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If Dogs Are Color-Blind, How Can They Tell The Difference Between Word Buttons?

By Woof Meow Hello Staff April 27, 2021

The bright, beautiful colors on Woof Meow Hello Word Buttons are among the top reasons people love them. But who are they really for? Aren’t dogs colorblind? Keep reading to learn how your dog can still benefit from brightly colored buttons.
What humans see vs what dogs see: word buttons on the top show the beautiful, vibrant colors humans see while the word buttons on the bottom appear blue, yellow, and grey, but are still distinguishable from each other.

Don’t dogs see in black and white?

The notion that dogs see the world in black and white is only a myth. In the past, scientists did believe dogs were unable to see colors, but later findings showed that while they can’t see all of the same colors as humans, they still can see some. Rather than seeing in black and white, dogs see color like a color-blind human.

Dogs perceive colors differently than most humans do

Most humans have vision that is trichromatic, or three colors. The human retina contains photoreceptor cells called cones, which are each made up of three different types of receptors that allow you to see color. They detect red, green, or blue, sending signals to the brain to form the image you ultimately perceive. The brain blends information from these three types of receptors to allow you to see the full spectrum of humanly visible light. 

Meanwhile, dogs possess only two types of cones, which can detect either blue-violet or yellow. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t perceive different colors. They just may not see the “true” color of an object:

  • Red appears dark brownish-gray or black to a dog
  • Yellow, orange, and green will look like varying shades of yellow
  • Blue is perceived extremely well by dogs
  • Purple looks a lot like blue to dogs
    The dog color spectrum vs the human color spectrum: a side-by-side comparison

In some ways, dog vision is superior

Dogs are better able than humans to detect light, giving them better vision at night. Another advantage dog vision has over human vision is the ability to differentiate between different shades of grey, which can in some cases allow them to distinguish between two colors they technically cannot see. You dog can’t see red or green, but that does not mean they will see their red ball as the same shade as their green ball.

Vision is not their primary sense

You probably know that dogs are said to “see with their noses,” with vision taking a backseat as a secondary sense. For example, when you take your dog to the ball park, they’ll know which ball is theirs out of dozens of other balls not judging by its color, but by its scent.

Additionally, dogs are quite nearsighted, with 20/75 vision.

Why should I buy word buttons with bright colors?

Simply put, your dog can see the visual difference between all four word buttons:

  • Blue - The blue word button will appear the most true-to-life for your dog, giving them a reference point for the other shades.
  • Yellow - The yellow word button will appear mostly the same as it does to humans, albeit without any of the red tones that give it its amber coloring. Thus, the bright yellow word button will be even more eye-catching to them than it is to you.
  • Pink - The pink word button for dogs will appear as a light grey.
  • Green - Your dog’s green word button will appear as a yellowish dark brown. Think olive, but with all of the yellow and none of the green.

While they won’t look the same to them as they do to us, each word button remains its own distinct shade.

The colors are for you, too

When you set up a word button board for dogs, you’ll want it to complement the room it’s going to live in for years to come. Like any home appliance, the way it looks is almost as important as how well it functions. The beautiful, bright colors allow your dog’s soundboard to make a statement in any room.

You’ll be a better teacher

Furthermore, the colors help you as their teacher to distinguish between the word buttons, especially when just starting out with new words.

How to teach your dog to talk with buttons - their first three words



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