Wondering why do huskies have heterochromia? Huskies are one of the most popular dog breeds globally, and part of their appeal is their striking appearance. One feature that sets huskies apart from others is their heterochromia – meaning they can have two different colored eyes.
While it might look like an incredible coincidence or even intentional breeding, there’s a scientific reason why huskies often have heterochromia. This article will go over all you need to know about husky eye colors, including what causes heterochromia and how common it is in the breed.
Heterochromia in Huskies
Heterochromia is a condition that affects the pigmentation of a Husky’s eyes. The most frequent form of heterochromia is when a Husky has one blue eye and one brown eye. However, Huskies can also have two blue eyes, two brown eyes, or one green eye.
Huskies are prone to heterochromia. Approximately 20-40% of Huskies exhibit some heterochromia. If your Husky has heterochromia, you should regularly have their eyes evaluated by a veterinarian to ensure no underlying health issues.
Why Do Huskies Have Heterochromia : Causes
There are two theories about what causes heterochromia in Huskies.
- The first theory is that it is the result of a genetic mutation. It means that the condition is an inheritance from parents to their offspring.
- The second theory is that environmental factors produce heterochromia. For example, if a husky pup is born with one blue eye and one brown eye, and the blue eye later changes to green, a change in the environment may have caused the shift.
Regardless of the cause, heterochromia is harmless and does not affect a Husky’s vision. In fact, many Huskies with this condition have perfect vision.
Heterochromia Is Not Associated With Coat Color
Heterochromia is often confused with coat color. However, it is vital to emphasize that these two things are unrelated. A Husky’s coat color does not affect its eye color.
The colors of coats can vary from black and white to brown and red. And a Husky’s eyes can be any color, regardless of their coat color. So if you see a black and white Husky with blue eyes, it’s not because of their coat color. It’s because they have heterochromia!
Types of Heterochromia in Huskies
Heterochromia shows itself in the following three ways:
It is when there are two different colors in the same eye. The most common sectoral heterochromia in Huskies is when one part of the iris is blue, and the other part is brown.
It is when one eye is a different color than the other. For example, a husky may have one blue and one brown eye.
It is when both eyes are different colors. For example, a husky may have one blue and one green eye.
Husky Eyes in Different Colors
Huskies have almond-shaped eyes and a distinctive color pattern. Huskies’ eyes can be a range of colors. Here’s a list of all of them!
One of the most common colors for Husky eyes is blue. In fact, many people think that all Huskies have blue eyes. However, this is not the case. While blue eyes are common in Huskies, they are not the only color these dogs can have.
Some Huskies have dark blue eyes, while others have bright icy blue eyes that are virtually white in tone. Some pet owners claim to see white-eyed Huskies when what they actually see is a vivid blue tone.
Most blue-eyed Huskies have a distinct ring of dark skin around their eyes. It creates the appearance that they are more aggressive than most blue-eyed breeds. However, aside from its aesthetic value, this ring aids the Huskies in deflecting the sun, snow glare, and other reflections that impair their vision.
Huskies can also have brown eyes. The most common shade of brown for Huskies is a dark chocolate brown. However, the brown color of a Husky’s eyes comes in various shades like the blue tint. It ranges from a mild hazel tone to a deep dark brown hue.
Brown-eyed Huskies often have a light-colored ring around their iris. It is because the pigmentation in their eyes is not as dense as it is in blue-eyed Huskies.
Many individuals are confused by the dark brown color because they mistake it for black. They didn’t realize that it just mixes with Husky’s black pupil, giving the impression that they are both black-eyed dogs.
Huskies can also have green eyes. It is a relatively rare color for Huskies, but it does occur from time to time. Green-eyed Huskies often have one blue eye and one brown eye (central heterochromia).
The green color is a result of the yellow pigmentation in the iris mixing with the blue coloring. The amount of yellow pigmentation will determine how green the eyes appear. For example, if there is a lot of yellow pigment, the eyes will appear more lime green. If there is a less yellow pigment, the eyes will appear more aqua green.
Some Huskies have what is called “bi-eyed” coloring. It means they have one blue eye and one brown or green eye. While this may seem rare, it’s actually quite common in Huskies.
While most blue-eyed Huskies have dark rings around their eyes, this is not always the case for bi-eyed Huskies. The pigmentation around their eyes can be light or dark, depending on the amount of melanin in their system.
Parti-colored eyes are when a Husky has two different colors in the same eye. The most common type of parti-colored eyes is when one part of the iris is blue, and the other part is brown. It is called “sectoral heterochromia.”
While sectoral heterochromia is the most common type of parti-colored eyes, other types can also occur. For example, a Husky may have one green eye and one brown eye. Or, a Husky may have one blue eye and one green eye.
No matter what type of parti-colored eyes a Husky has, it’s sure to be a stunning sight!
All Huskies Are Born With Blue Eyes
One of the most typical questions that people ask about Husky eye colors is whether or not all Huskies are born with blue eyes. The answer to this question is yes! All Huskies are born with blue eyes.
Over a few weeks, the pigmentation in their eyes will begin to develop, and their eye color will start to change. This process is gradual and can take up to 16 weeks to fully develop the final eye color.
During this time, it’s not uncommon for a Husky’s eyes to change color multiple times before settling on their final hue. So, if you’re wondering why your Husky’s eyes seem to be changing color, don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal!
Heterochromia Is More Common in Female Huskies
While heterochromia can occur in either male or female Huskies, it’s more common in females. In fact, studies have shown that approximately 20% of all female Huskies have some form of heterochromia.
The explanation is unknown, but the X chromosome is somehow related. Females have two X chromosomes (XX), are more likely to have pigmentation alterations than males, who only have one X chromosome (XY).
While it is hard to ascertain if a Husky will have heterochromia, several circumstances may increase the likelihood. For example, huskies with heterochromia parents are more likely to inherit the condition.
Heterochromia Is Not a Health Concern
Heterochromia itself is not a health concern and does not affect a Husky’s vision. However, if your dog has central heterochromia, it could be an indication of another underlying health condition such as:
Glaucoma is a disorder that causes elevated pressure in the eye. Fluid flowing at a balanced rate into and out of the eye generally regulates eye pressure. When the fluid in the eye is too much or too little, the pressure rises, causing retinal and optic nerve damage.
Glaucoma symptoms in Huskies should be handled as an emergency because vision loss can occur within hours of illness onset. Glaucoma typically starts in one eye. If left untreated, 50% of cases progress to the opposite eye.
A cataract is an eye disease that occurs when the eye’s normal lens becomes obscured. The lens is in charge of focusing light onto the retina, which creates an image transmitted to the brain. When the lens becomes clouded, light cannot travel through clearly, resulting in impaired or hazy vision.
Diabetes, trauma, or hereditary diseases can cause cataracts in older Huskies. While they typically don’t cause pain, they can lead to blindness if left untreated.
Uveitis is a term that refers to an inflammation of the uvea, which is the central layer of the eye that includes blood vessels, nerves, and pigmented cells. The uvea helps to protect the eye from bacteria and other foreign particles.
Infections, traumas, and autoimmune disorders can cause uveitis. If left untreated, uveitis can lead to blindness.
Hereditary Eye Defects in Huskies
As said earlier, heterochromia itself is not a health concern; however, certain hereditary eye defects can occur in Huskies. These defects can be severe and may lead to blindness if left untreated.
Some of the most common hereditary eye defects in Huskies include:
◼️Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)
Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) is a degenerative disease that leads to gradual vision loss. PRA typically starts with night blindness and progresses to complete blindness over time.
There is no cure for PRA, but there are treatments that can help slow the progression of the disease. With proper care and management, huskies with the disease can still live relatively normal lives.
◼️Hereditary or Juvenile Cataracts
Hereditary cataracts are an eye abnormality handed down from parent to puppy. On the other hand, juvenile cataracts are not hereditary and typically develop before the age of three. Juvenile cataracts are distinct from cataracts listed above, which develop in Huskies as they mature.
Cataracts in Huskies cause recessive genes and occur in the posterior section of their lenses.
Cataracts can cause partial or complete blindness if left untreated. Cataracts are treated differently depending on their stage. In the early stages, your Husky’s veterinarian may prescribe eye drops.
Corneal dystrophy is a condition that causes the cornea (clear, outer layer of the eye) to become cloudy or opaque. There are several different types of corneal dystrophy, but they all share the same symptom: a loss of transparency in the cornea.
Corneal dystrophy is not painful, but it can lead to vision problems if left untreated. Treatment typically involves artificial tears and ointments to help lubricate the eye and improve vision.
Huskies’ Eye Colors Changes as They Age
As Huskies age, their eye color may change. It is due to a progressive loss of pigment in the iris (the colored part of the eye). The changes are typically most noticeable in blue-eyed Huskies, but all colors can be affected.
The change in eye color is not harmful and does not cause any vision problems. However, some owners may prefer to have their Husky’s eyes checked periodically by a veterinarian to ensure no other underlying health concerns.
How to Care for a Husky With Heterochromia
Heterochromia is a harmless condition, but there are some things you should do to care for your Husky if they have this condition. Here are some tips:
- You should have your Husky’s eyes checked regularly by a veterinarian. It is because Huskies with heterochromia are more susceptible to certain eye diseases, such as uveitis.
- You should use eye drops or ointments if your Husky’s eyes become irritated. You can ask your veterinarian for recommendations on which products to use.
- You should avoid exposing your Husky to harsh chemicals or cleaners. These can irritate the eyes and cause further irritation.
- Clean your Husky’s eyes regularly with a wet cloth to prevent irritation.
- Make sure to use a specific shampoo and conditioner when bathing your Husky, as human products can be harsh on their delicate skin.
- Be careful when trimming your dog’s nails, as you could accidentally scratch their eyes.
- If your Husky is playing outside, make sure they’re wearing protective eye gear (e.g., sunglasses).
- Consult with a veterinarian if you notice any changes in your Husky’s eyes, such as excessive tearing or discharge.
Recommended Eye Check-up for Huskies
Huskies should have their eyes checked by a veterinarian at least once a year. It is because Huskies are susceptible to certain eye diseases and conditions, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and corneal dystrophy.
A comprehensive eye exam will include a check of the health of the eyeball and surrounding structures and an assessment of your dog’s vision. Your veterinarian may also recommend additional tests, such as an electroretinogram (ERG) or gonioscopy.
An ERG measures the electrical activity in the retina (the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the eye). A gonioscopy assesses the angle between the iris and cornea. This test is important because certain eye conditions, such as glaucoma, can cause the iris to push against the cornea, leading to vision problems.
If you have any concerns about your Husky’s eyes, or if you notice any changes in their vision, be sure to consult with a veterinarian. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions are essential for preserving your dog’s vision and maintaining overall health.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. When do Huskies’ eyes stop changing?
The vivid blue color of your Husky’s eyes will begin to change between 5 to 8 weeks until it settles into permanent eye color. If you’re hoping for a blue-eyed Husky, don’t get too excited just yet because it could still change.
When your Husky reaches the age of 12 to 16 weeks, its ultimate eye color is visible. However, some Husky continue to change their eye color until they are six months old, so you must be patient.
2. Can Huskies see in the dark?
Huskies have excellent vision, but they cannot see in complete darkness. They need some light to be able to see. However, their night vision is much better than ours. It is because their pupils are larger than ours and can allow more light to pass through. Huskies’ eyes also have more light-sensitive rods, which is how eyes interpret light. An extra eye structure in their eye permits light to reflect into the retina. It is also why, when you take a flash photo of your Husky, their eyes may appear to be of various colors. It’s because of how light reflects off of them.
3. Do Huskies eyes water a lot?
Yes, Husky’s eyes do water a lot. Husky have double eyelids that help protect their eyes from the snow and cold weather. The extra layer of skin also helps keep their eyeballs moist. On the other hand, if you find that your Husky’s eyes are watering more than usual, this could indicate an underlying health concern, and you should take them to the veterinarian for a check-up immediately.
4. Why do my Huskies’ eyes become red when they are angry?
When your Husky’s eyes become red, it’s a sign that they are angry or upset. When we get mad, our blood vessels dilate, which causes more blood to flow to our face. The same thing happens with Huskies, except their eyes are much more sensitive than ours, so you’ll notice the color changes quickly. If your Husky’s eyes are consistently red, it could be a sign of an eye infection or allergies, and you should take them to the vet for a check-up.
5. What colors can Husky see?
Huskies can see a range of colors, but they cannot see the entire color spectrum as we can. It is because their eyes contain only two types of light-sensitive cones, while our eyes have three. It means that Huskies cannot see the colors green and blue as vividly as we can. However, they make up for it with their superior night vision.
6. How can you tell if a Husky is blind in one eye?
If a Husky is blind in one eye, you may notice that they squint or close that eye more often than the other. They may also tilt their head to one side. If you suspect your Husky is blind in one eye, take them to the vet for a check-up. An ophthalmologist can perform a series of tests to determine if your dog is indeed blind in one eye.
Huskies are beautiful dogs with a range of different eye colors. While their blue eyes are the most popular, they can also have brown, green, or even heterochromia (two different colored eyes). Huskies’ eyes are very sensitive, and they need protection from the snow and cold weather.
While we hope this advice was helpful, it is always best to check with a veterinarian if you have queries or concerns regarding your dog’s health. They will be able to give you the most accurate information and help you determine what is best for your Husky!