Dogs with Blue Eyes – What You Need to Know

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There’s something undoubtedly cute and charming about a dog with blue eyes.

Especially when it's your pup looking up at you with their big eyes. Well, they call it “puppy dog eyes” for a reason! That look is all the more irresistible when their eyes are a beautiful shade of blue! 


As a result, the demand for blue-eyed pups is growing. Before you rush out, fall for their heart-melting charm and adopt one for yourself, it’s important that you know what kind of blue eyes your dog has. 


What Dog Breeds Have Blue Eyes?


Surprisingly, there are a fair number of dog breeds that can have blue eyes. 


Siberian Huskies


The most iconic of these is, of course, the Siberian Husky.

Most people don’t realize that all dogs are actually born with blue eyes. It isn’t until they get older that their eyes change into their permanent color. 

Also sometimes, huskies can come with different eye colors (a variation known as heterochromia), and we think it's pretty cool.


Sometimes they stay blue, but often they turn brown. So if you are in the market for a Husky pup with blue eyes, make sure that the dog is at least 3 months old.

Otherwise, you might wake up one day to find a disappointing surprise in the eyes of your pooch. 


Border Collies


Another popular dog breed with blue eyes is the Border Collie.

Bred for helping shepherds and herdsmen, Border Collies are smart dogs who love humans.

One way that helps predict whether a Border Collie will have blue eyes or not is to look at the color of its coat.

If the dog has a merle-coat, there is a good chance that it will also develop the sapphire shine in its eyes. 

 Heterochromia Border Collie with merle coating


Merle-coating is when the coat is a patchwork of different colors.

Other blue-eyed dog breeds that follow the same rule include the Australian Shepherd and the Catahoula Leopard Dog.

That said, be careful of Border Collies that have merle coats - these sort of coats are often associated with some form of genetic issue. If you're unsure, please check with your vet!



Pit Bulls


Pit Bull is also a dog breed that can possess blue eyes.

There is a fierce debate that rages over how safe the American Pit Bull breed is. Most countries and agencies recognize that they pose a significant danger to the public, but owners will argue the opposite. 


However, one thing is certain; you should never buy from a breeder who selects for color.

Any breeder who breeds their dogs for a specific eye color will likely overlook other important aspects like temperament or health.

Because Pitbulls can have such extreme temperaments, it is very dangerous to buy one from a breeder who doesn’t know what kind of temperament might exist in the dog. 


If you are buying a blue-eyed Pitbull, make sure that it is a product of chance and not by design. 


When you buy or adopt any puppy, whether they have blue eyes or not, it’s important to follow the advice listed above.

So far, we have discussed the most popular breeds, but many others also have blue eyes, such as the Weimaraner, Dachshund, Cardigan Welsh Corgi,  and Great Dane. 


Are Dogs with Blue Eyes Rare?


Generally, they are rare when compared to the rest of the eye color types in dogs. (source)


There are several reasons why a dog might have blue eyes. Huskies get their blue eyes from the ALX4 gene, which is dominant. 


Dogs with only one copy of this gene can still have blue eyes, which is why it is becoming more and more common to see blue-eyed Huskies.

However, at the moment, the puppy population with blue eyes still remains relatively small compared to the rest.

So you should expect to pay a premium if you find a puppy that has them. 


Another reason dogs might have blue eyes is because of other gene variants referred to as piebald and merle.

These recessive genetic traits cause a lack of pigmentation in the coat of the dog as well as in the eye. The eyes or an eye, as a result, can appear to be blue. 


Are Dogs with Blue Eyes Healthy?

Short answer - It depends on their genetics.

Generally, dogs with blue eyes don't posses health problems, though dogs with blue eyes and merle can be more susceptible to genetic problems.


Whether your blue-eyed pup is healthy or not depends a lot on the generic reason why they have their signature eye color in the first place. 


Dogs who have blue eyes because of the ALX4 gene will most likely not develop any health issues.

However, dogs with the merle or piebald variant can develop hearing and sight issues early on. 


Because pigment is important for sight and hearing development in dogs, the lack of it often results in them being deaf in one or both ears.

This will occur if the dog is considered to be “double merle,” which means it carries two copies of the recessive gene.

Most countries consider it inhumane to breed dogs with double recessive copies of the merle gene, but it can still happen. 


There are many dog DNA testing services available where you can find out for sure if the blue-eyed dog you want to get is at risk of developing health issues. 


Conclusion


Despite our best intentions, we can’t help but be swayed by the way our future pet looks. They are almost an expression of who we are, so it’s natural that we care about the way they look. 


Getting a dog with blue eyes can be a tempting lure for owners seeking a puppy that is as unique as they are. 


Remember, all puppies are born with blue eyes, so make sure the dog has aged enough to reveal the permanent color of its eyes. Of course, you could always risk it, but we don’t recommend that. 


Blue-eyed pups are still relatively rare, and dog breeders know it. If you are set on getting yourself a dog with the Instagram-worthy peepers, you better expect to pay a little extra (maybe even a lot extra).

Just make sure the breeder isn’t breeding blue-eyed dogs on purpose. 


Lastly, remember to get your puppy tested first to make sure that the sapphire charm won’t come with extra health risks down the road.

If a test is something that you are not comfortable with, you can always ask if the dog’s parents were both carriers of the merle variant. 


Good luck finding your new best friend!


about the author

Frank Harrigan

Frank loves tacos and dogs - the good, bad and ugly sides of dog ownership.


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