Blue-eyed dogs are beautiful and intriguing. Pugs with blue eyes are even more interesting because they’re rare. Sometimes, if you see a pug with blue eyes, it is a mixed breed. However, purebred pugs can have blue eyes, too.
Read on to explore the three reasons that pugs might have blue eyes from puppyhood through old age.
Reasons a Pug’s Eyes Are Blue
Can pugs have blue eyes? Purebred pugs have dark brown eyes. It’s rare for pugs to have blue eyes, but it’s possible. There are three main reasons you might see a pug with blue eyes:
- It’s a puppy
- It has a genetic mutation
- It has a medical eye problem
Pug Puppies With Blue Eyes
Pug puppies with blue eyes don’t always keep their blue eyes.
Just like with human babies, many puppies (including pug puppies) are born with dark blue eyes. The dark blue eyes result from puppies having a lower melanin level in their eyes when they are first born.
Will Blue Pug Puppy Eyes Stay Blue?
Over time, a pug puppy’s eyes will transition to their natural and final color. However, it is possible in rare cases for your pug’s eyes to stay blue throughout its life.
How long does it take to know if your dog’s eyes will stay blue? You’ll start to see your dog’s natural eye color shine through by the time it is six to seven weeks old.
Genetic Reasons for Pugs with Blue Eyes
Blue eyes in pugs usually result from a genetic mutation. Unfortunately, blue eyes in pugs are often the result of bad breeding practices. Although, sometimes pug genes for blue eyes come from being a mixed breed of pug.
What are the genetic reasons for blue eyes in pugs? The four genetic reasons a pug might have blue eyes are:
- Inheriting the ALX4 gene
- Having the merle gene
- Having the piebald gene
- Having the gene for albinism
While the ALXR is most common in huskies and shepherds, it’s possible for a pug with a mixed-breed heritage to inherit the ALX4 gene for blue eyes. However, DNA testing shows only 5% of dogs have this gene for blue eyes.
Black pugs with blue eyes usually inherit the ALX4 gene since all other genes related to blue eyes result in mottled, spotted, or white coats.
Merle coloring is common in several dog breeds, including pugs.
Merle patterning is when a dog’s coat has random splotches of color in a solid or piebald coat. The same gene responsible for this coloring also carries the chance for a dog to have blue eyes.
If two dogs with merle genes breed, there is a 50% chance that the resulting puppy will have double merle genes.
A double merle dog will often be blue-eyed and completely white. It may also be deaf and/or blind.
So, if you are interested in buying or adopting a blue-eyed pug, you will want to discover ahead of time if it’s deaf or blind.
You should also test any potential mates for the merle gene before allowing a blue-eyed pug to breed. In fact, even solid-colored pugs can carry the merle gene.
If two merle-gene carriers breed, there’s a 25% chance their puppy would be a double merle with a high chance of hearing or vision problems.
Piebald pugs have a pattern of unpigmented, white spots on top of a solid color. Piebald coloring is a result of a variant of the MITF gene.
Sometimes, the white spotting carries over to the nose, making it fully or partially pink. Piebald can also give the pug pink eye rims and even blue eyes.
Albinism is also a reason why a dog might have blue eyes. Albinos cannot produce pigments in their skin and eyes, which causes albino dogs to have pale blue or pale green eyes. While having an albino dog of any sort is rare, it is possible for a pug to have albinism.
If both pug parents have the albino gene, there is still only a one in four chance that they’d have an albino pup. Even well-bred, non-albino pugs can carry the gene because it can skip generations.
Medical Reasons for Pugs with Blue Eyes
Why are my pug’s eyes turning blue? If your dog started out with dark brown eyes that are now turning blue, it is definitely a cause for concern and a trip to the vet. Most of these problems are more likely in senior pugs.
A dog’s eyes can turn cloudy and blue for several medical reasons:
- Nuclear Sclerosis: A hardening of the eye lenses that happens with age
- Corneal Dystrophy: Damage to the cornea
- Cataracts: Cloudy eyes that blur vision
- Glaucoma: Inadequate fluid drainage leading to increased pressure within the eye
Frequently Asked Questions About Pugs With Blue Eyes
Here are answers to questions people often ask about dogs and pugs with blue eyes.
Are blue eyes in dogs bad?
Most of the time, blue eyes in dogs or pugs are not a cause for concern. However, blue-eyed dogs with the merle gene are more likely to be born with vision and/or hearing problems.
If a dog develops blue or cloudy eyes, it could be a sign of a severe medical problem, so it’s a good idea to schedule a vet appointment.
Do dogs with blue eyes go blind?
Just because a dog has blue eyes because of the merle gene doesn’t mean that it will go blind. Only double merle pugs have a chance of blindness.
If a dog’s eyes turn blue due to cataracts or glaucoma, the dog has a chance of going blind. If a dog with glaucoma isn’t treated quickly enough, there’s a chance the dog could become permanently blind from prolonged eye pressure.
Conclusion – Pugs With Blue Eyes
Pugs born with blue eyes usually lose their blue eyes within a few weeks. However, there are also genetic reasons why a dog’s eyes may remain blue all its life. Some genetic reasons for pugs with blue eyes can result in vision or hearing problems but not always.
However, if you notice an older pug developing blue eyes, it can be a cause for concern and a reason to take a trip to the vet.
That being said, blue eyes in pugs are usually nothing to worry about—they make a pug look beautiful and unique!