less detailed. Yes, Fido cannot appreciate the new bright red ball as to the eyes of the dog the new toy would appear to be a hard to see black or dark brownish gray ball.

It is said that the genetics of dogs and humans are similar. 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. Because dogs only have two cone photoreceptors, their color vision range is only 20% of what humans have. This makes a dog’s vision about six times inferior than what we humans have.

The ROYGBIV colors of the rainbow will be seen by the dog as blue, light blue, grey, light yellow, brownish yellow and dark grey. The world, as seen by the dog will be in yellow, grey and blue colors. Given the dog’s limited vision for color, it is quite surprising that our loyal companions can distinguish the subtle alterations of colors that creates different shades of blue 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.

Find out more about how dogs see color and dog first aid at Sarah’s Dogs.