Can Labrador Dogs See Color?

Most movies and TV programs show their viewpoint of a dog scene featured to be in colors of white, grey and black. However, is this usual representation of a dog’s view accurate in real life? Is an individual’s bosom buddy in actual not able to see all color?

It’s interesting to perceive the surroundings by the eyes of your pet. There are many other questions owners have about their dogs such as how sharp their pooch’s eyesight is, whether they can see better than humans and if their Labrador can actually see in the dark.

How does your Lab See Colors – inside the Dog’s eye?

Besides looking at the nearby places quite close from the land than you, the Lab’s faculty of sight also function in a separate process. The eyes of your pet operate almost like how a camera does. Illumination gets into the pupil. The iris, a shape which can enlarge and shrink, regulates the proportion of gleam to be permitted. Luminescence then enters across the translucent cornea and lens, that focuses the gleaming on the retina, which is layer sensitive to illumination.

Cushioning the rear end of your pet’s eyes, the photoreceptors are present, and these light sensitive cells of the retina are categorized as two independent kinds that is, cones and rods. The cones assist to detect luminescence and are quick to respond to the individual lights that the dogs notice. Every one of such cones functions as a recipient for the wavelength of light which goes into the retina. It is a fact that humas have 3 kind of cones whereas the Labrador dog is having just 2 types of cones.

Your dog’s eyesight as compared to humans

The vision of dogs is known as dichromatic vision. The chroma recognized by the eyes of humans is more sophisticated as they have a trichromatic vision.

People are born with a perfect 20/20 eyesight which conveys the fact that humans can view extremely sharpened pictures. Dogs identify hazy images and are in addition dependent on ‘motion’ to visibly find anything. Your Lab’s eyes have a responsiveness to movement from a separation – about 10 to 20 times more than you.

However, dogs use other cues (such as smell, texture, noise, etc.) rather than solely relying on color for identifying objects. Since the eyes of a Lab are situated in the cranium, your pooch has a line of sight one step ahead than humans. She will catch sight of anything hiding at the back of her. However, in terms of focusing on objects at different distances known as accommodation, humans are better than dogs.

Vision and Colorblindness of Labradors

Colorblindness of Labradors

Labs are raised for poaching and analyzing prey. Since the lineage strategies are put into place, Labs are expected to have greater faculty of sight than other dog types.

Color blindness is the helplessness to distinguish between colors or inability to completely view specific shades. As opposed to a well-known story, dogs aren’t entirely colorblind. Because of having one type of cone less in their eyes, they visualize the chromas around them with reduced abundance as people.

In an experiment, Jay Neitz from University of California, examined the color vision of dogs. In innumerable assessments, 3 light boards were displayed  in front of the dogs, in succession, among which 2 panels had the same chroma, whereas the third was dissimilar. The responsibility of the dog was to discover the non-identical one and to lower that board.

In case the dog was right, it was gifted. Neitz verified that pooches can literally view color, but not that number of colors that humans normally do. Rather than perceiving the chromatic spectrum as violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red (VIBGYOR) colors your pooch will see it as dark blue, light blue, blue, gray, light yellow, brownish yellow, very dark gray. Labs notice the shades of the world as basically yellow, blue, and gray. It is not easy for the dog to identify red and green properly.

If you also want to understand the perception of your pooch, during the next session of “fetch” with your dog use a blue ball and red ball one after the other. When you throw a blue ball, your pooch reacts as she always does, joyously launching at it, grabbing it in her jaws, and bringing it back to you post haste. 

Nevertheless, observe what occurs if a red colored ball is sent to your Lab, it shall rest there looking with a disoriented glance, or it may race behind the ball just to move by it in many ways and stop trying to find that thing. So don’t get confused if your dog was not well-trained or distracted by something, its actually the ability of her eye to recognize the color yellow well and not red. Similarly other objects with the color blue can be perceived properly but not that of green.

Importance of Labrador Vision

Even though Labs might not be able to see colors like people can due to their dichromatic vision, their faculty of sight is super important.

Due to having lesser number of cones in a retina than a human does, the eyes of dogs have greater number of rods. These rods help a Lab to have better low-light vision such as in dawn and dusk. Also, none of the photoreceptors in your dog’s eyes will work in the absence of any light and she will not be able to see anything. Dogs have evolved to see better both in bright and dim lightning.

Can Dogs See in the Dark?

Dogs have extremely big pupils and one film of tissue called the ‘tapetum lucidum’ behind the eye to make vision clearer, apart from excessive rods. Labs eyes start shining in the dark which appear to make unwilling dog-sitters also take them out in the night hours and bring a smile to their face. It happens when unabsorbed light reflects off the eye’s tapetum lucidum, that layer of mirror-like membrane, just the way light bounces back from a mirror.

Features for Night Vision in Labradors

The eyes of dog rely on the following features for night vision:-

  1. Motion Detection
  2. Light sensitivity
  3. Visual field of view
  4. Depth perception
  5. Visual acuity
  6. Color perception
  7. Form/shape sharpness

Why should pet owners be aware of their dog’s visual capabilities and limitations?

Labrador visual capabilities

Understanding your dog’s visual capabilities will allow you to take better decisions in purchasing things for your pooch. To give an instance, you ought to be aware of the  dog’s color spectrum when buying any toys for her. Your pooch will like yellow and blue colored play stuff rather than red toys. Also, you will realize and know the reason as to what makes your pooch go absent-minded or attentive while tracking an object. Also if you want to give the dog full attention, ensure that you are standing quite close to her i.e. place in which visual acuity is highest.

Actually, you will get to know why the places of dog agility have encouraged changes with respect to the color vision of pooches. Several dog agility corporations at the moment have laid down laws that fields and exposure areas must be decorated with  yellow and blue colors.

Hereafter, if you come across a rainbow, certainly you and your Lab will like it a lot but she may not see all the colors like you but blue, yellow and shades of gray.

Do Labradors Experience Complete Blindness?

Dogs are susceptible to optical issues linked with elderliness and illness. We must be having knowledge of the future eye issues in pooches, and be on the lookout for veterinary assistance before time, if things are going wrong.

There are quite some problems of the eye which Labs are especially prone to. Such ailments lead to a continuous and everlasting type of blindness. Some of the causes of permanent vision loss may be membrane separation in retina, reduction of retinal blood vessels, etc.

As soon as dogs become visually impaired, owners frequently think about their pet’s well-being getting reduced to the extent that they are not cheerful anymore. However, maximum times blind pets spend a contented life as long as they are sheltered. You have to do few adaptations in the surroundings of your pooch like enclose the yard with barriers, don’t go away keeping any stuff in your pet’s usual route etc.

Eye color of Dogs

You have to check with your veterinarian about what is the normal eye color for your pet as not all dogs will have the same eye color. A change in the eye color of your pooch might be a sign of a disease such as infection of the iris or cornea, melanoma, etc. A difference of color in the Lab’s eye especially when not because of age is quite significant. Take your Lab for a medical examination in case of eye color change.

Labrador Faculty of Sight – Care

Not properly treated problems of the eye can cause visual impairment also. If your dog’s eyes look sore, or cloudy or you think her eyesight is deteriorating, you must be careful and take her for a medical checkup. Like humans, aged dogs may get cataract, and this problem can be resolved. Every reason of impaired vision should be considered as a sign of getting old as dogs can adjust with blindness properly.


Labradors cannot identify a lot of colors as compared to human beings. These dogs have dichromatic vision and red-green color blindness. They cannot see in complete darkness, but they do have better low-light vision and have adapted to see in bright light and dim light.