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Is there such a thing as Pit Bulls with blue eyes?
Yes, Pit Bulls can be born blue-eyed. However, while ice blue eyes in Pit Bulls may look irresistible, especially in puppies, there are several causes and dangers associated with this eye coloration.
If you have a blue-eyed Pit Bull or are looking to get one, this guide will teach you everything from health risks, dangers, causes, care, and everything in between, including gorgeous blue-eyed pitbull pictures. Let’s dive right in!
Note: Officially, the term “Pit Bull” is not a breed but a label used for dogs who descend from Bulldogs and Terriers. These dogs include the American Pitbull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and the American Bully. We know some people may argue that the American Pitbull Terrier is the only Pitbull type dog. However, for this article, we will use the word “Pit Bull” to refer to all of the above as they all share the same origins and genetic makeup of “Pit Bulls” and as you will learn later on this article blue eyes in dogs are more related to genetics than anything else.
Why Do Pit Bulls Have Blue Eyes?
Let’s understand why Pit Bulls develop those piercing blue eyes.
While the default eye color for most dogs is brown, genetics, pigmentation, and health issues are the main factors that can alter your Pit Bull’s eye colors. Genetics, however, is still the number one cause of blue-eyed Pities.
If your Pit Bull has a long family history of blue eyes, then he or she is most likely to have blues eyes.
These are three main reasons that make Pit Bulls have blue eyes.
The Merle Gene
Pit Bulls that are carriers of the merle gene (M-locus) are more likely to develop blue eyes. This gene is responsible for random pigment dilution (lightening) of the nose, eyes, and fur. However, being a carrier doesn’t always guarantee blue eyes in Pit Bulls or any dog.
The ALX4 Gene
A study, where 6,000 dogs’ complete genetic profiles were analyzed, carried out by Embark Veterinary (one of the largest dog DNA testing companies) discovered that a genetic mutation near the gene known as ALX4 is strongly associated with blue eyes in dogs. Pit Bulls with this genetic mutation are more prone to be blue-eyed.
Melanin levels may also affect the eye color in Pit Bulls.
Melanin (a pigment found in the iris) is another causing factor that determines the eye color of dogs. Typically, dogs with a higher level of melanin in their iris have brown eyes. Conversely, the lower the concentration of melanin, the lighter your dog’s eye color will be.
So, how do Pit Bulls develop blue eyes from lack of melanin (or pigmentation loss)?
The gene, known as the “M (merle) locus gene,” modifies eumelanin, which is the black pigmentation in melanin. This genetic modification results in pigment loss, which creates eye colors in Pit Bulls such as pale brown all the way to the blue eye color shade.
In terms of health, what does it mean for a Pit Bull to be blue-eyed? Are there health risks associated with this eye color?
Blue-Eyed Pit Bulls Health Issues
Genetically, blue eyes in dogs are typically no indication of health issues. Yes, you can have a perfectly healthy blue-eyed Pit Bull.
However, blue eyes on your Pit Bulls can increase the likelihood of significant health risks in your dog as opposed to brown-eyed Pit Bulls.
Blue-eyed dogs (Pit Bulls) are prone to develop the following disorder:
According to Washington State University, blue eyes in dogs are linked to hearing impairments.
Pit Bulls in particular are among the breeds that are predisposed to congenital deafness.
In fact, The AKC Canine Health Foundation’s stated about a viral dog story where 4 out of 5 white coat Pit Bulls adopted by a police officer were deaf:
“The fact that all are white, and all are deaf is not an accident. Dogs with white or merle coats are predisposed to congenital deafness”AKC Canine Health Foundation
Does this mean all Pit Bulls with white or merle coats could suffer from hearing loss?
No, while all white Pitbulls or merle coated Pit Bulls may not be deaf, they have a higher chance of developing partial or complete deafness.
Deafness is present in certain dog breeds that are carriers of the Merle and Piebald genes. Congenital deafness is linked to the merle gene, while the Piebald gene is responsible for spotted or multicolored coats on dogs. It’s known that the Piebald gene can also cause deafness, due to a lack of mature melanocytes (melanin-producing cells) within the inner ear.
So, if your Pit Bull pup has blue eyes (due to the merle gene) or has a spotted color coat (piebald gene) or white coat, he may be at higher risk of hearing loss.
It’s recommended to rule out congenital deafness by conducting a test known as the BAER. You can test your Pitty as young as six weeks old. Hearing impared Pit Bulls are more prone to suffer accidents such as road traffic accidents.
Pit Bulls with blue eyes may develop possible vision defects. Blue eyes in Pit Bulls can be a sign that your pet is carrying the merle gene (a dominant gene).
However, this does not necessarily mean a blue-eyed Pittie will eventually go blind. Only, if both parents carry the merle gene and pass it to an offspring, eye defects such as blindness are more likely to occur.
Animals that are “double merle,” (having two copies) of the merle (M/M) trait, are predominantly white and prone to several health issues.
Pit Bulls who lack the genes necessary to produce melanin, the pigment responsible for skin, eye, and hair coloring could suffer from albinism.
A gene such as the “M (merle) locus gene” modifies eumelanin (the black melanin pigment in dogs) which results in pigment loss. A massive loss of this pigment throughout a dog’s entire body can result in albinism.
Most of the dog breeds who suffer from congenital deafness have some white pigmentation in their coats.
Other Eye Health Problems
Pit Bulls occasionally have eye conditions such as:
- Hereditary cataracts
- Distichiasis (double eyelashes)
- PHPV (persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous)
If you are worried about your Pit Bull’s eye health and want to keep it in good condition, daily eye care bites like Zesty Paws Eye Supplement and dog eye drops for long-lasting corneal protection and hydration can promote good eye health on your pup. For Pit Bulls suffering from Cataracts, many dog parents recommend LumenPro Pet Eye Drops.
We also recommend pet insurance for your Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls Don’t Actually Have Blue Eyes
Yes, you heard that right!
Your Pit Bull’s eyes may look blue but they aren’t really blue. Let me explain!
Pit Bulls or any blue-eyed dog for that matter, don’t actually have blue eyes at all according to Geneticist Kristopher Irizarry of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences.
While brow eyes in dogs get their color from melanin, dogs with blue eyes have a completely colorless iris with no pigment at all. Blue eyes get their color the same way water and the sky get their blue color. This means that all the light that enters the Pit Bull’s eyes is scattered back into the atmosphere, and as a result, it creates the appearance of blue.
Pit Bull With Blue Eyes Appearance
Are blue-eyed Pit Bulls any different from brown-eyed Pit Bulls?
Blue-Eyed vs Brown-Eyed Pit Bulls
The noticeable main difference between Pit Bulls with blue eyes and their brown-eyed counterparts lies in the color of their eyes.
In general, the Pit Bull has a stocky, muscular built and a short, smooth coat that can be of different colors. Pit Bulls look athletic, strong with a short, whip-like tail that ends in a point.
Males can grow between 11 to 13 inches tall and weigh 20 to 28 pounds. Females Pit Bulls have about the same measurements. However, the size and weight of the Pit Bull tend to fluctuate due to the breed being a mix between different types of Bulldogs and Terriers.
Their “wide square-like” head and jaws are the breed’s trademark feature.
Eye Color Characteristics
According to the United Kennel Club breed standard for Pit Bulls, Pitties eyes should be round in form, of medium size, set well apart and low on the skull.
All eye colors are acceptable except blue, which is considered a serious fault. So, what color eyes can Pit Bulls officially have? Eye color may range from very dark brown to dark hazel and even green.
Known Pit Bulls With Blue Eyes By Coat Color
You may be wondering if the color of the Pit Bull’s coat is related to having blue eyes.
The short answer is yes.
As you know now, the Piebald gene is responsible for a pattern of unpigmented spots (or black and white patches) on a dog’s coat.
Solid coat colors on the other hand, are the result of melanin levels. Eumelanin, a type of melanin, is basically the black pigment responsible for a black dog coat. However, genes like the merle gene can alter the production of the eumelanin in a dog’s cells. This cell modification doesn’t allow cells to produce a full-strength black pigment which results in different coat color shades from gray, brown to tan and everything in between.
You can find blue-eyed Pit Bulls with the following coat colors. Take a look at the following chart.
White Pit Bull With Blue Eyes
Check this white Pit Bull with blue eyes going about in the woods.
Grey Pit Bull With Blue Eyes
When you take a Grey Pit Bull with blue eyes shopping.
Black Pit Pull With Blue Eyes
Black Pit Bulls with blue eyes are super rare. Since melanin levels are at its maximum, it’s nearly impossible for a black pitty to have blue eyes.
Tan Pit Bull With Blue Eyes
This tan Pit Bull is taking a sunbath. His tan coat color is due to low-to-medium levels of melanin. The merle gene may be also present.
Blue Nose Pit Bull With Blue Eyes
Again, hard to find a blue nose Pit Bull with blue eyes due to the melanin level in the coat and possible merle absence.
Red Nose Pit Bull With Blue Eyes
Blue-eyed red nose Pit Bulls are hard to find but here is one.
Blonde Pit Bull With Blue Eyes
Look at this handsome blonde Pit Bull with blue eyes!
Merle or Brindle Pitbull With Blue Eyes
Blue-eyed Pit Bulls with coat colors of brown, black, grey, and silver are probably the most difficult and rarest of all blue-eyed pities. Why? Because the melanin levels are full-on black or closer to the black pigmentation. Also, among these mentioned color coat, it’s less likely that the merle gene is present.
Why Pit Bulls With Blue Eyes Not Acceptable?
The United Kennel Club, the APBT community, and most breed clubs do not recognize Pit Bulls with blue eyes as desirable dog breeds. Why?
Well, this breed is not a common carrier of the merle and piebald gene, or blue eye causing genes. Therefore it’s excluded from the breed standard. A Pit Bull with blue eyes might not be purebred because those genes must have somehow found its way into the bloodline. This is something to think about before paying the extra price tag for this color.
Pit Bull Puppies With Blue Eyes
Thinking about getting a blue-eyed Pit Bull puppy?
When buying baby Pit Bulls with blue eyes be sure this breed fits your personality and family’s lifestyle. You need to be prepared for an energetic and friendly furry addition to your household.
Whether you want a white Pit Bull puppy with blue eyes, or a black one, our advice is to pay the utmost important attention to the health of the puppy rather than eye color.
Choosing to buy from a reputable breeder or adopting is a personal choice that requires research. The AKC MarketPlace is a good start to start your search and find Pit Bull puppies on sale in your area. A reputable breeder should provide a record of genetic health testing on the parents and on your Pit Bull puppy.
Remember that deafness and blindness are more likely to occur in the blue-eyed dogs. Responsible breeders will have tested the entire litter to be certain that all puppies can hear and see properly. If they haven’t, you should request they do before you take your blue-eyed Pit Bull puppy home.
Whenever possible, always consider fostering and adopting.
Will My Pit Bull Puppy Have Blue Eyes For Ever?
Are all pit bulls born with blue eyes?
Yes, all puppies, including Pit Bull, are born with blue eyes because melanin production in the eyes does not start until the puppies are a few weeks old, so their eyes appear blue up until this point.
When Will Pit Bull’s Eye Color Start To Change?
Icy blue eyes on Pit Bull puppies are striking, to say the least, but do blue-eyed Pit Bull puppies stay blue? Not for long!
At 3 or 4 weeks old, most puppies’ eyes generally start to operate like those of adults, similar to the development of their permanent eye color. The majority of dogs end up with dark brown eyes. Some breeds like the Siberian Husky are the exception.
Your Pit Bull’s eyes usually change to its permanent eye color several weeks down the line. It often takes 9 to 12 weeks since birth, for a puppy’s eye color to settle in and “stay.” The permanent eye color change can even happen as late as 16 weeks in age. True eye color shades can range from light brown, dark brown to amber to the rare permanent blue color.
Temperament & Personality Of A Pit Bull
What can you expect from Pit Bulls?
The Pit Bull, also known as “Pitties,” is known for being a loyal, protective, and athletic canine breed.
Despite the negative stereotypes and misconceptions associated with this breed, temperament studies on dogs show that pitties rank high among the most affectionate, tolerant and least aggressive dogs. Research conducted by the American Temperament Test Society, pit bulls passed at a rating of 86.4%, higher than popular breeds such as golden retrievers, corgis, and beagles.
According to Pamela Reid, PhD, vice president of the ASPCA’s Animal Behavior Center in New York, generally, pit bulls aren’t aggressive with people but are “less tolerant” of other dogs than many other breeds.
This Pit Bull is eager to please and brimming over with enthusiasm. They make excellent family companions and have always been noted for their love of children. As with all breeds, pit bulls should be supervised when with children.
Pit Bulls tend to be stubborn, tenacious, and fearless. This breed will require plenty of exercises and a strong pack leader. They are very obedient dogs, however, proper training must be provided from an early age.
Do you still think Pit Bulls are bad or vicious? We advise you to read Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet so you can understand why the pit bull has been dogged by negative stereotypes and learn why pit bulls are innately wonderful family pets.
Note that Pit Bulls are powerful chewers and very determined dogs that can destroy a toy in seconds. We recommend getting tough toys specially made for heavy chewers like Pit Bulls. They are designed not to break and provide the most optimal stimulating experience for this breed’s personality type.
Breeding Pit Bulls With Blue Eyes
There is one reason why breeding Pit Bulls with blue eyes is sometimes frowned upon, considered unethical and inhumane by some. “Why?” you ask.
The chances of having puppies that develop health issues increase when two merle (Mm) dogs carrier are bred together. Breeding such dogs will produce a double merle (MM) litter, which is extremely prone to genetic diseases such as deafness and blindness.
Blue-eyed Pit Bulls can produce totally healthy offspring, but their puppies have a higher probability to be born with congenital health issues than puppies born from a single merle carrier (Mm) and a non-carrier (m/m).
It is recommended that a merle Pit Bull only be bred to a non-merle/non-cryptic Merle dog.
When breeding Pit Bulls make sure, the female and male come from healthy bloodlines. Breeding Pitties with blue eyes is no different than breeding non-blue eyes Pit Bulls.
Wait until the female is 2 years old and after her second heat cycle. Don’t breed female Pit Bulls in 2 consecutive heat seasons. She needs the proper time to recover. You should expect a litter size between 5 and 10 puppies.
Blue-Eyed Pit Bull Puppies In Action
Check out these beautiful Pit Bull puppies with blue eyes. Ugh, they are so adorable.
Blue-Eyed Pitbull Price
From our research, breeders usually sell Pit Bull puppies with good bloodlines at starting prices of $2000 to $20000. However, you can get also get Pit Bulls for as much as $800 to $3000. Reputable breeders will charge more as it costs a lot of money to keep dogs healthy to breed. They may also up the cost if what you are looking for is a blue-eyed Pit Bull.
Pit Bulls With Blue Eyes For Sale
If you are looking for Pit Bulls with blue eye puppies for sale, begin by looking at your local shelter. New pets are added every day and they need their fur-ever home.
Great resources to start browsing for your next grey Pitbulls with blue eyes are the AKC Marketplace and PuppyFind. Check with your local breeders as well.
History of The Pit Bull
The United Kennel Club, states that the American Pit Bull Terrier (APBT) was created by crossbreeding Old English Bulldogs and terriers to produce a dog that combined the strength of the bulldog with the gameness and agility of the terrier.
The Pit Bull Terrier also gained its popularity on the British Isles for the sport of bull-baiting where one to two APBT were set to harass a bull for hours until the animal collapsed from fatigue, injuries, or both.
When bull-baiting was outlawed, the APBT was used for dogfighting and ratting, the latter, a betting sport where people bet to see whose Pit Bull could kill the most rats in the least amount of time.
Immigrants brought these bull-and-terrier crosses to the United States. As these cruel sports became less popular, the APBT talents did not go unnoticed. Pit Bull Terriers became farm dogs and family companions.
The “Pit” in Pit Bull comes from ratting as the rats were placed into a pit so that they could not escape.
If you want to learn more about the controversial story of one infamous breed of dog, the New York Times Bestseller “Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon” is a must-read for any Pit Bull lover.
Should You Get A Pit Bull With Blue Eyes?
Generally, Pit Bulls are amazing family pets. Pit Bulls are a loyal, people-oriented breed that thrives as part of the family. They are affectionate with both adults and children and love to cuddle.
They are happy dogs with huge smiles and a zest for life is infectious. They are very active dogs that require lots of exercise so if this doesn’t fit your lifestyle then a pitty might not be a good choice. Being confined in a small space may yield some destructive behavior in your Pit Bull.
You need to be willing to invest the time and effort in training your Pit Bull. A well-trained pitty is a happy pitty.
If you are set on getting a Pitty, canine author Erin Hotovy offers the best advice to raise a happy healthy Pit Bull on The Complete Guide to Pit Bulls.
One of the biggest downfalls of owning a Pit Bull with blue eyes is the health concerns we covered in this article. You need to your research to find a healthy blue-eyed Pit Bull.
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Sources & References:  AKC Canine Health Foundation