Frannie Says: The Canine Rainbow: Understanding How Dogs See Color


As passionate dog lovers, we’re always curious about the world from our furry friends’ perspective. Have you ever wondered how dogs see the world in terms of color?

Contrary to a popular misconception, dogs are not entirely colorblind. While their color vision is not as rich as that of their human companions, they do perceive a unique spectrum of colors. Humans have three types of color receptors (cones) in their eyes, allowing us to see a wide range of colors. Dogs, on the other hand, have only two types of cones, making their color vision limited compared to ours.

Dogs primarily see the world in shades of blue and yellow. These two colors stand out the most to them, while reds and greens may appear more muted. Think of your dog’s vision as if you were watching a color TV with the color saturation turned down. The intensity of the colors might not be as vivid, but the world is still far from black and white.

Blue is the most prominent color in a dog’s visual spectrum. This is why you might notice your dog’s enthusiasm when playing with a blue ball or chasing after a blue Frisbee. On the flip side, reds and greens may appear similar to shades of gray, making them less distinguishable for your canine companion.

Understanding how dogs see color requires a look back into their evolutionary history. Dogs, descendants of wolves, developed their vision to thrive in various environments. In the wild, they needed to detect motion and spot prey against a backdrop of green and brown. While their color vision may not be as advanced as humans, their ability to perceive movement is superior.

Knowing how dogs see color can have practical applications for our interactions with them. Consider incorporating toys and accessories in shades of blue and yellow to enhance their visual experience. Understanding their color perception can also guide grooming practices, ensuring that the environment is tailored to their unique vision.

As dog lovers, it’s essential to appreciate the world through our canine companions’ eyes. At Dog’s Day Out, our blue floors and yellow flower mural help us create a vibrant and engaging environment for the dogs in our care, giving them the spa day they deserve.

The advice provided is based on many years of experience as dog parents and operators of one of the largest and longest established dog daycare and boarding facilities in the Twin Cities. Always consult your veterinarian—and in the case of pet trusts, a legal professional. When not sharing advice, our dog bloggers—Frannie, Lyle, and Helen—share a space with their people, Downtown Dogs and Dog’s Day Out owner Ralph Bernstein and his wife, Abbe.