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Do Dogs See Colors? What The Latest Research Tells Us



When it comes to our beloved canine companions, there is a lot of debate about whether or not they see colors – and if so, what colors do they see? In this article, we’ll discuss what research has revealed about dogs’ vision and how vets recommend considering the science when managing pets’ visual needs. 

What Color Can Dogs Actually See?

Most research has shown that dogs have far fewer color-detecting cone cells in their eyes than humans do. As a result, dogs are thought to process colors differently than we do, meaning they likely don’t “see” them the same way humans do. Generally, experts believe that dogs perceive colors somewhere between a light yellow-green and dark yellowish brown — likely resembling more closely the hues seen by people who suffer from color blindness. 

It is a commonly held belief that dogs do not see colors in the same way that humans do. However, recent research suggests that this is not the case. Canine vision is quite different from human vision, and it is important to understand these differences in order to better understand how dogs see the world around them. There is more information on Fitopets to check out too.

One of the key differences between human and canine vision is the number of cone cells in the retina. Cone cells are responsible for color perception, and humans have three types of cone cells, which allows them to see a wide range of colors. Dogs, on the other hand, have only two types of cone cells, which means that they may not be able to perceive colors in the same way that humans do.

Research Suggestions 

In order to better understand how our canine friends view the world around them, scientists have conducted various studies examining the vision capabilities of canines. Here are just three of those studies: 

1) A study conducted by researchers at Cambridge University found that though dogs may be able to distinguish between certain colors (namely blues and yellows), they lack different shades within each hue. 

2) Another study done at Cornell University showed that there may be some differences in color perception among different breeds of dogs: for example, Labrador Retrievers seemed to see variations in blue tones better than most other breeds.  

3) Lastly, an experiment completed at Purdue University revealed that the pupils of canine eyes react differently when presented with brighter versions of certain hues versus cooler ones — suggesting again that dogs are limited in their ability to detect certain shades and tints. 

Despite this difference, there is evidence to suggest that dogs are capable of seeing colors. In a study published in the journal Animal Cognition, researchers found that dogs were able to differentiate between different colors and were able to use these colors to find hidden treats. Additionally, several veterinarians and pet experts have reported observing dogs reacting to and distinguishing between different colors

So What Next?

There are a few research suggestions that could help to explore further the question of whether dogs see colors. These include:

  1. Conducting more extensive studies on the color perception of dogs using a variety of methods, such as training dogs to respond to different colors or using specialized equipment to measure their color perception.
  2. Examining the brain activity of dogs while they are viewing different colors, in order to understand how they process and perceive color information.
  3. Analyzing the genetic makeup of dogs to determine whether there are any genetic variations that may affect their ability to see colors.
  4. Comparing the color perception of dogs with that of other animals, such as cats or horses, in order to understand how different species perceive color.
  5. Examining the way that dogs use color in their everyday lives, such as how they react to different colored objects or how they use color to communicate with other dogs.


Though much remains unknown about how exactly our pooches view life through their furry faces, it appears as though canine vision is quite complex! 

Although it is clear that there is still much to learn about the way that dogs see colors. While it is likely that their color perception is not as developed as that of humans, there is evidence to suggest that dogs are able to perceive and distinguish between different colors.

Further research will be necessary to understand the capabilities of canine vision fully. While its limitations may impact how owners take care of their pet’s visual health needs; simply being aware of these differences can go a long way towards ensuring your pup is living its best life!

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