Are Dogs Colorblind?

Are Dogs Colorblind?

It is generally common knowledge that animals like dogs, cats, and horses see the world differently than we humans do. This will leave many pet owners wondering: are dogs colorblind?

Yes, dogs are in fact colorblind. However, dogs do not see in the black and white vision that many people believe. Rather, dogs have vision that is somewhat similar to that of some colorblind people.

In this article, we will be describing the world from the point of view of a dog. That is, we will be exploring what colors dogs can and cannot see. In addition to this, we will also be answering some other commonly asked questions that are related to dogs and what colors they can see. Let’s get right into it!

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Do Dogs See In Color?

Technically, all dogs are colorblind. However, they can see more colors than most people previously thought. Colorblindness refers to the inability to see certain colors. While it is true that there are some colors that dogs cannot see, there are some colors that they in fact can see.

What Colors Can Dogs See?

When it comes to color, dogs can only see shades of brown, yellow, blue, and gray. We know this for certain because dogs only have two types of cones present in their eyes. These two types of cones are responsible for seeing these four colors. Cones are cells present in the eyes of animals that are responsible for perceiving color. Now, we will be breaking down how dogs see each color.

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How Do Dogs See The Color Blue?

Dogs can see the color blue in pretty much the same way that most humans can. This is because dogs have cones in their eyes that allow them to see shades of blue.

How Do Dogs See The Color Yellow?

Like blue, dogs have cones in their eyes that allow them to see shades of yellow. This means that your dog can most likely perceive all of the same shades of yellow that you can see.

How Do Dogs See The Color Brown?

It is believed that dogs can see the color brown. This includes shades of dark brown in addition to lighter shades of beige.

Can Dogs See Shades Of White, Grey, and Black?

Yes, dogs can see shades of gray. Of course, this also includes black and white, which are both technically shades of gray. Contrary to past popular belief, these are not the only colors that dogs can see though. Instead, most of the objects that humans perceive to be either white, black, or gray appear that way to dogs as well.

What Colors Can Dogs Not See?

Even though there are a variety of colors that dogs can see, there are some colors on the spectrum that dogs cannot see. Red, green, purple, and orange are the most common colors that dogs cannot see. So, how do they see these colors?

what color can dogs not see

How Do Dogs See The Color Red?

We have already established that dogs cannot see the color red. How dogs see the color red can differ depending on what the shade of red is. For example, a very light red probably appears as a light yellow or beige color. On the other hand, dark reds probably appear as a dark brown with a yellow hue to it.

How Do Dogs See The Color Green?

Like the color red, dogs cannot see the color green. In fact, it is speculated that the colors green and red appear to be essentially the same for dogs. Both colors will appear to be varying shades of yellow or brown. As a result of this, it is hypothesized that the vision of most dogs is similar to that of a person that has red-green color blindness.

How Do Dogs See The Color Orange?

The color orange is perceived by dogs as being the same as the color yellow. This shade of yellow will differ depending on the shade and vibrancy of the color orange at hand. This means that dogs cannot see the color orange, and instead, they see orange objects as being yellow.

How Do Dogs See The Color Pink?

The color pink is simply a lighter version of the color red. Since dogs most likely see the color red as brown, it is likely that dogs view the color pink as a light beige. Like all other colors, these shades of this beige can differ depending on what shade of pink the dog is looking at.

How Do Dogs See The Color Purple?

Surprisingly, dogs cannot see the color purple. This is because purple is technically a mix of the colors blue and red. Dogs are able to see the color blue, but they cannot see the color red. This means that purple objects most likely appear to be dark blue or muddy blue color depending on the shade.

Shades of purple containing more blue hues, such as royal purple, will appear as a dark blue to dogs. Meanwhile, shades of purple containing more red hues, such as shades of violet, will appear to be a more ruddy blue color to dogs.

Can Dogs See Colors In The Dark?

can dogs see at night

Dogs actually have night vision that is much better than that of humans. However, the colors that they can perceive in low levels of light are most likely diluted. This is because light is required to perceive color for both dogs and humans alike.

When thinking about the answer to this question, think about looking around your bedroom in the dark. You do not necessarily only see in black and white, but the colors around you are much more diluted than they are during the day. The same is true for dogs as well!

Can Dogs See The TV?

Televisions work by having tons of tiny glowing lights on the screen, and this is how the device presents images. So, many people will wonder: if dogs cannot see colors like red, pink, and green, then can they see the TV?

The short answer to this question is, yes, dogs can see the TV. However, they still cannot see shades of red and green. This will leave dogs to see a picture that consists of shades of yellow, brown, gray, and blue. Of course, this is the same as dogs view the world around them.


The answer to the age old question is that yes, dogs are in fact colorblind. However, they can see more colors than what we once thought. Our pups can only see in shades of brown, yellow, blue, and gray, so anything outside of these colors will look like a shade of one of these four. 

If you have any further questions about your dog, Shallowford Animal Hospital in Lewisville, NC is here to help! Reach out to us at (336) 945-4412 or make an appointment online!

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Shallowford Animal Hospital and The Pet Spa at Shallowford are dedicated to the exceptional, compassionate care your pet deserves. Pets hold a very special place in our families, and we treat yours like our own.