Through the eyes of dogs! Have you ever heard someone say that dogs are color blind? A lot of people think that dogs view the world in black, white, and shades of grey. And that’s it. Well, it turns out, research shows that’s not true. Read on to find out how experts know dogs can see some colors, the colors our fur-kids are able to distinguish, and which color is the hardest for our dogs’ eyes to pick up.
Inside Of An Eye
The human eye has three different kinds of light-catching cells called “cones” that respond to color. Together, they allow us to see the full spectrum of the rainbow. Just like people, dogs’ eyes also have cones. The difference? They have fewer cones and only two types. Experts say this suggests dogs can see some colors, but they aren’t as vibrant or intense as we see them.
Jay Neitz, who runs the Neitz Color Vision Lab, took a closer look at canine vision. Through many test trials, dogs were shown three consecutive light panels — two eluminated the same color and the third was different. The goal? Using their snouts, the four-legged participants needed to press the panel that was different in color. If the dog hit the right panel, they got a treat.
Once trained, the dogs completed 200-400 trials in each test session. Results showed dogs can, in fact, see color.
What Colors Can Dogs See?
In the book Do Dog’s Dream? Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You To Know, author Stanley Coren explained:
“Instead of seeing the rainbow as violet, blue, blue green, green, yellow, orange, and red, dogs would see it as dark blue, light blue, gray, dogs would see it as dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, dark yellow (sort of brown), and very dark gray. In other words, dogs see the colors of the world as basically yellow, blue, and gray.”
He wrote that dogs see green as yellow and violet as blue. As far as the color red goes, this is actually one of the most difficult colors for canines to observe. To them, it may appear as either very dark brown or even black.
The following scale by Dog-Vision is a good representation of how humans see the word vs how dogs see the world.
Want to get an even better idea of what your pup sees? Check out this cool tool from Dog-Vision. All you do is load up a photo from your computer and it will reduce the colors to represent a canine’s vision spectrum.