Why Do Some Dogs Have Blue Eyes

Generally, dogs have brown eyes; however, once in a while, a dog will mix it up and have blue eyes (or even one blue and one brown eye_ – a condition known as heterochromia. Like you, your dog’s eye color is a function of genetics. In dogs, the eye color gene is OCA2, which differentiates blue from brown. Coat color also influences a dog’s eye color.

What Causes Heterochromia In Dogs?

Eye color is determined by the amount of pigment located in the front part of the eye’s iris. Though eye colors vary, the iris contains only brown pigment. If a dog’s irises contain a lot of pigment, his eyes will look dark or brown; if they have little pigment, his eyes will be lighter in color, such as blue. Young animals often have blue or gray eyes soon after birth because their eye pigmentation hasn’t fully developed. The OCA2 gene comes into play because it determines how much pigmentation is in the eye.

Why Does My Dog Have Two Different Color Eyes?

Another term for heterochromia is “wall eye. Sometimes a dog may have different amounts of pigmentation in his eyes — the way his OCA2 genes played out may result in more pigmentation in one eye than the other. Coat color makes a difference, too. Merle dogs, such as border collies, are prone to wall eye because the merle gene dilutes parts of a dog’s pigment, including that in his eyes and nose. The more diluted the merle coat is, the more likely the dog is to have blue eyes.

White Coats

When a dog has areas on his coat that are white, those are places where his cells don’t produce pigment. If he has large patches of white on his face, chances are his eyes and nose are affected as well – meaning his eyes may be blue and his nose pink, an unusual effect for a dog. Unlike rodents, dogs don’t take on pink eyes when they lack pigment; they are more similar to human albinos, showing blue eyes when the pigment isn’t present. Dog Genetics reports there are no confirmed cases of full albinism in the dog world, though there is an intermediate form of albinism that causes blue eyes in dogs.

Split Eyes

Once in a while, you may see a dog with blue and brown within the same eye. This condition is called split-eye. It is caused by the random pigment loss associated with the merle gene.

Unusual, Not Valuable or Harmful

Blue-eyed dogs are certainly striking, and a wall-eyed or split-eyed dog certainly gathers his share of attention. Despite their eye-catching looks, dogs with blue eyes, split eye or wall eye are no more valuable or less valuable than the more plentiful brown-eyed specimens. As well, there is nothing medically wrong with a heterochromic dog; his vision is normal.

Do Dogs With Blue Eyes Have Health Problems?

When you think of classic and irresistible “puppy dog” eyes, you probably envision large, limpid peepers that are dark. After all, lots of canines out there have lovely chocolate brown eyes. In spite of that, not all canines are brown-eyed. Some of them are noted for their baby blues.

Do blue eyed dogs have health problems?

Blue eyes in no way signify a health problem in canines. The color indicates, in many cases, nothing more than the irises’ reduced pigment levels. Blue eyes are abundant, and totally OK, in certain dog breeds like Australian shepherds and Siberian huskies. Despite that, blue isn’t the sole eye color displayed by individuals of these two breeds. These shepherds and huskies frequently boast brown and golden eyes, too. Some of them mix it up with their eyes — think one brown eye and one blue eye, for example. If your dog has blue eyes and anything about them worries you, don’t hesitate to get him to the veterinarian.

Are dogs with different colored eyes deaf?

Although blue eyes in dogs often aren’t associated with any health issues, they are, in some breeds, prevalent in dogs who have hearing problems. English cocker spaniels, English setters and Dalmatians with blue eyes often are deaf, for example. However, no known correlation exists between blue eyes and vision impairment in the doggie world.

Health Considerations

A bluish tinge to the eyes – rather than an actual eye shade – can sometimes be a hint of medical issues in dogs. If you notice a pale blue layer over your pooch’s eye, it could be a sign of interstitial keratitis, which is a corneal inflammatory disorder that results from a virus. “Blue eye” is a common name for the ailment. Another cause of pupils developing a bluish and hazy look is nuclear sclerosis, prevalent in elderly specimens and usually innocuous. If you suspect any of these issues in your pet, call the veterinarian for an appointment as soon as possible.

Are All Puppies Born With Blue Eyes?

If you have a newborn puppy in your care, don’t be surprised if he has blue eyes. Neonatal puppies all have deep blue eyes, but do they stay blue? No, and the coloration rapidly changes into a different permanent color for most puppies, often starting around the time they’re 4 weeks old. Although you might start seeing your pet’s eye color change from blue to something else at this point, the full transformation could take until age 4 months.

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