Are Dogs Color Blind?

November 6, 2010

Are dogs. color blind? When you buy Carey, the Jack Russell dog, that wonderful bright red ball, she will love it.   But the bright red color has nothing to do with her puppy joy over the new toy.  In fact when you toss the ball across the lawn, Carey might run right past it before sniffing back to find it.  That’s because Carey can’t see the color red. Your dog will never in her life have  knowledge that the color of red even exists on this planet.    In fact, Carey can’t see the designer green of your jacket either.  Dogs do not see red, green or hardly any part of orange.   So next time you’re buying Carey a ball, make it a blue or yellow one.

Only 25 years ago we used to think that dogs only saw black and white and various shades of gray. We used to think they were color blind.    Today, we have updated our thinking.   Although we still believe that dogs see things somewhat like looking at a black and white television set, we now know that the dog’s world is much more exciting and interesting than formerly thought.  That doggie black and white television-like view encompasses several nice shades of blue and yellow as well. 

While we see a color spectrum of violet, blue, blue-green, green, yellow, orange and red, in contract, dogs see the spectrum as dark blue, light blue, either gray or brownish, light yellow, darker yellow & less vivid plus either dark gray or brown.   There is controversy over whether dogs are seeing red as more gray or shades of brown.

Can dogs see our beautiful blue sky?  Well, maybe, that’s if they ever look upwards which is seldom.  But don’t think their world is boring.  Dogs have a larger pupil than man and a wider visual field plus more photo receptors in the retina for the detection of light, bright, brilliance, dullness, a mat finish, texture and pattern.  Dogs see much better in the dark than we do.  And, they are highly adept at detecting movement. If you are playing hide n’ seek with your dog, get behind something and be very, very still; don’t move an inch or she”ll detect you instantly.  But if she passes by you the first time, don’t count on a second time since her acute nose will help her land a bulls eye on your scent.

Your dog’s color vision is about six times poorer than yours, so does that mean she has a lesser sense of the naturalistic world?

Is man with his high powered brain really perceiving the best or is the canine species almost as perceptive but in a different way?  Is mastering the world around you for your particular needs accomplished best with the senses or the brains?  Well, of course, we know that man is smarter than a dog.

Make no mistake, just because your dog doesn’t speak English, she still has abilities plus some amazing instincts that man will never own.  Man views the world with the eyes first, then hearing and the nose last.   Dogs view the world with their magnificent nose first, then their fantastic hearing and lastly with their eyes.

So, with all the gifts of each creature, who has the most detailed picture of something in front of them?   Well, that depends on what you seek.  Are you hunting a rabbit for your lunch today and how quickly would you find and catch it?   Don’t fail to read about the incredible nose of a dog.

If you like what you read here, I welcome your response and link up.

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