Dogs do see color contrary to what some people believe, but it is interesting to know how they see them. As it turns out, canines do not register many of the colors that humans see. In fact, their color palette is quite limited, with most colors falling under blue, gray or yellow. Purebredbreeders.com was curious to learn more, and this is what we found.
A study was conducted by the University of California’s Jay Neitz in which dogs were provided with three light panels simultaneously; two panels were the same while one was different. The dogs in the study were then required to pick the one that was different by pressing the panel, with a treat being awarded for the correct answer. By the end of the study Neitz discovered that dogs do see color, just not as many as there are. The color gradation identified was blue (dark and light), yellow (dark and light), as well as gray and dark gray. It was noted that dark yellow could also register as almost being brown.
Purebredbreeders.com has discovered that the eye is made up of things referred to as cones that process color. Seeing a full range of colors requires having several different types that are capable of processing the different colors, and then having all of them work together to recreate what is seen. Dogs have fewer cones than humans do, which in term reduces the number of colors they process.
What This Means
If dogs really do see in this color palette then it means much of what we buy around the house or much of what they own are in colors they do not recognize. The irony is that dogs do not see reds, orange or green, yet many of their toys come in these colors. In fact, in Purebredbreeders.com readings, canine author Dr. Stanley Coren made the point while commenting on Neitz’s study that some owners will label a dog stubborn or stupid if the pooch fails to fetch a red ball in the grass, when in all fairness the dog may only be seeing black. What is interesting yet strange is that this practice of making dog toys in bright colors has thrived while most people believe that dogs are indeed color blind.