This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to a dog’s vision. Many people are curious as to whether dogs can see colors. The simple answer that dogs are colorblind is often misinterpreted by people. They believe that dogs don’t see color, but only shades of grey. However, according to a 1995 study done by the American Veterinary Medical Association, this is not true. Dogs can see color-they do have many color-sensitive cones in their eyes- but what they see is not nearly as rich or as many different shades as humans can see.
Explanation of Canine Vision
A dog’s eyes contain special cells that are known as cones- just like humans. These cones catch light and create a response to color. However, there are fewer cones in a dog’s retinas than humans, which means they don’t see nearly as many colors as we can. In addition, the colors they can see are not as vibrant and rich as the colors that we can see. This limitation to their vision is referred to as dichromatic because there are only three types of light-catching cone cells in their retinas.
Colors Dogs Can See
It is true that dogs do not see the full range of colors, but this does not mean that they are not able to see colors at all. They are unable to differentiate between green, yellow, and orange- they all appear to be yellow-ish to a dog. Red appears more as a dark brown/grey or even black.
Dogs can see the color blue, but shades of violet also appear as blue. Shades of blue-green appear to be grey to dogs. Therefore, while science has proven that dogs are not entirely colorblind, they do have partial colorblind that keeps them from being able to see shades of red and green. This is a type of colorblindness that is referred to in the medical community as deuteranopia- and also occurs in humans.
The experts believe that dogs are able to tell the difference in shades of grey that humans cannot see. This is due to the fact that the retinas in dogs have larger numbers of rods, which are responsible for seeing shades of grey. There is less light necessary for proper functioning of rods than cones. Due to this fact, dogs are able to see quite well in situations where the light is dim.
More Information about Dogs Vision
Dogs are much more able than a human to see flickering light. Due to this, they are able to detect smaller amounts of motion than humans would be able to. However, experts do believe that dogs see the TV as a constant flickering than a moving image.
Now that you know that dogs are able to perceive colors, you must also understand that they are also nearsighted. They are unable to focus on shapes. While a human who has perfect vision can see an object from 75 feet- a dog would be unable to see that same object from more than 20 feet away.
Many people believe dogs are colorblind- they can only see shades of gray. This is only partially true. They can distinguish colors- but are also able to see a wider spectrum of grey shades than humans.