There are so many different dog breeds, and they are all unique in their own way. They can have different coat colors and physical appearances, but also different eye colors, as we’ll cover in this dog eye color chart.
The most common eye color for dogs is brown, while the rarest is green, but it depends on both parents. Many dogs of the same breed can have different eye colors strictly based on which traits take hold. And just like us humans, dogs can also have some beautiful colors in their eyes that simply take your breath away.
What Determines Eye Color in Dogs?
Different factors play a role in determining your dog’s eye color. If you have a purebred dog, some breeds have specific eye colors based on genetics and coat color. Others can vary depending on the chromosomes that cross.
First on our dog eye color chart is the most common eye color: brown. You have probably seen a lot of doggies sporting this color, from light brown shades to dark brown.
Many dogs are genetically predisposed to the brown eye color, including purebred and mixed-breed dogs. When the dog’s genetics produce higher levels of melanin, the brown eye color is set.
Certain character traits can also be attributed to certain eye colors. For example, dogs that have brown eyes are considered to be loyal, gentle, and of strong character. If they are raised in a loving and firm way, they will definitely be one of the most loyal pups out there.
Brown Eyed Dogs
The second on our list is the enchanting blue color. Blue-eyed dogs are definitely on the more unique and rare side. Some dogs have the blue color in their breed standard — such as the most famous blue-eyed dog, the Siberian Husky — while others get it through recessive genes.
The blue eye color is often also connected to certain coat colors and patterns, like merle or piebald, whose genes cannot produce a lot of melanin, which explains the lighter-colored eyes.
Blue-eyed dogs are considered to be strong character animals that love to be mentally and physically challenged. If you are unable to provide them with that, they will certainly try to find something for themselves to do.
If your dog’s eye color is not blue, but you notice it changing to a somewhat hazy blue, you should immediately go to your veterinarian because it can be a sign of a serious health issue.
Breeding two dogs that are merle gene carriers can also result in many health problems and is often seen as unethical.
Blue Eyed Dogs
Green eyes are considered to be the rarest dog eye color. Some people even doubt their existence because they have never come across a dog with green eyes. Although all dog eye colors are beautiful, green ones are truly a sight to behold.
The merle gene that can be found in the making of the blue eye color is also present in the color green, but dogs with green eyes have a little bit of melanin that creates patches with the merle gene, while blue-eyed dogs do not.
Even though this eye color is rare, some dogs are more likely to have these adorable emerald eyes. The American Pit Bull Terrier and the Pomsky are probably the two most common examples, but there are also other dog breeds.
Green Eyed Dogs
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collie
- Labrador Retriever mixes
The amber eye color is yet another uncommon dog eye color. This eye color is usually defined as a blend of light-blown, orange, and yellow.
Usually, there is a connection between some breeds with certain coat colors and this eye color. Dogs with liver, Isabella, and blue coat color are more likely to have an amber eye color as well.
This is due to the dilution gene, which dilutes the black melanin color into different coat colors. But since melanin is found in the eyes, it also affects eye color.
Amber Eyed Dogs
- Australian Shepherd
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Anatolian Shepherd
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Boykin Spaniel
Hazel eyes are also considered very rare. The majority of hazel-eyed dogs are born with blue eyes, but as they grow older, their eye color might change to hazel. This color can be best described as an endearing shade of sunlight.
Hazel eyes have less pigment than brown eyes, which is probably due to the influence of other genes, such as the merle gene, that affect the coat color as well as the color of the eyes.
Hazel Eyed Dogs
Heterochromia in Dogs
Heterochromia is a term used to describe two different colored eyes. It comes from the Greek words “heteros,” meaning different, and “chroma,” meaning pigmentation.
This phenomenon does not occur only in dogs but also in other animals, such as cats and horses. Even people can have this trait.
Heterochromia in dogs is often hereditary, and it’s caused by a lack of melanin in one eye, causing it to appear blue and whiteish, while the other is a deep brown. It can also be caused by injury or health issues.
There are three different types of heterochromia: complete, sectoral, and central.
Complete heterochromia is the term used to describe the phenomenon when one eye is completely differently colored from the other (the whole iris of the eye is a different color from the iris of the other eye). Usually, one eye is blue and the other is brown.
Dogs With Complete Heterochromia
Sometimes known as partial heterochromia, sectoral heterochromia is when just part of the eye is a different color from the other eye.
Sectoral heterochromia is a little bit more widespread than complete heterochromia, as there are several colors in one iris. This type of heterochromia is often seen in dogs with merle genes and is a result of recessive genes (D and B series). The Siberian Husky is the only non-merle dog breed that can have sectoral heterochromia.
Dogs With Sectoral Heterochromia
- Catahoula Leopard Dog
- Great Dane (harlequin coat pattern)
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi
- Border Collie
- Shetland Sheepdog
Central heterochromia is somewhat similar to sectoral, but only the center of the iris is a different color. The bluish coloring radiates from the pupil, mixing with the other color, which is mostly brownish. Often, this pattern is seen in concentric circles.
Central heterochromia is often seen in the same dog breeds that we have mentioned for dogs with sectoral heterochromia.
There have been many legends throughout history about dogs with different colored eyes, such as that they can see heaven and earth at the same time or that they protect humanity.
Albinism is a rare genetic condition characterized by a complete lack of pigmentation in skin, hair, and eyes. The true sign of albino dogs is, in fact, pink eyes; therefore, a white dog with blue eyes would not be considered an albino dog.
In order for albinism to take place and an albino pup to be born, both parent breeds need to be carriers of the albinism gene.
Some dog breeds are more prone to developing this condition — for example, Border Collies and Great Danes. Albino dogs require a little bit more care, and because of their condition, they are more susceptible to different health issues, like sunburn or cancer.
Do Puppies’ Eyes Change Eye Color?
When puppies are born, they usually have closed eyes for the first two to three weeks, and it is impossible to see their eye color. After this period, they should start opening their eyes, and you get the chance to see their beautiful little eyes.
Most of the time, a puppy’s eyes are blue, glossy, and hazy in the beginning, although some puppies might have brown-colored eyes from the start. This usually depends on the breed and the environment that they are born into.
It takes several weeks for their eyes to mature and their eyesight to sharpen. By the time they are one month old, their eye color might have started to change. It can become true blue or change into some other color that we have mentioned above, most commonly brown.
By the time the puppies are six months old, they should have their permanent eye color, and they shouldn’t change when they are older unless the dog has a health issue that causes eye color changes.
Health Issues Connected to Dog Eye Colors
There are certain health issues that have been linked to certain dog eye colors or some health problems that can result in eye color changes. This can be a sign of a big problem, so as soon as you notice this, take your pup for a vet check-up to see what is going on.
Let’s see what some of those health problems are:
Cochleosaccular deafness is the most common type of hereditary hearing loss that is associated with a white coat color and blue eyes; however, the eye color is not, in any sense, an indication of the disease.
Blue eye color as a result of an absence of pigment in the dog’s iris is most commonly associated with blue-eyed dog breeds such as Dalmatians, English Setters, Bull Terriers, or English Cocker Spaniels.
In some dog breeds, blue eye color is related to health issues such as blindness; however, this does not mean that every dog with blue eyes will have problems with vision.
Blue eyes can be the result of the merle gene, which causes less pigmentation in dogs’ irises and can also be connected with some eye defects and blindness, just like deafness.
Cataracts are defined as a cloudiness in the dog’s eyes that prevents him from seeing clearly. It is usually inherited and seen in older dogs; however, there are records of adult dogs and even puppies that have had it.
If you notice your dog’s eye color is changing, you need to take him for a vet exam immediately, so they can determine what exactly is going on and what treatment he needs.
Nuclear sclerosis is a disease similar to cataracts but not quite the same. Also called lenticular sclerosis, it is a medical term used to describe a bluish discoloration or transparent haze in the dogs’ lens that does not significantly affect their vision.
This cloudiness is usually seen in middle-aged dogs and seniors and is seen as a normal change that happens with aging.
Glaucoma is a painful eye disease that is caused by increased pressure in the eye, which can result in slow, chronic progression of blindness or sudden, acute pain and blindness.
Some of the symptoms include dilated pupils, redness and swelling of the eye, increased watery discharge, squinting, and a loss of appetite. This disease can also give off a blue tint.
Interstitial keratitis is another eye disease that is caused by an inflammation that can also produce a blue or whiteish tint over the eyes. There are various types of interstitial keratitis, but most of them are treated with topical corticosteroids that effectively alleviate pain, blurriness, and discomfort.
Uveitis is an infection in the part of the eye called the uvea, which is made up of the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid. Different things can cause this inflammation, but the signs are usually an intense redness of the whole eye, cloudiness, squinting, sensitivity to light, and severe pain.
Frequently Asked Things
There are several dog eye colors like brown and blue, but the rarest color is green.
The most common eye color in dogs is brown.
Intentionally breeding two merle dogs is unethical — the puppies can suffer from genetic conditions including deafness and blindness.
Conclusion for “Dog Eye Color Chart”
Now that you’ve read our guide, you know everything about the mesmerizing dog eye colors. From standard brown to extremely rare green, this dog eye color chart has guided you through the beautiful doggie eye shades that are the window to your pup’s soul.
Every dog’s eye color is beautiful, and no pup should be discriminated against because of the color of his eyes. The important thing is what’s inside.
The truth is that some colors are indeed more fascinating because they are extremely rare, but that does not mean that they are any better than other colors. Which color you choose is down to your own personal preferences, but try to give all dogs a chance.
If you find this guide, “Dog Eye Color Chart,” helpful, check out:
- Why Is the White Part Of My Dog’s Eye Brown?
- Lazy Eye in Dogs: What is it and How to Fix it?
- Do Dogs Open Their Eyes Underwater?
Learn more by watching “This Is What Eye Color Tells You About Your Dog!” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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