When you first get your Pit Bull puppy, one of the first things you will probably notice (aside from how adorable they are), will be the amazing blue eyes.
The eyes of Pit Bull puppies range between light and dark blue.
But will they stay that way forever?
Today we’ll talk more about the windows to your Pit Bulls soul – those beautiful blue eyes.
Why Do Puppies Have Blue Eyes?
Your Pit Bulls blue eyes at birth are stunning, but they are not alone. In fact, most puppies have blue eyes when they are born.
Some have pure blue eyes, while others have eyes that display flecks of grey, green, or brown.
Unfortunately, while some dogs will keep their incredible bright blue eyes, others will gradually change color as they age.
Siberian Huskies are one of the most common dog breeds to hold onto their baby blue eyes.
Some Siberian’s even have a condition called heterochromia, where they have two different eye colors, one of which is usually a baby blue.
Pit Bulls, while some do retain their blue eyes, usually change eye color as they age.
So back to our original question, why are puppies born with blue eyes?
To understand this, we must understand a little bit about how eye color works.
Just like humans, it all starts with genetics. In fact, a dog’s eyes function much like that of ours.
And like our eye color, a dog’s eye color is determined by something called melanin.
For those who aren’t familiar, melanin is a pigment that is not only responsible for eye color, but also for the color of a dog’s coat and skin.
While not true for all dogs, the vast majority of dogs grow to have brown eyes.
Dogs with darker eyes, like brown, have a greater concentration of melanin in their iris.
Dogs with lighter color eyes have a lesser concentration of melanin.
So why the blue eyes at birth?
Simply put, because melanin production doesn’t start right away.
So When Will My Pit Bull’s Eye Color Start To Change?
Did you know that a puppy doesn’t even open his eyes for the first 8-14 days after being born?
This means for the first week, or two weeks after birth, we can’t even see the puppies eye color!
Research tells us, however, that during this time their entire eye is blue.
In other words, there is no change in color from the iris to the pupil!
Once the dog’s eyes start to open, after about 2 weeks, we can see they’re beautiful blue eyes.
And the eyes will stay this way until about 3-4 weeks of age when they finally start to change color.
Having said that, we shouldn’t expect that a dog’s eye color would change overnight.
From the beginning, the entire process usually takes about 9-12 weeks.
Some puppies can even take up to 16 weeks before their eye color completely changes over.
So in summary, mostly all Pit Bulls, or even dogs in general, start their life with baby blue eyes.
Some may maintain these eyes throughout their life, but most will darken over time.
As they mature, most Pit Bulls end up having brown or hazel eyes.
Having said that, while blue-eyed adult Pit Bulls are extremely rare, the idea is not a complete write-off, and they do exist.
How Do Dogs End Up With Blue Eyes?
Generally speaking, there are 4 different ways that your dog can end up with blue eyes:
1. They Have The Merle Gene
If you have ever seen a dog with a swirly-whirly coat pattern, they probably have the merle gene.
Coats like this usually have intermixed patchworks of tan, white, and black.
We could get into all of the different DNA facts about merle, but for now, let’s keep it simple.
Just as the merle gene affects the coat pattern, it also affects the color of the eyes and the skin.
Dogs with this pattern of coat often have light blue eyes to go along with it.
It is most common in breeds like Aussies, corgis, and dachshunds.
Can my Pit Bull have the merle gene?
Absolutely. Unfortunately, the idea of breeders specializing in the rare color pattern as stirred up a lot of controversy in the Australian Pit Bull Terrier (A.P.B.T.) community.
This is because it raises the question of a) how it was introduced into the breed, and b) what health problems it could entail for the breed.
In return, the APBT community has recommended that the “merle color be made a disqualification in the APBT breed standard”.
2. They Have A Lack Of Pigment Around Their Eyes
If your dog has a large area of white around one or both eyes, their eyes will probably be blue.
White areas on the dog’s coat means the cells are not able to produce pigment.
When spread to the face, the pigment can be lost around the nose and in the eyes. The result is a pink nose and blue eyes.
To add, lack of pigment doesn’t necessarily occur in both eyes. Rather, it can also occur in just one, making for two different color eyes.
To find an albino dog is extremely rare. These types of dogs generally have an extremely light coat, a pink nose, and baby blue eyes.
The technical term for this condition is, “tyrosinase-negative”.
What does this even mean?
Remember how we talked about melanin production earlier?
Well, Tyrosinase is an enzyme involved in the production of melanin.
Albino dogs completely lack this enzyme, meaning their body does not produce melanin. This is a recessive gene that is inherited from both parents.
Can Pit Bulls have Albinism?
Yes. With that being said, it is extremely rare. If you do find a dog being sold as a “rare while pit bull”, use caution.
Albinism is often associated with a wide array of health concerns including deafness, blindness, and skin cancers.
In return, reputable and humane breeders generally avoid breeding this type of dog.
4. The Blue Eye Gene
As we mentioned previously, the blue eye gene is rare in dogs, and Pit Bulls are no exception.
But some dog breeds, like the border collie and the husky, are more commonly known to possess the dominant blue eye gene.
Other breeds, like beagles and corgis, have a recessive gene marker for blue eyes. This, however, is extremely uncommon.
What About My Pit Bulls’ Eyesight?
There are several different aspects to a dog’s vision, so let’s start with their field of vision.
A dog’s eyes are placed on the side of its head.
Therefore, unlike humans who only have a 190-degree vision field, dogs have over 250 degrees.
This means they have much more peripheral vision than we do.
But in vast contrast, humans have much better binocular vision than dogs.
This means that our visual field, where both eyes intersect, is much better.
In return, we can focus on, and judge the distance of, an object much better than a dog can.
Now let’s talk about something called receptor cells.
We all have two different types of vision receptor cells; rods and cones. Rods help to detect dark and light. Cones detect color.
Humans have more cones than dogs. Not only does this mean that we have better color vision than dogs, but it also means we can see in greater detail.
In fact, researcher estimate that humans can see detail over 6 times better than a dog.
Dogs, however, have far many more rods. This means that they can see in the dark much better than we can – 5 times better, actually.
Okay, so we just said that humans have more color-detecting cones than dogs, but it is a common misconception that dogs are color blind.
While humans have three kinds of color receptors, dogs only have two.
This means that while humans can see far greater colors than dogs, dogs can still see color.
Researchers actually compare a dogs color vision to that of someone who is color blind with red-green blindness.
Yellow and blue are the most distinct colors to a dog, which is why these are usually the colors you will find in agility courses.
So there you have it! You now have a full (or at least a little) education on how your dog’s vision works and the color of their eyes.
So will your Pit Bull puppies eyes stay blue forever? They could, but it’s highly unlikely.
Enjoy your puppies bright blue eyes while they last, and embrace the beautiful brown or green eyes that develop – they are the windows to your Pitties soul.
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