“Get your blue ball, Sugar. Sugar, go get your yellow ball.” Mom likes to challenge me to see if I know what color ball I’m retrieving in the yard. I have the hardest time finding my pink ball and usually have to use my nose to locate it, and it always takes me longer. I have always wondered why.
So, while Mom was out of the house, I grabbed her tablet to do some research on the internet about color vision. It turns out that humans have three types of cones in their retina, each sensitive to different light wavelengths, that sense light and allow them to see a rainbow of colors – red, yellow, orange, blue, green and violet. Dogs, like many other mammals, only have two types of cones and primarily see brown, yellow and blue.
I also learned that we have more rods and a reflective layer under our retina called the tapetum lucidum. Try saying that three times fast. This layer magnifies incoming light to enhance our night vision and allows us to see better in low light and detect moving objects. That’s why when Mom takes a picture of me in low light I often have those spooky looking eyes.
So now you know why I have more fun chasing my bright yellow tennis ball on the green grass under blue skies and have more of a challenge finding my red ball. Turns out that I’m a Golden Retriever in more ways than one. Pretty cool, huh?