Are Dogs Color Blind?

Posted by Sarah Clark on

Are Dogs Color Blind?

It is a very common question and there is a myth that dogs are color blind. For many years people believed dogs could only see black or white. It was thought that dogs see the world in only these two colors, a bit like the old black and white TVs and old movies, for those of us that can remember such a time!

However recent research has shown that dogs actually do see a wider range of color than previous thought. Yes, it’s true they do not see the amount of color we can see but also not as limited as once believed. So dogs are not color blind, rather limited in the color they can perceives with their eyes.

The difference between a dog’s eyes and our own is the number of ‘cones’ or ‘rods’ we have to help distinguish different colors. We have 3, while they only have 2 cones in their retinas.

It is now believed that dogs have similar perception of color as those with red-green color blindness. This is a common form of color-blindness and is also due to a missing third cone or a defective one.

So what colors do dogs see?

Dogs can distinguish yellow and blue and it’s combinations to some degree. A color like red will appear dark brown to them while that beautiful green grass might look like yellow hay to them.

To better understand, you can head over to and actually use the image processing tool to convert an image or photo you have to see how a dog will see it. It’s really a great tool to understand how they perceive color, compared to us.

So does this help you?

Knowing this helps you understand your dog much better. If you know their strengths and weaknesses you will better understand them. For example now you know why dogs love those yellow tennis balls while ignore those red ones. Some might not even see those red ones that well. Now you can make their lives easier and maybe even get them toys with colors they would actually appreciate.

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