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When Do Puppies Eye Color Change?

Puppies with blue eyes are always cute.

However, the truth is, the color of most puppies’ eyes will change as they mature, and there are only a few breeds that still have blue eyes as adult dogs.

That said, even puppies who will eventually have blue eyes as adult dogs usually end up with different shades and pigmentation than when they are first born.

In fact, most puppies eyes change color around 4 weeks old, or about a month after being born.

But don’t worry, it doesn’t take long for puppies’ eyes to change from the blue they are born with to the color they will have for the rest of their lives.

It won’t be until around 9 weeks old to 12 weeks old before the puppy has his permanent eye color.

In fact, by the time you adopt your new puppy, it may have already happened.

Let’s talk a bit more about puppy eye color and when you can expect it to change.

How Puppy Eye Color Changes

As you already know, blue is what color eyes puppies are born with out of the womb.

But those blue eyes usually start to transition to a blue-gray color within about a month of the dog being born.

And by around 9 weeks old, the puppy’s eyes will change to their permanent color.

The most common eye color for dogs is brown.

Are All Puppies Born With Blue Eyes?

Yes, all puppies are born with blue eyes or eyes that have a bluish color or tint to them.

As you may know, the first couple of weeks after a puppy is born, his eyes remain fully closed.

And you won’t get a glimpse of those blue puppy eyes until it is around 14 days old.

Then he will start to gradually open his eyes more and more.

For most puppies, those blue eyes remain until it is around 8 weeks old.

When Do Puppies Eye Color Change from Blue?

Unless you breed dogs, you might not be aware that all puppies are born with blue eyes.

Of course, some are bluer than others, but all have a blue tint of some kind.

The reason puppies have blue eyes has to do with the development of their eyes and vision.

For the first 8 to 14 days, puppies’ eyes remained closed.

They experience the world mostly through sound and touch.

Then, even when their eyes begin to open, it still takes several weeks for their eyesight to develop.

When a puppy first opens their eyes, they’re blue and uniform in color.

There are no differences between the iris and the pupil, and the striations and patterns that you will see later are only just beginning to develop.

It then takes several weeks for the puppy’s true eye color to reveal itself.

Over these weeks, the puppy’s eyesight will develop as well, the world beginning to come into focus as their eye color changes.

As a puppy matures, you may notice some chocolatey tones beginning to make their way into the puppy’s eyes.

The reason for this is that the most common eye color for dogs is a deep brown.

But the process is gradual and typically takes somewhere between 9 and 12 weeks to change fully.

So, when do puppies’ eye color change?

The final color should be revealed by nine weeks at the earliest, although it can take up to 16 weeks.

After that, the puppy’s eyes should be the permanent color they will be into adulthood and for the rest of the dog’s life.

Why Do Puppies Have Blue Eyes When They’re Born?

Okay, the truth is, puppies don’t really have blue eyes when they’re born.

Instead, they are mostly clear but appear blue because they lack melanin or pigmentation.

When light refracts through the colorless eyes of a puppy, they appear bluish.

When a puppy’s eyes first open, they may appear a foggy shade of blue.

Others may look grayer, and the exact shade of blue varies from puppy to puppy.

As the puppy’s eyes begin to develop, so too does the melanin in their body.

Melanin is a natural pigment found in most animals, including humans, that provides a broad range of tinting and coloration, including for puppies’ eyes.

A similar process occurs in humans, which is why many babies are born with bluish grayish eyes that change in color at around 3 to 6 months of age.

The reason that most puppies have blue eyes when they are born is the irises in their eyes have no melanin.

And it is melanin that gives eyes their coloring.

So, the lack of melanin in the iris of the puppy’s eyes is why they are blue at first.

When Do Puppies Lose Their Blue Eyes And Get Their Permanent Eye Color?

Though some dogs can have blue eyes as adults, most puppies lose their blue eyes by around 9 weeks old.

And by 12 weeks old, a puppy should have his permanent eye color.

This happens because the irises in their eyes gains melanin as they age, which gives the eyes their permanent coloring.

In fact, the more melanin produced by the puppy’s eyes, then the darker the color of the permanent eye coloring.

What Colored Eyes Can Dogs Have?

While we already mentioned that the most common eye color for dogs is brown, there’s a considerable variation in the shades of brown possible.

The result depends largely on the breed but changes with individual dogs.

For the most part, you can usually tell the eye color a puppy will have based on the eye color of the dog’s parents.

Dogs with darker shades of brown will generally have puppies with dark eyes.

However, even very dark eyes that often appear black in low lighting will often display unique variations and patterns when viewed in full sunlight.

Another indication of a puppy’s eye color is dependent on the color of their coat.

Puppies with lighter coats have a larger chance of developing lighter colored eyes, while puppies with darker coats may have darker eyes.

It’s also very much dependent on the breed and genetics.

For instance, amber-colored eyes appear to be more likely to occur in dogs with liver-colored coats.

While the exact color can vary, different breeds can produce eyes ranging from yellow to shades of gray.

The bottom line is that eye color in dogs runs as large a spectrum as it does in humans.

While the most common color is brown, some breeds have eyes that are golden, hazel, pale blue, and speckled.

What Dog Breeds Have Blue Eyes As Adults?

Dogs with blue eyes as adults are relatively rare and are only found commonly in a few different dog breeds.

Some of the most common breeds with blue eyes include:

  • Australian Shepherds
  • Dalmatians
  • Border Collies
  • Weimaraners
  • Great Danes
  • Siberian Huskies

Another quality related to blue eyes into adulthood is puppies with Merle coats.

Merle is a gene that can affect pigmentation.

Dogs with this kind of coat have mottled patches of color and tend to have odd-colored or blue eyes.

When their eyes are blue, this is because of a lack of pigmentation caused by the merle gene.

The merle gene can also cause other unusual variations in eye color besides blue, including a condition called heterochromia, which is when a dog has two different colored eyes.

Heterochromia is most common in breeds like Corgis and Border Collies.

Of course, perhaps the most known breed to have striking blue eyes is the Siberian Husky.

Interestingly, unlike Corgis and Border Collies, Huskies do not inherit their blue eyes from their parents.

Instead, it is caused by a mutation of a gene called ALX4 in the canine chromosome 18.

Puppies Eye Color Change

Most puppies begin life with eyes that appear blue.

But as their vision begins to develop, so too does the color of their eyes start to change.

Sometime between 9 and 16 weeks, the puppy will have their adult eye color.

The most common eye color for adult dogs is brown, but there’s a wide variety of shades and colors.

Blue eyes in an adult are most commonly found in breeds like Border Collies, Corgis, and Siberian Huskies.

When Can You Tell Puppies Eye Color?

You have to wait until the puppy is at least 12 weeks old to know the true eye color of the dog.

Any earlier than that and there is still the chance that they eye color will change as more melanin is developed in the iris of the eye.

Often what happens as a puppy ages is that by around 4 weeks old, you start to notice the eye color changing from blue.

And then at around 9 weeks old, you start to see a glimpse of the permanent eye color, which just gets darker in shade and hue as the dog reaches 12 weeks old.

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National Canine Research Association of America