Dogs are such beautiful creatures. One thing that stands out about these canines is their eyes. It’s hard to resist a dog’s sweet look, especially when their eyes have a super pretty color.
Did you know: dogs are genetically disposed to different eye colors?
From blue to amber, we’re curious: what is the rarest eye color in dogs?
The Rarest Eye Color in Dogs is…Green!
Dogs with green eyes are very rare. This unique eye color occurs through simply lucky genetics.
Typically, a dog who has green eyes has the merle gene. This gene affects the way a dog’s coat and eyes look. It’s also the reason why dogs may have mottled patches of color on their coat.
It’s important to note that the merle gene doesn’t only cause green pigment in a dog’s eyes. It also produces blue and amber eyes as well.
Although less rare, blue and amber eyes are still not that commonly found in dogs.
The merle gene isn’t bound to one breed or dog type. The gene can occur in purebreds or mixed breeds.
Yet, the chances of green eyes appearing, in general, is slim to none. Breeders continue to try to selectively breed pups to keep the merle gene.
While green eyes seem nearly impossible to control, breeders have managed to create ‘merle’ pups with other eye colors…
One perfect example is the French Bulldog.
What you may not know is that all French Bulldogs are born with blue eyes, which change as the puppy matures. But, recently, breeders have controlled the merle gene to produce the Blue Merle Frenchie, to make those blue eyes more permanent!
Which Dog Breeds Can Have Green Eyes?
To this day, there is only one purebred dog that has naturally occurring green eyes. That’s the American Pit Bull Terrier.
This dog’s eye color isn’t always guaranteed so if you spot a sweet Pit Bull with blue eyes, you know that this puppy is special.
There are other breeds that can have gorgeous green eyes. Dachshunds, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds are fantastic examples of green eyes in dogs.
These three breeds are known for having multi-colored coats, with those mottled patches the merle gene is responsible for. Paired with green eyes, this gene gives these pups some beautiful looks!
A few other breeds that can have captivating green eyes are Dachshunds, Weimaraners, Great Danes, Cocker Spaniels, and Chihuahuas.
Unlike the Pit Bull, all of these breeds have green eyes from crossbreeding in their past, rather than from natural occurrence.
I’m sure you’re wondering – why didn’t we mention Siberian huskies and their dazzling eyes? Well, huskies’ green or blue eyes are caused by a totally different gene.
You can tell by how huskies can have lighter-colored eyes yet still maintain a dark, even coat color.
Other breeds, like the Welsh Corgi and Beagle, have a recessive and rarely-seen gene marker for baby blue eyes.
Do Green Eyes Dog’s Have More Health Issues?
Having green eyes doesn’t mean your dog will have a ton of eye health problems. But, the merle gene responsible for green pigment does come with a few potential vision issues.
There is one particular issue that can arise with the merle gene, called coloboma. This is a missing part of a dog’s iris, something that can result from this specific gene.
Also, the merle gene can increase a dog’s risk of glaucoma.
Dogs with more than one eye color, like Dalmatians, have the highest percentage of deafness in a single breed, making up over 8% bilaterally and 22% unilaterally – which are outstanding numbers.
If you believe your dog’s eye color is changing to blue, this might signal a problem. With cataracts and other eye diseases, the eye may take on a cloudy blue hue.
Get your dog to the vet right away if this has started since going untreated can cause eventual blindness.
What is the Most Common Eye Color in Dogs?
Brown eyes are the most common eye color in dogs. When there is a major increase in melanin, it produces different shades of neutral browns. Higher levels of melanin make eyes darker.
Most dogs have brown eyes. Which shade, from dark to light brown, from breed to breed. Very dark brown eyes can sometimes even appear black due to lighting differences.
Why Do Dogs Have Different Colored Eyes?
The merle gene causes more than just green eyes. There are plenty of dogs with this gene that have either amber or blue color eyes. Hound dogs, retrievers, and Spaniels are adored for their charming amber eyes.
Amber eyes come from diluted eumelanin, which is a pigment. It can also come from recessive B or D genes.
What is also pretty fascinating about dogs is that they can have more than one eye color. This is called heterochromia. It’s a condition that is most popular in pups with the merle gene.
Heterochromia is most common in Dalmatians, Huskies, Australian Shepherds, and Australian Sheepdogs (Aussies).
It’s also important to mention that dogs with two-toned eyes aren’t more susceptible to vision impairments.
Strangely, these dogs are more likely to have hearing issues than eye issues. Nonetheless, it is so cool to see a dog with one blue and one green eye. It makes for one attractive pup!
Do you know anyone with a green-eyed pup?
Well, aren’t they lucky! It isn’t easy to come across a dog with such rare colored eyes.
No matter if it’s you or a friend, we’d love to hear all your thoughts on green-eyed dogs – they’re surely extra special canines!