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Tag: eye

Can Dogs See Color?


a brown and white dog looking at the camera: A portrait of a young yellow Labrador retriever

Can dogs see color?

“Yes! Dogs can see color,” Dr. Zay Satchu, Chief Veterinary Officer of Bond Vet, told RD. “Both humans and animals have different types of cells in the back of our eyeballs—called rods and cones—that help us see. Rods detect motion and help with nighttime vision, and cones help with color and detail in what we see. Humans have three kinds of cones, meaning we see color and detail very well, while dogs have two kinds, meaning they can still pick up on colors, but probably can’t differentiate between forest and lime green as easily.”

So the idea that dogs are totally colorblind is one of the “facts” about animals that you actually have all wrong.


What colors do dogs see? While the nuances of some colors are lost on dogs, they still do have quite the color spectrum, including some colors that humans can’t see! “Most dogs can’t see much of red or green at all,” says Dr. Satchu. “The other ‘color’ that exists that humans can’t see but dogs can is ultraviolet, meaning ‘beyond violet.’ We’re still evaluating the true purpose of this vision, but we think it has to do with the ability to pick up on the kinds of substances that contain ultraviolet light, like urine and blood, that help with tracking out in the wild.” The best colors for your pup’s vision are likely in the blue and yellow tones.

 The AKC also points out how ironic it is that the most popular colors for dog toys made today are bright oranges and reds, colors your pup is only going to see in gray and brown tones. A better choice? That yellow tennis ball, or something bright blue, which will contrast well against the gray/brown tone that dogs see when they look at something green, like your grassy yard. The next time you’re wondering, “Can dogs see color?”, think about the specific color, but if you want an even better idea, download the Dog Vision app and take a look for yourself! Unfortunately, taking a look from their point of view won’t get you any closer to understanding the reasons behind the weirdest dog behaviors.
Isabel Roy
Reader's Digest

© Diyana Georgieva/Shutterstock A portrait of a young yellow Labrador retriever


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