Dogs with Golden Eyes


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Golden eyes are a captivating and rare trait found in some dog breeds. This unique eye color, also referred to as amber eyes, occurs due to the liver gene, a recessive gene that affects the B locus of the canine genome. Dogs with the bb locus carry this enchanting trait, which is often accompanied by a browning coat color.

The alluring golden eyes of these dogs not only add to their beauty but also reflect a distinctive combination of personality and character, setting them apart from their counterparts.

Several dog breeds are known to possess gold eyes, sometimes due to certain gene mutations. A few examples include dachshunds, Havanese, Chesapeake Bay retrievers, Shih Tzus, and Maltese.

These dogs captivate the hearts of dog lovers with their lustrous golden gaze. Breeds like Weimaraners even showcase the lightest golden eyes due to a diluted liver gene, further highlighting the diversity of this trait among canines.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the world of dogs with golden eyes, exploring the genetics behind this fascinating characteristic, as well as the distinctive qualities of various breeds carrying this trait.

As we uncover the charm and allure of these amber-eyed beauties, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the diversity and wonder present within the canine world.


Dog Breeds with Golden Eyes


Golden or amber eyes are a striking feature that can be found in several dog breeds. This unique eye color is caused by a gene called the “liver gene,” which is recessive and found on the B locus of the genome.

Dogs with the bb locus will have golden eyes, while those with BB or Bb locus will be “non-liver” and have different eye colors 1.


Common Breeds


Several popular dog breeds are known for their golden eyes. The Weimaraner, for example, is famous for its sleek gray coat and dazzling amber eyes 2.

The Australian Shepherd is another breed that often has golden eyes and the intelligence and energy to match their striking appearance 4

Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and Dachshunds are also common breeds that may have golden eyes due to the liver gene 5.


Rare Breeds


In addition to the more common breeds, there are several lesser-known breeds that may exhibit golden eyes. The Rhodesian Ridgeback, often used for hunting and guarding, has intense amber eyes 4.

The Ibizan Hound, a lean and swift sighthound, can also have captivating golden eyes 4.

The Cirneco dell’Etna, an ancient Italian breed, may also display this attractive trait, as well as the Sloughi, a North African sighthound 4.

While golden eyes can be found in a variety of breeds, both purebred and mixed, it is essential to remember that these dogs are more than just their eye color.

Potential owners should research the temperament, exercise needs, and potential health issues of a particular breed before deciding to adopt, regardless of the captivating amber gaze.


Genetics and Pigmentation


Liver Gene


The liver gene is considered a key factor affecting dogs’ eye colors, specifically gold eyes. This gene is located on the B locus of the genome and is responsible for the browning coat color in dogs 1.

This recessive gene means that only dogs with the bb locus will possess gold eyes and a browning coat.

Phaeomelanin, a pigment that determines canine coat color, plays a significant role in the variations of red shades, ranging from deep red (Irish Setter) to orange, cream, gold, yellow, or tan 2.

Genes control the intensity of phaeomelanin, which influences the strength or weakness of the coat color.

Dogs carrying the liver gene will not have any black or grey hairs in their coat, in addition to golden eyes and a light brown or pink nose 3. Liver and merle dogs are the most common bearers of the golden-eyed trait.


Blue Gene


The blue gene, responsible for blue eyes in dogs, is a separate genetic factor from the liver gene. Blue-eyed dogs typically have coats with grey or blue-tinged hairs.

The blue gene is not directly associated with gold eyes but is often seen in dogs with heterochromia – a condition where a dog has two differently colored eyes 1. This phenomenon usually results from a combination of genes, including the liver gene.

Sable dogs can sometimes display a combination of gold and blue eyes due to their unique coat color genetics, which, when paired with heterochromia, can create a striking appearance 1.

In summary, the liver gene and blue gene are essential genetic factors that determine dogs’ eye colors, including gold and blue eyes.

These genes work in combination with other genetic factors like phaeomelanin and heterochromia to develop various coat colors and pigmentation in dogs.


Health and Eye Conditions


Dogs with golden eyes, like any other dogs, can experience various eye conditions affecting their overall health. In this section, we will discuss two common eye conditions found in dogs: Cataracts and Glaucoma.




Cataracts are a common eye condition in dogs where the lens of the eye becomes cloudy, reducing vision. This condition can be caused by various factors, including age, genetics, injury, or inflammation.

When a cataract forms, it blocks light from reaching the retina, making it difficult for the dog to see clearly.

It is crucial for dog owners to be vigilant for signs of cataracts, such as cloudiness in the eye or difficulty navigating. If these symptoms are observed, it is essential to seek the advice of a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Treatments can range from eye drops and medications to surgical removal of the cataract when necessary.




Glaucoma is a more severe eye condition that results from increased pressure within the eye. This pressure can damage the optic nerve and eventually lead to vision loss or even blindness.

Glaucoma can occur due to several factors, including genetics, injury, or complications from other eye conditions such as cataracts.

Common signs of glaucoma in dogs include redness, swelling, or excessive tearing in the eye. It’s important to note that glaucoma can also manifest as sensitivity to light and pain in the affected eye.

If a dog exhibits any of these symptoms, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian immediately, as early detection and treatment are critical in preventing permanent damage.

Treatment options for glaucoma may include medications to reduce pressure within the eye, draining excess fluid, or surgery in severe cases.

In situations where the condition has progressed and the dog’s vision can no longer be preserved, surgery to remove the eye might be recommended.

In conclusion, it’s essential to monitor your dog for any signs of eye discomfort and consult a veterinarian to ensure proper care and preventative measures.

Regular check-ups and maintaining a clean environment can greatly reduce the risk of eye conditions like cataracts and glaucoma.


Temperament and Personality


Dogs with golden eyes can exhibit various temperaments, personalities, and levels of loyalty, just like dogs with other eye colors.

However, some breeds share common traits that make them stand out from the rest. One such breed is the Weimaraner, which is often celebrated for its sleek gray coat and dazzling amber eyes.

Weimaraners are known for their high-energy levels and eagerness to exercise. These dogs are skilled hunters and devoted companions. Their loyalty and affection towards their owners make them popular among families and hunters alike.

Despite their active lifestyle, Weimaraners are also known for being quite intelligent and easy to train.

In addition to the Weimaraner, other breeds may also showcase golden eyes. It is essential to remember that a dog’s temperament is not solely determined by its eye color, but is instead influenced by a combination of its breed, genetics, and environment.

As such, dogs with gold eyes can be found among both active, high-energy breeds as well as more laidback, easygoing breeds.

When considering a dog’s temperament, personality, and loyalty, it is crucial to assess other factors, such as breed characteristics and individual traits.

By doing so, potential dog owners can make an informed decision about which type of dog would best suit their lifestyle and expectations.

In any case, a dog with golden eyes can be a striking and unique addition to any family, regardless of its specific breed or temperament.


Caring for Dogs with Golden Eyes


Dogs with golden or amber eyes have a unique and captivating appearance. Although caring for them is mainly similar to other dogs, there are some specific aspects to keep in mind.

Breeds with this eye color include Border ColliesGreyhounds, Weimaraners, and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers.

Golden-eyed dogs have this trait due to the “liver gene,” which is a recessive gene on the B locus of the genome. This gene not only affects their eye color but also results in a browning of their coat color.

However, eye care for these dogs is not much different from that of other breeds.

When caring for a dog with golden eyes, it is essential to monitor their eye health regularly. Keep an eye out for signs of eye trouble, such as redness, swelling, squinting, excessive tearing, or discharge. These symptoms may indicate an eye problem that requires immediate attention.


A healthy dog’s pupils should be equal in size and react to light, and their third eyelid should not be visible1. Checking their eyes during their routine grooming and care will help ensure their eyes remain healthy.

In addition to monitoring their eye health, regular grooming is essential for all dogs, including those with golden eyes.

Brush their coat at least once a week to keep it clean and free of tangles, trim their nails regularly, and clean their ears to prevent infections.

It’s also crucial to provide a balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs, and ensure they receive regular exercise to maintain their overall health.


While dogs with golden eyes do not require significantly different care than other dogs, paying attention to their eye health and providing regular grooming is essential in keeping them healthy and comfortable.

Remember to consult your veterinarian if you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes, as prompt treatment can prevent more severe issues from developing.





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    about the author

    Frank Harrigan

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

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