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How Many Colors Can Dogs See? Are They Color Blind?

For those wondering “How many colors can dogs see?” and “Are they color blind?”, here’s the need-to-know information.

How many colors can dogs see?

Dogs can see yellow, blue, and shades of gray.

Undoubtedly, this is a limited color range compared to the wider range of colors we humans can see. However, there’s a scientific reason why dogs can only see a few colors; it has everything to do with how differently structured their eyes are.

Both humans and dogs have similar photoreceptors in their retina, namely rods and cones. Rods are responsible for detecting light and motion, whereas cones help in differentiating colors.

Our eyes have more cones than a dog’s eyes, which is why we can see and differentiate a vibrant spectrum of colors. On the other hand, dogs only have two cones in their retina. This limits their color range to the blue-yellow spectrum.

For this reason, a dog’s color vision is described as “dichromatic,” meaning “two-colored.” Perhaps this explains why dogs prefer toys or tennis balls that are yellow or blue instead of other colors. Anything blue or yellow seems vibrant in their eyes, making it more intriguing.

Are dogs color blind?

In a way, yes, dogs can be considered color blind. Color blindness is described as an inability to distinguish between certain colors or being unable to see specific colors at all.

A dog’s limited color vision is similar to a person with red-green color blindness. In this case, such a person can’t really see or differentiate between red and green. The same applies to dogs. Due to the limited number of red-green cones in their retina, shades of green and red may appear as gray.


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