Few things are more exciting than having a new litter of puppies in the house. All the excitement about what they’ll be like, what their lives will be like, and what they’ll look like. There’s just so much potential!
Many pet parents are anxious to know what their furry friends will look like when they are fully grown. If they’re in love with their 8-week old puppies’ eye color, they may be worried that those beautiful blue eyes will change.
Do Puppies’ Eyes Change Color As They Get Older?
Most puppies’ eyes change color in the first few weeks of life. Most puppies are born with blue or grey eyes. While some dogs do have blue eyes their whole lives, the blue color of puppy eyes is typically due to a lack of melanin that develops within the first month, revealing their adult eye color.
When a puppy is born from its mother, its eyes lack melanin, a pigment found in their bodies. Melanin gives a dog its coloring from their eyes to their fur.
When puppies are born, their eyes may appear blueish, which pet parents can find intriguing, but the color is clear as their bodies have not developed melanin in the iris of their eyes yet.
Some pet parents may even think their puppy’s eyes are a shade of green or blueish green, but this is a lack of melanin which may appear lovely but will not necessarily stay that color as the puppy grows.
Once a puppy has reached sixteen weeks old, they can have brown eyes, amber eyes, or keep their blue or green eye coloring, or have another unique eye color.
When it comes to a puppy’s eye color, whether they stay blue or not, it is related to genetics, like everything else about a puppy. They also won’t necessarily have the eye color of their dog mother and father.
Interestingly, two dogs having both the same eye color can often produce a puppy that ends up having a completely different eye color.
Genetics don’t just come from the dog’s mother and father, but also grandparents and ancestors further back in their lineage.
Certain dog breeds have eyes that stay blue more often than others. Australian Shepherds, cattle dogs, dalmatians, and huskies are breeds of dogs that have puppies that often end up keeping their blue eyes.
Another dog with blue eyes is the Albino dog, which can happen in any dog breed. Albino dogs are rare, but their bodies lack melanin which keeps their fur white and their eyes that clear blue color.
This color is not a true-blue color but a reflection of the colors outside themselves, as their eyes are actually a clear color, which reflects the light and coloring of the world around them.
While almost all puppies’ eyes change color from when they are born to when they are about fourteen weeks old, aside from Albino and certain breeds, dogs with the Merle gene usually keep their clear blue eye color or a variation of that coloring.
It is commonplace for a puppy to have eyes that change color due to the lack of melanin at birth, but it can be hard to determine exactly what a dog will have once they reach sixteen weeks of age.
How is a puppy’s fur coat color related to their eye color?
The way a puppy’s fur coat color is related to their eye color is related to the melanin in their bodies. Just as Albino dogs have white fur and lack melanin, which colors their fur and eyes, there are other variations.
As puppies of any dog breed grow, those with lighter fur color will often have lighter eye coloring because they have developed melanin in their bodies but don’t have as much melanin as other dogs.
Puppies that grow into dogs with darker fur and eye colors have more melanin in their bodies—the more melanin in the puppy or dogs’ body, the deeper their coloring of eye and fur.
What is melanin?
Melanin is a pigment found in the cells of animals and humans, and it gives our bodies their coloring of skin, hair or fur, and eyes.
How much melanin a person or dog has depends on their genetics. Genetics will determine if they have a lot of melanin which will cause the dog to have darker eyes such as brown and darker fur, such as black or brown.
Due to breeding, at least quality breeding, some breeds tend to have melanin pigment in their bodies which causes the breed to have light fur and eyes or dark fur and eye coloring.
Breed standards are set by the American Kennel Club and reflect what they find to be the acceptable coloring of eye and fur for any dog breed.
Strict breed standards and responsible breeding practices prevent variations in the amount of melanin pigment found in a puppy or litter of puppies.
The melanin pigment found in cells of animals and humans is consistent with quality breeding. Breeders that use inferior breeding practices can cause inferior consistency in melanin pigment in a puppy or dog’s body. This will cause these variations but will make the puppy or dog no less loveable or perfect.
What happens to the melanin and eye color of a puppy who was bred by an inferior breeder?
When a breeder uses inferior breeding practices, they have the potential to create dogs that don’t follow a certain pattern.
While the genetics of the ancestors of a puppy dictate that they have less melanin pigment, the puppy will also have less melanin in their body and end up with a lighter fur coat and eye color.
When an inferior breeder combines dogs of different coloring or different backgrounds that haven’t been studied and researched for compatibility, it can create irregularities and variations.
Suppose a dark-colored dog of a particular breed is bred with a light-colored dog. In that case, this can mean that the puppies of future generations can have a combination of both low amounts of melanin and high amounts of melanin in their bodies.
This can cause dogs with light or dark eyes or fur coloring or any number of variations that can change in future generations too.
Unfortunately, these inferior breeding practices don’t’ just relate to appearance, when dogs are bred this way there is the increased potential for behavior problems and health issues that can be hard to determine until they arise.
Therefore, selecting a quality breeder for whatever dog breed is chosen is the most important aspect of adopting a purebred dog.
While puppies’ eye coloring does change as they grow, what your puppy will end up with can be hard to anticipate.
Potential pet parents may enjoy the beauty of a blue-eyed dog but shouldn’t be too upset when their puppy’s eyes change color.
Whatever color your puppy’s eyes end up being, the change will be complete when they are about four months old, and they will be adorable no matter the color!