Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-wzw2p Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-21T00:28:09.641Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Color vision in the dog

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 June 2009

Jay Neitz
Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Timothy Geist
Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara
Gerald H. Jacobs
Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara


The color vision of three domestic dogs was examined in a series of behavioral discrimination experiments. Measurements of increment-threshold spectral sensitivity functions and direct tests of color matching indicate that the dog retina contains two classes of cone photopigment. These two pigments are computed to have spectral peaks of about 429 nm and 555 nm. The results of the color vision tests are all consistent with the conclusion that dogs have dichromatic color vision.

Research Articles
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1989

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Aguirre, G. (1978). Retinal degenerations in the dog, I: Rod dysplasia. Experimental Eye Research 26, 233253.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Aguirre, C., Alligood, J., O'Brien, P. & Buykmihci, N. (1982). Pathogenesis of progressive rod-cone degeneration in miniature poodles. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 23, 610630.Google ScholarPubMed
Ali, M.A. & Klyne, M.A. (1985). Vision in Vertebrates. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baylor, D.A., Nunn, B.J. & Schnapf, J.L. (1987). Spectral sensitivity of cones of the monkey Macaca fascicularis. Journal of Physiology 390, 145160.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Blakeslee, B., Jacobs, G.H. & Neitz, J. (1988). Spectral mechanisms in the tree squirrel retina. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 162, 773780.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Coile, D.C. (1982). A determination of critical flicker fusion as a function of light intensity in dogs using conditioned suppression. Unpublished Masters Thesis, Florida State University.Google Scholar
Dawis, S.M. (1981). Polynomial expressions of pigment nomograms. Vision Research 21, 14271430.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Ebrey, T.G. & Honig, B. (1977). New wavelength-dependent visual pigment nomograms. Vision Research 17, 147151.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Harwerth, R.S. & Sperling, H.G. (1971). Prolonged color blindness induced by intense spectral lights in rhesus monkeys. Science 174, 520523.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hurvich, L.M. & Jameson, D. (1974). On the measurement of dichromatic neutral points. Acta Chromatica 2, 207216.Google Scholar
Jacobs, G.H. (1978). Spectral sensitivity and colour vision in the ground-dwelling sciurids: results from the golden-mantled ground squirrel and comparisons for five species. Animal Behaviour 26, 409421.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jacobs, G.H. (1981). Comparative Color Vision. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
Jacobs, G.H. (1983). Within-species variations in visual capacity among squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus): sensitivity differences. Vision Research 23, 239248.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jacobs, G.H. (1984). Within-species variations in visual capacity among squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus): color vision. Vision Research 24, 12671277.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Jacobs, G.H. & Neitz, J. (1986). Spectral mechanisms and color vision in the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri). Vision Research 26, 291298.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
King-Smith, P.E. & Carden, D. (1976). Luminance and opponent-color contributions to visual detection and adaptation and to temporal and spatial integration. Journal of the Optical Society of America 66, 709717.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Loop, M., Millican, C.L. & Thomas, S.R. (1987). Photopic spectral sensitivity of the cat. Journal of Physiology 382, 537553.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Massof, R.W. & Bailey, J.E. (1976). Achromatic points in protanopes and deuteranopes. Vision Research 16, 5357.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Mollon, J.D., Bowmaker, J.K., Dartnall, H.J.A. & Bird, A.C. (1984). Microspectrophotometric and psychophysical results for the same deuteranopic observer. Documenta Ophthalmologica Proceedings Series 39, 303310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Neitz, J. & Jacobs, G.H. (1984). Electroretinogram measurements of cone spectral sensitivity in dichromatic monkeys. Journal of the Optical Society of America A 1, 11751180.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Neitz, J. & Jacobs, G.H. (1989). Spectral sensitivity of cones in an ungulate. Visual Neuroscience 2, 97100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Odum, J.V., Bromberg, N.M. & Dawson, W.W. (1983). Canine visual acuity: retinal and cortical field potentials evoked by pattern stimulation. American Journal of Physiology 245, R637R641.Google Scholar
Parry, H.B. (1953). Degeneration of the dog retina, I: Structure and development of the retina of the normal dog. British Journal of Ophthalmology 37, 385404.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pokorny, J., Smith, V.C., Verriest, G. & Pinckers, A.J.L.G. (1979). Congenital and Acquired Color Vision Defects. New York: Grune & Stratton.Google Scholar
Rosengren, A. (1969). Experiments on colour discrimination in dogs. Acta Zoologica Fennica 121, 319.Google Scholar
Schmidt, S.Y. & Aguirre, G.D. (1985). Reductions in taurine secondary to photoreceptor loss in Irish setters with rod-cone dysplasia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 26, 679683.Google ScholarPubMed
Schmidt, S.Y., Andley, U.P., Heth, C.A. & Miller, J. (1986). Deficiency in light-dependent opsin phosphorylation in Irish setters with rod-cone dysplasia. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 27, 15511559.Google ScholarPubMed
Tansley, K. (1965). Vision in Vertebrates. London: Chapman & Hall.Google Scholar
Walls, G.L. (1942). The Vertebrate Eye and Its Adaptive Radiation. Bloomfield Hills, Michigan: The Cranbrook Institute of Science.Google Scholar
Wright, W.D. (1946). Researches on Normal and Defective Colour Vision. London: Henry Kimpton.Google Scholar
Zrenner, E. (1983). Neurophysiological Aspects of Color Vision in Primates. Berlin: Springer-Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar