Blue Retriever – Can Golden Retrievers Have Blue Eyes?

Updated: October 7th, 2021

Golden retriever with blue eyes

Blue eyes are somewhat rare in the dog world and are beautiful to behold. This unique trait can be found in a variety of dog breeds, like huskies and Australian shepherds. But have you ever seen a golden retriever with blue eyes?

There is a lot of misinformation about blue-eyed retriever dogs that can have a lot of people scratching their heads in confusion! Interestingly, while golden retrievers can technically have blue eyes, there is no such thing as a purebred golden retriever with blue eyes.

Continue reading to find out the truth about blue-eyed golden retrievers! In this article, I’ll tell you whether or not a golden retriever can have blue eyes and so much more about this rare and unique trait!

Can Golden Retrievers Have Blue Eyes?

Golden retrievers can have blue eyes, but not in the same sense that Siberian huskies have blue eyes. You see, golden retriever puppies are born with blue eyes, and older goldens may have blue eyes due to cataracts or other eye problems.

Golden retriever mixes, such as the golden Aussie, golden retriever pit bull mix, or Goberian husky may also have blue eyes.

A completely healthy and purebred golden retriever won’t have blue eyes! As you can see, the blue-eyed golden retriever is a bigger riddle than it seems.

The best way to see which dogs are “true” or purebred goldens is to refer to the Golden retriever breed standard.

According to the American Kennel Club, a standard golden retriever’s eyes should be “preferably brown, medium brown acceptable.” This means you can’t register a golden retriever as a purebred if they don’t exhibit the traits outlined by the AKC.

A blue golden retriever is also known as a “non-conforming” golden retriever. While the breed standard says blue golden retriever puppies aren’t preferred, that doesn’t mean that one can’t be born.

A blue retriever can be born in a litter of two purebred, brown-eyed golden retrievers. The only thing that’s different with these pups is that they have inherited a set of recessive genes for blue eyes from both parents. In any other sense, these blue golden retriever puppies should look and behave like any typical purebred golden.

While these rules may seem pointless and even exclude perfectly sound dogs, the main point of breed standards is to preserve distinct breeds from being lost over time.

It takes a lot of years of planned and selective breeding to create a dog breed for a particular purpose, such as guarding, hunting, retrieving, herding, and so on. Without strict breeding standards, all of those traits can easily get lost in future generations.

What Causes A Blue Golden Retriever?

What Causes A Blue Golden Retriever?

There are several explanations for blue eyes in golden retrievers. While any of these scenarios are likely, crossbreeding is the most common reason for blue eyes in golden retrievers.

Check out the following most likely causes of blue eyes in golden retrievers:

Recessive Genes

The genes that are responsible for creating brown-colored eyes in dogs are dominant, which is the main reason why so many dog breeds have brown eyes.

According to the breed standard, golden retrievers should have brown eyes, and they were deliberately bred for many generations to exhibit this trait. Consequently, recessive genes that cause blue eyes have become less common than before.

There is a very small chance that two golden retrievers that carry recessive genes for blue eyes are bred together. If by any chance this does happen, some of their offspring may inherit blue eyes.

Cataracts

Blue eyes in golden retrievers can also be caused by several health issues, with cataracts being the most common one. Cataracts are an eye illness that causes clouding of the lens of the eyes, making them appear cloudy or blue.

Cataracts can develop very slowly or almost overnight and can be caused by injury, disease, genetic disorders, or old age. The bigger and cloudier cataracts become, the more likely that they will lead to complete blindness.

If you notice your golden retriever’s eyes are changing color from brown to blue, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Any changes in your dog’s eye color can be a sign of serious eye disease, so don’t chalk it up as a normal occurrence.

Nuclear Sclerosis

Nuclear sclerosis or lenticular sclerosis is a painless condition that creates a bluish or transparent haze in the lens of the eye. This condition is often seen in middle-aged and senior dogs and is considered a normal part of aging.

Since both cataracts and nuclear sclerosis create cloudiness or bluish coloration in the eye, it’s easy for dog owners to confuse one for the other. It’s worth noting that this condition isn’t the same as cataracts, as it doesn’t affect the vision of diagnosed dogs.

As an owner, you probably won’t be able to tell the difference between these two conditions at home, so take your golden retriever for an ophthalmologist exam if you notice a change in their eye color.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the eye that is characterized by increased intraocular pressure within the eye. This condition is the result of inadequate drainage of aqueous fluids, which is caused by tumors, interocular bleeding, uveitis, injury, or damage to the lens.

Like cataracts and nuclear sclerosis, glaucoma too may cause your golden retriever’s eyes to become bluish in color or cloudy. Acute glaucoma is a medical emergency, so don’t hesitate to take your golden to the vet right away if they exhibit eye pain or watery discharge from the eye.

Albinism

If you haven’t seen one, you have probably heard about albino dogs at some point. Albino animals lack the genes needed for producing melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin and hair. Due to the lack of melanin, albino dogs have white hair, pink skin, and pink noses.

While albinism is rare in dogs, it can still happen and will cause an affected golden retriever to have blue instead of brown eyes.

Do Golden Retriever Puppies Have Blue Eyes?

All golden retriever puppies are born with bluish eyes, since the eye pigment melanin hasn’t fully developed yet. However, this doesn’t mean that your pup’s eyes will stay blue forever. Generally speaking, golden retriever puppies’ eyes start to change color from blue to brown when they are around four weeks old.

Keep in mind that most golden retriever pups won’t open their eyes until they are about two weeks old, and even then, they don’t have very good eyesight. As their eyes start to develop, their sight will improve, and their eyes will gradually change color from blue to brown.

A Warning About Blue Golden Retriever Puppies For Sale!

A Warning About Blue Golden Retriever Puppies For Sale!

If you are looking to purchase a purebred golden retriever and a breeder tries to sell you a blue-eyed golden retriever, turn around and walk away!

While this definitely isn’t a common practice, some breeders may try to scam you by selling “rare” and “unique” versions of golden retrievers, claiming they are worth more. There is no such thing as a purebred golden retriever with blue eyes, so don’t allow any breeder to tell you differently.

These unethical breeders are only interested in making a quick buck selling dogs and have no interest in the puppy’s well-being or overall health. Ethical breeders focus on the health and temperament of their puppies and won’t try to scam you by claiming to sell a rare variety of golden retrievers.

The two main problems with blue-eyed golden retriever puppies are that they are usually mixed-breed dogs, and their blue eyes will turn brown as they grow up and get older.

If you are set on getting a blue-eyed dog, there are many dog breeds with blue eyes you can choose from. If you want a golden retriever, you’ll come to find that brown eyes can be as beautiful and even more interesting than blue eyes!

FAQs About Golden Retriever Puppies With Blue Eyes

Can a golden retriever have blue eyes?

Golden retrievers can have blue eyes, but not in the way you would probably imagine. All golden retriever puppies are born with bluish eyes, but they start changing color when the puppies reach around four weeks of age. An adult purebred golden retriever won’t have blue eyes if it’s completely healthy.

The only way a purebred golden retriever can have blue eyes is if they have cataracts, glaucoma, nuclear sclerosis, or some other eye disorder that causes their eyes to get a blush hue.

Are blue eyes in dogs bad?

Although blue eyes are rare in dogs, they usually aren’t linked with any health problems. The blue color can be caused by the lack of pigment or the merle gene, which has been linked with hearing impairments. Since blue eyes are a recessive trait in golden retrievers and they don’t carry the merle gene, there’s nothing to worry about.

Conclusion

Purebred golden retrievers have friendly and expressive brown eyes, not blue eyes. While all golden retriever puppies are born with blue eyes, they will start changing color to brown once the puppy is around four weeks old. Blue eyes in golden retrievers are usually a sign of eye issues, including:

  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
  • Nuclear sclerosis

If your golden retriever’s eyes start to change color, take them to the vet for a complete checkup!

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