We know. Please stop emailing us. We at The Scholarly Kitchen have clearly failed you, our readers, by not supplying enough dog-related content. That ends today, with the video below, which answers the essential questions we all have about what things look like to dogs.

Going back to research from the late 1980s, we learned from a dog named (of course) “Retina”, that unlike humans who have three types of cone cell photoreceptors, dogs only have two. This makes their vision somewhat akin to that of a red/green colorblind human. But that’s perhaps an oversimplification — dogs have far more rod cell photoreceptors than humans, and the arrangement of cells in a dog’s retina differs greatly from that seen in a human.

Perhaps more importantly, dogs have vastly more developed olfactory senses, and this greatly influences their “view” of the world. Which brings us to the term “umwelt“, a word coined to describe the way each individual organism perceives its environment.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.

Discussion

3 Thoughts on "How Do Dogs See the World?"

Thanks for this excellent canine content, particularly on a Friday! I must admit I’m also tickled to see a reference to my dad’s umwelt theory.

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