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Do Australian Shepherd Puppies’ Eyes Change Color?

Just like how humans can have their characteristics change throughout their lifetime, many breeds of dogs change as well.

Some dogs have changing fur colors like how many humans have darkening hair and some dogs have changing eye colors. 

If you thought that your puppy will look the same throughout adulthood, you might be wrong.

Do Australian Shepherd Puppies’ Eyes Change Color?

Throughout their puppy years, the eyes of an Australian shepherd can change colors. They will usually change from a light blue to a darker brown. It is hard to tell exactly what shade your shepherd’s eyes will be in adulthood, but it is unlikely to be blue. 

The color of Australian shepherd’s eyes changes pretty early on in their life.

The first changes start to take place at around 3 to 4 weeks old.

It is harder to tell when their eyes will stop changing, but it can happen anywhere from 8-12 weeks old. 

At that point, your Australian shepherd’s eyes will likely remain that same color. 

Can My Australian Shepherd’s Eyes Get Lighter?

While eyes usually get darker over time, your Australian Shepherd’s eyes could also turn to a lighter shade.

A puppy that has dark blue eyes might have them turn to a lighter blue while they are a puppy. 

How Can I Tell What Color My Australian Shepherd’s Eyes Will Be?

To get an estimate on what color your shepherd’s eyes will turn to, simply look at the eyes of the parents. 

If a puppy has both parents with blue eyes, then there is a good chance that it will have blue eyes in their adulthood.

An Australian shepherd can have brown, blue, grey, or even green eyes. 

This highly depends on the eye color of the parents. 

There are even more variations within the eye colors that your Australian shepherd could have. 

Australian shepherds can have any eye color that any other dog or human could have. 

Blue eyes are special in dogs as not many breeds of dogs have that gene. 

In fact, the blue eye gene in these dogs is actually a genetic mutation. 

This genetic mutation is called the merle gene which causes a lack of pigment in the iris of the eye. 

The iris is where the color of the eye comes from. 

Changes in the eye color of Australian shepherds can be because of more or less pigment being directed to the iris. 

It’s very similar to how the eye color of a human can change over time. 

Do Australian Shepherds Have Heterochromia?

Due to the vast variety of eye colors that this breed of color can have, it isn’t surprising that they can have heterochromia.

This mutation is genetic, being passed down by their parents. 

Heterochromia in Australian shepherds usually involves one of the eyes being blue since the blue eye color also is a pigment genetic mutation. 

There aren’t any other health implications that come with this double color, it simply just looks cool. 

What Is the Rarest Eye Color for Australian Shepherds?

The rarest eye color that this breed can have is green eyes. 

While blue eyes are caused by a genetic mutation, they are still more common in this dog breed than green eyes. 

To have green eyes in an Australian shepherd, the melanin levels in the eyes have to be the perfect in-between of brown and blue eyes. 

However, there is a chance for your Australian shepherd to have green in its eyes instead of being fully green or fully another color. 

This breed of dog can have multi-colored eyes with some parts of it being green, blue, brown, or other colors.

The colors can blend together and create beautiful looks. 

What Eye Problems Can Australian Shepherds Have?

While blue eyes or heterochromia aren’t linked to eye problems, this breed of dog generally faces a lot of eye problems from the variety of different genes that are possible.

Cataracts

Cataracts are a common eye problem throughout many different kinds of dog breeds, but Australian shepherds are especially prone to this problem. 

If caught right away, surgery can be done on the dog’s eyes to remove cataracts. 

If they are left, then your Australian shepherd will most likely go blind. 

This is one of the eye problems that don’t cause your dog any pain. 

Iris Coloboma

Iris coloboma is an eye defect where the iris in your Australian shepherd’s eyes doesn’t fully develop. 

This defect can be seen at birth as there are a lot of physical signs of it. 

This iris can appear like a hole with tissue missing. 

If the iris coloboma is small, it shouldn’t cause many issues other than some light sensitivity. 

However, if it is large, then there might be more sensitivity.

Thankfully, this defect doesn’t cause a lot of issues or discomfort to your dog, and it can go on to live a mostly normal life. 

Distichiasis

This eye condition is where fur grows on the inside of the eyelid and ends up rubbing against the eye.

If you think getting an eyelash in your eye is painful, this is several eyelashes in your eye constantly.

Distichiasis is a painful condition and can even cause blindness if it isn’t caught soon enough. 

However, if it is caught in good time, then minor surgery can be done to remove the fur and relieve the pain

Regular eye checkups are important to prevent this from going on for too long. 

Collie Eye Anomaly

This is another defect that is present at birth. 

For many puppies, this defect is minor, and it doesn’t progress throughout their life. 

However, more extreme cases cause other eye problems such as retinal separation or eye dysplasia. 

These other conditions can be painful for your puppy and can require surgery to help.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

This condition has no cure but at least it isn’t painful. 

PRA is a genetic condition where your Australian shepherd is genetically programmed to go blind. 

This condition often goes unnoticed until your shepherd is already showing signs of going blind.

The process of going blind due to PRA is gradual and not painful.

With that, many dogs facing PRA transition well to going blind. 

Pannus

Pannus is a condition where a film will start to develop over the cornea of an Australian shepherd.

The film is usually gray or pink and can develop into a darker mass over the cornea of the eye.

Over time, this can cause your dog to go blind or at least have seeing difficulty. 

This condition usually doesn’t develop until your Australian shepherd is reaching its elderly years. 

How To Prevent These Health Problems

Some of these health problems can be prevented or at least treated at the vet through surgery or something else. 

With these health problems, routine eye checkups will be your and your Australian shepherd’s best friend.

At a routine eye checkup, the vet can look for any warning signs of these conditions and catch any conditions before they can get too bad. 

For genetic eye problems, the way to prevent them is by checking the files of the parents before adopting. 

This doesn’t really apply if you adopt from a shelter, but instead applies more if you are buying from a breeder. 

A good breeder will have the files of the parents with the health conditions that they have faced.

 Buying a puppy bred from healthy parents will help prevent any genetic eye problems from occurring.

However, there is still the possibility of recessive genes popping up.

Do Different Eye Colors Cause Eye Problems?

As said earlier, blue and heterochromia eyes aren’t linked to eye problems.

This also applies to the other kinds of eye colors that Australian shepherds can have. 

The melanin mutations in an Australian shepherd don’t cause any eye problems. 

They are purely aesthetic changes. 

It is very normal for the color of your Australian shepherd’s eyes to change while they are young, but if they start changing color while in adulthood, this could actually be a film forming over their eyes which would lead to other problems. 

Final Thoughts

Australian shepherds have really beautiful and cool eyes. 

At 3 to 4 weeks old, the color of the puppy’s eyes will get lighter or darker, changing overall color. 

This usually stops anywhere between 8 to 12 weeks and their adult eye color can be predicted by their parent’s genetics. 

These dogs can have any color of the eye that you can think of. 

The rarest color of the eye that they can have is green. With the right planning, you can get an Australian shepherd that matches your eye color. 

Australian shepherds can face a variety of eye problems and it is important to know the signs and have regular eye checkups to prevent blindness where possible. 

This breed of dog is beautiful, and they have an amazing personality too. 

Australian shepherds make amazing pets with their beautiful eye colors.