There is a peculiar feature of dogs featured in many movies (including Hachiko: A Dog’s Story), namely that dogs are color blind. For this reason, many people believe that they see only black and white. However, is this actually true?
Yes, they can. However, there is a difference between what we see and what dogs see. Let’s look at this from a scientific perspective.
A human eye’s retina consists of certain receptors called ‘cones’ and ‘rods’. Cones are responsible for perceiving colors. A human eye consists of 3 types of cones, which are activated by a certain wavelength of light that falls upon it. These lights are the components of white light. Normally, a human eye has the type of cones that can detect the three basic colors: red, green and blue. The combination of various colors in different ways enables us to see the wide range of colors that make the world so beautiful.
However, in the case of dogs, there are only 2 types of cones, which can perceive only 2 colors: blue and yellow. This definitely allows them to see fewer colors than humans, but that certainly doesn’t make them completely color blind. So, next time you’re walking through the park on a rainy day and a rainbow appears, don’t worry… your dog can enjoy it too!
- University of California, Santa Barbara Science Line
- How Stuff Works
- Are Dogs Colorblind? – Live Science