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How Dogs See the World

Taking your dog on a walk means encountering a world of colors and hues. That might be true for you, but not for your furry friend - since they only have just one-tenth the concentration of color-capturing cones in the back of their eyes that humans have.


So while we humans enjoy a range of  tinges and tones, dogs only see two colors: blue-violet and yellow, (and a blend of these colors).Dogs see colors the way people with red-green color blindness see colors, which impacts only males (and just 4 percent of the male population).

Dogs, like most mammals, are dichromats - possessing two types of cones in their retina for color perception and ability to see details. Humans, on the other-hand, are trichromatic. Their eyes contain three types of light-sensitive cones - blue, green and red-sensitive -  which allows enjoyment of all colors in the visible spectrum.

The canine visual system is inferior to humans in many ways including depth perception, range of color and visual acuity. However, dogs trump humans in other aspects, (having more rods in their eyes) which gives them better motion sensitivity, the ability to see in low lighting (night vision), and differentiating between shades of gray.

Not seeing a spectrum of colors doesn’t present a problem for dogs since they primarily rely on a heightened sense of smell, and haven’t evolved to forage for food that is brightly colored like apples and oranges.

Knowing about your dog’s vision limitations is helpful in training them and making them safer. So when buying items for your dog, think about choosing things that are in contrast to the environment they will be placed in.  From dog bowls to beds to toys, having them visually stand out to the dog will make them easier for the dog to identify and might make them more engaging to the dog.

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IdealPetX Staff
IdealPetX Staff