Scientists: Dogs Can See Color

0-1Scientists in Russia and the United States have produced research that challenges one of the most common myths: all dogs are color blind. Dogs (like my puppy Luna left) can see color and use them to distinguish between items. They simply have a narrower color spectrum.

Last year, Professor Jay Neitz from the University of Washington showed that, due to one fewer “cones” in their eyes than humans, dogs cannot identify the full array of red, blue, green and yellow wavelengths created by light entering the eye. However, a dog’s two cone structure does allow them to distinguish between blue and yellow while denying them the ability to see red and green.

Now a team of researchers from the Laboratory of Sensory Processing at the Russian Academy of Sciences and confirmed and expanded on those findings. The Russians sought to determine if dogs use brightness levels to distinguish between items.

Six out of the eight dogs made the color choices between 90 and 100 per cent of the time to find meat nearby. They decided that the test showed that it is the color not the brightness that is being used by the dogs. In other words, “our results demonstrate that under natural photopic lighting conditions colour information may be predominant even for animals that possess only two spectral types of cone photoreceptors.” For the rest of us, that means dogs can see some colors.


Source: Daily Mail

24 thoughts on “Scientists: Dogs Can See Color”

  1. Moar pictures of Luna!!!! MOAR, MOAR, MOAR

    (I lost the last kitty in the life-pod last Saturday and need a stream of critter pic’s to salve the loss. I doesn’t work but I do like to see the pictures.)

    Gene H: “They were indeed magpies. One of their funnier cartoons involves them hiding in a radio and giving fake broadcasts to a farmer to convince him that magpies were a great friend of the farmer all the while trying to eat his corn crop.”

    Sorta’ like the government now being able to distribute its own media content within the US.

    Dogs, cats and most critters across the various kingdoms are smarter and abled beyond what we give them credit for. If we had a true measure of their intelligence and took that seriously we might have to reassess our habit and desire to kill them. Though actually, knowing that hasn’t saved critters like the octopus from our dinner tables.

  2. nick,

    They were indeed magpies. One of their funnier cartoons involves them hiding in a radio and giving fake broadcasts to a farmer to convince him that magpies were a great friend of the farmer all the while trying to eat his corn crop.

  3. I know my Heckle & Jeckle. The guys are practically heros to me. So, when I say magpies, trust me, they’re magpies.

    And ravens? Why not just say they are Turkey Vultures? Unlike some people in this blog, I do NOT think all black birds look alike!

  4. Everyone knows Heckle and Jeckle were ravens. “But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling.”

    Sister Margorie selected this poem for me to memorize and recite. I think she was trying to tell me something. Plus, it was the longest poem of anyone our class. I only remember some of it, but if given a prompt can usually pick up on the recital.

  5. It would be interesting to see a photoshopped image of what a dog sees, that is with the colors replaced to what a dog can perceive.

  6. I find the mentioning of poseurs (Huckleberry Hound), second-rate “Rocky & Bullwinkles”, and that monied-interest backed Scooby-Doo (about the only successful post-1970 Hanna-Barbara character), truly offensive.

    Heckle & Jeckle not only fought their way to the top out of that 2nd rate Terry-Toons shoppe, they have to contend with constant criticism from the political left- who believe them to be crows. They’re not crows! They’re magpies, dammit!!

  7. Another interesting scientific find about dogs . . .

    “he next time your dog digs a hole in the backyard after watching you garden, don’t punish him. He’s just imitating you. A new study reveals that our canine pals are capable of copying our behavior as long as 10 minutes after it’s happened. The ability is considered mentally demanding and, until this discovery, something that only humans and apes were known to do.”

  8. Gene, Thanks. It’s too late for Huckleberry Hound and Underdog. But, Scooby Doo is now able to fulfill his lifelong dream.

  9. Let’s not go overboard here. Some bonds between people and their dog(s) are remarkable. But, they’re still not as smart as magpies. I freely admit, however, that I’d much rather spend my time with a dog than a magpie.

    Qualificatuon: unless we are talking about Heckle and Jeckle.

  10. Dog has always been a copilot to many….. This is very interesting….

  11. My guess is they can see far more of the light spectrum then we can. We seem to be a little self consumed in our own perceptions and project our vast limitations in the physical world as somehow complete. The light spectrum is incredibly vast and watching all dogs interact in their real world fascinates me when I have the time to sit back and enjoy them. Can you imagine if we knew how all animals viewed the world? we would be shocked and probably pretty inferior and inadequate. Heck throw most of us in the woods or a body of water we would perish. in short order

  12. Anyone who has ever owned a dog knew that colour blind stuff was garbage. By the time my deceased mixed-breed was a year old, I knew she saw colours. She just didn’t see them the same way I did. Just like I didn’t perceive the world the same as she could.

    Really, the most interesting thing about this is the colour spectrum. What a dull world it would be without red and green!

  13. How smart is your cat? Well, says a cat expert, if you ask your cat to solve a mathmatical equation, your cat is going to come off as pretty dumb. On the other hand, if you ask a mathmeticin to run up a tree and catch a squirrel, the mathmetician is not exactly going to look like a genius.

  14. i’ve been saying this for years. I have found it dificult to believe that a dog that smells and hears and tastes and feels many times better than a human would be deficient when it comes to seeing. all naturalistic observations point to an ability to recognize more and better visual acuity. in my un sc ientific opinion its like humans sense of taste comes as much from our sense of smell and a little from the feel than it does from how many taste buds we have. its the difference between hardware software and firmware and believing that all that ancilary input would not enhance a dogs vision would be simplistic. Glad to see there is some research going into this. Recognizing that it’s hard to gather data from dogs with limited feedback ie no speaking makes it exceedingly difficult to get real data.

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