Are Dogs Completely Color Blind?

Are Dogs Completely Color Blind? Most people think that dogs cannot see colors or are color blind – but this is not true. Dogs can see colors, but not in a way that we humans do. Before, experts used to think that dog vision was somewhat slightly impaired, and the world from their perspective wascolorless or black and white. But in 1995, a study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, revealed that dog eyes have retinas with color-sensitive cones. Therefore, this proves that dogs can see colors.

Are Dogs Completely Color Blind?

The cones are special cells that manage light and color. But unlike humans, the dogs’ cones are fewer; therefore they can only see a few colors compared to humans. Also, the quality of what they see (such as the vibrancy of the colors) is not as good as how humans see them. Because dog retinas only possess about two or three light-catching retinal cone cell types, the condition is called by experts as dichromatic vision.

So what colors do dog see? Here are some fast facts:

  • Dogs cannot see all the colors in the spectrum, but they can see a few.
  • Orange, green and yellow all appear the same to them – they all appear yellowish.
  • Red appears a dark, brownish gray or even black to them.
  • They can see blue, but violet also appear as blue to them.
  • Blue green becomes gray in their eyes.

As summarized in an article on the DogTime.com website:

To put it in very basic terms, the canine color field consists mostly of yellows, blues, and violets. “Human” reds, greens, and oranges are not distinguishable to dogs and instead appear somewhere on their yellow to blue spectrum.

In short, dogs can perceive colors, but their eyes are not good enough to distinguish one from the other. A human eye condition, deuteranopia, best describes this colorblindness of dogs. According to research, dogs can also distinguish and see a specific type of gray color that humans cannot normally see. This is due to their retinal cone cells that have lots of rod cells which perceive gray shades. And this makes them able to see clearer in dark or dim spaces, unlike humans.

Dogs are also more capable of seeing flickering light and motion compared to humans. They can also detect smaller motion details. Researchers even say that dogs see the television not as a constantly moving image, but as a flickering image.

They can also be nearsighted, and they have a weakness in focusing on objects, especially distinguishing shapes. If an object can be seen by a human (with normal sight) when he is 75 feet away from it, that object cannot be distinguished or seen by a dog until the distance is 20 feet or less.

Aside from that, dogs also lack in peripheral vision, or the ability to see things outside of the direct vision line or the gaze. However, it depends on the breed of the dog and the size of its head. They cannot see things near their backs. They also lack the “depth of field” vision, in which you can see multiple objects with different distances. For example, a dog can see a near object but everything in the background remains blurred.

So the answer to the question “Are Dogs Completely Color Blind?” is a definite no, but you could say it needs a little explanation!

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