QuickCheck: Do dogs only see shades of black and white?

Dogs only have two types of cones (photoreceptors in their eyes) compared to humans who have three.

IT’S a common notion that dogs are colour blind, and many assume that this means that Fido can only see in shades of grey.

So is it really true that man’s best friend can't see any colours?



DOGS can see certain colours, but their vision is similar to a person who has red-green colourblindness.

So, it isn’t true that dogs see the world in black and white.

Our four-legged friends can differentiate between blue and yellow, but find it tough to identify red and green, based on the latest research.

"Scientists now believe that a dog’s colour vision is similar to that of a person who has red-green colourblindness," read an excerpt from the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) website.

It quoted that such findings are based on research by Jay Neitz, who runs the Neitz Color Vision Lab in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Washington.

"Dogs can make out yellow and blue, and combinations of those colours. This renders a lot of the world greyish-brown.

"That lush green lawn? It probably looks like a field of dead hay.

"That bright red velvet cushion? Still comfy, but it probably comes across as a dark brown blob to the dog," said the AKC, a not-for-profit organisation founded in 1884.

The reason why dogs can only see yellow and blue hues is that their eyes only have two "cones" as opposed to three in humans.

"The eye is made up of specialized cells and receptors called rods and cones.

"Rods are responsible for detecting motion, while cones help to differentiate colour," read an explanation on PetMD, a website on pet information.

While humans have three types of cones, dogs have two.

"This means that people can normally identify three colour combinations (red, blue, and green), while dogs are limited to two (yellow and blue).

"Dog colour vision is therefore described as dichromatic, or 'two-coloured'," the website read.


1. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/can-dogs-see-color/

2. https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/what-colors-do-dogs-see/

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