• Dogs are commonly believed to be colorblind. Although it's true that they perceive color differently than humans do, they do see more than shades of gray.

    Color Receptors

    Whereas humans have three color receptors, or are trichromatic, dogs have only two, or are dichromatic. Dogs have the blue-violet and yellow-green receptor ranges, but they are red-green blind.


    Dogs' red-green blindness, also called deuteranopia, means that it's difficult for them to distinguish shades of red, orange, green, blue-green and purple.

    Cone Cells and Rod Cells

    Cone cells are necessary to see color; rod cells are necessary to see black and white. Compared with humans, dogs have fewer cone cells and a higher density of rod cells in their retina.


    As a result, dogs have superior night vision, but they have trouble telling the difference between shades of colors. They perceive all colors to be faded or pale.

    Motion Detection

    Dogs see colors (and shapes and objects) in less detail than humans do, but they are better at tracking motion. So even though "tossing an orange ball onto green grass may look like yellow against yellow to your dog," his movement-detection skills "will help him fetch it anyway," according to DogTime Inc. (see Reference 2)


    Salt Lake Dog Scene Examiner

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