Dogs Are Not Colorblind and Can See Colors!
22 September, 2017
dogs not colorblind

Most dog owners have thought or been told that dogs are color blind.  Or can only see things in shades of gray or black and white.  As it turns out, research shows that dogs can actually see colors.  The colors dogs can see are limited, but they are not colorblind.

Research now shows us that dogs can see colors if only a few

Alexandra Horowitz, the author of the 2016 book Being a Dog explained that it’s difficult to know exactly which colors our pups see, the cones and rods which work as light receptors inside their eyes (as well as our own) are likely able to detect some colors. While humans can best see three colors of the spectrum, red, green and blue, experts believe dogs, who have less cones than us, may have the most sensitivity to two colors — yellow and blue.

Dogs see the world in yellows, blues and violets


Dogs mostly see a color field consisting of mostly yellows, blues, and violets. Our human reds, greens, and oranges are not distinguishable to dogs and instead appear somewhere on their yellow to blue spectrum.  It’s similar to humans who have red, green color-blindness.

Dogs have rods and cones like we do but even better night vision

The retina of both dogs and humans contain two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. The human eye, however, contains more types of cones while the canine eye has more rods and no fovea, which is responsible for sharp visual detail in humans. Dogs, therefore, have better night vision and are better at tracking movement than we are, but see fewer colors and shapes and objects appear in much less detail.

Dogs even have larger pupils than we do!

Dogs have more rods in their eyes than humans do, plus another layer of eye tissue, which means their night vision is better than ours. Dogs have larger pupils than us, allowing for more light to pass through, and (as mentioned above) more rods, which makes the image on the retina larger, even in dimmer light.

Dogs have the ability to detect (see) motion than humans do

Dogs also have another, surprising advantage over people when it comes to detecting motion. Humans have something called a fovea in both eyes. It’s a small indentation in the retina that makes it possible for us to see sharp, vivid details. Because dogs don’t have fovea, they can’t see precise detail as well as us, but far better motion and movement perception.  Which makes them great hunters.

Dogs are thought to have 20/75 vision and therefore a little blurrier focus from far away

Dogs are generally thought to have 20/75 vision, as compared to humans’ typical best 20/20 vision. This means our pups see in a somewhat softer, blurrier focus from far away than we do.

So, the next time you toss that bright red ball on your lawn, it’s most likely that your dog is not reacting to the color but to the motion of the ball being tossed.  Maybe the next time you purchase a dog toy, it should be in yellow or violet and not red!

Other dog -related articles that you might just like:

Why Does My Dog Follow Me Everywhere?

Should Your Dog Sleep in Your Bedroom?

Are You Your Dog’s Favorite?

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