When you think of a husky, you think of a large, beautiful and playful dog with gorgeous, piercing blue eyes. While most commonly you can find gray huskies with blue eyes, this breed comes with different eye colors too.
While blue and brown are the most common, huskies can have several colors in one eye, different colors in both eyes and even emerald green colored eyes. Huskies can have brown eyes, which may be completely brown that can range from a light hazel to dark and deep brown shades or they can be bi-eyed, i.e. with one blue and one brown eye.
Why Do Huskies Have Blue Eyes?
Have you ever wondered why huskies have blue eyes? The eye color is usually determined by melanin, a pigment contained in the iris. The color of the eye is affected by the concentration and distribution of melanin. Typically, when the concentration of melanin is strong, then the color of the eyes will be brown.
In huskies, the mutation of the ALX4 gene results in the reduced pigment production in the eye and this lack of pigment causes the husky’s eyes to appear blue in color. Typically, dogs having the “merle” gene have blue eyes which causes the random loss of pigmentation. The husky is the only breed that has blue eyes that are completely independent of this gene.
Can a Purebred Husky Have Brown Eyes?
The general impression that people have is that purebred huskies cannot have brown eyes. In fact, it is even believed that a husky with brown eyes must be a mixed breed. However, this is not true and purebred huskies with brown eyes are quite common.
Is the Color of Fur and Eye Color Related?
Another popular misconception about eye color is that it is related to the color of the fur of the dog. While this may be true in the case of most breeds and dogs with darker fur color are more likely to have brown eyes compared to dogs with lighter colored coats.
However, in the case of a husky, the color of the fur and eye color are not related at all. The husky does not have the “merle” gene, which is generally responsible for the correlation between the dogs’ coat and eye color. Hence, the color of the husky’s coat is not responsible for the eye color of the dog.
This essentially means that you can have a husky with white fur and deep brown eyes or you can have a husky having a coat with speckled brown spots with piercing blue eyes that is synonymous with the breed.
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Are Brown Eyes in Huskies Common?
While the common belief is that huskies only have blue eyes, brown colored eyes are the second most common color in huskies. The interesting fact about huskies with brown eyes is that they do not have a rare gene that usually affects the pigmentation of huskies, which results in them having brown colored eyes. However, this does not mean that your husky has a genetic problem. It simply means that a particular gene was not passed on to your husky from its parents.
Eye Colors in Huskies
Huskies come in a range of eye colors and they can even have some amazing color combinations.
This is the most common color of eyes in huskies. The shade of blue depends completely on the genetics of the dog. While some huskies may have light blue colored eyes, others may have dark blue colored eyes. Some huskies’ eyes may have 2 shades of blue – sky blue on the inside with a darker outline.
Brown is the 2nd most common eye color in huskies, which is caused because of a rare gene being missed, which affects the eye pigmentation. Huskies can have brown colored eyes of varied hues and intensities. The brown can vary from a light hazel to intense and deep dark brown that is almost black. Sometimes, the hazel hues may be blended with some emerald color, causing the eyes of the husky to look green.
Some huskies are bi-eyed, i.e., they have two different colors in both eyes. Usually, bi-eyed huskies have one brown colored and one blue-colored eye. While the exact shade of both colors may vary, the shade across both colors will be consistent. For example, if the dog has a light blue eye, then the other eye will be light brown. Bi-eyed huskies constitute around 15% of the population.
Parti Eyed or Split Colored
This condition is known as heterochromia, a condition that causes the husky to have several different colors in one eye. While one eye of your husky could be half brown and half blue, or blue with brown speckles, etc. However, the shade will be consistent in both eyes i.e. light or dark.
Green eyes in huskies are not typical and are extremely rare. One or both parents of the husky must have green eyes for your dog to have the same. If both parents of your husky have green colored eyes, there is a higher chance that your pet will have green eyes too.
Are Colored Eyes Recessive in Huskies?
Although both parents have blue colored eyes, your husky pup may have brown eyes. This is because the color of eyes in huskies is not recessive except for dogs that have emerald colored eyes. This is probably the only color that is dependent on both the husky parents.
Although there is no guarantee that parents having emerald colored eyes will only have pups with emerald eyes, the chances are greater. However, if both parents don’t have emerald colored eyes, then it is likely that the pup will have eyes of the more common colors.
Does the Eye Color of Husky Pups Change?
While most of the husky pups are born with blue eyes, they may end up having dark brown colored or different colored eyes. This is because the eye color of husky pups changes as they grow older just like the color of their fur and it is difficult to tell what their adult eye color will be until they are much older. The color change depends on various factors such as genetics, parents and melanin concentration.
If you want to determine what the eye color of your husky will be, it is best to check when they are around 1.5 to 2 months old. While this way you may be able to tell what colored eyes your husky puppy will have as an adult; however, this does not guarantee the shade.
A husky pup that has light blue colored eyes when he is 2 months old can develop eye color of darker blue as an adult. There is no way to determine the exact shade of your husky’s eyes until they are fully grown.
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How to Check a Husky’s Eye Color?
If you want a husky puppy with specific eye color, then it is best to check the color of their eyes when they’re around 2 months old. However, it can be quite difficult to distinguish the color of the puppy’s eyes if there is no proper lighting. Do not flash a bright light into the husky puppy’s eyes when checking for the color, as this could harm them.
The best way to check the eye color of the pup is in natural sunlight. The natural light reflects the actual color of the dog’s eyes and will also not harm the puppy’s eyes. So, if you’re planning to get a husky pup and want a dog with specific eye color, then it is a good idea to do some research first.
You can learn about the husky eye colors by getting a breed guide. There are detailed breed guides available that have detailed descriptions and pictures about each kind of eye color. You can also visit dog shows and speak to husky owners about the different eye colors to know more.
Does Genetics Play a Role in Eye Color of Huskies?
While, it is quite possible to get pups with rare colored eyes from parents having either blue or brown colored eyes; however, genetics plays a very important role in the color of the fur or eyes of a husky. If the parents have rare colored eyes, then there are greater chances of the pups having similar-colored eyes. However, most breeders do not focus on these aspects and concentrate on the physical compatibility of the huskies while breeding.
So, can huskies have brown eyes? Well, the answer to that is an unquestionable “yes”. However, irrespective of whatever the eye color of the husky is, these are excellent dogs that can be a fantastic addition to your family. Huskies are loving, affectionate and loyal dogs. But, since they were bred originally as working dogs, huskies need plenty of exercise. And, if you lead an active lifestyle, nothing can be a more perfect dog for you than a husky, regardless of whether they have blue or brown eyes.