why do siberian huskies have blue eyes

Siberian huskies are one of the few dog breeds in which blue eyes are common. Huskies can have two brown eyes, two blue, one of each color or parti-colored eyes (brown and blue mixed together in the same iris). All of these are considered acceptable for the breed standard (the criteria for judging show dogs). There is a common belief that blue eyes are weaker than brown eyes due to a lack of pigment and therefore are more prone to sun damage and cataracts.


This is not true -- blue eyes lack melanin, but they do contain pigment. The only eye color that truly lacks pigment is the red albino eye color. Most cataracts in huskies are also unrelated to sun damage, but develop very early in life because the puppy inherited two copies of a recessive gene affecting the lens. Husky breeders see many hundreds or even thousands of puppies, and their claim that blue-eyed dogs are more prone to cataracts may be legitimate, but currently there is no research to back it up.


The issue may be further confused because an eye developing a cataract can often appear blue.
So said another dog owner to me at the vet's this morning. I tried to tell her that I have seen huskies with brown eyes, including a gorgeous husky who lived across the street from me 25 years ago, but to no avail.


The other had a striking Husky/Akita mix with brown eyes and told me that the brown eyes came from the Akita side. I didn't feel like arguing. This was one of those I've got to post this on Snopes! moments that I get quite often. I'm sure some of you have purebred huskies--what color are their eyes? Who's right, me or the other owner?

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