SlimDoggy MythBuster #3: Are Dogs Colorblind?

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Today’s myth busting is on something I think we’ve all believed for some time and only recently beginning to hear otherwise and that is that dogs are colorblind. I’ve always heard – and believed that they were, that they were able to see only varying shades of grey/black/white. Well, that’s totally false. Dogs do indeed see colors and lots of them, just not with the same range or intensity as humans.

Here’s a good article from Psychology today that helps explain it. Jay Neitz at the University of California, Santa Barbara has done pretty extensive research into this and has found that human eyes have special cells or cones in the retina that catch light – and allow us to see colors. Humans have three different types of these cells. Dogs have only two ‘types’ and many fewer of these cones than humans, so they see less variation in the color spectrum.  In humans with colorblindness they are missing one of these types of cones  and so are only able to see a certain range of colors.

colorblind

Here’s a chart from the article that gives you a pretty good idea of what your dog is able to see.

So, put your mind at ease, Fido does see colors, but he may not see or appreciate that bright red KONG for the color – it’s for the peanut butter you put inside.

 
 
Monday Mischief

There’s not really any mischief here, but we love the Monday Mischief Blog Hop, so we are joining. The Hop is hosted by Snoopy’s Dog Blog, Alfie’s Blog, Luna Dogs Life and My Brown Newfies

 

 

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28 Comments

  1. I always tell my mom that we see yellow and blues best, and this seems to hold true according to your chart. Mom says I look best in red, but I don’t see it!
    emma recently posted…Shhh, Don’t Tell Mom I Was Drinking Beer While Shopping | GBGV | Monday MischiefMy Profile

  2. Gteat information. I know gman can see orange very well as if there is a bumper out in the field and i want to run it as a blind retrieve he will see it and run right to it. If there is a orange ribbon tied to a bush he can see that to.
    joann stancer recently posted…Black And White SundayMy Profile

    • Those guys NEVER miss a bumper!

  3. Love your mythbusters series!

    • Thanks, we do to – it’s lots of fun!

  4. Ya know, I was never quite convinced that dog’s were totally colorblind. I don’t know why — certainly at age 5 or 6, I had no proof — I just always had a gut feeling that my family poodles saw more than just black, white, and grey. Childhood imagination maybe?

    • Turns out you were right. Childhood intuition!

  5. Very interesting. I’ve always thought that dogs only saw black and white but I think its great if they can see a little bit of color too!
    Jen recently posted…Introducing the AKC GoodDog Helpline. #AKCDogloverMy Profile

    • I know – I’m glad they can enjoy the scenery more than I thought.

  6. Very interesting! I had heard about the recent studies, but had not yet looked into it. Luna would love her KONG no matter what color it was, so I think you are right! Thanks for sharing!
    Beagles and Bargains recently posted…Wordless Wednesday: Beating the HeatMy Profile

    • Well, a Kong is a Kong is a Kong…no matter, as long as it’s filled with yummies.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy MythBuster #3My Profile

  7. Interesting. It’s amazing to me how they figure all that stuff out.

  8. Very interesting! It’s funny though because out of all Titan’s toys, he fancies the red ones most. I can have two of the same exact toy in red and blue and he’ll go red. Weird, right?
    Bren recently posted…BONE HEALTH AND THE ROLE OF MINERAL BALANCEMy Profile

    • I bet he sees them as different colors though…or maybe the red one just smells better.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy MythBuster #3My Profile

  9. Interesting post, my friend. Well, and here I thought my favorite color was safety orange…but according to the chart, I can’t see safety orange. *sigh* Do I have to change my favorite color to blue?!? It seems that dogs see that best.
    Oz the Terrier recently posted…Called Back from the WildMy Profile

    • I think it can still be orange, it’s just YOUR orange is kind of brown…
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy MythBuster #3My Profile

  10. That was very interesting, I had seen articles on this lately but hadn’t read any. I like the way you explain things simply and to the point for those of us with no brain for science!
    I’ve always thought my dogs found the smells of things way more attractive than the colors anyway, but of course, I have beagles! 🙂
    Jan K recently posted…Resolutions Revisited (Part 1)My Profile

    • Thanks. I agree about the smells and it is a fact that they use scent much more predominantly. I learned that when Tino went blind. Barely mattered to him.
      mkob recently posted…SlimDoggy MythBuster #3My Profile

  11. Love that article of Stanley Coren! That guy totally knows his stuff! Wishing you all a great day, Francesca
    Francesca Villa recently posted…A Must See!My Profile

  12. I swear some of them see orange. As you know we use orange stakes and bumpers while training blinds and there are times they seem to see them.
    2 brown dawgs recently posted…Nice Day For WaterMy Profile

  13. The only color I don’t want to see my Mum put on me is Pink, way too girlie! 🙂

    Wags to all,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂
    snoopy recently posted…Monday Mischief – I’m an Uncle!My Profile

  14. Nice, I’d heard some version of that, but had never seen that chart. That explains it quite well, similar to how humans can’t see infrared wavelengths, but some animals can.
    Jeremy Cook recently posted…A DIY Quadcopter GoPro MountMy Profile

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