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Blue-Eyed Pitbull Explained (with Pictures)

Crystal blue eyes in dogs are beautiful to look at. Especially puppies with blue eyes tend to get adopted easier than their dark-eyed littermates. But is it even normal for puppies or adult dogs to have blue eyes?

You may have heard that blue-eyed Pitbulls are considered undesirable. The APBT community is not amused about this trend for very valid reasons.

The controversy revolves around certain breeds that don’t usually carry a gene that would cause this kind of coloring.

Before we go deeper into this topic, I want to clarify what I mean when I say “Pitbull”.

As you may know, the Pitbull in itself is not a breed but rather a term that covers several dog breeds including the American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bullterrier, “American Bully” (mixed breed), and yes, the American Pit Bull Terrier.

Blue-eyed Pitbull puppy with floppy ears and gray coat and white patch on the chest.

The real American Pit Bull Terrier is a separate breed but still not recognized by either the AKC or FCI. However, I will use the short term “Pitbull” to refer to this breed in today’s blog post.

Can Pitbulls Have Blue Eyes?

Yes, pitbull-type dogs can have blue eyes as puppies.

In fact, most breeds are born with bright blue eyes that slowly darken as they age.

For most breeds, the blue eyes disappear once they’re not puppies anymore.

Why do the blue eyes vanish?

Important notice: There is something I want to show you that will change the way you interact with your dog. Check it out here.

Color, like everything, is determined by the genetic makeup and developed by the amount of melanin production in your dog.

Melanin is a natural skin pigment that determines how light or dark your skin, hair and eyes are. Less melanin production leads to lighter blue eyes, pale skin or blonde hair. A complete lack of pigmentation is called Albinism.

In dogs, this low production of melanin can cause a white coat, blue eyes or a pink nose. Melanin production only starts a few weeks after birth and slowly increases with age. That’s why most puppies are born with bright blue eyes and a lighter coat.

Close-up of a Pitbull puppy with blue eyes.

The coat color oftentimes influences the eye, nail and nose color. My Rottweiler, for example, has so much melanin in her fur that blue eyes would be nearly impossible.

How Long Do Pitbull Puppy Eyes Stay Blue?

You may get a first glimpse at your Pitbull’s adult eye color around the age of 4 months.

Their puppy coat will be replaced by a much thicker and darker adult coat when they are 6 months old.

Are Blue-Eyed Pitbulls Rare?

Blue-eyed Pitbull puppies are not rare and their eye color will most likely change over time. So don’t choose the one bright-eyed Pitbull in the litter just because of his appearance.

Even if a breeder sells them as “rarity” for a premium, the color will almost certainly vanish (if it’s a purebred, more on that below).

That being said, while blue eyes are not particularly rare for Pitbull puppies, not every pup has blue eyes.

Check out my Cane Corso colors article for more information on how breeders try to falsely label colors.

Breeding for Appearance

Breeding for a specific color or coat type should always be a red flag when choosing a responsible breeder. When specific looks are the primary breeding factor, other traits like temperament or health are disregarded.

You might find that the prettiest dog in a litter will have lots of health issues behind the facade. Always make sure that the parents have health certificates and the right behavioral traits you are looking for.

Check out my article on questions to ask your breeder to avoid falling prey to these “breeders”.

Pitbull with a crystal clear blue eye and a brown eye.

Inbreeding in dogs is another huge issue and will be used to pass a certain appearance on to future generations. As you might imagine, inbreeding comes with the worst health concerns and should never be encouraged.

The Merle Gene

Merle describes a beautiful coat color pattern that can create odd-colored eyes. It’s commonly seen in these breeds:

  • Australian Shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Dachshund
  • Catahoula Leopard Dog

The merle gene sadly comes with many health issues like deafness and blindness.

Double merles (MM) are extremely prone to these genetic diseases and therefore merles should never be bred together.

Heterozygous merles (Mm) are way healthier and resemble the merle pattern best.

A Pit Bull with a merle coat pattern is excluded from the APBT breed standard and might not be purebred because the gene must have somehow found its way into the bloodline.

Albinism

Tyrosinase is an enzyme that controls the production of melanin. Albino dogs are “tyrosinase-negative” meaning that their body is incapable of producing melanin.

Therefore, these dogs will be born with a unique white coat, blue eyes and a pink nose. Albinism in dogs is an extremely rare mutation and both parents need to carry the recessive gene.

Be very cautious when a breeder is trying to sell you a rare white pitbull. Albinism comes with many health issues, including deafness or skin cancer.

Due to their pale coat, they must be protected from direct sunlight at all times using either bodysuits or sunscreen.

Dog with a white coat and blue eyes laying down on grass.

White Fur Patches

White patches around the eyes or nose can occur due to a lack of pigmentation. Pit Bulls or any other breed with dominant white coats can develop light eyes or a pinkish nose.

Recommended Reading: Traits of the Rottweiler-Husky mix

Do Blue Eyed Dogs Go Blind?

Dogs with blue eyes are not necessarily doomed to develop any vision-related issues. It largely depends on the specific reason your dog might have this eye color.

Pit Bulls are not among the breeds that carry this breed-specific gene, meaning that they probably will develop health problems later on.

You should stay away from the merle gene and albinism.

If you find a responsible breeder that has legitimate puppies with blue eyes, there is probably nothing you need to worry about as the color will start transforming at the age of 4 months.

What Dogs Can Have Blue Eyes?

Dogs breeds with blue eyes include:

  • Siberian Husky
  • Border Collie
  • Catahoula Leopard Dog
  • Dalmatians (nearly 1/3 suffer from hearing impairment)
  • Australian Shepherd (due to undesirable Merle gene)

They carry a breed-specific gene that allows them to have bright blue eyes without any related health issues.

Cocker Spaniels and Pembroke Welsh Corgi are available in a merle pattern which is not yet recognized by the AKC. Bluish eyes can also occur in Weimaraners and Amstaffs.

Recommended Reading: Are Dogs Color Blind?

In Conclusion

Eye, coat, nose and skin color of any mammal is determined by the production of melanin. Lack of pigmentation can lead to blue eyes, a white coat and a pink nose.

Adult Pitbull-type dogs with blue eyes are extremely uncommon and should only be considered with detailed health certificates of the parents stating that they don’t carry the merle gene.

Blue-eyed puppies are very common among many breeds and adorable to look at. If you are in love with the appearance of blue eyes and can’t live without it then consider breeds without any health issues indicated by eye color like the Siberian Husky (make sure they fit your lifestyle, level of knowledge, and so on though).

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About Danielle
I am the founder of PawLeaks where I share weekly tips on dog training and behavior. Sharing a passion for dogs and helping owners to solve problems through understanding canine behavior and modification is my number one goal.

Jason

Monday 1st of February 2021

Hey Danielle! I never thought about melanin as being the main factor in eye, coat, nose, and skin color. Very interesting! Do you think it would be possible to change/modify the level of melanin by some sort of therapy and therefore changing the colors?

Danielle

Monday 1st of February 2021

Hi Jason, there are certainly experiments related to genetic engineering which could definitely influence the colors and there have been studies like this or this that touch on the melanin subject.

However, if you mean through dietary changes, supplements, etc. there's no proof for that as of yet. If a dog carries a certain gene for a coat color, hereditary rules apply which can tip the scale in favour of a certain color through selective breeding. There's no such thing that'll 100% yield you a whole litter of pink noses through. :)

Hope this helps, Danielle

trinity

Thursday 27th of August 2020

There is a very sweet dog up for adoption at a nearby shelter. She looks very much like a pitbull, she is grey and has some white on her forehead. She has one brown eye and one bright blue eye, it is pretty, but I don't know why it is like that. I wonder if there is a test for the merle gene?

Danielle

Thursday 27th of August 2020

Hi Trinity,

there are DNA tests that might provide clues as to which breeds were involved and from that, you know if the merle gene is even a possibility.

However, with rescues I'd view this more as a fun way of getting to know more about your dog. If you're interested in adopting, go for it if the dog fits your lifestyle and personality. Somebody has to adopt this poor soul and most health issues will surface once the dog is an adult (not always though).

Cheers, Danielle

Carmen Val

Wednesday 24th of June 2020

A lot of good information. We are looking to buy a pit bull puppy merle color but it has one eye blue and one eye brown. I’m I going to have a lot of health problems ?

Danielle

Wednesday 24th of June 2020

Hey Carmen,

not only is it possible that your pup may develop health problems due to his merle color but also due to the fact that a breeder that offers a mixed breed (which a merle Pitbull is 100%) probably does poor/none health testing apart from that.

I'd stay away from these breeders and instead buy from a reputable breeder that only uses healthy purebreds for his breeding program. If you follow the guidelines in my breeder question post, I'm sure this breeder would be eliminated with these questions anyway.

Feel free to check out this post if adoption is an option, many beautiful mixed breeds available there :).

Cheers, Danielle