Dog breeds with blue eyes are somewhat rare. A recessive gene is usually the cause of blue eye color in dogs. The dominant blue eye gene can appear in all breeds of dogs. Blue-eyed dogs are beautiful but they also carry the possibility of a greater risk of health issues.
Some popular dog breeds with blue eyes:
- Alaskan Klee Kai
- Alaskan Malamute
- Australian Shepherd
- Border Collies
- Cardigan Welsh Corgi
- Old English Sheepdog
- Siberian Husky
- Shih Tzu
Looking into a dog’s eyes, most people see friendliness and beauty. Dogs are great companions, and their eyes are like windows to the soul.
If you’re around a lot of dogs, you may have noticed that the most common eye color is brown, while many others have hazel or honey-colored eyes.
Occasionally, there are dogs with bright blue eyes, and those dogs have won over the hearts of millions with their unique look!
Blue Eyed Dog Breeds
While blue eyes are a rare color for dogs, there are actually several dog breeds that can have blue eyes. Genetics is the deciding factor. Some dog breeds are famously known for their blue eyes.
Dogs with Blue Eyes
Here are some of the most common dog breeds with blue eyes.
Australian Cattle Dog
This Aussie dog is strong and sturdy and often called a Blue Heeler or Queensland Heeler. The story goes that they earned this nickname while herding cows and ‘nipping at their heels’ to direct them to the desired location.
While the Australian Cattle Dog can have blue eyes not all do.
Another breed that is notorious for its unique eyes is the Australian Shepherd, often referred to as Aussies. Not only are blue eyes common amongst Australian Shepherds, but, just like with Huskies, heterochromia is also rather common.
Australian Shepherds are part of the herding dog group according to the AKC. Dogs in the herding dog group have a natural instinct to herd other animals, and sometimes even children.
The Australian Shepherd was bred from dogs that were taken from Spain to Australia and then later to the United States. Breeders selected traits that were beneficial to herding livestock and continued breeding those qualities into the Australian Shepherds we have today.
Australian Shepherds are medium-sized dogs with high energy. They are very intelligent dogs and have a natural instinct to herd, which means training them to be working dogs is relatively easy.
Blue Eyed Border Collie
The Border Collie has a stunning look with its exquisite blue eyes! Originating in the British Isles they were a working dog used to herd sheep. Their coat comes in a variety of colors.
Catahoula Leopard Dog
Wow, have you ever heard of the Catahoula Leopard dog? Probably not but they are an amazing animal worth knowing about. With a name like that it would have to be a great dog right?
These dogs can have a variety of different colored eyes including blue! Their origins date back to the Spanish explorers in the early 1500s. Upon arriving in Florida they noted a dog that looked remarkably like a wolf but barked like a domesticated dog.
Later these dogs were crossbred with French hounds (in the Louisiana region of the US) and the Catahoula Leopard Dog came to be.
Cocker Spaniels are all born with blue eyes but as they grown up most will change to dark brown color. It is very rare for an adult Cocker Spaniel to have blue eyes but it is possible.
German Shepherds are not known for having blue eyes but it is possible. Breed standards are for dark brown eyes but on occasion you may come across one of these great animals that has blue coloring.
This is a very large dog (weighing up to 150 pounds!), unique looking dog that many people have probably never heard of or even seen before.
They have a long droopy face and tend to drool a lot but they are loving, smart dogs and many people enjoy having them as a member of the family.
The interesting part about this dog is that they are born with blue eyes but then they will change color over time as they grow to have amber eyes or dark brown eyes.
The “Sheltie” as it is often called have the merle gene. This gene causes the dog to have an assortment of random coat patterns across its body that can also result in it having blue eyes.
This unique coloring of the dog is sometimes called merle patterning. One of the negative health dangers of these dogs being merle carriers is called Merle Ocular Dysgenesis. Merle Ocular Dysgenesis can cause deafness in dogs and other health issues.
The Shetland Sheepdog has very high energy levels, is playful and smart. I guess herding sheep requires those traits!
Blue Eyed Siberian Husky
One of the most notorious blue-eyed dogs is the Siberian Husky. They are also known for their love of the snow, and energetic personality.
The Siberian Husky is a large dog that is classified in the “working dog” group according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). While not all Siberian Huskies have blue eyes, blue eyes are fairly common in the breed.
Heterochromia is when the eyes are different colors and is very common in Siberian Huskies. You have probably seen a husky with one brown eye and one blue eye. This is a rare genetic mutation but is well known in the Husky breed.
Siberian Huskies originate from Russia, which is why it’s no surprise they love playing in the snow. They were commonly used as sled dogs and were trained to pull sleds in deep snow.
Their double layer of fur keeps them warm in bitterly cold temperatures and even keeps them cool in hot weather.
The Weimaraner is another large dog with amazing blue eyes. Often called the gray ghost, these are energetic dogs, originating in Germany, and born to be hunters. Today they are used in a variety of roles including as guard dogs.
Small Breed Dogs with Blue Eyes
There are many medium-sized and large breed dogs that have blue eyes, but what about small dogs? Blue eyes are definitely more common in large breeds, but there are few small breeds that are likely to have blue eyes.
American Hairless Terrier
This small breed only grows to be between 12 and 16 pounds. While blue eyes are accepted as a trait by the AKC for blue, and blue fawn pattern dogs, they state the preferred color of eyes is grey.
This preference may make it difficult to find this breed with blue eyes since breeders focus on desired and preferred traits of major clubs and associations, such as the American Kennel Club.
Despite its name, the American Hairless Terrier, may not be totally hairless. Some American Hairless Terriers have a short and slick, shiny coat. Both types are very low maintenance.
The hairless variety does require sun protection though to prevent sunburn. The lack of hair and thin coat allows the dog to release a lot of heat, which means in colder months, it’s important to keep them warm with clothing.
Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is the less popular sibling breed to the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. The biggest difference between the two is that the Cardigan Welsh Corgi has a full tail, whereas the Pembroke Welsh Corgi has a bobtail.
This was due to interbreeding between them for long periods leading up to the 1930s. In fact, until 1934, they were considered the same breed in Great Britain.
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi has a variety of coat colors, one of them being merle. While corgis can have blue eyes, the AKC only recognizes blue eyes as acceptable in Merle Cardigan Welsh Corgi.
Blue eyes in Pembrokes is considered a fault, and are also considered a fault in Cardigan’s with a coat color other than merle. That’s not to say you won’t find a Corgi with blue eyes that isn’t merle or one that is a Pembroke, but they would be disqualified from AKC breed shows.
Blue Eyed Dachshund
The Dachshund, or more commonly referred to as the Weiner dog, is a small breed in which the gene for blue eyes is relatively common.
Not all Dachshunds are prone to having blue eyes though, and according to the AKC Dachshund Breed Standard, in non-dapper Dachshunds, blue eyes are considered a fault.
Dachshunds were originally bred to be hunting dogs. They were used to hunt smaller animals that burrow into the ground, most commonly Badgers.
Today Dachshunds are one of the most popular pets. They are very attached to their humans and are best suited as indoor dogs.
Blue Eyed French Bulldog
Yes, a French Bulldog can have blue eyes! In fact, most are born with blue eyes although they grow out of it over time.
The “Mudi” as it is often called is a working dog from Hungary used on the farm for a variety of purposes. While they are classified as a medium-sized dog by the AKC, it is on the smaller end of medium-sized dogs. Some may even consider it a small dog.
The Hungarian Mudi grows to be around 15 to 18.5 inches tall, and between 18 and 29 pounds. They are a rare breed of dog that is not usually seen in the United States. Finding a breeder might be difficult, but these unique dogs are well worth it.
Their coats are long and wavy, sometimes even curly. These dogs offer a variety of fur coat colors and patterns. The yellow and white, and merle coats are the only coat variants that are authorized to have blue by the AKC.
Since finding this breed is already a difficult task, finding a blue-eyed Hungarian Mudi, will be a rather difficult task.
White Dog Breeds with Blue Eyes
Dogs with blue eyes are special, partially because they’re so rare, but also because the blue eyes contrast with the coat in a way that is unique to dogs.
Dogs with white coats and blue eyes tend to capture the attention of all those they come in contact with.
The Alaskan Malamute is a large breed dog with a very thick coat. Alaskan Malamutes can come in a variety of coat colors, including white.
Alaskan Malamutes were originally used as sled dogs to carry supplies. For the Malamute breed, getting somewhere fast, or covering extremely long distances wasn’t the goal.
The primary purpose of Malamutes was to pull sleds of supplies through the treacherous snow lands.
White Malamutes are an accepted variant of coat types and the only color of Malamute that is authorized to have a solid coat color. However, because Malamutes with blue eyes are automatically disqualified from AKC shows, it can be difficult finding a white, blue-eyed, Alaskan Malamute.
American Pit Bull Terrier
Although not formally recognized by the American Kennel Club, the breed is recognized by other organizations. The breed’s popularity has gained recognition through the United Kennel Club (UKC).
However, despite this recognition, the American Pit Bull Terrier is disqualified if it is white or has blue eyes. These are considered genetic faults.
Even though the UKC maybe not recognized a white, blue-eyed Pit Bull, you will still pay top price for a puppy because of how rare and in-demand they are.
Pit bulls may be considered a “true white” if they don’t lack pigmentation in other parts, such as their nose and eyes. Lack of pigmentation will determine whether or not the white coat is a result of a gene mutation defect or just a truly dominant gene combination.
Other breeds with white coats and blue eyes
There are a number of dog breeds that may have white coats and beautiful blue eyes, though in general these dogs will be disqualified from most kennel clubs, and will need a closer look by a veterinarian to determine if the dog is more likely to suffer from serious health conditions.
Oftentimes, a white coat and blue eyes can be a symptom of a genetic defect that is linked to other health conditions. On the other hand, sometimes it’s just a matter of good genetics producing something beautiful.
These other breeds that may have white coats and blue eyes include:
- Siberian Husky
- Great Dane
- Wolf-Hybrid (though not technically a dog breed, just a hybrid between a wolf and a dog)
- Dalmations (though not completely white, their mostly white coat allows for a beautiful contrast between the coat and the blue eyes.)
Blue Eyed Dog Health Problems
While some breeds with blue eyes are just a matter of genetics, other breeds with blue eyes are a correlation between blue eyes and serious health problems.
This is why kennel clubs and breed organizations have developed breed standards that often disqualify dogs of certain breeds for having blue eyes.
Blue Eyes and White Coats Health Issues in Dogs
Blue eyes and white coats can indicate a condition called Albinism or Leucism. Albinism and Leucism are similar because they affect the pigmentation of the dog’s features, including the coat, eyes, and nose.
However, Albinism is the complete lack of melanin to produce pigmentation, while Leucism only reduces pigmentation. Albinism can result in blue or even pinkish-red eyes.
You can usually tell the difference between true Albinism and Leucism by looking at the nose. Dogs with albinism have a pink nose due to the lack of pigmentation, while dogs with Leucism will have a nose color that is closer to that of the breed standard.
Albino dogs will have a white fur coat because of a total lack of pigmentation. This is different from a normal dog that has a white coat because they produce it via pigmentation.
Are Blue-eyed Dogs Deaf?
No, but blue eyes in many breeds have been related to deafness and “appears to be associated with the absence of pigment-producing cells known as melanocytes”.
This genetic fault often affects the color of their eyes, leading to a lack of pigment in the eyes, causing the blue color. Breed organizations have noticed there are many breeds that are more susceptible to becoming deaf.
Are Blue-eyed Dogs Blind?
As with deafness, no, blue eyed dogs are not blind but there are health issues associated with blue eyes that could cause blindness to happen.
Breed standard organizations have established blue eyes and white coats as a defect to prevent breeders from breeding dogs that are more likely to have health concerns and special needs that would result in abandonment or euthanization.
Is a Blue-eyed Dog a Good Pet?
It’s completely understandable to love the look of a blue-eyed dog, but it’s important to use caution and gain knowledge about the breeds and their genetics.
Puppy mills are notorious for skipping the health and breed standards in order to produce animals that are popular because of their looks. A major selling characteristic is beautiful eyes that stand out to prospective buyers.
This causes people to purchase puppies that are prone to health conditions, and many times these puppies end up in shelters and euthanized because no one is willing to pay for the care of an animal with expensive health needs.
It’s impossible to guarantee a dog will have blue eyes while they are still a puppy. Puppies tend to have blue eyes and when the pigmentation is created, the eye color changes.
Purchasing a dog based solely on the idea that they will have blue eyes, might be disappointing if your puppy grows up to have a different eye color.
Research the breed, and find a breed that is authorized to have blue eyes by major kennel clubs and organizations. This reduces the risk of your dog developing health issues, and allows you to know about the breed to make sure it’ll be a good fit for your family.
Not all dogs have the same temperament, energy level, and needs. It’s important to know about the breed before taking on the responsibility of being a dog owner, especially when there is a greater risk of that breed developing medical needs because of genetics.
Blue Eyed Dog Names
Naming your dog is a BIG decision and should not be taken lightly! Here are 10 great names for blue-eyed dogs.