Sunday, June 6, 2010
Are Dogs Colorblind?
A widely asked question is if dogs really are colorblind. Dogs are in fact colorblind. However, it is misinterpreted to say dogs see no color, but only shades of gray. Dogs do see color, just not as many colors as humans can see. Because dogs have fewer cones than humans, the colors dogs see are not as rich or intense.
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, light yellow, darker yellow (sort of brown), and very dark gray. In other words, dogs see the colors of the world as basically yellow, blue and gray. They see the colors green, yellow and orange as yellowish, and they see violet and blue as blue. Blue-green is seen as a gray.
In comparison between dog and human vision, people are better at depth perception, color perception and seeing quick details of an object. Dogs are better at seeing in dim light, responding to an image quickly, detecting the slightest motion, and have better peripheral vision.
If anyone has dogs, I have two boxers, you've noticed that the popular colors for dog toys are red and orange. This is funny because it is very hard for dogs to see red. Red can appear to be a very dark brown, gray, or black color. So the next time your dog runs past their red toy and you think they are stupid, consider it your fault for picking a colored toy that your dog has a hard time seeing.