Although it is not entirely certain how the notion came about, humans have believed for many years that dogs can only see in black and white. As any attempt to ask our canine friends about their ability to see colour has so far only resulted in unintelligible responses, it has been up to scientists to provide us with clues about how the world looks through doggie eyes, and the majority tend to agree that we have been underestimating our pooches.
An American study carried out in 1995 showed that dogs do in fact have many photoreceptor cells, or cone cells, in the retina of the eye, which certainly demonstrates that they have the potential to see in colour. What most research indicates, however, is that dogs’ perception of colour is different to that of humans and that red in particular is a bit of a stumbling block. Some even go further and suggest that dogs can’t distinguish between red, orange, yellow and green, but that they can differentiate between shades of blue and violet that even human beings can’t tell apart.
If you are curious enough to want to check the scientific theories, then a crude test can be carried out by using three identical objects in different colours. Try training your dog to associate the blue object with a treat or reward and then offer the same object in red, green and blue to see which one your pooch selects.