Puppy Eye Color Chart: From Blue to Brown and Beyond

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Understanding Puppy Eye Color Change

Why Puppies Have Blue Eyes

Puppies are often born with blue eyes, a trait that can be particularly enchanting and is a result of low melanin levels in their irises. At birth, a puppy's eyes haven't yet been exposed to light, and the melanin, which is responsible for eye color, hasn't fully developed. This lack of pigment allows the blue hue to dominate, creating the striking blue eyes many of us associate with young dogs. As puppies grow and their eyes are exposed to light, melanin production increases, which can lead to a change in eye color.

When Eye Color Changes in Puppies

Puppy eye color typically begins to change around the age of six to eight weeks, although the exact timing can vary depending on the breed and individual development. During this period, the initially blue eyes start to shift as melanin production ramps up, gradually revealing the puppy's true adult eye color. By the time the puppy reaches three to four months old, the eye color transition is usually complete, settling into shades ranging from brown to amber, hazel, or even green.

Factors Influencing Eye Color in Dogs

Several factors influence the final eye color in dogs, including genetics, breed, and the amount of melanin produced in their irises. Genetics play a pivotal role, as certain breeds are more predisposed to specific eye colors; for instance, Siberian Huskies often retain their blue eyes into adulthood. The interplay of various genes can result in a wide spectrum of eye colors, with some dogs even exhibiting heterochromia, where each eye is a different color. Ultimately, the unique combination of these elements determines the mesmerizing variety of eye colors seen in dogs.

Common Puppy Eye Colors

Brown Eyes

Brown eyes are a common eye color found in puppies. This eye color is characterized by shades of brown ranging from light to dark. The intensity of the brown color can vary depending on genetics and the individual puppy's breed. Some puppies may have a rich chocolate brown color, while others may have a lighter hazel or amber shade.

Blue Eyes

Blue eyes in puppies are often considered captivating and beautiful. They are relatively rare compared to other eye colors, making them highly sought after by many dog lovers. Blue eyes in puppies commonly occur due to genetic factors and they can range from bright blue to a more muted grayish-blue hue. It is important to note that not all blue-eyed puppies will keep their blue eyes into adulthood as their eye color might change during development.

Green Eyes

Green eyes in puppies can be quite striking and unique. While less common than brown or blue eyes, green-colored irises offer an interesting variation in canine eye colors. Green eyes can appear as emerald green or have hints of yellow mixed with green pigmentation. The presence of green eyes in puppies is usually determined by specific genes inherited from their parents.

Amber Eyes

Amber-colored eyes are another fascinating option when it comes to puppy eye colors. The warm golden hues associated with amber-colored irises give these dogs an enchanting look. Amber colored-eyes typically range from light golden tones to darker shades resembling honeycomb. These mesmerizing amber colored-eyes add depth and charm, complementing various coat colors seen across different breeds.

Breeds with Distinctive Eye Colors

Breeds with Blue Eyes

Many dog breeds can have blue eyes, which adds to their unique and captivating appearance. Some of the popular breeds with blue eyes include Siberian Huskies, Australian Shepherds, Border Collies, and Great Danes. Blue-eyed dogs often have a striking contrast between their eye color and coat color, making them stand out in a crowd. It's important to note that not all puppies born into these breeds will have blue eyes; eye color can vary within a litter.

Breeds Prone to Heterochromia

Heterochromia is a condition where an individual has two different colored eyes or even multiple colors within one eye. While it is relatively rare in humans, it can also occur in certain dog breeds. Breeds known for being prone to heterochromia include the Siberian Husky, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Dalmatian, and Shetland Sheepdog. Heterochromia adds an element of uniqueness to these already beautiful dogs and makes them even more visually striking.

Rare Eye Colors in Dogs

While most dogs typically have brown or amber-colored eyes as adults, there are some rare eye colors that can be found in certain dog breeds. One such example is the Merle gene present in some Australian Shepherds and Catahoula Leopard Dogs that can result in stunning multi-colored or marbled eyes. Other rare eye colors seen in dogs include greenish-blue or hazel tones. These uncommon eye colors contribute to the overall charm and individuality of these particular dog breeds.

Genetic Factors Affecting Eye Color

The Merle Gene

The Merle gene is responsible for the unique and eye-catching coat pattern seen in many dog breeds. This gene causes a dilution of pigmentation, resulting in patches or streaks of lighter color on a darker base coat. In terms of eye color, dogs with the Merle gene can have a wide range of colors, including blue eyes. The presence of this gene can be determined through genetic testing.

The ALX4 Gene and Blue Eyes

Another gene that influences puppy eye color is ALX4. This gene plays a role in determining whether a dog will have blue eyes or not. Dogs that carry two copies of the ALX4 mutation are more likely to have blue eyes, while those without the mutation will typically have brown eyes. It's important to note that not all dogs with blue eyes necessarily carry this specific mutation.

Piebald and White Spotting

Piebald refers to a specific type of coat pattern characterized by large areas of white fur combined with patches or spots of another color. White spotting also refers to similar patterns but can include smaller areas of white mixed with other colors rather than large patches. Both piebald and white spotting patterns can occur in various dog breeds and may sometimes be associated with certain health issues such as deafness or vision problems.

Health Concerns Related to Eye Colors


Cataracts are a common eye condition that can affect puppies. It is characterized by the clouding of the lens in one or both eyes, leading to blurred vision and potential blindness if left untreated. Cataracts can be hereditary or develop as a result of aging, trauma, or certain medical conditions. Regular veterinary check-ups are important to detect cataracts early on and discuss treatment options.


Glaucoma is another eye condition that may occur in puppies. It occurs when there is increased pressure within the eye, which can lead to optic nerve damage and vision loss if not managed properly. Symptoms of glaucoma in puppies include redness, excessive tearing, pain, and squinting. Immediate veterinary attention is necessary for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Corneal Dystrophy

Corneal dystrophy refers to a group of genetic disorders that affect the cornea - the clear outer layer of the eye. These conditions cause abnormal deposits or changes in thickness within the cornea, resulting in impaired vision. Corneal dystrophy can manifest differently depending on its specific type but often leads to blurry or hazy vision in affected puppies. Regular ophthalmic examinations by a veterinarian are important for accurate diagnosis and management strategies.

Caring for Dogs with Unique Eye Colors

Regular Eye Examinations

Regular eye examinations are important for puppies to monitor their eye health and catch any potential issues early on. These exams allow veterinarians to assess the puppy's eye structure, check for abnormalities or infections, and evaluate their overall vision. By scheduling regular eye exams, puppy owners can help maintain their pet's ocular health and prevent any serious conditions from developing.

Protecting Eyes from UV Light

Protecting a puppy's eyes from UV light is a critical aspect of ensuring their long-term eye health. Puppies have delicate eyes that are more susceptible to damage caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. To protect their eyes, it is recommended to keep puppies away from excessive sun exposure during peak hours, use dog-specific sunglasses when necessary, provide shade in outdoor areas, and avoid exposing them to artificial sources of UV light. Taking these precautions will help safeguard the puppy's eyes and reduce the risk of UV-related complications.

Managing Genetic Health Risks

Managing genetic health risks associated with specific breeds is an important consideration when it comes to a puppy's eye color chart. Certain dog breeds may be prone to inherited ocular conditions or diseases that can affect their eye color or overall vision. It is advisable for prospective puppy owners to research about breed-specific genetic health risks related to the eyes before making a decision. Consulting with reputable breeders who prioritize genetic testing for such conditions can also help minimize the chances of acquiring a puppy with potential hereditary eye problems.