When people talk about dogs, in most cases they assume that they are colorblind. It is true that they don’t see things same as we do. But, that doesn’t mean that dogs see only black, white and grey. Without any colors, the world wouldn’t be such a nice place to live, would it? So, to the question are dogs colorblind, the answer is no. I guess you are now wondering. How do dogs see the world then? Keep reading and find out!
If you are also interested in cats, check out this article: Cat Vision – How cats see the world?
Are dogs colorblind? The answer is no.
Yes, dogs really do see fewer colors than we humans do. But, that doesn’t mean they don’t see colors at all. So, what colors do they see? Belief that dogs can’t see colors at all is a myth that people believed in for a very long time. Today, we can compare dog vision with a vision of red-green colorblind people (according to research conducted by Jay Neitz). People usually have three types of cones in their eyes, while dogs have only two (cones are photoreceptor cells in eyes that are responsible for color vision). Each type of cone registers a different light wavelength. People that have red-green color blindness also have only two types of cones in their eyes, or they have all three but one of them is damaged. But, how does that look like?
If something is red, dogs will perceive it as dark brown. Also, if something is yellow, orange or green, dogs will see something similar to yellow. Furthermore, if something is blue-green, like rivers, it will look gray to dogs. And, things that are purple, appear to be blue for them. From this, you can see that dogs can see colors, only not in the same way as we can. But, that doesn’t mean we are superior than them when it comes to vision.
What can you do
Without knowing this, many people make some mistakes when it comes to buying toys, bowls and other things for their dogs. Red and orange really are beautiful and happy colors, but they are not so beautiful for your dog. Because of that, next time you are out buying something for your dog, try to search for yellow and blue objects. Your dog will love it! Instead of red ball or frisbee (that will appear dark brown, sometimes even black for your dog), buy a yellow one. Your dog will see it better when catching it, and it will look more fun to him. If the world is not as colorful for dogs as it is for us, why not making it as colorful as we can for them?
Human eyes are superior when it comes to colors, but dogs can see at night
Even though dogs are inferior than we are when it comes to colors, they are more superior when it comes to dark. Humans have three cones in their retina, while dogs have only two. But, on the other hand, dogs also have high concentration of rods in their eyes. Rods are cells that are sensitive to light, dark, shape and movements. Because of this, dogs can see much better in dark than humans can. Also, they can detect movements much easier and faster. Aside from rods, dogs also have a reflective membrane (tapetum) in their eyes. This membrane catches the light that rods couldn’t catch. This is another reason why dogs can see better in dark and dim light.
As you can see from the article, an answer to the question are dogs colorblind is no. They see fewer colors than we do, but that doesn’t mean they don’t see them at all. It certainly doesn’t mean that they are much more inferior when it comes to sight than we are. They see colors like blue and yellow, but they can also see in the dim light. They are also better in seeing shapes and movements from other creatures. So, don’t be fooled, dogs have a very good vision, just a less colorful one.