Are Cavapoo dogs color blind? What colors can they see?

what colors can cavapoos see
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    I grew up with dogs and was always under the impression that our family pets could only see in black and white! But whilst playing ball with our Cavapoo Rosie recently, I noticed that she was finding it much easier to chase her yellow tennis ball than she was the orange one, despite the fact it was brighter in color!

    So it got me thinking…are Cavapoos color blind or is this just a myth? Cavapoos are not color blind, but like all dogs, although they able to see a spectrum of colors they can not distinguish between the colors red or green. Dogs are also unable to pick out shades containing these colors such as pink, purple or orange.

    If you are interested to know more, below we explain the science behind your dogs eyes!

    Can Cavapoos see in color?

    As humans we get to experience the world through a host of magnificent colors. This is because our eyes contain three color receptors in our retinas, called cones, that perceive the full range of the visible light spectrum (red, green and blue-violet).

    A dog, however, only has two types of cones (otherwise known as dichromatic), so they aren’t able to distinguish between colors like we can, although they can see more than just different shades of gray.

    What colors can Cavapoos see?

    Dogs can see the colors yellow and blue, but they are unable to recognize red or green or even see differences in brightness such as vibrant or dull shades. Therefore, although dogs can see in color, in human terms they would be classed as color blind as their vision is similar to a person who has red-green color blindness.

    This does not mean that your dog can not see toys and treats that are red or green, it just means for example, that instead of your Cavapoo seeing lush green grass, all they sees is a murky brown area – although it doesn’t stop our Cavapoo from getting excited for a run around.

    To see a visual representation of how your dog interprets colors differently in comparison to our own vision, take a look at this chart below taken from Andras Peter’s Dog Vision website.

    human vision vs dog vision

    See what your Cavapoo sees

    Whilst it is difficult to totally comprehend what your Cavapoo can see, we have found this great tool that allows you to upload a photo, which it then manipulates to show you how the colors would look to your dog.

    Here are some examples below which we have already tried – it truly is addictive!

    This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is what-colors-dogs-see.jpg
    A side by side comparison of what we see and what our cavapoo sees.

    Colorful dog toys for your Cavapoo

    If you are looking for some brightly colored dog toy inspiration, then you may be interested in the Goughnuts indestructible ball – we love this brand and have featured it in some of our best toy reviews. Made from the same rubber that astronauts use for spaceships, this tough chew toy ball isn’t particularly pretty but has been built with the specific purpose of being incredibly durable and better than that, it comes in the color yellow!

    dog pull toy

    Likewise the Goughnuts pull toy (see on Amazon) is great for a game of tug of war and will be visually appealing for your Cavapoo as it comes in the colors yellow and blue.

    Alternatively, if you are looking for a dog toy that your Cavapoo will go “quackers” for, then why not invest in this squeaky toy duck (see on Amazon). It has a rounded bottom and a narrow neck making it easy for both large and small Cavapoos to grip, and it comes with a small squeaker buried deep inside. This does not affect the quality of the squeak but make it harder for the dog to access.

    squeaky dog toy

    How do dogs eyes work?

    Your dog may look you adoringly in the eye, but have you ever truly look in theirs? A dog’s eye is made up of many facets including:-

    Sclera – the outermost layer of the eyeball is made up of a tough connective tissue that surrounds most of the eye, although it does not cover the centre. It serves as an attachment for the muscles that move the eyes around.

    Cornea – Over the pupil, the sclera merges with the cornea (which is transparent) allowing light to pass through into the eye beneath.

    Choroid – This next layer contains all of the blood vessels necessary to supply blood to the eye. Over the centre of the eye, the Choroid merges into the iris.

    Iris – The is is the colored part of the eye which has many muscles that constrict in response to high light levels. The ciliary body is the muscle layer that suspends the lens and is responsible for stretching it so that it can focus on objects at different distances.

    Did you know“Dog’s eyes shine at night because they have a reflective ‘tapetum’ which bounces light back into the eye to enhance their night vision”

    Retina – this is the final layer of the eye and the part that contains the sensory cells and neurons. These are rods and cones. The rods do not provide any color vision but they do work well in low light. In contrast and in order to compliment, the cones don’t work at all in low light but provide color and good detail in strong light.

    Optic nerve – All the information from the rods and cones is fed through to the optic nerve, which runs from the back of the eye, through the skull and to the brain.

    Did you know“Dogs eyes have a blind spot (in fact all mammals fo). This is the area over the optic nerve where there are no rods or cones. Luckily the other eye compensates for this blind spot by providing an image”.

    Rosie loves her pull toys!

    Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Cavapoos

    Unfortunately your dog’s eyes are very sensitive and there are a number of diseases that can effect them. Probably the most common one for a Cavapoo owner to look out for is Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).

    Atrophy means the partial or complete wasting of a body part and PRA is a group of degenerative diseases that affect these photoreceptor cells. With this disease, the cells deteriorate over time, eventually leading to blindness in your dog.

    Although progressive retinal atrophy can occur in any breed of dog, it is an inherited disease that can also occur in mixed breeds if the parents are carriers.

    Dog breeds prone to this eye condition, include Cavalier King Charles Spaniels as well as miniature and toy Poodles, so it is important that you get make sure that your Cavapoos parents have been health checked before purchasing. This enables you to identify if they are carriers of the PRA gene, because even if they are not show signs of it themselves, it is still possible to pass the disease on to their offspring.


    So whilst Cavapoos are not color blind in the sense that you or I might be, they are limited in the colors they see. So next time you are at the pet store and are debating which ball to buy, make sure you pick up either a yellow or blue for your Cavapoo, as they are much more likely to enjoy playing with a toy that appears vibrant.

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