Breeds with Different Eye Colors

We love breed legends, and one of the more engaging tales about dogs with two different color eyes is that they can view heaven and earth at the same time. Another story has it that such dogs are natural protectors, some even considered spirit dogs. In some northern cultures, it’s believed that sled dogs with two different colored eyes are faster than dogs with the same color eyes.

Science is less romantic about the topic.  Dog with two different eye colors have “heterochromia” in which one eye lacks melanin. When two eyes have different amounts of melanin, they’ll be two different colors.  This can be congenital, but injury is also a potential reason for occurrence. Some breeds, however, mention this in their standards. The Siberian Husky standard, for example, reads, “Eyes may be brown or blue in color; one of each or parti-colored are acceptable.” Can you name other breeds in which this is allowed?

If you answered Australian Shepherd, you’d be correct. Its standard reads, “Eye color is brown, blue, amber; or any variation or combination, including flecks and marbling. All eye colors are acceptable in combination with all coat colors.” You’d also be right if you said Catahoula Leopard Dog which is described by the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas as having “cracked” eyes that can be any combination of colors. As an aside, people can have heterochromia, too. Actress, Kate Bosworth has it, as did the late, great David Bowie whose condition was the result of an injury.

Image” “Eyes” by Joyce Baldassarre is available as a print, poster, home decor, and accessories here.

2 thoughts on “Breeds with Different Eye Colors”

  1. I have a blue merle Pyrenean Shepherd with a marbled eye, and yes he is my protector.

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