Do dogs see color?
At one time, it was thought that dogs could only see shades of gray. but it’s now known that dogs do see colors, although in a smaller range than humans. Dogs don’t see colors the way we do, but they do notice differences in colors by the shade intensity. Humans have three color detecting cells called cones. They can identify red, blue, green, and yellow wavelengths. Dogs have only two cones that allow them to only see the blue and yellow wavelengths.
So what’s the best color for a dog toy?
Next time you wonder why your dog isn’t interested in a certain toy, maybe it’s because he doesn’t notice it. I have a red ball in my backyard that my dogs have never picked up. I suspect it’s either just blending in with the grass color or my dogs don’t care for ball toy.
To dogs, red looks brownish, purple looks blue, and green/yellow/orange toys, depending on the shade, can all look yellowish. So if you’re looking for the best color for an outdoor fetch toy, pick a color he can easily see in the green grass. The best color would be a blue toy to contrast with the grass. Or pick a toy color that will contrast with the color of your indoor carpet. Now having said this, we know that dogs have an excellent sense of smell, so they should still be able to sense where toys are.
Although they have better peripheral and night vision, dogs have worse eyesight in general than humans. Dogs’ eyes have blurry vision, with as much as 20%-40% more blur than humans. This may vary also depending on the breed. So bigger and brighter toys will be better for your dog.
Next time you go to the pet store, remember the best colors for dog toys are bright blue or yellow.
How dog’s eyes are better than humans
- Dogs have better peripheral vision. Since their eyes are placed more towards the side on the head, they may see 240 degrees wide depending on the breed. Humans normally can see about 200 degrees wide.
- Dogs also have better night vision, whereas humans see better in daylight.
- Dogs are better motion detectors. If a prey animal even slightly moves, your dog will probably notice before you do.
These last three points can help owners of reactive dogs on their walks. My working dog breeds are reactive, especially towards squirrels. My Dobermans HATE squirrels. To make dog walks easier for me, I only walk them during the day. Also, during our walks, I’m constantly scanning the area so that I can see squirrels before my dogs do.
Want to see what you look like to your dog?
Here’s a fun dog-vision image processing tool to find out how your dog sees you.
What color is your dogs favorite toy?
Read more: Have you seen the Doberman who arranges his toys in patterns?