Huskies are known for a distinct characteristic that sets them apart from the majority of other dog breeds, namely, their beautiful, strikingly blue eyes.
Together with their wolf-like appearances, this feature lends an air of mystery and majesty to huskies that makes them a popular choice of pet worldwide.
Indeed, the question of why it is that huskies have blue eyes has some fascinating answers.
Why do huskies have blue eyes?
The blue hue in a Husky’s eyes is purely genetic in nature. Although many believe that blue eyes have to do with the color of a husky’s coat, it is in actual fact due to a mutation of the ALX4 gene on the canine chromosome 18. While it may seem that their eyes are blue, it is instead a lack of pigment absorbing and reflecting light that leads to this appearance.
What Causes Husky Eyes to Look Blue
Many believe that the blue eye color huskies are famous for is related to the color of their coats, but this is a theory not entirely grounded in any factual research.
The mystery of bright blue eyes has therefore puzzled inquisitive dog owners and scientists alike for years.
Fortunately for the innately curious, a recent study has shown that the color of a husky’s eyes is more dependent on gene mutations than on coat color.
In a study that tested the genetics of over 6000 husky dogs, it was discovered that the canine chromosome 18 was more than likely the cause of their icy blue eye color.
Changes in the ALX4 gene, located on said chromosome, may result in a recession of pigment, which causes husky eyes to appear light to bright blue.
This mutation is what enables dark-coated huskies to present with brilliant blue eyes while having no genetic effect on the color of their fur.
It’s also interesting to observe that huskies’ irises are not actually blue in color. They just appear blue since it’s the way their eyes absorb and reflect the light.
In the same way the sky looks blue but is not blue, so do husky eyes play tricks on us by how they respond to scattered light.
Do All Huskies have Blue Eyes: The Answer
At birth, husky pups have blue eyes. But, there’s no guarantee in their eyes staying that way. From 8 weeks to 6 months, their eye color can change depending on their gene mutations.
Some huskies will end up with brown eyes, while others will retain blueish hues. Roughly 40% of huskies possess blue eyes.
Shades of blue can also vary significantly from dog to dog. Some huskies may pale, white, or silver-toned eyes, while others will have deep blue or green-grey eyes.
The likelihood of a husky puppy having blue eyes also increases if one or both of its parents possessed the ALX4 gene mutation.
What it Means if a Husky has One Blue eye and One Brown Eye
Having different colored eyes is the result of a condition called heterochromia. While this is exceptionally rare in humans, it is widespread among dogs, especially huskies.
It is no cause for concern, and many dog lovers find this feature very appealing. If only one eye is blue, it just means that a lack of melanin has occurred in one iris only.
Different-colored eyes are also related to genetics, and therefore are more likely to occur if one parent shares the same trait.
Blue-eyed Huskies and Eyesight
Huskies’ icy blue eyes are purely related to their genetic make-up ad have no bearing on their vision. Their eyesight is generally as sharp and normal as any other dog’s.
If anything, eyes of different colors may imply that a dog is of mixed breeds.
A husky’s eye color usually settles around the six-month mark. However, if it is still changing well into maturity, or if their eyes take on a cloudy appearance, there is no harm in consulting a professional for a doggy check-up.
If a brown-eyed dog’s eyes start to turn blue at an older age, they may be developing a condition like cataracts.
Frequently Asked Questions about Why Huskies have Blue Eyes
What does it mean if a husky is parti-eyed?
A husky with eyes that are a mixture of blue and brown is considered parti-eyed. This is the rarest form of eye color in dogs and is breathtaking to behold. Parti-eyed hounds are a result of genetic mutation and are simply the luck of the draw.
How can I know if my husky puppies will have blue eyes?
As all puppies are born with blue eyes, it is impossible to tell if they will stay blue until at least eight weeks. If a husky’s eyes start to turn a murkier blue in the first few weeks of its life, there is a strong chance that they will eventually turn brown.
Is it necessary for my husky to have eye check-ups?
Irrespective of whether a husky has blue or brown eyes, it can still inherit hereditary eye conditions from its parents, so it’s advisable to have them looked at during your regular veterinary check-ups. Eye defects are more likely to affect dogs that are three years or older.
Huskies are downright lovely, and their beautiful soulful eyes are just a bonus, whether blue or brown or both.
These intelligent, loyal, hard-working dogs make excellent pets and will quickly prove that they are to be valued for so much more than just their indisputably good looks.