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ARE DOGS ABLE TO DISTINCT COLORS?

One of the most frequently asked questions regarding dogs is the ability of dogs to distinguish colors. Most often you can hear that dogs simply do not distinguish colors, but this is a wrong judgment, as well as the fact that dogs are not able to see all colors, but only shades of gray. In fact, dogs are able to distinguish colors, but they do not see them as bright as most people see them.

The eyes of dogs, like humans, have special photosensitive receptors called cones that help distinguish colors. In dogs, these cones are smaller than in humans, so the colors they perceive have not as saturated shades as we see them. Nevertheless, the ability to distinguish colors depends not only on the presence of cones, but also on what type they belong to, since each of these types helps to perceive different wavelengths. In humans, there are three different types of cones, which together give a person the opportunity to perceive the entire spectrum of colors.

These colors are seen by people:

Man sees

Example:

Example photo as a person sees color

These colors are seen by dogs:

The dog sees

Example:

Example photo of how a dog sees color

One of the most common types of color blindness occurs in people when one of these cone receptor types is missing. And even in this case, the person does not lose the ability to distinguish colors, simply perceives a smaller number of them (when comparing it with a person with normal vision). The same thing happens with dogs, as they have only two types of receptors.

Jay Nietz of the University of California at Santa Barbara conducted tests on the ability of dogs to distinguish colors. In most research tests, dogs were shown three light panels in a row, two of which were painted the same color, and the third was different from them. The task of the dogs was to find exactly the panel that is different from the rest, and click on it. If the dog made the right choice, it was rewarded with a treat, which the computer automatically gave out in a bowl under the panel.

Nietz proved that dogs are actually capable of distinguishing colors, but in smaller numbers than, for example, ordinary people. For example, the colors of the rainbow — purple, blue, blue, green, yellow, orange and red — dogs can see in this order: dark blue, light blue, gray, light yellow, dark yellow (a kind of brown) and very dark Gray. In other words, dogs distinguish all colors in the basic shades of yellow, blue and gray. They see green, yellow and orange as yellowish, and violet and blue as blue. They see blue as gray.

Very funny and even strange is the fact that the most popular color of modern dog toys is red and bright orange (the one that contains cones on the road and life jackets). But it’s quite difficult for dogs to distinguish red from the rest. They see him in dark shades of brown or even black. And this means that a dog toy so noticeable to you can be almost invisible to your dog. It also means that when your pet runs past the toy that you threw him, he does not show stubbornness and does not do it out of stupidity. It is likely that it was you who made the mistake of choosing the color of the toy, and this greatly complicates its search for the dog on the green grass of the lawn.

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