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Is Fido Color Blind?

August 15, 2020

One of the best parts of owning a dog is seeing your canine friend stare up at you lovingly, waiting patiently for a belly rub or a treat. Have you ever wondered exactly how they see you? Your pup’s eyesight is different than your own—better in some ways and worse in others. But do dogs see completely in black and white, or do they perceive color in some way? Let’s explore this topic with an experienced Braselton vet below.


Are Dogs Color Blind?

One of the biggest myths about our canine companions is that they’re entirely color blind, seeing only in black, white, and some shades of gray. It turns out that this isn’t accurate. 


Dogs actually perceive the world much like color blind humans. They see certain colors better than others, and different hues of the same color can be difficult to differentiate.


How Are Dog Eyes and Human Eyes Different?

Your dog’s eyes share several of the same components that human eyes have, including the optic nerve, a retina, and rods and cones, which help to process light in order to see colors. So why is there a difference in the way that humans and dogs perceive color?


The answer actually lies in the cones, which are light-sensing cells in the eye. Human eyes are trichromatic, which means that they contain three types of cones. Each of those three types processes different colors on the spectrum: red, blue, and green.

Dog eyes, on the other hand, are dichromatic. This means that they only have two types of cones, one that sees blues and the other that sees a shade that falls somewhere between what a human would perceive as red and green. So, dogs have what we would call a type of red-green color blindness.


How Does My Dog Perceive Color?

What does this affect how your dog actually sees the world? Fido’s eyes are best at picking up yellows and blues. Since your dog’s eyes take these colors in together, they see the world mostly in dark and light yellows, grayish yellow shades, and grayish browns, in addition to dark and light shades of blue. This may explain why your pup likes yellow tennis balls so much—the ball probably shows up quite vibrantly against what your dog perceives as a dull background of green grass.


For more insights into your dog’s health and behavior, call your Braselton vet today!


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