The Charles Darwin School For Dogs Who Never Evolved To See Red And Green Good And Want To Do Other Stuff Good Too
Dogs, even the ones termed “sight hounds” or “seeing-eye dogs”, don’t see well. Of course, they make up for this with one of the most masterfully evolved scent-capturing systems ever developed (AKA “their nose”, which is really a biological marvel).
Colin Schultz shares some great links to explanations of dog vision over at Smithsonian Smart News. In short, they see about 20/75 at best, and have only two color receptors in their eye compared to our three, which results in red and green not differentiating into much more than a gray-blah-blurry haze.
I plugged a photo of a red fire hydrant into WolframAlpha’s dog vision simulator to get a sense of what that must be like (although we really can’t tell exactly what it would be like, since we have people brains and they have dog brains and for all kinds of other scientific/philosophical reasons). It’s a good start though.
If you’d like to play with WolframAlpha’s dog vision simulator, head to their site and enter your query like this: “apply dog vision to image of a _______”
In other news, posts like this make me realize how much I miss my puppies while working in San Francisco for the summer :(