Archived Message
Color Blind?

by Jane

I have a maltese puppy and he is really playful. He has many colorful toys of all kinds to chew on. I have heard before that canines are indiscriminent to color visions. I was wondering in all the vivid toys he has, is it true that it is all just a colorful display to me and black and white to him. Thank you for all your responses.


Jane, You are correct. Your Maltese pup is color blind and can only see varying shades of black and white. Also did you know they are nearsighted and rely more on their noses than on their eyes.

How do people know that dogs are colorblind? Are test run on them? How can people say that the dogs can only see in black and white? Just wondering.=)

Jay: I have suspected that they are near sighted because I see animals before they do. They will finally see them when they move or smell there presence. Shayna is always barking at palm trees when the wind blows. She can not determine if they are human or trees blowing. I do hope she out grows this because she is noisy at night sometimes. I also read that they are color blind, but I agree, HOW DO THEY KNOW THIS? When did they get tested? Birds are not color blind they can select items by color if trained.

I've read that they are color-blind because they do not have certain rods in their eyes which would allow them "to see" color.

If dogs can't see colors why did the one in the commercial eat the red M & M ?

Terry: I laughed until I cried at your post!!!!!! I too, have always wondered how anyone could ever determine what a dog sees. My dogs always argue over the "red" items in our home.. I swear that they can see color. I just asked my maltese why they always want to wear the red bows, coats, leashes etc..They told me that as maltese, they know that they look FABULOUS in red. They are just trying to make a great Fashion Statement!

I just read that a dog's sense of sight is much poorer than a human's. Dogs can't distinguish objects in detail at a distance of more than about a hundred feet. A dog lives mainly in a world of scent, exploring and reacting to smells much more than he does to sights. This is one reason why dogs sometimes respond strangely to people, places, or objects that may seem to be quite harmless and ordinary to us. They may be reacting to the smell of another dog, or to scents that remind them of past negative experiences. A dog's visual limitation can also cause the animal to misinterpret a person's actions. The dog may not be able to distinquish between a threatening gesture and an unrelated movement, and may simply respond to any activity. In the case of a bad-tempered dog, this can cause an unprovoked attack. As far as color-blindness: It appears that dogs see color in the same kind of limited way as color-blind humans--making out shades and seeing some differences in tones and colors, but not with the sharpness and variety of normal human vision. Interesting stuff, huh?

Not to laugh, Andrea, there have been recent studies stating dogs are able to see colors to a certain degree and from the research they have done, red is the color the dogs reacted to. How, who and when this was done I don't recall. I read it recently.
-Linda Coleman Lin-Lee Maltese

What does all this do for the term "Seeing Guide Dog"? They actually cross streets with their nose.

It is true, dogs do perfer red. There is a small fuzzy squeaky toy that I like to take in the ring for my dogs, since it is kind of flat, I can put it in my pocket. Well my dogs all loved it and responded to it, it got lost, so I bought a blue one, no dice, the dogs didn't like it! I couldn't find any of the red ones, so have now resided to making them. People that come in my shop can't belive how the dogs love these red squeaky toys!

How funny! That the Maltese does seem oriented toward the RED color. I also have squeak toys that we use to train our dogs, they are usually left in the very large dog toy box that stays in our Family Room. As the dogs are playing with us, and with each other, it is invariably the bright orange and red toys that they seek out among all of the other toys available in their toy box, and these same toys are always the ones the dogs try to take from each other.
-Larry Stanberry Divine Maltese

So, is the verdict that dogs are *NOT* color blind. We can now add this to our 'myths' list?

My dog has among her many toys 2 small rubber balls. They are about the same size as a healthy dandelion blossum. In the summer when we play fetch with these balls: if I throw the yellow one and she didn't see the throw she will rush to the nearest dandelion. Oops wrong round yellow thing try again. She sometimes has to try 3 or 4 flowers before she gets it right. But she never has this problem when you throw her red ball. Zoom she goes straight to it. This has lead me to believe that she can see color and least red and yellow.

My Maltese's favorite shade of black and white is PINK! Perhaps because it's a shade of red? She never bothers any of my socks, except the pink ones--she runs all through the house with them. I'll have to try the red squeaky toy and see if she gives up her favorite PURPLE (another shade of red) toy for it!

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