When it comes to dogs, brown is the most common eye color. But that doesn’t apply to Siberian Huskies. These lovely dogs have striking blue eyes. Yes, huskies can have brown eyes. They can also have one blue and one brown eye, or blue and brown coloring in both eyes. A rare gene controls the color of the eye in huskies. Today, we will try to answer why do huskies have blue eyes.
Husky Eye Colors
Huskies got famous and popular thanks to their distinctive eyes. Their almond-shaped eyes come mostly in blue color. But they can have eyes with other colors.
Most people recognize huskies for their icy blue eyes or deep brown eyes. But sometimes, the colors vary. Some huskies have bi-eyed coloring, meaning one color of each color. Others have parti-colored eyes, which means a mixture of both blue and brown in the eyes.
We have to stress that both blue and brown eyes are normal for Huskies. The American Kennel Club accepts huskies with either of these color schemes. Brown-colored eyes rarely represent any problems or illnesses.
Siberian huskies are not the only dog breed with blue eyes. But they are the most recognizable. Blue coloring usually comes as a result of a gene that dilutes the pigmentation of the dog’s coat and eyes. Dogs who have this merle gene, for example, Australian shepherds and Weimaraners, also have light blue eyes. However, Siberian Huskies are the only breed that can have blue eyes completely independent of the merle gene.
They have a specific gene that causes a loss of pigmentation in the irises but not the coat. That is why they can have a dark coat and blue eyes.
Huskies can have a wide range of eye colors. That range includes blue, brown, amber, and hazel. There are also combinations, as we mentioned before. The AKC accepts all of the eye colors. Here is a quick look at the Husky eye color chart.
Huskies with blue eyes are among the most common. They represent almost half of the breed, around 40% of them. The blue shade can range from light icy blue to deep blue. Sometimes, you might notice grey and green in between. Usually, huskies with blue eyes have a ring of dark skin around their eyes.
Fun fact: 40% of all huskies have brown eyes. That means that the same amount of huskies have brown and blue eyes. Brown color can range from amber to dark chocolate. Usually, brown eyes look very vibrant.
One of the big misconceptions about huskies is that brown-eyed huskies are not purebred. But that is not true. The AKC recognizes brown huskies as a breed standard.
Sometimes, huskies can have eyes of two different colors. To put it simply, one blue and one brown eye. Approximately 15% of Huskies are bi-eyed, making them rare. Do not worry, huskies with two different colored eyes do not have any problems with their eyesight.
These are the rarest types of huskies, making only 5% of the breed. What does parti-colored mean? Well, these huskies have a mixture of both blue and brown in their eyes. Often, they are blended together.
The parti-colored huskies look amazing.
Can Huskies Eye Color Change?
Yes, your husky might change its eye color. For example, your husky puppy might have blue eyes. Yet, as he grows older, he might change to brown eyes.
Husky puppies first open their eyes at around 2 weeks old. All puppies have blue eyes at birth. But that doesn’t mean their eye color will remain blue.
Their eye color might change as late as 4 or 5 weeks of age. And that is not a concern. Between 5 and 8 weeks of age, the color of the eyes starts to change. This change depends on the genes and the concentration of melanin, pigment of the skin, hair, and eye.
Usually, huskies settle into their permanent eye color by age of 12 to 16 weeks. Yet, some Husky owners have noticed changes until as late as 6 months of age.
The Science Behind Blue Eyes
So, let’s take a look at the science behind huskies eyes. Some huskies have blue eyes due to mutation in their genes, decreasing the pigmentation in the eye. The anomaly happens in more than 40% of all huskies. Their blue eyes can range from icy blue to deep blue and bright blue in between.
In October 2018, researchers have found genetic clues to the unusual eye color of the Husky. At a DNA testing start-up, they set out to explore the question regarding the blue eyes in huskies.
In one of the largest studies that compared dogs’ genetic profiles, they found a genetic tweak that can cause blue-eyed dogs. Scientists Adam Boyko and Aaron Sams then published the study in the journal PLOS Genetics.
They tested the DNA of more than 6,000 dogs by owners who had purchased DNA test kits to confirm the breed of their dog. They found that a genetic change or mutation, near the gene ALX4 on canine chromosome 18 has a strong association with blue eyes in Siberian huskies.
Can you be sure your Husky will have blue eyes?
Well, you have about a 40% chance of having a Husky with blue eyes. But remember, there is also a 40% chance that your Husky will have brown eyes. And there is a 15% chance you will get a Husky with bi-colored eyes, and a 5% chance of getting a Husky with parti-colored eyes.
There is no guarantee you will get a blue-eyed Husky. Even if both parents have blue-eyes, your puppy might end up with brown eyes. Don’t get too excited when you see your husky puppy. All husky puppies have blue eyes. But their eye color changes as they age.
You might end up with a husky with brown eyes. Do not get disappointed, that is a normal color for husky dogs.
On the other hand, if you want to buy another “Siberian” breed, say Alaskan Malamute, do not expect blue eyes. These dogs, often mistaken for huskies despite their size, have varied shades of brown. If your Alaskan Malamute has blue eyes, he is not purebred. Purebred Alaskan Malamutes do not have blue eyes. And according to the AKC, the darker the eye, the better the Malamute.
When it comes to Huskies, though, owners want to get that icy blue eyes. After all, it is the most striking feature of the Husky dog.