Tip of the Month

9/10/2012 Are Dogs Colorblind?

Are Dogs Really Colorblind?

Can Dogs See Color?

One of the most common questions that a veterinary assistant is asked is “Are dogs really colorblind?” The answer to this question is, “Yes, they indeed are.” However, one truly needs to understand the perimeters set to be considered “colorblind”. Being diagnosed “colorblind” does not mean that they can only see in black and white. In fact those that are known as “colorblind” are not completely blind to all colors. They are able to see certain colors or the lack of certain colors. It is commonly referred to as ‘Red/Green’ and ‘Blue/Yellow’ which are determined by what color the individual is having trouble viewing.

Dogs Have Less Color Receptors Than We Do

Found in the eye are color receptors which are referred to as “cones”. Cones help the individual in distinguishing 3 main colors; red, blue, and green. These three receptors are able to blend together to help form the variety of colors that humans are able to see in their daily lives. Dogs, on the other hand, only have 2 color receptors; blue and green. Due to only have two receptors instead of three, dogs have difficulty in seeing the color green, which falls into the category of “Red/Green” colorblindness.

Dogs Can See Some Colors

The big question is which colors do dogs truly have issues seeing? There is a list that many believe are colors that our canine friends are unable to see: red, orange, green, green/blue colors, and some shades of purple. This does not mean that dogs are not completely unable to see things in these colors. Could you imagine if a dog were unable to see your lawn? These colors are simply not received by these receptors so these colors will show up in various shades of grays and blacks.

Color Vision Deficiancy

In order for your veterinary assistant to truly answer this particular question accordingly, it would be better stated that dogs have Color Vision Deficiency. This means that they are able to see some color but are limited to the Blue and Yellow color receptors, and do not have the ability to see anything in the green category as its true color.

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