Siberian huskies are one of the most visually striking breeds that receive many compliments on their fascinating eye color. I’ll cover all of the variations in eye colors and tell you exactly why this happens.
Huskies along with many other breeds can sometimes have different colored eyes due to heterochromia. Heterochromia is when there is a lack or excess of melanin in the iris. The amount of melanin determines eye color.
Let’s take a further look at Heterochromia and all the beautiful eye variations that huskies can have.
Why Do Huskies Have Blue Eyes | What’s Heterochromia?
Heterochromia is the term used to describe the phenomenon of having different colored eyes. This can happen not just in dogs, but in cats, horses, and humans too!
The color of the iris will depend on the presence of a pigment called melanin. Usually, dogs have high amounts of melanocytes in the iris which is responsible for the common brown color of eyes.
There’s a genetic mutation present in many huskies which affects the strength of the melanin as well as it’s distribution. Where there is a lack of melanin, there will be a lack of melanocytes, which finally leads to different eye colors, usually being blue. Source
Is Heterochromia bad in dogs?
Although huskies are prone to eye problems, heterochromia itself does not cause any harm or contribute to eye problems. It is usually hereditary and does not affect your dog’s ability to see.
Having two different eye colors usually isn’t bad or anything to worry about. However, in some cases, eye color could be an indication of something serious.
If you notice that your dog’s eyes are changing color, to become cloudy or unusually light blue, this may very well be a serious health issue like cataracts. In this case, you should seek help as soon as possible from a professional veterinarian
What Color Eyes Do Huskies Have?
Huskies can have many different eye colors, as well as different combinations. Let’s take a look at the variations below.
1. Blue-eyed husky
Blue eyes are common amongst huskies and are a classic example of Heterochromia. Around 4 out of 10 huskies will have two blue eyes. This eye color is accepted by the American Kennel Club. In fact, ALL newborn huskies start life with blue eyes and later change if destined to.
2. Bi-Eyed Husky
Bi-Eyed huskies have one blue eye and one brown eye. Bi-Eyed huskies are slightly rarer than huskies with two blue eyes.
3. Parti-colored eyes in Huskies
This is the rarest eye color variation and it’s called parti-colored. Only about 5% of the husky population will have part-colored eyes.
As you can see parti-colored means there are two colors in one single eye, often blended together on one side.
4. Brown-eyed husky
Brown eyes are usually as common as blue eyes, around 4 out of 10 huskies will have two brown eyes. There can be many different shades and tones of brown.
As most people think of huskies having blue eyes, many aren’t away that brown is just as common!
Can Husky Eyes Change Color?
A newborn husky will always start life with blue eyes that will later change if destined to. Around 5-8 weeks is when a husky’s eye color can start to change, depending on their genes and concentration of melanin.
Usually, by 3-4 months your husky’s eye color should be settled. However, according to some husky owners, they’ve seen their husky change eye color up until 6 months of age.
In an adult husky over 1 year, it’s more uncommon to see a change of eye color and if you do, you should take your husky to the vet for a check-up to rule out any health issues.
Are Blue-Eyes Dogs More Likely To Go Blind?
While the sudden development of blue eyes can be a symptom of a future eye condition, there is still no scientific evidence that suggests blue-eyed dogs are more likely to go blind.
If your dog’s eye color starts to change and develops a blue haziness, this could be signs of cataracts or corneal dystrophy. Although, being born with blue eyes has not been linked to an increased chance of future eye problems.
Blue eyes lack melanin but they do contain pigment, it is sometimes thought that brown eyes are stronger and are less prone to sun damage and cataracts but again, this isn’t technically true. Cataracts are usually not even caused by sun damage, they are the result of the puppy inheriting recessive genes.
The Siberian husky is more prone to health issues and about 8-10% of the population have hereditary eye conditions. People do like to believe that the heterochromia contributes to this, but science has not confirmed that to be the case. Source
Are Huskies Prone To Eye Problems?
The Siberian Husky suffers from three main eye problems, but these issues are not because of Heterochromia. A lot of people believe that the variations in husky eye color contribute to these eye problems, but this is not true.
Huskies suffer from Juvenile Cataracts, Corneal Dystrophy and, Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
If your husky has cataracts, the signs will start showing around the 6-month to 1-year mark, although in some cases you can see signs from as young as 3 months old. The eye usually becomes cloudy, due to a build-up of protein which ultimately blocks the lense.
This is usually found more in young adult female huskies rather than males; typically this eye issue is rarer than cataracts. With this eye condition, you’ll see a hazy blue film build up over the cornea. It can sometimes be mistaken for cataracts.
Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
This eye condition affects the retina of the eye. At first, your husky will lose night vision, and then with time day vision, until blind. Male puppies usually suffer from this condition worse than the females and can, unfortunately, go blind from a young age. Source
Other Breeds That Have Heterochromia
It’s not just Siberian Huskies that have the beautiful heterochromia condition. Many other breeds have this too.
Here are some other breeds that have Heterochromia:
● Welsh Corgis
● Australian Shepherds
● Border Collies
● Australian Cattle Dogs
● Great Danes
● Shetland Sheepdog
● Shih Tzus
Do Huskies Need Eye Check Ups
Due to huskies having many eye conditions, it is recommended that you register your husky with the Canine Eye Registry Foundation or the Siberian Husky Ophthalmologic Registry. Before buying a husky puppy, you should check that the parents to the puppy are registered on this list.
Huskies should have regular eye check-ups of at least 1-2 times per year with your local veterinarian. It’s also best practice to pay close attention to their eyes especially when they’re still young as you may detect signs of eye conditions early on.
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The advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute pet medical advice. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area.