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  • Molly Weinfurter

How Rare are Blue Eyed Dogs?

Updated: Jun 5

Blue eyes in humans are uncommon, with only 8 to 10% of people in the world having blue eyes. When it comes to dogs, blue eyes seem even less common. Like humans, most dogs have brown eyes, except for a few breeds that consistently have blue eyes. So, are blue eyed dogs rare? And can only certain breeds have blue eyes? Let's find out.

mixed breed dog with blue eyes

Can Dogs Have Blue Eyes?

Yes, dogs can have blue eyes, but not every dog breed can. Some breeds just don’t have the right genetics for this eye color, which is why you’ll never see a Golden Retriever with blue eyes. However, blue eyes are common for many breeds, such as Siberian Huskies and Australian Shepherds. Yet, they’re not common for dogs overall.


I fostered two Husky mixes and both of them had beautiful blue eyes. They were so blue that they almost look spooky at times, but I absolutely adored how they looked.


Husky mix with blue eyes
Here is one of the blue-eyed dogs I fostered

How Rare are Blue Eyed Dogs?

According to Wisdom Panel, only about 5% of dogs have blue eyes. That’s because even though blue eyes are common in some breeds, blue is still a recessive gene. So, if a dog with brown eyes is mixed with a blue-eyed dog, the chances of the offspring having blue eyes are rare.


What Causes Blue Eyes in Dogs?

Blue eyes are a genetic variant in dogs that occurs when certain genes are passed from the parent to the offspring. Like in humans, blue eyes are a recessive trait for dogs, so it has the highest chance of occurring if both of the dog’s parents have blue eyes.


At first, scientists thought that blue eyes in dogs were simply related to the merle coat color. After all, lots of merle dogs also have blue eyes. However, there are lots of dogs with other coat colors that also have blue eyes, so the fur coloring couldn’t be the only explanation.


In a study, researchers examined 6,000 dogs to determine the cause of blue eyes. Dogs have 39 pairs of chromosomes while humans only have 23 pairs, so there was a lot to consider. By looking at the dogs’ genetic material, they found other explanations for what causes blue eyes.


merle australian shepherd with blue eye

The gene linked to the merle color pattern did seem to be linked to blue eyes. Yet, researchers also found that many dogs with blue eyes had a duplicated piece of genetic material, which seemed to be related to the blue hue.


There’s definitely more research that needs to be done on this topic, but overall, it seems like coat color and genetic mutations are the main causes of blue eyes in dogs. Other research has suggested that a lack of pigment around the eyes could also increase the chances of blue eyes. All these traits are more common in certain breeds, which is why some dog breeds will frequently have blue eyes while others never will.


Why Do Some Dogs Only Have One Blue Eye?

Some dogs have heterochromia, which means having two different colored eyes. Dogs sometimes have one blue eye and one brown eye because a genetic variant doesn’t always affect both eyes. While it’s not common, there are rare cases where a dog’s genetics cause them to have two different colored eyes.


Blue Eyed Dogs Don’t Have Blue Pigment

Dogs with blue eyes don’t have any blue pigment in their eyes. Melanin is a pigment that causes brown eyes in dogs, so blue eyes are caused by a lack of melanin. They appear blue because of the way light scatters and reflects off the iris, similar to how the sky appears blue.


What Dog Breeds Have Blue Eyes?

Only certain breeds of dogs can have blue eyes, and below are a few popular ones. Even though blue eyes are common in these breeds, no dog breed only has blue eyes. Dogs that are mixed with one or more of these breeds could have blue eyes as well.


blue eyed siberian husky resting

Siberian Husky

When people think of blue eyes in dogs, they probably picture a Husky. Huskies have icy blue eyes that remind us of the frigid temperatures these dogs thrive in.


Australian Shepherd

Australian Shepherds are known for their merle coloring, which is why they commonly have piercing blue eyes. These dogs also commonly have one brown eye and one blue eye, or even both colors in the same iris.


Weimaraner

Since Weimaraners have beautiful silver fur, they often have light blue eyes to match it. Like the above breeds, these dogs also have endless energy.


Dachshund

Dachshunds come in a wide range of coat colors and coat types. Dachshunds with merle, dapple, or other light-colored coat patterns can sometimes have blue eyes.


Great Dane

Great Danes are massive dogs and gentle giants. They occasionally have bright blue eyes, especially if they have light-colored fur, such as a dapple pattern.


Alaskan Klee Kai

Alaskan Klee Kais look like tiny Huskies, so they often have bold blue eyes too. Don’t be fooled by their small size; these dogs have lots of energy!


Dalmatian

Dalmatians are beloved for their beautiful white fur with dark spots. They sometimes have blue eyes, which go perfectly with their unique coat patterns.


Pit Bull

Breeds that fall under the Pit Bull umbrella, such as American Pit Bull Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terries, could have blue eyes. It usually only occurs in Pit Bulls with light coloring, such as gray or white.


Health Complications for Blue Eyed Dogs

Blue eyed dogs are more likely to have eye-related health concerns than dogs with brown eyes. Their eyes are more sensitive to light, and they have an increased risk of concerns like glaucoma, cataracts, and progressive retinal atrophy.


These dogs may have a higher risk of being born blind and/or deaf. Certain coat patterns, such as merle and dapple, are more likely to create blind and deaf offspring when bred together. Dogs of those coat types frequently have blue eyes.


Dogs with blue eyes often have lighter coloring in their fur and skin. This makes their skin more sensitive, increasing the risk of sunburn, allergies, and skin cancer.


To prevent health concerns, visit your vet regularly like you would with any other dog. Your vet can give you suggestions on how to protect your dog from health concerns related to their blue eyes.


Dachshund with partial blue eye

Are Brown and Blue the Only Eye Colors for Dogs?

Dogs can have other rare eye colors, such as amber, hazel, and green. Yet, those eye colors are extremely uncommon in dogs just like they are for humans. Next time you look closely at a dog, pay attention to their eyes to see if they’re unique colors. 


Frequently Asked Questions


Does a Blue Eye Mean a Dog is Blind?

A blue eye doesn’t automatically mean a dog is blind, but blue eyed dogs are more prone to eye problems. Blind dogs may develop a blueish tint in their eyes. If you’re worried about your dog’s vision, consult your vet.


Can a Dog’s Eye Color Change?

A dog’s eye color may change as a puppy. For example, their eyes may change between gray and blue or amber and brown. By the time a dog is six months old, their eye color is likely set in stone and won’t change again.


Can Two Blue Eyed Dogs Have Brown Eyed Puppies?

It’s possible for two blue eyed dogs to have brown eyed puppies, but it’s uncommon. Two brown eyed dogs could also have blue eyed puppies. It all depends on the genetics of the dogs.


Are Blue Eyed Dogs Aggressive?

No, blue eyed dogs aren’t inherently aggressive. There are lots of factors that contribute to dog aggression, such as the dog’s past, health, and socialization. If your dog is acting aggressive, it’s a good idea to work with a trainer.


Are Blue Eyed Dogs Sensitive to Light?

Yes, dogs with blue eyes are typically more sensitive to light than dogs with brown eyes. Keep your dog in the shade as much as possible to keep them comfortable.


Weimaraner puppy with blue eyes

Blue Eyed Dogs are Beautiful But Rare

People are often drawn to blue eyed dogs, but they can be hard to come by. Only certain dog breeds can have blue eyes, and blue eyes are a recessive trait, which is why they’re much less common than brown eyes. Yet, regardless of eye color, all dogs are adorable!

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