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D2005-34

Dear Daisy Dog

Do dogs see color?

Daisy Responds

Yes, but we see color differently than you humans do, because our retinas differ a bit from yours.

The retina is the light-sensitive layer in the back of the eye that captures a picture, much like the film in a camera.

Compared with human retinas, canine retinas contain fewer cones, the specialized receptors that detect color.

In dim light, our cones are not sufficiently stimulated to allow us to perceive color.

In bright light, we see color, but not the way you humans do.

That’s because we dogs have only two types of cone color receptors. One of them interprets red, orange and yellow as though they were various shades of yellow.

The other type of cone sees blue, indigo and violet as different shades of blue.

And things you humans see as green, we dogs see as gray.

However, dogs can differentiate far more subtle shades of gray than you humans can distinguish.

In short, we dogs see the world in shades of yellow, blue and gray. The rest of the beauty in our lives comes from the love of our human companions.

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