Do Dogs See in Colour?
Have you ever wondered what your dog sees? Growing up I was told that dogs could only see in black and white, but recent research has show this is not the case at all - dogs CAN see in colour!
But they don't see like people. The world for a dog looks a little different to the way the world looks to you.
Seeing in colour
People see in colour because of the three types of “cones” (colour receptor cells) in our eyes. These are sensitive to red, green and blue light, which is then processed in your brain into full colour vision.
Dogs only have two types of cones however, so that aren't able to process some colours. Tests show that dogs see yellows and blues, but don't see the full range of greens and reds. A dog’s vision is actually most similar to people with red-green colour blindness (like me!). This means that the colours red and green are difficult to distinguish between, and are easy to miss.
So a red ball on green grass is much more difficult to see than a blue ball.
Lucky dog’s don’t play cricket!`
A dogs visual acuity is also significantly less than a humans. So what appears crisp and clear to you actually looks quite blurry to your dog.
The trade off is that dogs are able to see well in low light levels though. Their eyes are also tuned to detect motion. Compared to humans, dogs are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to movement, especially at a distance. This served them well when they needed to hunt camouflaged prey at night.
There's an interesting website called dog-vision.com which can take any image and process it to show you how a dog would perceive it. We used a colourful photo of fruit and veg (yum!), so you can see how colour blind they really are!
Don’t feel too bad for your pup though, what they lack in vision is more than compensated with their incredible sense of smell. It is estimated that a dog has 100 000 000 times more sensitive to smell than a human.
That’s a trade off I’d be willing to make!