What Colors Can Dogs See? A Guide for Dog Owners

What Colors Can Dogs See

Have you ever wondered what colors dogs can see? Dogs have amazing senses, but one question people often ask is: what colors do they see? Let’s explore this interesting topic and find out what colors dogs can see.

What Colors Do Dogs See Best?

You might be wondering what colors dogs see best. Unlike humans who can see all the colors from red to violet, dogs see things a bit differently. They don’t have the same kind of light receptors in their eyes that we do. For dogs, the rainbow is like missing the red part. But they can see yellows and blues pretty well. So, to a dog, a rainbow looks like a bunch of yellows and blues in different shades.

What Colors Can Dogs Not See?

Dogs can’t see certain colors like red and orange. To them, those colors look like different shades of light brown, called “tan.” So, if you throw a bright red ball in green grass, your dog won’t see the red ball as red; both the ball and the grass will look brown. But if you give your dog a toy that’s yellow or blue, it’ll see it just fine because those colors are visible to dogs.

Luckily, dogs depend more on their sense of smell than their sight. So even if the toy is hard to see, they’ll still be able to sniff it out easily, whether it’s red, yellow, or blue.

Do Dogs Notice Colors In Their Beds And Toys?

If you avoid using colors like red, orange, and green in your dog’s crate because those colors look brown to them, they’ll still like a bit of color. Tan colors are also fine!

There’s no proof that dogs like blue or yellow toys more than red or green ones. But they might have a harder time finding a light brown toy in the grass if it blends in.

How Do Dogs See Color?

Scientists wanted to know how dogs see colors, so they did some tests. They trained dogs to pick a different colored disc from a bunch by touching it with their noses. If they chose right, they got a treat. But sometimes, even trained dogs couldn’t tell the difference between colors. For example, if the discs were mostly red with one green, dogs saw them all as light brown!

Scientists also used a method called electroretinography to see how dogs’ eyes react to light. They found out that dogs lack certain cells that help humans see color. Humans have three types of these cells, but dogs only have two.

Scientists also use a method called electroretinography to see how animals’ eyes react to light. They found that dogs don’t have all the same color-detecting cells in their eyes as humans. Humans have three types of these cells, but dogs only have two.

Do Dogs Have Good Eyesight?

It may come as a surprise to many people that dogs, in addition to their poorer color vision, cannot see as clearly as humans. Beyond a certain distance, everything becomes blurry for them. They have a genetic short-sightedness that prevents them from seeing distant objects clearly. The degree of short-sightedness varies between dog breeds, and it comes as no surprise to learn that so-called ‘sight hounds’ such as the Afghan Hound, Greyhound, Irish Wolfhound, Scottish Deerhound and Whippet have better eyesight than Chihuahuas, Pugs and Bulldogs. You can find out more about these wonderful breeds in the Dog Breeds Guide.

However, dogs’ eyesight comes into its own at dawn and dusk, when they can see just as well as they do in the daytime. Like cats, they have retinas that function well in poor light. The shape of their eyes’ light receptor cells and a reflective tissue layer at the back of the eye combine to create this low-light supervision.

And yes, that reflective layer is why dogs’ (and cats’) eyes always have a ‘red eye’ effect in photographs, and in car headlights. (Don’t worry though, we’ve got some top tips on How To Take Better Pictures of Your Pets!). No wolf pack in a horror film would be complete without those glowing eyes!

Dogs also have a broader field of vision than humans, as their eyes are more on the side of the head than ours. This enables them to take in details that we would either miss or would be half-glimpsed of things seen ‘in the corner of the eye’.

Why Do Dogs See Less Color Than Humans?

Dogs see fewer colors than humans because they evolved differently. Dogs, like their ancestors, wolves, were hunters. But unlike birds that hunt during the day and need sharp color vision, dogs hunt mostly at night or in low light. So, instead of seeing lots of colors, they’re great at seeing movement and things in dim light.

Humans, on the other hand, evolved to hunt during the day, so we have better color vision. But when it gets dark, we struggle without artificial light. Our eyes also find it hard to spot moving things in dim light, which is why we sometimes see strange things in the dark, like ghosts.

Compared to many other animals, humans don’t have the best color vision either. Insects like bees and butterflies, as well as some fish and shellfish, can see even more colors than we can.

But for dogs, their vision works perfectly fine for what they need it for—being good dogs!

Even though we see the world differently from our furry friends, we can agree that they deserve the best. Check out Omlet’s dog products like beds, crates, and accessories to treat your pooch right!


To sum up, dogs may not see as many colors as we do, but their vision helps them hunt and navigate in dim light. Knowing this helps us understand and value our furry friends even more. Despite seeing the world differently, our bond with them is still special. So, whether they see in black and white or color, let’s continue to cherish and care for our loyal companions.

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Hello there! I'm Madhav Mantri, the person behind this PetSavvy Solution blog. I'm a digital marketer and a pet enthusiast too! I spend my time making sure everything here is interesting and helpful for you and your pets. I love sharing cool stuff about pets, from the latest trends to heartwarming stories and useful tips to keep our furry friends happy and healthy.

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