Are Dogs Color Blind?

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man user

EyeQue Team

man user

October 23, 2020


Can Dogs See Color? 

Dog with ballMany people believe that dogs are completely color blind and see the world only in black, white, and grey. This theory was put forward in a 1937 dog training manual that claimed that dogs see the world in various shades of grey and black. 

However, scientists in the field of ophthalmology have since proven that theory isn’t true  dogs can in fact see color, they just can’t see as many colors as most humans can. 

Are Dogs Really Color Blind?  

Human eyes are trichromatic which means they have three types of color sensing cones. Being trichromatic allows us to see three colors on the spectrum – red, blue, and green.  

Canine eyes actually work similarly to human eyes in the way that they perceive color – they also have color sensing cones that help them see colors. However, their eyes are dichromatic which means they only have two color sensing cones – blue and yellow. Dogs do not have a red-green cone in their eyes, which means that are unable to see certain colors — making their vision similar to a human with red-green color deficiency. 

How Do Dogs See Color? 

For dogs, some colors are more perceptible than others, and it can be difficult for them to differentiate between the various hues of the same color. Dogs’ eyes are best at perceiving shades of yellow and blue. Combinations of these colors translate into a spectrum of gray, light yellow, gray-brown, dark blue, and light blue in a dog’s vision.  

What people see as red may appear as dark brown to dogs, while green, yellow, and orange are all perceived as a yellowish color. Dogs see blue-green objects, such as the ocean, as something grayish blue and purple objects as blue. For this reason, your dog may love playing with a yellow tennis ball across the lawn – the bright yellow stands out vividly against the dull green grass.  

So, the short answer to the question is no, dogs are not colorblind. 

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