Have you ever seen a golden retriever with blue eyes?
What did you think?
There are lots of rumors and misunderstandings about blue-eyed golden retrievers, but this post will clear it all up for you.
Here’s a sneak preview of what you’ll learn:
- Whether or not golden retrievers can actually have blue eyes
- Why golden retriever puppies are born with blue eyes (and what happens as they get older)
- A big warning about getting a blue-eyed golden retriever from a breeder
- What medical problems cause goldens to have blue eyes
- And much more
Let’s dive in!
Can Golden Retrievers Have Blue Eyes?
Yes, golden retrievers can have blue eyes, but not in the traditional sense.
Young puppies may have blue eyes, old goldens with cataracts may appear to have blue eyes, and golden retriever mixes may have blue eyes.
However, purebred adult golden retrievers won’t have blue eyes.
So the answer to, “can golden retrievers have blue eyes?” is a little more complicated than it might seem.
To start out, let’s talk about “typical” golden retrievers.
Golden Retriever Breed Standard: Brown Eyes
Here’s what the AKC golden retriever breed standard says about what color a golden retriever’s eyes should be:
“Color preferably dark brown; medium brown acceptable.”
And here’s what the KC golden retriever breed standard (UK’s kennel club) says about what color a golden retriever’s eyes should be:
“Dark brown, set well apart, dark rims.”
If light brown isn’t acceptable, blue’s got no chance.
Of course, just because the breed standard says it’s not preferable, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
The breed standard for boxers calls for dark brown eyes, but white boxers sometimes have blue eyes.
However, unlike boxers, you’ll probably never find a purebred golden retriever that has blue eyes.
It just doesn’t happen.
Unless it’s a puppy…
Golden Retriever Puppies May Have Blue Eyes
Some golden retriever puppies may have dark blue eyes when they’re young (like the puppy above).
But does that mean the puppy will have blue eyes when it’s an adult?
The blue eyes in a puppy are simply due to a lack of pigment.
Puppies don’t open their eyes until they’re about two weeks old, but even when they do open them, they don’t work that well.
However, in just a few short weeks their eyesight will improve and their blue eyes will turn brown.
Golden Retriever Mixes May Have Blue Eyes
If you see an adult golden retriever that has blue eyes, it’s probably not a purebred golden retriever.
I once saw a dog that I was sure was 100% golden, until I saw it’s eyes.
It’s coat was a beautiful light gold, it had floppy golden ears, and it had a boxy head…
But it’s eyes were blue like a husky’s.
And that’s because it was mixed with a husky.
It’s the same situation as black golden retrievers.
They look just like regular goldens (minus their unique coloring) but they aren’t purebred goldens.
Here are some dog breeds that can have blue eyes that could mix with a golden:
- Border collie
- German shepherd
- Australian shepherd
- Australian cattle dog
- Great Dane
- Cocker spaniel
- Old English Sheepdog
- Pit bull
If one (or more) of these breeds mixes with a golden retriever or a lab, it’s very possible that the outcome could look like a blue-eyed golden retriever.
Blue-Eyed Golden Retrievers Could Suffer From A Medical Problem
Golden retrievers are susceptible to several different health issues, some of which could cause them to appear to have blue eyes.
Here are a few of them:
Cataracts are clouding of the lens of the eye that can leave them looking cloudy or blue.
They may develop from disease, injury, old age, or genetic disorders.
The bigger and denser they become, the more likely they are to lead to blindness, so bring your dog to the vet if you think they may have cataracts.
Many dog owners get cataracts and nuclear sclerosis mixed up.
This is because they both give a cloudy, bluish hue to the eye.
However, nuclear sclerosis is painless, doesn’t really affect a dog’s vision, and doesn’t require treatment.
Of course, it probably won’t be clear to you which one your dog has, so take them to the vet either way if they have cloudy, bluish eyes.
Glaucoma is a disease where the pressure in the eye is above normal levels.
There are several potential causes, including injury or tumors, and it may lead to blindness.
And like nuclear sclerosis and cataracts, glaucoma may cause the eyes to become cloudy or bluish in color.
There are a few other problems that could cause your golden retriever’s eyes to turn blue, but the bottom line is this: if you notice their normally brown eyes turning blue, take them to the vet.
It could be a serious problem that could cause blindness.
A Warning About Golden Retrievers With Blue Eyes For Sale
If you see a breeder trying to sell blue-eyed golden retrievers — run!
Some breeders may try to sell “specialty” versions of dogs claiming that they’re rare and worth more.
That’s a red flag because it probably means the breeder is more interested in money than anything else.
Good breeders are focused on the health and temperament of the puppies, and everything else is secondary.
Not to mention, there are two glaring problems with blue-eyed golden retriever puppies that we talked about earlier:
- A golden retriever puppy’s eyes will change to brown as they get older
- Most blue-eyed golden retrievers are actually golden retriever mixes
If you want a blue-eyed dog, get a husky or other breed where it’s a natural occurrence.
But if you want a golden retriever, you’re going to have to settle for brown eyes.
(Don’t worry — they’re still super cute!)
Golden retrievers normally have brown eyes, not blue eyes.
Some golden retriever puppies may have blue eyes when they’re really young, but they’ll quickly turn brown.
And if an adult golden retriever has blue eyes, it’s probably a mixed breed, or it has a health problem that’s causing its eyes to turn blue.
Have any questions about blue-eyed golden retrievers?
Let me know down in the comments!
And if you liked this article, you’ll like our post about the 8 different types of golden retrievers.
P.S. Getting a golden retriever puppy? Check out the Golden Retriever Puppy Handbook!
- 15 Golden Retriever Pros And Cons (Plus Some Bonus Facts)
- The Complete Guide To Golden Retrievers (Puppies, Price, Facts, Shedding & More)
- Is A Golden Retriever Right For Me? [Quiz]