The first thing to dispel is the myth that dogs can’t see colour. Dogs can see colour just differently to us. This article explores this question and will give a sense of the way your dog may experience colour.

How are dogs’ eyes different to humans?

The ability to see colour comes from special cells in the eye, these are called cones. There are different types of cones, humans have three types of cones. There are blue, red and green cones in humans and colour blindness can stem from a lack of one of these cones.

In dogs there are two types of cone, dogs have a blue cone and then one that could be described as being between red and green. Aside from cones, dogs have an increased number of rods which not only help see better in dim light but also can pick up movement more effectively.

What colours do dogs see?

Based on the different cones that appear in a dog’s eyes they end up seeing variations of blue, yellow and green which can appear as:

  • Dark yellow
  • Lighter yellow
  • Grey brown
  • Dark blue
  • Light blue

If you are thinking about particular toys that stand out, then no surprises that yellow would be a very good choice. Dogs don’t see red like we do so throwing a red toy could be a little more challenging for a dog.

Does your dog’s ability to see colour change their perception of the world?

As well as determining colour perception, cones also give us humans the ability to see things in more detail. This means dogs won’t see objects as well when close up, but we mustn’t forget dogs have increased rods and will see in dim light much better than us humans.

On top of extra rods, dogs have a heightened sense of smell (more than a thousand times that of a human) and a wider range of hearing. When this is all combined dogs have an amazing ability to combine their senses to great effect. Although some colours are seen differently than us humans, a dog’s other senses certainly compensate!

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