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Through A Dog’s Eyes: A Life Without Color?

Have you ever wondered how man’s best friend perceives the world?

Of course we know your furry friend loves to feel the wind through his fur and loves to lick your face. Your puppy wags his tail ferociously as his eyes meet his best friend-YOU! But how exactly is your canine companion perceiving the world around him?

It’s a common misconception that dogs are colorblind. This is, in fact, not true. Although, it was widely thought that they can only see in black and white, recently scientists have found that they are able to see in some color.

Jessica’s dog, Huff

Dogs don’t see every color of the rainbow, but they do have two color cones, one fewer than we do. Humans who are colorblind are missing one cone, this is the case with dogs as well. Although, it is a relief to know they don’t see this world as boring black and white, the colors that they see aren’t as intense as the colors that we see.

Jessica’s dog, Jude

One researcher, Jay Netiz from the University of California, did a trial test for the color of vision in dogs. In this trial, dogs were shown three different panels of light. Two of these panels were the same color, while the last one differed. The dog identified the differing color by pressing on the panel that displayed the different color. If he was correct, he would be rewarded with a treat. By doing this trial, Neitz confirmed his theory that dogs are able to see color!

To give you an idea of the color scale seen through a dogs eyes, check out this graph. As you can tell, they can mostly see dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, darker yellow, and very dark gray. How cool is that!

As far as shape and functionality goes with dog’s eyes, it’s basically the same as any mammal! Their peripheral vision and direct vision field depends on the shape and placement of their eyes, as well as the actual shape of their head. Their reflecting layer of light is one of the many reasons they are such great hunters. The intensified light helps them see during dusk and dawn! This works hand in hand (or paw in paw) with the fact that they have binocular vision (two eyes providing depth perception), which also helps them pursue their prey.

With all of that being said, it only makes sense that our paw-fect companions see in color, as they bring so much color into our worlds!

Post by Jessica Lundgren & Shazeen Ali, OD of Ranch Road Vision Source in Austin, TX.