Types Of Dog Eye Colors And Rarity

Reviewed By Julie •  Updated: 06/25/22 •  6 min read
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Types Of Dog Eye Colors And Rarity

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Have you ever seen a dog with a different eye color than brown? The effect can be startling, depending on the dog’s face shape, coloring, and size. Here, we’re thinking of our Weimaraner mix who had red fur and amber eyes rimmed with black! Talk about startling eyes! The good thing is that our Weim was a very loving dog, so no worries there!

If you’ve ever wondered about dog eye colors and which is the rarest color of all, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together some information about dog eye colors and then walked you through the different types of eye colors. And we’ll tell you which is the rarest color of all! Let’s get started!

What Determines a Dog’s Eye Color?

It’s common knowledge that purebred dogs have specific eye colors. That’s because their eye color is based on the dog’s genetics and coat color. However, some eye colors may vary based on the chromosomes of the dog.

The most common eye color in dogs is brown, and the rarest color is green. However, a dog’s eye color depends on the genetics inherited from both parents. It’s also possible that dogs from the same breed have different eye colors, and it all comes down to genetics.

Types of Dog Eye Colors & Their Rarity

1. Brown Eye Color

Brown eyes are the most common eye color in dogs. In this case, dogs with a higher amount of melanin tend to have darker eyes.

What’s more, the dog’s genetics determine the number of melanin levels in his body. You may see brown eyes in these dog breeds:

However, this eye color can show up in just about any dog breed.

2. Amber Eye Color

Amber is a beautiful color that’s usually a golden honey color. This is an eye color that shows up in several dog breeds. The color comes from diluted eumelanin, a pigment (similar to melanin). The color may also result from recessive B or D genes.

Many dogs who have liver-colored fur have amber eyes. However, you may also see amber eyes in dogs that have fur that’s Isabella, blue, rust, or gray.

Here are some dog breeds that have amber eyes:

3. Blue Eye Color

Some dogs have beautiful blue eyes of various shades. This color is possible due to the merle pattern in some dog breeds.

However, some dog breeds, such as the Siberian Husky, also have blue eyes. In some cases, dogs that have blue eyes may also be prone to certain health issues.

Here are some dog breeds that have blue eyes:

4. Hazel Eye Color

Another uncommon eye color in dogs is hazel. This is a rare color, but not as rare as another (we’ll get to that in a moment!). Some puppies have blue eyes when young, but then their eyes turn to amber when they’re adults!

Hazel eyes can be a very unique trait that really stands out in a dog!

You may see hazel eyes in the following dogs:

5. Green Eye color

Green eyes are very rare to see in a dog. This is the rarest eye color you can find in dogs. The merle gene that causes blue eyes is also responsible for the green eye color in some dogs. In addition, there are some health issues that may appear in dogs who have green eyes.

It’s also possible for mixed breed dogs to have green eyes; however, it’s not a standard color in purebred dogs. Even so, you may see green eyes more often in Pitbulls than in other dogs.

You can sometimes find green eyes in the following dog breeds:

6. Heterochromia Eye Colors

Another unique eye color is heterochromia in dogs. Heterochromia means a dog may have eyes that are completely different colors! This is a trait found in several dog breeds, and it’s usually caused by a lack of pigmentation in one eye. The condition is also usually inherited.

Heterochromia is considered a birth defect; however, in some dogs, it can also be caused by an illness later in a dog’s life.

You may find heterochromia in the following dog breeds:

7. Segmental Heterochromia

There’s another condition that’s similar to heterochromia called segmental heterochromia. In segmental heterochromia, the iris of each eye is a different color. That can be a little unsettling! It happens when one part of the iris doesn’t have pigment, while the other iris has lots of melanin.

This condition can be found in any dog that carries the merle gene.

Are There Health Issues Associated with Eye Color?

Many people have thought that various health issues in dogs were associated with eye color. This is true. For instance, dogs that have blue eyes are prone to blindness and deafness. This trait and the associated health issues can be found in dogs that carry the merle genes and those that have double merle genes.

Dalmatians have the highest rate of deafness among other dog breeds. They usually run about 8% for bilateral deafness or 22% for deafness in one ear. These are pretty high percentages.

If you notice your fur baby’s eyes are all of a sudden turning blue, it’s time to call the vet. That’s because your dog may have an underlying health issue causing his eyes to change color. For instance, cataracts may cause a dog’s eyes to appear a cloudy blue or even white. If this condition isn’t treated, it can lead to permanent blindness.

Summing It Up

As you can see, brown eyes are the most common in the canine world, while green eyes are the rarest of all. But no matter what color your dog’s eyes are, your canine companion is a loving addition to the family.

However, if your dog’s eyes suddenly change color, do call the vet. The color change may indicate your fur baby has an underlying health issue that needs to be checked!

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Julie is a graduate of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, where she studied Animal science. Though contrary to the opinion of her parents she was meant to study pharmacy, but she was in love with animals especially cats. Julie currently works in an animal research institute (NGO) in California and loves spending quality time with her little cat. She has the passion for making research about animals, how they survive, their way of life among others and publishes it. Julie is also happily married with two kids.