There’s nothing that stops me in my tracks during a walk through the pet rescue I work with than a dog with blue eyes. Simply put, they are stunning! The lack of pigment in the iris is a sight to behold, pun intended. There’s a common misconception that a pup with blue eyes is prone to disease, deafness, or other health problems. That’s simply not true.
However, it’s important to do your research before you adopt a pup simply for its eye color. Make sure you look into the bloodline, for one, because there are issues when a dog inherits specific genetic mutations. Blue eyes may be a desirable trait in terms of appearance, but you’ll want to make sure the blue-eyed dog you adopt fits in with your lifestyle.
Dogs With Blue Eyes
There are a number of dogs that may present with blue eyes or partially blue eyes, all equally beautiful. These are some of the top breeds with blue eyes that make our list.
1. Australian Shepherd
The Australian Shepherd is a very active and intelligent dog. They make great companions for active homes, especially if you have a large property or a farm where they can run and showcase their herding skills. The Australian Shepherd loves adults and kids alike and tends to be protective.
The Australian Shepherd belongs to the herding group. They have a thick coat that you can find in a variety of colors and patterns. Typically, Australian Shepherds with the merle coats are the ones you’ll find with blue eyes, sometimes with a mixture of blue and brown eyes.
This breed is a medium-sized dog that stands 18 to 23 inches tall and has a weight of 40 to 65 pounds. They live to be 13 to 15 years old.
2. Border Collie
If you’re looking for one of the most intelligent breeds, you’ll definitely want a Border Collie, but beware that they are also one of the most energetic dogs you’ll encounter. You’ll need to keep a Border Collie busy with both physical and mental challenges, and if you have it in your schedule, agility competitions are a great way to stimulate them.
Border Collies also belong to the herding group and have a long coat that can be either rough or smooth. They come in several colors, including chocolate, red, blue, gray, black, or white. Typically, they are two-toned coat patterns or have a merle coat.
The Border Collie dog breed is medium in size, with a height of 18 to 22 inches and weight between 30 and 55 pounds. The average lifespan varies between 10 and 17 years.
3. Great Dane
If you’re looking for a giant lug to take up your entire couch while simultaneously thinking he can fit in your lap, the Great Dane is your pal! These beautiful dogs are gentle giants, and despite their size, they are an ideal family companion that can adapt to any home size, even to apartment living. They’re sweet and affectionate and love to be with their owners.
The Great Dane belongs to the working group and has a short coat that comes in fawn, blue, brindle, or black. Great Dane puppies tend to be born with blue eyes that fade to brown as they grow. However, Merle Great Danes are truly a site to behold, and their baby blues stick out with the mottled patches on their fur.
This dog is truly one of the biggest, standing between 28 and 32 inches tall with a weight that can range from 110 to 175 pounds. Because of their size, they don’t live very long, typically between 8 to 10 years.
4. Alaskan Klee Kai
Love the look of an Alaskan Husky, but want it in a smaller package? The Alaskan Klee Kai fits the bill. This dog is meant to be a companion, but it is very active. However, the typical stubbornness that you see in Husky breeds is not present in the Alaskan Klee Kai. It’s very trainable and eager to please its owner. It is also a very affectionate dog, perhaps one of the most loving dogs available.
The breed is not recognized by the AKC, but in the UKC, it belongs to the northern breed group. These dogs have thick coats that are darker on the back and head while lighter on the chest, face, and underbelly.
You can find them with a gray, red, or black coat color. Alaskan Klee Kais are smaller dogs, standing around 13 to 17 inches and weighing only 10 to 20 pounds. They live longer lives, too, between 12 and 16 years.
5. Pit Bull
The Pit bull is one of the most popular dogs you’ll hear of, but they’re not actually a breed in themselves. There are 29 Pitbull mixes, and you can truly fall down a rabbit hole exploring various types of pitbulls. These dogs are known for being very playful and loyal to their owners, if a bit standoffish with strangers. They are one of the best family companions.
The UKC recognizes the American Pitbull Terrier as part of the Terrier group, but it is not recognized by the AKC. They have a short coat and come in many different colors, such as brindle, fawn, black, white, gray, blue, brown, or red.
While most Pitbull puppies are born with blue-gray eyes, they tend to change as the pups age. Some, however, retain those baby blues. The breed is a medium-sized dog that is 17 to 21 inches tall and weighs between 30 and 65 pounds. They live 12 to 14 years.
The Dalmatian was originally bred as a guard dog, a trait the breed is still commonly known for today. You’ll often see them in firehouses around the country. Dalmatians are known for being playful, outgoing dogs with a sensitive side. They prefer human companionship and can get destructive and chew furniture or suffer separation anxiety when left alone for too long.
The Dalmatian belongs to the Non-sporting group and is known for its short speckled white coat. It can have either brown or black spots and sometimes a set of blue eyes or one blue eye.
The Dalmatian is a medium-to-large-sized breed that stands 19 to 24 inches tall and weighs around 45 to 70 pounds. They live to be between 11 and 13 years old on average.
7. Old English Sheepdog
The Old English Sheepdog is one of the shaggiest dogs on the planet. Their fur often hangs in their eyes, obscuring them from view, but they tend to have blue or brown eyes or one of each color.
They are sweet, affectionate dogs who love their families and are excellent with children. If you adopt an Old English Sheepdog, be aware that they will need lots of exercise.
Old English Sheepdogs belong to the herding group. Their long double coats need a lot of grooming, and they come in white with either gray, blue, or merle colors. They are medium to large in size, standing 20 to 24 inches tall with a weight that ranges from 60 to 100 pounds. They live an average of 10 to 12 years.
8. Siberian Husky
The Siberian Husky is one of the most common dog breeds with blue eyes. In fact, people think Huskies, in general, tend to favor this color, but they can also have mixed color or brown eyes. These dogs make a wonderful family companion as they are both friendly and gentle. However, they are very intelligent and alert pups, too. They will need obedience training from an early age.
The Siberian Husky belongs to the AKC’s working group and is often known for being a sled dog. The breed has a very thick double-layered coat that comes in several colors, including black, white, brown, tan, or red, which make their striking blue eyes stand out.
Siberian Huskies typically stand 20 to 24 inches and weigh between 35 and 60 pounds. They live around 12 to 15 years on average.
Originally bred as a hunting dog in Germany, the Weimaraner today makes a great companion dog. They have a lot of energy and will need regular exercise. Additionally, the Weimaraner is fantastic with children and has a loving personality. Expect a lot of cuddles.
They are also good with strangers, but they also make good watchdogs because of their fearless and alert demeanor.
Weimaraners belong to the sporting group. They have a short, sleek silver or gray coat color that makes their beautiful amber or blue eyes stand out. The Weimaraner is a bigger dog, standing at 23 to 27 inches tall and weighing between 55 to 90 pounds. They live an average of 11 to 13 years.
10. Alaskan Malamute
Like the Siberian Husky, the Alaskan Malamute is one of the known sled dog breeds. Despite their serious look, they are very affectionate dogs that are extremely loyal to their families. The Alaskan Malamute is gentle and friendly, making it a great family pet. However, they need mental stimulation because they are very smart, and obedience training from a young age.
Alaskan Malamutes belong to the working group, but if you decide to show one, make sure it doesn’t have blue eyes. While they are beautiful on the breed, they are considered a disqualifier.
The Alaskan Malamute has a thick coat with a white mask and underbelly and can be red, brown, fawn, black, or grey. They stand 23 to 25 inches tall and can weigh 75 to 85 pounds. The life expectancy of an Alaskan Malamute is 10 to 14 years.
11. Shetland Sheepdog
The Shetland Sheepdog looks like a miniature collie and was once upon a time referred to as the Shetland Collie, but that sparked a lot of controversy. The breed is extremely intelligent and lively, but because of their sensitive nature, they can turn destructive and develop extremely negative behaviors if they are left alone for too long. The Shetland Sheepdog is a great family companion that has a gentle disposition.
The Shetland Sheepdog belongs to the herding group and has a dense double coat that requires a lot of maintenance. The coat color comes in tri-color, blue merles, merle, black and tan, and black and white varieties, as well as sable coloring.
This dog’s eyes can be brown or blue. They typically stand 13 to 16 inches tall and weigh 15 to 25 pounds. Shetland Sheepdogs are known to live 12 to 14 years.
12. Catahoula Leopard Dog
The Catahoula Leopard is originally from Louisiana, where it served as a working dog, hunting and herding animals. This pooch is an energetic one, needing a lot of room to run and play, but it’s also known for being gentle, affectionate, and loyal.
The Catahoula Leopard Dog is very easy to train and extremely intelligent with a stubborn streak. Because of their energy levels, they are not recommended for apartments.
Catahoulas belong to the herding group. They have short spotted coat patterns that come in multiple colors, but merle and spotted patterns are prominent. The pooch is on the larger side, standing 22 to 24 inches tall and weighing in at 50 to 95 pounds. They live between 10 to 14 years.
The Dachshund is commonly referred to as the wiener dog, a reference to its long body and short legs. They were originally bred for their hunting skills, and despite being smaller, they’re very confident and boisterous pooches. The Dachshund is also a fun pup that has a lot of personality packed into its small body. They make great family companions.
Dachshunds belong to the hound group. They can have short or long coats, and some are even wire-haired. They commonly come in red, black, cream, blue, and chocolate, but it’s typically the Merle dog that has blue eyes.
They are miniature to small in size, ranging from 5 to 9 inches tall. Mini Dachshunds weigh under 11 pounds, while the standard-size breed weighs 16 to 32 pounds. They live around 12 to 16 years, on average.
14. Cardigan Welsh Corgi
The Cardigan Welsh Corgi is much like its Pembroke counterpart in that it’s a fun-loving pooch that gets along with everyone. This breed is super affectionate and loves children. They’re very smart, which makes them easy to train, and they are very alert dogs that make great guardians.
Cardigan Welsh Corgis belong to the herding group. They have a thick double beautiful coat that comes in mostly red and white or cream, but you’ll find the dog’s coat with sable, brindle, black, and can even be a merle dog as well.
They have short legs, standing only 10 to 13 inches tall, and weighing around 25 to 40 pounds. On average, the Cardigan Welsh Corgi lives 12 to 15 years.
15. English Bulldog
The English Bulldog, one of the most popular dog breeds, was once used to bait bulls in England, but they’re now the national symbol of Britain and a gorgeous pup to have around the house. The English Bulldog is both courageous and friendly, with a docile demeanor that makes it a great pet for homes with children.
English Bulldogs belong to the non-sporting group and have short, muscular bodies. Baby blue eyes on this pup look simply stunning against their fawn, red, or brindle coat colors, which are short and smooth. The pup stands 14 to 15 inches tall and has a weight of 40 to 50 pounds. They often live around 8 to 10 years.
16. German Shepherd
The German Shepherd is one of the most eye-catching dogs there is and also one of the most popular dog breeds. It’s a true beauty that also has a confident and brave personality. It’s intelligent, which leads to stubbornness, but is a very obedient breed that thrives as a working dog for police, military, or rescue operations. Early socialization and training is a must with the German Shepherd, as they will challenge owners for dominance.
German Shepherds belong to the Herding group. The breed’s medium-length coat tends to be thick and a combination of black, gray, sable, or black and tan. Every now and then, you’ll see a rare liver color or white German Shepherd, too.
They normally have dark brown eyes, but someone you can see blue eyes or one blue eye in a heterochromia pattern. They are on the larger side, standing 22 to 26 inches and weighing 50 to 90 pounds. They can live 7 to 10 years.
17. English Setter
A majestic-looking beauty, the English Setter is just as sweet as it looks. These pups are devoted companions and are often confused for the English Cocker Spaniel or the Field Spaniel. They love giving and receiving affection and are very sociable pups. The English Setter is an alert dog that can also be very protective but is obedient.
English Setters belong to the sporting group and have gorgeous, mostly white coats with spots and speckled patterns in Blue Belton, Liver Belton, Orange Belton, Chestnut Belton, or Lemon Belton. They also come in tri-color varieties. The English Setter stands 23 to 27 inches and weighs 45 to 80 pounds. Their life expectancy ranges from 10 to 14 years.
Causes for Blue Eyes in Dogs
As with most physical characteristics, a dog’s eye color is defined by its DNA. One significant cause of dogs with blue eyes is the Blue Eye Variant, or blue-eyed gene, which occurs on the ALX4. It’s a dominant trait, so even one copy of the variant can result in those baby blues, but it doesn’t equate to poor vision or other health problems.
Another common reason for blue eyes is due to the piebald gene or coloring, which occurs due to a variant on the MITF gene. Dogs with this variant tend to also have pink noses and eye rims, as well as white spots in their coats. However, it’s rare and typically occurs in white dogs that have two copies of the gene. This contributes to deafness, as well.
The final genetic variant that can affect eye coloring is the Merle gene, which results in a grey and black marbling pattern on the coat. It’s not a good idea to let two merle carriers breed because it can lead to a double-merle puppy that is all white, deaf, and blind.
There are some breeds that present with blue eyes as a result of having two gene variations, where it’s a recessive trait instead of dominant. In addition to genetics, albinism can contribute to pale eyes. Green eyes are the most rare on a dog.
In older dogs, eye problems such as blindness, cataracts, and glaucoma can lead to a bluish appearance, which is often cloudy. This cloudiness can also be a result of corneal dystrophy or other health issues.
What Percentage of Dogs With Blue Eyes Are Deaf?
Having blue eyes is not a precursor to being deaf. In fact, only about 5 to 10% of canines are deaf, but it tends to correlate with their genes — those with the Merle and Piebald genes — and a completely white coat — have higher rates of deafness than other canines.
Is It Rare for Dogs To Have Blue Eyes?
Yes, while there are specific breeds known for their blue eyes — Siberian Huskies, Border Collies, and Australian Shepherds — it is still a rare eye color. Most dogs have brown eyes or golden eyes.
What Do Blue Eyes in Dogs Mean?
It means that the pups carry one of the gene variants that contribute to blue eyes or they have albinism. There are no known health-associated risks with blue eyes, though some have linked deafness to the coloring.
There are certain breeds with blue eyes, even if it’s not typical, like the Toy Poodle. It’s important to be aware that the coloring has no bearing on the pup’s health, though there may be other genetic mutations and indicators at play.
Finding it interesting? You can also check out our article on the Blue Coat Dog Breeds.
If you’re looking for a blue-eyed variety, you’ll want to pay attention to the bloodlines. And remember, responsible breeders don’t aim for the blue eyes but let them happen naturally.