Do Dogs See in Black and White?

I really enjoy random, useless knowledge that does nothing to enhance my life but it’s just some fun stuff that I picked up along the way.  You know the information, like how seahorses are monogamous?  Cool, I know!  Does absolutely nothing to help me with my finances or time management skills – just silly facts that makes me appear more interesting then I really am!  It got me thinking…do dogs see in black and white?

The short answer is No.  Dogs can see some color, just not as many as human beings.

Scientists have discovered, that while humans have three cone photoreceptor cells in our eyes to see the color of the rainbow, our beloved friends have only two ‘cones’.  We can distinguish between reds and blues, yellow and greens.  Dogs cannot see reds or greens at all because everything is slightly tinted on a blue-yellow color scale.

Do Dogs See in Black and White at

Image that – seeing the world in grey, blue and yellow?  Isn’t it funny how many dog toys are red????  To them, it must look dark grey!  Now throw that red bone on your beautiful green grass!  AH!  Fido can’t see green either!  Probably looks like a grey bone in a sea of blue.

Another interesting fact is that a dog’s vision is not as acute as ours, perhaps being up to 40% less sharp!  What may look perfectly clear to you 20 feet away may appear blurry to your fur-baby.   That’s because your dog tends to be nearsighted.  Their eye test would look more like 20/75.  That’s okay though because your buddy is ‘seeing’ the world through another sense – his sense of smell. (More on this next week!)

We may see the world with more vivid and beautiful colors and we may even see things a little bit clearer (contacts lenses and all!) but our four-legged family members do have two distinct advantages to us mere mortals:

  1. They can see motion at a distance up to 20 times better than humans
  2. They can see much better than people at dawn and dusk when the light from the sun is just a hint in the sky.

Both of these traits serve canines much better for hunting in the wild. Obviously, your pet is not doing much of that now-a-days, however, I would pick any dog to be on my team in a game of Kick the Can with the neighborhood kids!  Ruling Champions of the Summer!

It’s nice to know that our family pet sees the world in more than just a boring black and white.  They may not see beautiful pinks, purples, green and reds but they don’t seem to miss it.

Want to know the animal that can see the most colors?  It will make you look more interesting at the next office party!

Mantis Shrimp.  They have 16 different color receptors in their eyes.  Can you imagine what the world looks like through their eyes?!?!?!

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