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Do Puppy Eyes Change Color? Fascinating Facts & FAQ

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Saarloos Wolfdog Puppy close up

The enchanting gaze of a puppy is a heartwarming sight that captures the hearts of dog lovers worldwide. Those big, soulful eyes, have a unique charm all their own.

But what many puppy owners wonder is whether the eyes of these adorable young canines are set in stone or not. Well, in some cases, a puppy’s eyes can change color as they grow older!

In this article, we explore the intriguing phenomenon of puppy eyes changing color!

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Is It Normal for My Pup’s Eyes to Change?

Yes, it is entirely normal for a puppy’s eyes to change as they grow and mature! Most puppies are born with blue eyes, but over time, their eye color may undergo a transformation.

This change is typically due to the development and maturation of pigments in the iris and is influenced by genetic factors. While this phenomenon can vary from one puppy to another, it’s a common occurrence, and the final eye color is usually established by the time the puppy is several months old.

irish doodle puppy dog lying down on the floor
Image by: Joca de Jong, Shutterstock

What Causes Puppies’ Eye Color to Change?

Puppies’ eyes change color as a result of a complex interplay of genetic and developmental factors. When puppies are born, they often have blue eyes due to the absence of melanin, the pigment responsible for eye color. Over time, as the puppy matures, the melanin-producing cells in the iris gradually become more active, leading to a shift in eye color.

Genetics also play a significant role in determining a puppy’s eventual eye color. The eye color of a puppy’s parents and ancestors can influence the outcome, as certain genes are responsible for producing different pigments in the iris.

It’s essential to note that not all puppies’ eyes will change color, and some dogs will retain the same eye color they had as puppies throughout their lives.

What Determines My Dog’s Eye Color?

A dog’s eye color is primarily determined by genetics and the presence of specific pigments in the iris. The amount and type of melanin, a pigment that ranges from brown to black, in the iris influence eye color.

In general, a dog with a higher concentration of melanin will have darker eyes, such as brown or black, while those with less melanin will have lighter-colored eyes, like blue or green. The specific combination of genes inherited from the dog’s parents determines the potential range of eye colors for that individual dog.

It’s essential to recognize that genetics play a significant role, but other factors like age and certain medical conditions can also impact eye color to some extent.

Red merle Australian Shepherd puppy
Image by: SeippelStudios, Shutterstock

When Will My Pup’s Eye Color Change?

A puppy’s eye color typically begins to change at around 6 to 8 weeks of age and continues to evolve over the following months. As the puppy matures, melanin production in the iris gradually increases, leading to the shift in eye color. The specific timing and extent of this change can vary between individual puppies, influenced by their unique developmental pace.

Do All Puppies’ Eyes Change Color?

No, not all puppies’ eyes change color. While it’s common for puppies to undergo a gradual transformation in eye color as they mature, some dogs will retain the same eye color they had as puppies throughout their lives. The extent and timing of the change depend on genetic and developmental factors specific to each individual dog.

Puppies born with brown or other non-blue eye colors will typically maintain those colors, although there can be subtle variations in shade as they grow. It’s essential to recognize that eye color change is a natural but not universal phenomenon, and a dog’s unique eye color contributes to their individuality and charm.

The Mature Dog’s Eye Color

The mature eye color of a dog can vary widely, with possibilities ranging from shades of brown (including dark brown, light brown, and hazel) to green, amber, gray, or blue.

The final eye color is primarily determined by the amount and type of melanin present in the iris, a pigment responsible for the coloration of the eyes. Dogs with higher concentrations of melanin tend to have darker eyes, while those with lower concentrations will have lighter-colored eyes.

scottish terrier puppy dog lying down outdoors
Image by: Stephen Dukelow, Shutterstock

How Will I Know If My Dog’s Eyes Won’t Change Color Anymore?

You can typically expect that your dog’s eyes won’t change further when they reach around 12 to 16 weeks of age. For most dogs, this is the timeframe within which most dogs’ eye colors are established.

At this stage, the iris has undergone sufficient melanin development to solidify the mature eye color. However, it’s important to note that subtle variations can occur throughout a dog’s life, particularly in response to certain medical conditions or age-related changes. If you notice any sudden or drastic alterations in your dog’s eye color after this stage, it’s advisable to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

When Should I Be Concerned of My Pup’s Eye Color Change?

While gradual changes in a puppy’s eye color are normal and expected, there are situations when you should be concerned about such changes. If your puppy’s eye color starts changing suddenly and rapidly after the age of 4 months or if you notice any other accompanying signs like redness, excessive tearing, squinting, or changes in their behavior, it’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian.

Sudden and drastic changes in eye color can sometimes be a sign of underlying health issues such as inflammation, infection, injury, or developmental anomalies. Timely veterinary attention is crucial in such cases to rule out any potential problems and ensure the well-being of your puppy’s eyes.

Additionally, if your puppy’s eye color continues to change beyond 6 months of age, or if they develop cloudiness or a milky appearance in the eyes, it could indicate a more serious issue. Cataracts, glaucoma, and other eye conditions can affect a dog’s eye color and overall eye health.

In such cases, seeking professional advice from a veterinarian or veterinary ophthalmologist is essential to determine the cause and take appropriate measures to preserve your pup’s vision and eye health.

Tri colored Mini Bernedoodle puppy on red towel
Image by: JasonYoder, Shutterstock

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Wrapping Up

Your puppy’s eyes changing color is a fascinating aspect of canine development. Understanding the underlying factors, such as genetics and the maturation of pigments in the iris, can offer valuable insights into this natural transformation.

While most puppies’ eye colors stabilize by the age of 12 to 16 weeks, there’s a unique charm in knowing that each dog is an individual, and their eye color may exhibit subtle variations throughout their lifetime.

It’s important for puppy parents to be aware of normal changes and to seek veterinary attention if they notice sudden, dramatic shifts or other concerning eye-related signs.

Whether your furry friend’s eyes remain a stunning blue, turn to deep brown, or take on a different hue, their gaze will forever be a testament to the remarkable journey of growth and companionship that defines the bond between humans and dogs!


Featured Image Credit: Shakarrigrafie, Shutterstock

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