Are dogs colorblind?

As it is known dogs understand everything but do not talk. Anyone who has ever looked into the eyes of a dog will no longer doubt the truth of this. But how do they see the world?

dog colourblind

There were carried out a range of experiments to find out whether it is possible in any way to get a dog to distinguish colors. Normally scientists used food in the experiments. A certain color meant a signal to eat, others did not. All the time the dog was not able to differentiate one color from another. In distinguishing things dogs rely on their exclusive scent.

The majority of people believe that dogs observe the environment in black and white colors and define the outlines of objects on a special level of brightness. Earlier colored objects even were not used in training dogs not to confuse them. But experts succeeded to prove that dogs are able to differentiate colors, though in a restricted variety. This allows them to distinguish objects and choose the most appropriate selection for them.

In 2012, American scientist Jay Neitz from the University of Washington found out that vision in dogs still not a monochrome one, but the perception of color is developed weaker than a human. This it depends on the fact that humans have three kinds of photoreceptor cones in retina and dogs - only two of them. Therefore dogs, as a color-blind cannot adequately observe red and green colors.

dog colourblind

Yes, it’s true that dogs are not able to recognize all the variety of colors, as humans, but it does not mean they see everything around us in black and white. They simply cannot grasp the "real" color of the thing. Nevertheless, dog’s vision is like color-blind’s vision. The dog does not see a rainbow as we do. It cannot differentiate between red and green colors and both of that colors from yellow and orange. This means that if dog’s favorite yellow ball gets on the green grass, the dog won’t be able to find it because the yellow ball will merge for a dog with green grass background. But blue ball dog cannot confuse with the grass, or with any subject of any other color.

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Together with color perception, dogs and humans have other variances in vision. For example, the dog eyesight is not as sharp as humans. Dogs are more short-sighted than we are. When looking at an object from the same distance, the object may be clear to us, but blurred for dogs. Dogs are also less perceptive to the brightness change. To sum up, dogs simply cannot perceive color as rich and colorful as we do.

At the same time dogs have some advantages in vision compared to persons. The eyes of a dog are positioned on the sides of the head. That allows them to have a wider angle of outlying vision than we have. This is balanced by the thing that they have a less visual sharpness and perceive colors not as deep as we do.

dog colourblind

Dogs have cells-rods that permit them to capture as much light as possible. They also have reflective retina cells that form the tapetum. Tapetum makes dogs eyes "shining", and it also improves their capability to see in vague light.

Dogs also have more cells in the retina responsible for identifying the movement. This allows them to notice motion even at large distances. Thus, the dog sees better in low light (at dusk and dawn) and can more accurately determine motion.

Why do dogs have a specific vision?

Nature has provided dogs with special visual abilities that allow them to survive and thrive in the wild. Good seeing at dusk and distinguishing the slightest movement in the woods at a great distance makes the dog a good hunter. These capabilities also help the dog to recognize that it may become a victim and must run.

Times have changed, and today the majority of dogs are members of the human families where they’re provided with food, as well as  they’re protected from predators. However, these visual abilities in dogs remain unchanged.

dog colourblind

Why should pet owners be aware of their visual abilities?

Knowing how and what your dog can see, you will be able to treat it in a proper way. For example, you should take into account to the color gamma of your dog when buying toys for it. It will like yellow and blue toys more than the red. You'll understand why a bird flying away distracts your pet. You will also learn how to get its attention - you have to stand right in front of it, covering the maximum angle of view.

And at the next time, when you are lucky enough to see a rainbow in the sky, you will be sure that your dog also enjoys it. It will not see all the colors of the rainbow but will be able to define the yellow and blue colors. And it will be great for it!

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