Last Updated on September 13, 2021 by Marco
Heterochromia is the scientific term for having one eye that is a different color from the other. Hetero means ‘different’, and chromia refers to color. Heterochromia occurs in humans, and it occurs in dogs too. It also happens in cats and horses!
Heterochromia is more common in some dog breeds than others. One breed where heterochromia is commonly expressed is in the Siberian husky. Many huskies have one blue eye and one brown eye.
In this article, we will explore what heterochromia is, and why some huskies have heterochromia.
What Is Heterochromia?
Heterochromia is a genetic condition where one of the eyes does not contain a pigment called melanin. Melanin gives eyes and skin color. When a husky has one eye that lacks this pigment, the eye will be blue or white in color.
Hereditary heterochromia is not considered to be a problem in terms of the dog’s vision. Huskies with heterochromia can see fine.
Native Americans believed that animals with two different-colored eyes were special and that they could see things on both heaven and earth with their ‘ghost eyes’!
Husky Puppy Eye Color
All Husky pups have blue eyes at birth. If one or both eyes are going to turn dark, then this will occur when the dog is around 1 to 2 months old.
It is estimated that around 40 percent of adult huskies have blue eyes. Dogs with two different eye colors make up around 15 percent of the husky population
Huskies with one or two blue eyes may be a bit more sensitive to bright sunlight than their brown-eyed counterparts.
Learn more about: How Much Should A Husky Puppy Eat?
Huskies With Heterochromia
Heterochromia can affect the entire colored part of the eye, which is called the iris. It can also affect part of the iris or the ring that surrounds it.
Heterochromia is more common in dogs with white fur on their head. Dalmatians, Border Collies, and Shetland Sheepdogs are, along with Siberian Huskies, breeds that are commonly affected by hereditary heterochromia.
Other Causes Of A Dog’s Eyes Changing Color
If your dog’s eye color changes, and it is not due to heterochromia, then it is time for a trip to the vet. Your dog may be suffering from cataracts or glaucoma. Both of these eye conditions can cause your dog’s eyes to take on a blue-ish, cloudy appearance.
The Last Word
Heterochromia is a genetic condition which causes one eye to be a different color to the other. The non-brown eye looks blue or white due to a lack of pigment called melanin. This lack of melanin may affect part of the iris or the whole iris.
Huskies are one of a few breeds in which heterochromia is quite common, making up around 15 percent of the adult husky population.
Huskies are born with two blue eyes and their final, adult eye color will be established by the time they are a few months old.
Heterochromia does not impact a dog’s vision; these dogs can see normally. The only thing to be aware of is that the dog may experience light sensitivity in the lighter-colored eye.
If your dog’s eye color changes rapidly and takes on a cloudy, milky appearance, the dog will need to be examined by a vet. Possible causes of this include glaucoma and cataracts.