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Are Dogs Colorblind Or Is It A Myth?

Fact or Fiction – Are Dogs Colorblind?

Can a dog tell a yellow toy from a blue toy? You probably have wondered about this.  For many years it has been generally accepted that dogs only see two colors: black and white. This idea originated in the 1860s when many researchers believed that primates where the only animals that could perceive a wide range of the color spectrum.

Then, why do dog toys come in a wide range of colors? Well, scientists have in recent decades found the black and white theory to be false. Dogs actually see more colors than just black and white.

What Colors do your Dogs See?

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC) dogs have the same color vision as red-green colorblind individuals. A normal human with no color blind has three cones that perceive the full-color spectrum. However, some people only have two cones. Such individuals can not perceive green and red colors and therefore are termed as red-green colorblind.

Dogs have also been found to only have two cones in their eyes.  What this means is that like red-green colorblind individuals dogs cannot perceive red and green colors.  This means that they also don’t perceive shades of these two colors such as orange, purple and pink.

Other than individual colors dogs have also been found to have difficulties telling a subtle change in color brightness.  This makes their world a little bit different from that of their human friends.

Other than the theorized white and black, dogs perceive all other colors except red and green and their respective shades. Your dog does see yellow, blue and brown and all their related shades. It can also perceive hues of black, white and gray. However, if you buy your dog a red toy it will see it to be brown in color and will see an orange one to be brownish-yellow.

What Does This Mean?

Knowing what colors your dog sees is as important as knowing what toys your dog love to play with. As you already know playtime is very important to your dog and choosing the right products will enhance this productive time.

Have you ever notice that dogs go crazy over some yellow toys and will act as though they have seen nothing when you give them the same toy in a different color? What this tells you is that when choosing playing toys for your dog make sure that you have them in colors it can perceive such as yellow, brown and blue.  This way your pooch will be more engaged during playtime because it can see the toys more clearly.

Another area where color is important in a dog’s life is during training.  If you are teaching your dog to differentiate two things use colors it can see more clearly. For example, if you match red and brown your dog will only see brown for both items and will not distinguish between them. The same applies when you match yellow and orange or green and blue as your dog will only see one color.

It is therefore important you choose more distinctive colors such as yellow and blue or even black and white for training items to help your dog see more clearly.

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Lawrence Pryor
Lawrence Pryor
Hi everyone, I am a dog lover/owner and a blogger for many years and I created this website to share fun and interesting stories about our wonderful dogs. They truly are our best friends.


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