Rare and mysterious, the gaze of a blue-eyed dog tends to make an impression. However, few breeds display this unique trait. And even within those breeds, blue eyes can be hard to come by. It’s why dogs with blue eyes seem so special.
The reasons for a dog having blue eyes are all up to their genes. However, different breeds will have different genes that code for blue eyes. Some inherit them as a recessive trait, and others as a mutation of other genes.
In any case, blue eyes are much less common than darker shades, with brown being the most common color among dog breeds. In honor of this unique canine trait, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite blue-eyed breeds.
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Table of Contents
- Blue-Eyed Dog Breeds
- Important Notes on Blue-Eyed Dog Breeds
Blue-Eyed Dog Breeds
Not every dog of these specific breeds have blue eyes. However, blue eyes have been seen in these dog breeds – some more common than others. Do you own a dog with blue eyes? Let us know in the comments section below!
1. Siberian Husky
Highlights: Devoted, Social, Mischievous
While far from the only blue-eyed dog breed, Siberian Huskies are likely the first that comes to anyone’s mind. Though they can also have brown eyes, the ice-blue eyes are unforgettable. And then there are some that have one brown and one blue eye.
According to researchers, a gene mutation is the culprit for these iconic blue colored eyes in Siberian Huskies. Specifically, a gene known as the ALX4 (on chromosome 18) is linked with the development of these stunning blue eyes.
Bred in the frozen lands of northern Russia by the Chukchi people, it is as though you can see their past reflected in their eyes, full of snow and winter winds. If there were an ambassador for blue-eyed dog breeds, it would be the Siberian Husky.
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2. Australian Shepherd
Highlights: Intelligent, Cheerful, Diligent
This breed receives its blue eyes as a package deal with the same gene that results in a merle (that is, splotchy) coat. This combination gives them an air of being free-spirited and a little on the wild side (in a good way, of course).
However, Aussie Shepherds are incredibly clever and are much more likely to impose order rather than chaos. Their history as herding dogs gives them a penchant for keeping their friends and owners in line.
But they still make great companions with a readiness to learn that is nearly unrivaled among dog breeds. Their smaller size hides a dog with bounds of energy and liveliness that loves to spend time with their owners.
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3. Border Collie
Highlights: Energetic, Loyal, Extremely Smart.
Another herding breed, Border Collies deserve a mention on this list. Like Aussies, their blue eyes are tied to their merle patterning. The dilution of pigment in their coat means that there’s a chance that eye pigment will turn out lighter.
This breed has a history that goes back to the British Isles, where they served as top herding dogs. Over the years, successful breeding has led them to become one of the most intelligent dog breeds in the canine kingdom.
Some say they are actually the smartest dogs out there, though the Border Collie would have much to say about that. Needless to say, a lazy lifestyle won’t suit them. They need plenty of physical and mental exercise to keep them healthy and happy.
Highlights: Determined, Affectionate, Curious.
Whether blue or brown, Dachshunds have undeniable “puppy-eyes,” that can melt your heart with a single look. You know the one we’re talking about. And if they have a dappled or merle patterning, they’ll likely inherit blue-tinted eyes.
This short yet long dog was originally bred in Germany to hunt badgers and other burrowing animals. But it’s their unique shape makes them perfect for following their quarry down holes. They’re the perfect fit for the job – literally!
However, nowadays they are less likely to hunt rabbits and more likely to sit on your lap like the lap dogs they are. Dachshunds are much more content next to a warm human rather than down a dark hole on their way to drag out a critter.
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5. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
Highlights: Playful, Loyal, Smart
At first glance, the Welsh Corgi looks almost comical with their short legs and long bodies. But you might be surprised at how agile and athletic they can be. What’s even more surprising is how intelligent these dogs really are.
They were bred for farm work, which included herding livestock, so they’ve got plenty of power in their little bodies. Their shorter stature came in handy for weaving around and between cattle back in the day. They still do this work, though it’s rare.
Like most blue-eyed dogs, their eye coloring is tied to merle coloring, specifically blue merle. It’s also worth noting that even some Pembroke Welsh Corgis (the cousins) can develop blue eyes on very rare occasions.
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Highlights: Confident, Obedient, Affectionate.
Though the Weimaraner isn’t a breed that usually comes up in casual conversation or in most Instagram photos, they are a gorgeous breed with a history of serving alongside royalty on hunts for boar, deer, and even bears!
Their sleek, silvery coloring and lithe body have appropriately earned them the nickname of the “Gray Ghost.” Though plenty of Weimaraners may appear blue-eyed at birth, they’ll begin to produce more melanin, which changes the color of the eyes.
While some may retain a blue-gray appearance throughout their life, others will slowly meld into warmer colors such as amber or gold. Even so, there’s no denying that this is spectacular and highly intelligent underrated breed deserves more attention.
7. German Shepherd
Highlights: Brave, Intelligent, Loyal
Finding a blue-eyed German Shepherd can be tough. The vast majority will have brown eyes, which comes from a dominant gene. Yes, the gene for blue-eyes is recessive and rarely makes an appearance in this breed.
However, when it does you are in for a treat. The blue coloring along with their regal and stern features is a memorable combination. Still, many breeders see the trait as a fault, favoring a coat and coloring more in line with industry “standards.”
But this shouldn’t stand in the way of owners looking to make a unique-looking GSD friend. For the casual owner, it is all about personal taste rather than a kennel club’s book of rules when it comes to finding a canine companion.
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8. Shetland Sheepdog
Highlights: Playful, Active, Bright
Given the breeds on this list, it seems that herding dogs have a tendency toward blue eyes. After all, the Shetland Sheepdog is the fifth herding breed on this list. And like the other breeds, blue-eyes occur in Shelties along with the merle gene.
So if they are dappled, they are more likely to have lighter-eyes. Being a herding dog, they are known for their intelligence and readiness to please. They are very people-oriented and feel best when raised in homes where there are plenty of people around.
If you have an often empty home, the Shetland Sheepdog might end up getting stressed out or developing anxiety. As such, they’re best suited for large and active families. Plus, they do great with other dogs and pets.
Highlights: Social, Intelligent, Proud
We’ve included this breed on the list partly because of how impressive they look, and partly as a warning. While, yes, a blue-eyed Dalmatian looks spectacular, it is important to know that this can be a warning sign for deafness.
Dalmatians already are more prone to deafness than other breeds, with 30% suffering from hearing loss in one or both ears. This appears to be connected to the same auto-recessive gene which affects the coloring of the iris.
So, we won’t advise one way or the other, but this tendency is something that should be taken into consideration when picking out a Dalmatian with blue eyes. The good news is that ethical breeders won’t specifically breed for them.
10. American Pit Bull Terrier
Highlights: Protective, Confident, Friendly
Some Pit Bull types have been known to develop stunning blue eyes. Though rare, some blue eyed Pit Bulls have been popping up all over the country. Even so, there is a large range of colors seen in a Pit Bull’s eye color.
Some of the more common eye colors include shades of brown, yellow and even green in the most rare cases. What’s more, we’ve even seen some Pit Bulls with two different colored eyes (as seen in the picture above).
Unfortunately, blue eyes is not a standard for Pit Bulls, though it’s likely not detrimental to their health if they do possess them. That said, any blue-eyed Pit Bull will inevitably be disqualified from dog shows, according to the AKC.
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11. Alaskan Malamute
Highlights: Loyal, Friendly, Playful
Most Alaskan Malamutes tend to inherit dark amber brown eyes. Though just like their Husky cousins, Malamutes can also come with light blue eyes. In fact, some owners have even seen dogs with one blue and one brown eye.
There are people that claim Alaskan Malamutes with blue eyes aren’t real purebred Alaskan Malamutes. Rather, they’re more likely to be a Malamute Husky mix. This is certainly possible but there’s not enough genetic data to prove this.
The argument is still plausible, though. Because the Malamute Husky mixes are so popular, the Malamutes with blue eyes may have likely inherited it from a Siberian Husky somewhere along their bloodline. Despite this, it’s a great look!
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12. Alaskan Klee Kai
Highlights: Intelligent, Playful, Energetic
The Alaskan Klee Kai is the much smaller cousin of the Alaskan Malamute or Husky. In some cases, they look nearly identical to their cousins. Everything from the fluffiness, to their erect ears, coat colors and blue eyes are the same.
The Klee Kai’s eyes can range in the color of blue – from a light sky blue to a deeper ocean blue. And while most Klee Kai eyes are indeed blue, they can also develop brown eyes or two-colored eyes (brown and blue).
If you’re looking for the exotic and mysterious look of a classic spitz dog without having to deal with such a big dog, look no further. However, the Klee Kai is both energetic and lively, so they don’t make the best lap dogs ever.
13. Great Dane
Highlights: Affectionate, Patient, Stable
In rare instances, Great Danes can have blue eyes too. Depending on the Great Dane coat color, some are more prone to developing blue eyes than others. For example, the Harlequin Great Danes tend to develop blue eyes.
It’s also worth noting that some Great Dane puppies may start off with blue eyes. However, after a few months, the blue eyes disappear and they’re left with their brown eyes. Only on rare occasions do the blue eyes stay into adulthood.
Still, blue-eyed Great Danes are truly a beautiful sight to see. That is, if you’re lucky enough to find one. But keep in mind: many of them may experience certain health problems that are typical with the eyes (such as partial blindness).
Highlights: Active, Cheerful, Fun-loving
Although Boxers aren’t typically known for their sky blue eyes, it is possible to see this color in rarer cases. The most common Boxer to show these colored eyes are white Boxers, which are already rare as it is.
To be clear, white Boxers are not albino Boxers. It’s not that they lack all pigment like the true albino Boxers. Most white Boxers actually do have small amounts of color (spots, markings and patches) on the skin.
Plus, white Boxers have pigment in their eyes, as seen with those with blue eyes. And like other dogs, it’s common for puppy Boxers to have blue eyes, despite their coat colors. However, the vast majority of them develop brown eyes as they age.
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Highlights: Devoted, Affectionate, Confident
Rottweilers have an iconic look with their black and tan coat and brown eyes. However, did you know that blue eyed Rottweilers exist? It’s rare, but some Rotties have either two blue eyes or one blue and one brown eye.
Like many other dogs with blue eyes, the blue-eyed Rottie is not recognized by the American Kennel Club standard for the breed. However, if you don’t plan on showing your Rottweiler in show competitions, it doesn’t really matter.
There’s a good chance that many Rottweilers with blue eyes aren’t 100% pure due to the rarity of this trait. They may have had some mixes, possibly with a Husky, way back in their lineage. Still, Rottweilers with blue eyes are stunning.
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Important Notes on Blue-Eyed Dog Breeds
While some breeds take their blue-eyes from specific genes for the color, others receive them because of the merle gene.
While a dog that has merle (or dappled, splotchy) patterning should be fine on its own, it should not be bred together with another merle dog.
This double-merle is associated with an increased risk in health problems for their offspring. Blindness and deafness are but a few of the possible effects of a double-merle breeding.
Plenty of breeders are responsible and have their dogs’ health in mind. However, with any desirable trait, there is an increased chance for irresponsible breeding if the breeder has money on the mind.
Rarity can increase the cost of a pup and breeders know this. So, it is important to make sure that your blue-eyed pup is not the result of breeding two merle dogs. Otherwise, as we mentioned, they will be at risk for health issues.
Blue-eyes can appear in almost any breed. It is simply the way genes work. There are so many factors that go into determining a dog’s appearance. All it takes is one mutation or change in their genes to produce unique results.
I wouldn’t recommend looking specifically for blue eyes. No matter if they’re blue, brown, yellow or green, all dogs are the same. They will love you unconditionally despite the colors of their eyes.
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