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Has anyone ever told you that dogs only see in black and white? Well, this is actually a common misconception based on early research that has since been debunked. So what exactly is the truth about a dog's color vision and perception? We detail that below.
Contrary to popular belief, dogs see the world in color just like humans do, but with a more limited spectrum. The ability to see color comes from specialized photoreceptors in the retina called cones. When triggered, cones transmit a signal to the brain, which is then perceived as a particular color. Human eyes have three types of cones, while dog eyes only have two. To be more specific, humans have blue, red and green cones, while dogs have a blue cone and one that falls between the human red and green. Because of this, dogs see fewer colors than us.
Although dog color vision is pretty similar to a person with red-green color blindness, they are not considered color blind. What colors can dogs see, exactly? They can see shades of blue and yellow that can combine to look grayish-brown, grayish-yellow, light yellow, dark yellow, light blue and dark blue.
Knowing what colors your dog can see may just seem like nice information to have, but it can also be useful. One example is that it can enhance playtime together. Because many dog toys are red or orange (which appear brownish-gray to your pup), they can be difficult for him or her to spot. If you buy blue or yellow toys, they will stand out against the background and could make your pup even more excited for playtime (think about how much dogs love those bright yellow tennis balls!). And when playtime becomes even more fun for your pup, it can have another perk - it can improve the relationship between you two.