Labrador with brown eyes

It is unusual for a Labrador to have blue eyes, as the breed standard calls for brown eyes.

However, in some rare cases, Labradors may have blue eyes due to a genetic mutation or a combination of genes.


Dilute gene

This condition is called “blue eye” or “dilute gene.” The dilute gene can cause the melanin pigment in the dog’s iris to be reduced, resulting in a blue or gray coloration of the eyes.

Huskies have blue eyes but it is a disqualification for Labradors.
Img: Pexels

It is important to note that while blue eyes in Labradors are not common, they are not necessarily a cause for concern. However, if your Labrador has suddenly developed blue eyes or any other eye-related issues, it is best to consult a veterinarian to rule out any underlying health problems.

Remember that a Labrador with blue eyes cannot be registered as a purebred Lab. This is because the blue eyes indicate influence from outside the Labrador breed somewhere in the dog’s family history.

When blue eyes are acceptable

There is one instance where blue eyes are acceptable and that is when your Labrador is still a puppy. Labrador puppies can have blue eyes which change as the dog grows older. At 16 weeks, your Lab should have brown or hazel eyes.

White Labrador puppy

Blue eyes are rare in Labradors

Blue eyes in Labradors are a rare occurrence, and there have been a few studies conducted to investigate the genetics behind this condition.

Embark, a canine genetics company, conducted a study to investigate the genetic basis of blue eyes in dogs.

The study analyzed the genomes of over 6,000 dogs from 38 different breeds, including Labradors, Siberian Huskies, and Australian Shepherds.

The researchers found that the blue eye trait was associated with a variant of a gene called ALX4. The ALX4 gene is involved in the development of the head and skull in mammals. The variant identified by the researchers was found to be present in dogs with blue eyes but absent in dogs with brown eyes.

The study also found that the presence of the variant was not limited to certain dog breeds and could occur in any breed. However, the frequency of the variant varied among the breeds, with some breeds having a higher incidence of blue eyes than others.

Overall, the study sheds light on the genetic basis of blue eyes in dogs and provides insight into the underlying mechanisms determining eye color.

All this means is that your blue eye Labrador has a genetic disorder that disqualifies it from being registered as a purebred.

It does not mean your blue eye Lab is not a Labrador, nor that it will not bring you the same pleasure and happiness that Labradors with brown or hazel eyes bring their owners.

Enjoy your Lab!