Question: how do people know what dogs see?

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  1. The reason we know is that we have dissected dog eyeballs at some point in the past and seen two important things. One that they have the same basic set up as we do and two, they lack the ‘cone cells’ which give us color vision. With those two pieces of information we have been able to work out just how well dogs can see but know they can only see in black and white.


  2. Hi Princess,

    There are a couple of ways of attempting to work out what a dog might see.

    Firstly, is looking at the equipment of their eyes. In the eye we have cone and rod cells. Rod cells are good for low light and are generally not sensitive to colour and cones are good for daylight and are sensitive to colour.

    Although dogs have both cones and rods, they have very few cones compared with us, and so the retina is dominated with rods. This is why they have far better vision than us at night. Also because of the low amount of cones it is thought they would have very poor colour vision.

    A further test that can be done is to test what light the cones are sensitive to. The cones in our eyes are sensitive at a number of wavelengths, however, the cones in a dogs eye are only sensitive at two places.

    So what this tells us is that they have few cones, the cells that detect colour, but have many rods and so are going to have good night vision. But they dont detect colour like we do, and so will see things differently.

    You may have seen this if you chucked a yellow ball for a dog in green to yellowish grass. To you and I we can see it pretty well because our eyes are sensitive to the slight different. To the dog, it looks all the same. Solution, get your dog a blue ball, they will see that no problems.