Why Dogs See in Different Colors

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By Winston Mazure

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Abstract

My science fair project is about dogs and their ability to see. Contrary to popular belief dogs do not see in black and white. Instead, their vision is like that of a person with blue-yellow color blindness, i.e. they cannot see the color red. Their vision is limited because they are descended from wolves. Who hunt mainly with smelling and sound. This being said, dogs have an amazing sense of smell, they have thirty million cell receptors, while we only have six million. Dogs have adapted to use their sense of sight less and their sense of smell more. There are some dogs that can smell a drop of blood in water from far away.[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyT2FuZEklMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Object and Inquiry

For my science fair project this year I am doing a research project. In my project I set out to discover why dogs see colors differently than people and how it affects their everyday decisions. I will be using different websites and books researching dogs, eyes (both human and animal), and brains (both human and animal). The object of my research projects is dogs. My inquiry is how their eyes affect them and why they are the way they are.[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyVG9ySCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRmElM0U=[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][vc_column_text]

Thesis

Dogs have two different color sensitive cone cells in their retina, humans have three, dogs are not much affected by this because they mostly rely on the olfactory, hearing, and touching senses (in that order).[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyUldVJTIyJTNFJTNDJTJGYSUzRQ==[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Research Write Up

Prior Knowledge
Currently I know that a dog’s color spectrum consists of way less colors than ours. Ours consist of the colors of the rainbow and more (ie. red, orange, yellow). A dog’s spectrum consists of yellow, blue, white, black, and gray. I also know that some animals like tropical fish can see even more colors than we can. I do wonder why dogs can’t see the color that we can and why some animals can see more colors than us?

Research Summery
Dogs cannot see as many colors as we do but even so, they function and operate fine. Unlike humans who have three different color sensitive cone cells in their retina (red, green and blue) dogs have only two (yellow and blue). This does not mean they cannot see the things that have red in them, but they cannot distinguish these colors.

Refined Questions and Knowledge
Do dogs perceive more things differently than just colors?
Does the different perception of colors effect other things about the dogs and what they perceive?
If there is a red ball, dogs cannot see red, then will the ball be black and white or yellow/blue?[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyVGFuZE0lMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Tools and Materials

  • Laptop
  • Paper
  • Pencil 

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Procedure and Data

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Journal

February 27, 2020
I realized today that due to the limited time I am not able to do this project. I have reached out to Mr. Okimoto about doing a new project and I am waiting for an answer.

February 28, 2020
Mr. Okimoto approved my new project today. For my new science fair project I am going to do an experiment on how dogs limited color spectrum affects them.

March 2, 2020
Today I did a little research for my project and started my research write up.

March 5, 2020
Today I continued my research and found some useful websites.

March 6, 2020
I finished my research writeup today and I will start (re)writing my object and inquiry soon.

March 9, 2020
I have started and finished my object and inquiry.

March 11, 2020
Today I finished my tools and materials in class and I a excited to start the experiment next week.

March 16, 2020
Today all schools in Washington State were officially closed by Governor Inslee. This was due COVID-19. For this reason, I am changing my project again, but his time from an experiment to a research project.

March 19, 2020
I am starting to work on my new research essay using some of the things I had on my old project. I rewrote my object and inquiry (again).

March 23, 2020
Today I rewrote my tools and materials, it got significantly shorter.

March 27, 2020
I started writing my research essay using the things I found with my research along with other sources.

April 7
Today I had a science fair check up with Mr. Okimoto to see my progress so far.

April 21, 2020
I took a long break from my science fair (for Easter), but now I am back to work on it. I continued writing my research essay.

April 27, 2020
Today was supposed to be my second science fair checkup, but I forgot it was today so I missed it, I set one up again for tomorrow.

April 28, 2020
I had my second science fair checkup with Mr. Okimoto and I planned out everything I am going to do from here till I turn it in. The new due date was May 1, but Mr. Okimoto was generous enough to give me an extension because I had to change my initial project.

April 30, 2020
Today I finished my procedure and data, tomorrow I will do my results and conclusions.

May 1, 2020
The project was supposed to be due today and I am very thankful for my extension. I have finished my results and conclusions and am starting my insights and reflections.

May 3, 2020
I finished my insights and reflections.

May 4, 2020
I have finished my abstract and annotated bibliography.

May 5, 2020
I am reviewing my entire report today. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_images_carousel images=”277,278″ img_size=”full” slides_per_view=”2″ title=”Helpful Visuals”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyRGFuZEElMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]

Research Paper

           For my science fair project this year I am doing a research project. In my project, I set out to discover why dogs see colors differently than people and how it affects their everyday decisions. I will be using different websites and books researching dogs, eyes (both human and animal), and brains (both human and animal). The object of my research projects is dogs. My inquiry is how their eyes affect them and why they are the way they are. Dogs have two different color sensitive cone cells in their retina, humans have three, dogs are not much affected by this because they mostly rely on the olfactory, hearing, and touching senses (in that order).

                A dog’s eye is like that of most other mammals. It is a spherical shape with two fluid-filled chambers, the anterior and the posterior. The chambers are separated by the lens, the structure that helps focus light beams onto the rear part of the eye, the retina. The eye’s outer, clear surface, the cornea, offers protection to the inner eye and helps the lens focus light onto the rear of the eyeball, the retina. While the human has evolved as a diurnal (active in the daytime) species, dogs initially evolved as nocturnal (active at dawn and dusk) predator species. As a result, we humans have great visual acuity, color perception, and depth perception. Dogs, on the other hand, can see very well in the dark. Much like the human retina, the dog’s retina is lined with rods, the sensing cells adapted to work best in low light and used for motion detection, and cones, cells that work best in mid to high levels of light, with the ability to detect color. The proportion of rods to cones is much higher in dogs than humans, thus the enhanced night vision in dogs.

            Two common types of color blindness in humans are red-green and blue-yellow,  these mean that a person cannot distinguish the two colors named. Human colorblindness is more common in men than in women, this is because it is connected to the X chromosome. Men only have one X chromosome if it is defective, they are behind the eight ball. In some cases women have an extra X chromosome, so they must have two defective chromosomes to have the defect in vision. Only women are liable to a visual condition in which they have an extra color receptor in there eye and can see a wider range of colors than other people. For dogs, their color vision is similar, not the same, to a human with red-green color blindness, with some differences. Dogs are less sensitive to changes in shades of gray than humans are, as well as only about half as sensitive to changes in brightness. Combining their motion and twilight sensitivity with a wider degree of peripheral vision than humans, a dog’s eyes are perfectly suited for hunting down fast-moving prey like their ancestors.

           Dogs are derived from wolves. Wild animals that hunt things and live together in packs. Dogs are much less reliant on smell than sight. It makes more sense that way. If there are fast-moving prey nearby, that for any reason can’t be seen. Then smelling and hearing are your best bets. Moreover, if you can see your prey that means that you are exposing a part of your body making it not only so you can see them, but so they can see you as well. Although nowadays most dogs are pets rather than wild animals fighting to survive, they still use their sense of smell, to smell food and wait by the kitchen as my dog often does. As the old saying goes, “Appearances can be deceiving. Truth is, they nearly always are.”[/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIyUmFuZEMlMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Results and Conclusion

Dogs are derived from wolves. Wild animals that hunt things and live together in packs. Dogs are much less reliant on smell than sight. It makes more sense that way. If there are fast moving prey nearby, that for any reason can’t be seen. Then smelling and hearing are your best bets. Moreover, if you can see your prey that means that you are exposing a part of your body making it not only so you can see them, but so they can see you as well. Although nowadays most dogs are pets rather than wild animals fighting to survive, they still use their sense of smell, to smell food and wait by the kitchen as my dog often does. As the old saying goes, “Appearances can be deceiving. Truth is, they nearly always are.” [/vc_column_text][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGlkJTNEJTIySWFuZFIlMjIlM0UlM0MlMkZhJTNF[/vc_raw_html][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Insights and Reflections

In my project, I learned mainly about dogs and their senses, mostly sight, and smell. When I started I was doing a project about plants, but this project I was, and still am, excited about. My initial thesis was, “dogs have two different color sensitive cone cells in their retina, humans have three, dogs are not much affected by this because they mostly rely on the olfactory, hearing, and touching senses (in that order).” And I think I proved it. Dogs don’t rely on their sight that much, but instead their sense of smell. Next time I would manage my time better.
Throughout my entire project, I have had to rewrite my object and inquiry three times, buy materials, and not use them, and do a lot of work. But it was fun, though most days I did nothing and crammed a lot of things into the end, it was fun. This project has taught me more than just about dogs and vision, it has taught me how to manage time (or how not to in some cases) and how to do a science fair and make it good. Sure, I’ve done science fair projects before and every time I dreaded them. But this time was different this time I was more prepared than not, and I was given plenty of time and instruction. I really want to thank Mr. Okimoto for being the best science teacher I have ever had. 
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Bibliography

Swanson, Ana. “How a Dog Sees a Rainbow, and 12 Other Images That Explain How We See Color.” The Washington Post. WP Company, March 9, 2015. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/09/how-a-dog-sees-a-rainbow-and-12-other-images-that-explain-how-we-see-color/.
This website is very reliable becasu this page was written by Ana Swanson, an amazing writer.

Kidd, Randy. “Structure of the Canine Eye.” Whole Dog Journal, July 31, 2019. https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/health/structure-of-the-canine-eye/.
This website is reliable because it is a websight about dogs, so they generally know what they are talking about.

“Through A Dog’s Eyes: Dog’s Vision.” Cesar’s Way, October 28, 2019. https://www.cesarsway.com/through-a-dogs-eyes/.
This is reliable because Cesar Mulan is a dog expert who works with dogs every day. This website is about a dogs vision.

Buzhardt, Lynn. “Do Dogs See Color?” vca_corporate. Accessed March 1, 2020. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/do-dogs-see-color.
This website is reliable because it is by VCA Animal Hospital, which is a team of animal (dog) experts. This tells me about dogs and colors and why they can’t see some of them.

“Brain Structure and Function.” Traumatic Brain Injury Resource for Survivors and Caregivers. Accessed March 1, 2020. https://bouve.northeastern.edu/nutraumaticbraininjury/braintbi-anatomy/brain-functions/.
This website is reliable because it is from Northeastern University, so a team of professors put this together. This tells me about the different parts of the brain.

PetMD. “What Colors Do Dogs See?” PetMD, October 2, 2017. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/what-colors-do-dogs-see.
This website is also from an animal hospital so it is reliable. This website tells me general things about dogs.

PetMD. “Dog Brain Facts: Understanding Canine Cognition.” PetMD, September 13, 2018. https://www.petmd.com/dog/behavior/dog-brain-facts-understanding-canine-cognition.
This website is from the last one so for the same reason we know it is reliable. This website tells me about the differences between people and dogs.

“Dog: National Geographic.” Dog | National Geographic, January 29, 2019. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/d/domestic-dog/.
National Geographic is a reliable source because it is a world wise thing that is used by lots of people. This also tells me general things about dogs. [/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”black” el_width=”80″ css_animation=”none”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]