Most dogs have brown eyes but there are some dogs with blue eyes out there. Let’s hear from six dog breeds that occasionally get the blue-eyed gene:
We’re one of few breeds carrying a gene that can give rise to exquisite blue eyes. Attractive eyes aside, let’s first talk about arctic adventures. I was developed thousands of years ago in northeastern Siberia by the Chukchi people. Bred for endurance, my forefathers provided transportation over expansive areas. We were also bred for adaptability, enthusiasm and gentleness. We socialized easily, sleeping with families on especially cold “three-dog nights.” Our breed standard calls for almond-shaped eyes of brown or blue. We can have two brown eyes of any shade, two blue eyes, one eye of each color or two colors in one eye! Our coat, by the way, varies in color too, ranging from black to pure white. Our beauty is only surpassed by our sense of adventure: bring it on!
We’re an exceptional herding dog, bred in the British Isles to control stock with an intense gaze. People say I’m the most intelligent dog breed. Who am I to argue? For good reason, I’ve been asked to explain the complicated merle (as it relates to blue eyes) topic. We Border Collies may have merle coats. Merle simply means our coats have an overall dilution of colors with streaks or splotches of darker colors. The more pigment dilution, the more likely we’ll have blue eyes. Now here’s an important health consideration: The merle gene is essentially a dominant gene. A dog carrying a merle gene will be a merle. A problem arises when both parents are merle, for double-merle offspring are at risk for serious medical problems, such as deafness and blindness. But in general, we merle (occasionally blue-eyed) beauties are healthy, eager to work and devoted companions.
We’re a dog of action, developed in the States to herd and help ranchers all day long. We herd with a loose style, using all of our skills (including throwing an elbow or hip!) to effectively control livestock. Some of us have beautiful merle coats, and the occasional blue eyes may be an extension of the merle pattering. Some may inherit a blue-eyed gene. Our expressive almond-shaped eyes, by the way, can be brown, blue, amber or any combination. I think we look especially exquisite when we have one blue eye!
Tough and determined, we were bred long ago in Germany to hunt badgers and vermin. To work underground, we needed a unique body shape. Our elongated rib-cage lets us efficiently process air. Our short legs fold readily, making for easy movement in tunnels. Some of us have a dapple (merle) pattern, expressed as lighter-colored areas up against the darker base color. And some dapples will have partial or wholly blue eyes. Regardless of color, our eyes possess an energetic, agreeable appearance.
Some call us the “gray ghost,” referencing our elegant silver-gray coat. Some of us also have distinctive grayish-blue (but not pure blue) eyes. Colors aside, we were developed in Germany to hunt big game, and in time to hunt smaller animals. We’re celebrated for endurance in the field and courage. We’re also lauded for our exceptionally high energy. We can hike, jog, retrieve and excel in field trials. Primarily when you look into my eyes, you won’t be thinking about color. You’ll be noticing that my animated eyes have an expectant, “what shall we do now?” spark!
Alert and dependable, we were bred to handle livestock and for overall farm duty. These days, we continue to exhibit a strong work drive, and can garner accolades in any dog sport. We’re star pupils of obedience and herding in particular. Now, instead of talking (yet again!) about how my short legs helped me avoid cattle kicks, let’s focus on color. Our coat comes in many shades, including red, sable, brindle, black and blue merle. Some of us blue merles have partially blue eyes, or even one dark and one blue eye. What surprises most people is not my eyes, but how agile and quick I am!
Thumbnail: Photography courtesy Amanda Labadie, manymuddypaws.blogspot.com.
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