Extract: How does a dog smell? Awful, but he sees in colour by: Neil Keene The Daily Telegraph July 25, 2013
An experiment in Russia on eight different breeds has proved pups see the world in blue, yellow and myriad shades in between. Scientists have long believed dogs could see in a range of colours but the latest research confirmed canines do not just rely on levels of brightness to discern different objects.
Dogs in the Russian Academy of Sciences research were shown pieces of paper in different colours and shades, with one particular colour triggering a food reward. Even when different shades of that colour were presented, the dogs knew which one to pick - indicating they were making their decision based on colour rather than brightness.
Three-quarters of dogs chose the correct colour more than 90 per cent of the time. University of Sydney veterinary medicine lecturer Dr Kirsti Seksel said dogs viewed the world in a range of colours similar to that of a colour blind human. "Part of that is due to the structure of their eyes," she said. 'There are cones and rods in the eye. Cones allow you to see colour and rods give you the visual acuity.'
Dogs have less cones than people, so therefore they don't see colour as well as we do but they have more rods, so they see better at night than us. 'It's a compromise - if you are a predator you need to be able to see in dim light - colours aren't so important. You're looking for movement.
To a dog, bright red is viewed as a brownish yellow, while bright green is also seen as yellow just a few shades darker. Dr Seksel, a veterinary specialist in behavioural medicine, said that meant a bright red ball thrown at the park wasn't as easy for a dog to see as it might appear to us.
Sydney Animal Specialist Hospital veterinary ophthalmologist Dr Allyson Groth said many clients still believed dogs viewed the world in monochrome. Dr Groth said that while all dog breeds were thought to see the same spectrum of colours, some were predisposed to problems with their vision. 'We think little dogs spending a lot of time inside are probably myopic, which is short sighted, because they don't spend as much time looking into the distance,' she said.......