Are Dogs Colorblind? Astonishing Facts About A Dog’s Perception

Are Dogs Colorblind? Astonishing Facts About A Dog’s Perception

You must have noticed that when a dog’s vision is depicted in films or on TV, they are usually shown with black and white shots. But is this commonly portrayed dog’s-eye view realistic? Have you ever wondered how your dog sees the world? Have you ever thought, “Are dogs colorblind?” or “Can Dogs See Color?” Well, we’re here to answer your curiosity.

So, Are Dogs Colorblind?

The answer is both yes and no. It means they can see some colors and at the same time, they aren’t able to perceive other colors. To know about their colorblindness in detail, we must understand what a dog’s vision looks like, and what colorblindness is. And it isn’t as time-consuming as you think. So, if you’re interested let’s begin.

What Is Colorblindness?

First, you’ll have to understand “what is colorblindness?” Well, according to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Color blindness occurs when you are unable to see colors in a normal way.” Meaning that a colorblind person is someone who can’t use all of their cones to see all the colors and will not be able to perceive the worldly colors as they are. Basically, a colorblind person cannot see some colors. However, the statement that a colorblind person or animal can only see in black and white is completely false. Hence, colorblindness is caused by the missing cones in the retina. Ultimately, meaning that due to the missing cones, a person’s or an animal’s ability to see some colors is challenged.

Do Dogs Only See Black And White?

No, dogs aren’t completely color blind as proven by the research done in Russia in the year 2013. They don’t perceive the world in black and white as many people think. Canines can observe the colors blue, yellow, and gray. Their visual acuity is also less developed than that of humans. Some experts believe that dogs only have 20-40% of the normal humans’ visual acuity, meaning an object you can see clearly might look blurry to your dog from the same distance. However, they are able to see in much dimmer light and can detect motion much more easily than us humans.

You might also be interested in Can Dogs Watch Tv? 

How Many Cones Do Dogs Have?

Missing cones causes colorblindness. So, the number of cones a human or animal possesses directly influences their ability to perceive the color spectrum. Dogs have only two types of cones meaning that they can only recognize or see 2 colors; blue and yellow. This means yes, dogs are colorblind but still, they can see these two colors. They do not have all the cones responsible for identifying and reflecting most colors in their eye but this doesn’t mean that they are completely colorblind.

If Dogs Are Colorblind, Why Are Some Dog Food Colored?

If you have noticed your dog drooling over colorful foods, it is because of their colorblindness. Now, you must be wondering what is the point of having blue and yellow colored food for dogs? Well, the colors are still useful in training. It’s a common practice to use treats with a color, which dogs can see (blue and yellow) to train them. You can also get your dog interested in a toy by using blue or yellow dye. However, it’s not recommended to feed your pet only colored food.

Check out these blue-colored BUIBIIU Dog Toys for small dogs that your dog is sure to enjoy playing around with.

Is There Something I Need To Worry About?

No, there’s absolutely no reason to worry about your dog being colorblind.  Although they are a little challenged on the color spectrum, they are incredibly good at seeing in the dark. “What! Dogs can see in the dark?”. Yes, they can see in the dark. In fact, they are far better at it than us humans because they have immensely more rods compared to humans.

Also note the fact that they have a layer of tissue in their eye called the tapetum lucidum, which humans lack that helps them see much more clearly in the dark. Basically, what tapetum lucidum does is that it helps to reflect light into the retina. But only to a limit as they don’t have night vision, meaning that they will be as clueless as you in the pitch black.

Also, check out Can Dogs See in The Dark?

Do Dogs See Differently?

Yes! Another fun fact about dogs is that they have a different perception of the world than humans. They can focus on moving objects way better than us humans because they lack a tiny pit in their eye called the fovea that allows them to track any moving object way better than us humans. But the downside is that they have a vision ranging 20ft only, while an average person with 20/20 vision has a range up to 75ft. So yes, you and your dog do perceive the world differently.

Dogs can move their eyes independently in their sockets. This feature is also similar to that of animals such as a cat. It allows them to focus on an object even if they are not looking at it. These features make them very resourceful, increasing their ability for detection, tracking, and especially hunting.

Other Eye Issues

Like humans, dogs too are prone to certain eye problems. Some of the most common eye diseases that dogs are prone to include Cherry Eye, Entropion, Ectropion, Eyelash Problems, Conjunctivitis, among many others. If you see your dog pawing, rubbing, constantly tearing up, and showing any signs of significant pain or irritation around the eyes, then you need to seek veterinary care as soon as possible, since eye conditions can get worse very fast. You need to help keep your canine buddy clean and healthy by grooming them regularly and bathing them occasionally as they can get dirty very fast. Cleaning their eye discharge with a damp cloth also helps prevent any undesired eye problems.


Colorblindness doesn’t affect your dog negatively. Although they are a little challenged on the color spectrum, they still can see in the dark and their vision is very resourceful. Be aware that colorblind dogs do see some colors and that there are a number of things you can do to help them see these colors. They won’t even notice it. The lack of fovea in their eyes makes their vision acuity much less than that of humans, but they are more capable of seeing in the dark and they can also detect movement much more quickly than we can.

Thank you for reading the article.

Now that you know whether dogs are colorblind, find out more about dog vision in our other articles here. 

Can your dog differentiate colors? How do they react when they see bright blue and yellow? We would love to hear from you. Please share with our community by leaving a comment below!

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