How do the dogs perceive the world and the people and all the things around them is a subject that triggers a big curiosity among dog owners and population in general. In fact, we are fascinated about everything that we can’t fully understand. When it comes to those matters that are related to our dogs, we are willing to know the most we can. Many specialists have been studying this subject in order to clarify how do dogs see things around them. The new conclusions that appear from time to time allows us to better understand some reactions and behaviours that dogs have. This can be a great help to provide better trainings to our pets and promote a more effective learning.
How do you think you dog sees you? And how do you think he sees other animals or the little red rubber ball you bought him? For a long time people believed that dogs were able to see only black and white. This was considered true by the scientific community, but further investigations on this field showed how things really are. It has been already shown that dogs don’t see only black and white patterns, differently from what has been said. One has also found out that dogs aren’t able to see as many gray shades as we do.
Actually, their colour vision is different from ours. In order to a better understanding of this issue, it is necessary to know how people see. The main physical difference between dogs’ eyes and human eyes is related to the cells responsible for colour distinction. People have three different types of those cells but dogs just have two. This affects the range of colours they may see and also makes their vision less accurate. Thus, most of people have in their eyes colour receptors prepared to differentiate red, green and blue, as well as all the variations of red, green and blue, which include all the colours we know. We said “most of people” because there are people who can’t see things this way.
Due to a condition named colourblindness, those people have one (or more) colour receptors that are defective. So, these people cannot make the difference between two colours, depending on the receptor that is affected. Colourblindness is a genetic defect that interferes with the vision of color discrimination, particularly red and green.
Specialists have been said that dogs see like people with a red green colourblindness do. Additionally, dogs can’t differentiate as many variations in brightness as we do. It seems that our vision serves our needs as well as dogs’ vision serves their needs. While we see more colours than dogs, dogs have a better vision to hunting at night than us, as well as a larger peripheral vision.
So, dogs can actually see different colours. Nowadays, scientists state that dogs can see a shorter range of colours than we do. Dogs see mainly yellow and blue tones.
It is also said that dogs can see in the dark better than humans. As we have already mentioned, it seems that our capacities are developed according to the needs of our species. Since dogs need a better night vision than us, this feature is well developed on them. Dogs need less light than we do to see things in the dark.
In fact, dogs’ vision can reach wider spaces than ours. Dogs have the ability to see laterally because their ancestors needed to hunt. This is variable according to the dog breed, because dogs may have their eyes positioned differently.
Although dogs see what is on their side better than we do, they can’t distinguish objects placed on different depths as easier as we do. When an object is a bit far from them, dogs can see mainly what is on the centre. On the other hand, they see very well if something is moving. In fact, they see an object much better if it is moving. This is a useful skill to hunt. They also see better things that are placed close to them. Is an object is a little bit far, dogs can’t see it, although a human can.
Several investigations on this field seem to tell us that dogs are able to see mainly green, yellow and gray. As soon as we know this, we easily understand some things our dogs do, such as ignore red objects. But nature is always attentive while it is working and it provided to dogs every abilities they need to survive and satisfy their needs. They may not see the world as it was a giant rainbow, but their vision is perfect to them, like our vision serves us well.
Some tests and investigations shown already that dogs were are capable of make decisions based exclusively on colours they see and not only the degree of brightness that objects have, which prove that dogs do have colour vision and they use it on their daily options.
Who knows what science will find out in the future about dogs?