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Why Do Australian Shepherds Have Blue Eyes? Breed Facts Explained

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

blue merle australian shepherd dog with blue eyes

An Australian Shepherd’s blue eyes can be mesmerizing. The blue is so vibrant and stands out because most dogs’ eyes are not nearly as colorful. Granted, not all Australian Shepherds have blue eyes. Some have two different colored eyes, while others have brown eyes, as most dogs do. You may be wondering why some of these dogs have blue eyes. There is actually a good reason for it! Australian Shepherds often have blue eyes because of a genetic mutation. Here’s everything that you need to know about the topic.

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It’s All About a Gene Mutation

An Aussie might have blue, green, hazel, or amber eyes or a combination of any of these colors. Anytime an Aussie has different colored eyes, it is due to a gene mutation that is passed down from at least one parent. The mutation affects how much melanin is present in the eye. More melanin results in a brown eye, while a lack of melanin results in a blue eye.

It is common for Australian Shepherds to have two different colored eyes. The condition is called heterochromia, which means that there is a lack of melanin pigment in one eye. Heterochromia can affect the entire iris or just part of it. If the eye is partially affected, it may look like the eye is marbled or speckled. The condition can also be caused by an injury to the eye.

australian shepherd face side view
Image Credit: Couleur, Pixabay

Are Blue Eyes Dangerous for Australian Shepherds?

If an Australian Shepherd is born with different colored eyes, they should have normal vision and happy life. However, it is important to have a veterinarian check out the dog to make sure there are no underlying issues accompanying the heterochromia. This condition can be caused by an eye injury, in which case, eye problems and vision loss can develop.

Eye problems might not present themselves right away, so it is important to watch for signs of trauma. If you notice that your dog’s eye is changing color and lightening up, it could be due to developing heterochromia or something else like glaucoma. Therefore, it’s important to schedule a checkup with your vet as soon as you can.

Are Blue-Eyed Australian Shepherds Better Than Those With Brown Eyes?

The color of a dog’s eyes has no bearing on their personality or temperament, and it’s no different for Australian Shepherds. An Aussie with blue or different colored eyes might look more unique, but they don’t have any special skills or qualities that brown-eyed Australian Shepherds don’t also have.

Australian Shepherds are smart dogs that are easy to train and that love spending time with kids, no matter what color their eyes are. The color of a dog’s eyes should not play a big role in whether they should be adopted. Focus on personality and sociability when choosing a pup to take home as a pet of your own. We’re sure that you would rather have a well-behaved brown-eyed dog that gets along well with your family members than a dog with colorful eyes that is too independent or aggressive.

a side view close up of an australian shepherd dog
Image Credit: 5019938, Pixabay

What Other Dog Breeds Can Have Different Colored Eyes?

Not all dog breeds are prone to having different colored eyes. Some breeds have no records of different colored eyes at all. However, several breeds are commonly born with different colored eyes due to the same heterochromia condition that Australian Shepherds can be born with.

The most common dog breeds that can have different colored eyes include:

The prevalence of heterochromia in these dog breeds varies. For some dogs like Chihuahuas, the condition is very rare. For other dogs like Border Collies, the condition is more common.

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In Conclusion

Australian Shepherds are beautiful dogs no matter what color their eyes are. However, when they have different colored eyes, they tend to stand out from the crowd and make a bigger impression on those who are meeting them for the first time. Fortunately, heterochromia does not seem to cause any serious health problems to worry about, although regular veterinary checkups are always a good idea.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Nordwind, Pixabay

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