Are you imagining it? Does your dog like one color Frisbee over another? Does he seem to chase after the red ball more? And is he really squinting when you model your new day-glow sweater? Wait a minute….we thought dogs were color blind!
As it turns out, this common belief isn’t fact at all. Dogs do see color — only differently (and more limited) than we do. A University of California at Santa Barbara study in the 1980’s showed that they can see some colors. Specifically, dogs recognize violet, indigo, blue, red and three shades of yellow. They can’t differentiate between green, yellow and orange, but know that they look different from red, blues and purples. And to prove that dogs have the life, they are mercifully spared a spectrum of blue-green colors (aka: hideous 80’s teal) and instead see them as white. We should all be so lucky.
At the risk of drawing our own hasty conclusions from this data, we’ve done just that. Thanks to this critical scientific assessment of comparative dog vision we now know: your dog is not well suited to mating socks, but does appreciate a good Smurf costume on Halloween. We all have our favorite colors. And who knew? Your dog’s big on blue.
Learn more about this study and canine vision
Thanks to Todd and Chaco for the photo.