While dogs definitely see the world differently from us — it’s a complete myth that they don’t see any colors at all. Many people wonder: Do dogs see in black and white? The answer is no — dogs actually see the world in a similar way that color blind humans see it.
While most people with ordinary vision see the full spectrum of colors, dogs lack some of the color receptors that we have. In particular, dogs don’t have receptors for red and green. That means that dogs see the world in shades of yellow and blue/violet.
So no, dogs do not see the world in black and white only.
While human eyes contain three types of color receptors, also often called cones, dogs only have too. That means that dogs have dichromatic vision, just like most color blind people do.
Besides the lack in colors, their vision also lacks in clarity
Besides not seeing all of the colors that we do, dogs also don’t see as clearly as us either. They see things in the distance much more blurry than we do. While the perfect vision for humans is 20/20, typical vision in dogs is probably closer to 20/75. This means that what a person with normal vision could see from 75 feet away, a dog would have to be 20 feet away to see it as clearly.
But that doesn’t mean that you should feel bad for your dog. Vision is not their primary sense. Instead, dogs perceive the world more with their incredible sense of smell and with their ears. While dogs won’t see you from 75 feet away, they will still be able to smell you. Therefore, you don’t have to be too sad about your dog not seeing all of the colors that you do. Also, dogs have another pretty ability — they can actually see in the dark!
Dogs may not see all colors — but they can see in the dark
While we have trouble seeing in dim light, it seems to be no problem for our dogs. That’s because their eyes have a much higher concentration of different receptors that allow them in low light. They also have this extra layer in the back of their eyes called tapetum lucidum. This layer helps the light absorb better and reflect onto their retina. It’s also the reason that your dog’s eyes have that weird greenish-yellow reflection on flash photography. You can read more about that here.
So to make it clear once again: Do dogs see in black and white? No, they most definitely don’t. While a dog’s vision is much different from ours, it still allows them to see the world in some colors. Blue and yellow, to be particular. However, even if your dog’s vision isn’t as good as your own, you don’t have to feel any pity. Dogs can perceive smells that we can only dream of. They also see in the dark which is pretty cool, you must admit.