Popular wisdom has it that dogs are colour blind but recent research suggests that a dog’s world is more than just black and white.

Research carried out at the University of California in the 1980’s suggests that dog’s can see colours but their ‘chromatic acuity’ is less than what humans have.

This is because of 2 main reasons:
 
  •        Dog’s retinas have fewer cone cells, which contain pigments that help perceive specific colour wavelengths
  •         Dog’s are dichromatic: the canine colour fields consists mostly of blues, yellows and colours in between. While humans are trichromatic and see 3 primary colours.

 

 
However dogs have a much higher concentration of rod cells, which are responsible for seeing black-and-white, and also much more sensitive in lower light conditions. They have a structure behind their retina called ‘Tapetum Lucidum’, which helps them see objects in the dark as if lit by a glow! For these reasons, dogs have much better night vision than people.

 

 

How the colour spectrum looks to dogs and people: