Small Dogs With Blue Eyes

In this research you will know the answer to the query “Small Dogs With Blue Eyes“.

When it comes to dogs blue eyes are a strange thing.

Adult dogs overwhelmingly have brown eyes not blue eyes.

However all dogs are born with blue eyes. Are you aware of this?

However most dogs will have brown eyes by the time they are three or four months old.  

In the American Kennel Club registry there are 5 breeds of small dogs where blue eyes are acceptable or included in the breed standard.

Breeds of these dogs include:

  • Hairless American Terrier
  • Welsh Corgi named Cardigan
  • Dachshund
  • It is the Shetland Sheepdog
  • Mudi (Hungarian)

There are two other recognized small breeds that are not registered in addition to these four:

  • The Alaska Klee Kai
  • The miniature American Shepherd

Additionally there are six breeds of dogs where according to their breed standard any dog with blue eyes is automatically disqualified at a show.

The following are among them:

  • Dogs of the American Eskimo breed
  • DogsCocker Spaniel
  • The Etna Cirneco
  • Corgi of the Pembrokeshire breed
  • Terrier of the Rat
  • Russ Terrier

Why do dogs have blue eyes?

Canines can have blue eyes in four ways according to Dog Genetics.

Here are their names:

  1. Merle gene-related side effects
  2. When a dogs eyes are white around the edges.
  3. Albinism
  4. There is a separate gene for blue eyes

The merle gene

A genetic condition that causes a dogs coat to lose pigment known as Merle. 

This results in speckled or blotchy coat color.

Depending on the pattern a merle can be red or blue.

In addition to the coat (and the eyes) being affected it can also cause pink noses and pink paws. 

Blue eyes are a separate gene

Researchers in 2018 discovered that some dogs have a gene that causes their eyes to turn blue.

An analysis of over 6000 DNA samples of dogs revealed that a duplication of a chromosome near the ALX4 gene will cause a dogs eye to be blue.

There are some varieties of Australian Shepherd dogs without a merle pattern. 

Health conditions associated with merle coats and blue eyes

It is easy to understand why owning a “merle” dog is appealing to many people. However the merle gene can lead to blindness and deafness in dogs.

A merle dog mated with another merle dog produces this effect. 

As early as 2012 the Kennel Club (a UK-based organization that provides health and welfare protection for dogs) banned merle-to-merle breeding in specific breeds. 

Border Collies Chihuahuas and Bulldogs were included.

The Kennel Club banned all merle dogs from breeds that have no significant history of colour in the breed in January 2020. 

Health conditions associated with a dog’s eyes suddenly turning blue

Puppies’ eyes are blue

All puppies have blue eyes as I have already mentioned.

Up until the age of ten days puppies’ eyes remain closed.

As soon as their eyes are open they are blue.

The eyes will gradually become brown over the next three months.

Natural processes like these should not be a cause for concern. 

There will be no alternative to an urgent trip to the vet for any of the other conditions I mention below. 

Interstitial Keratitis

Painful blue eyes are caused by this condition. 

This occurs when the cornea becomes inflamed and the eye turns blue. 

A fungus or bacteria can cause it or it can be brought about by trauma such as scratching the eye. 

Nuclear Sclerosis

Occasionally the lens in a dogs eye will become hazy blue as a result of aging. 

The condition does not affect the quality of vision much and it is different from cataracts. 

The eyes of a dog can become cloudy and bluish when they are suffering from other health problems. 

Cataracts and glaucoma are among them. 

5 small dogs where blue eyes are acceptable

I’m going to use the AKCs ranking system which ranks each registered breed in order of popularity starting with the least popular.

Hungarian Mudi

There were no Mudis that were registered in the past year even though this is a registered breed with the AKC!

I’m struggling to get a photo of one of them because they’re so rare!

It may only number a few thousand people most of whom are based in Hungary and Finland.

Other European countries and the U.S. have very few of them. 

There is a range of heights between 38 cm (15″) and 45 cm (18″) so it was a bit large to be considered a small dog but it is a rare breed and blue-eyed so I was intrigued.

Depending on their size these dogs can weigh between 8kg (18lbs) and 13kg (29lbs).

Herding cattle and sheep as well as protecting land has been the role of this Hungarian breed of dog.

A variety of colors are available for this breed. The following are among them: black brown gray gray-brown yellow and white. 

Any of these colors will look good with a merle pattern.

There are yellow and white dogs with blue eyes as well as brown dogs with blue eyes. 

2. American Hairless Terrier

Louisiana was the birthplace of the American Hairless Terrier.

There are two varieties – hair and hairless.

There might be some whiskers and hair on the eyebrows of the variety without hair.

Short shiny hair covers the coat of the variety with hair. 

The size of these animals is between 30cm (12″) and 40cm (16″) and their weight varies between 5kg (12 lbs) and 7kg (16 lbs).

Blue eyes are acceptable in blue or blue-fawn dogs but grey eyes are the preferred color for these breeds.

Like most terriers these dogs have a strong hunting instinct but their lack of hair makes them unsuitable for any type of hunting.

Activities such as agility can channel their large amounts of physical and mental energy. 

 3. Cardigan Welsh Corgi

How about owning a blue-eyed Corgi that Queen Elizabeth II loves so much? 

Well you can not since her dogs are Pembrokeshire Welsh Corgis which are different from their Cardigan cousins. 

Still these are great dogs.

The AKC does not allow blue-eyed Pembrokeshire Corgis but it does allow blue-eyed Cardigan Corgis.

It can also include a dog with two blue eyes or one blue and one brown eye or two partially blue eyes. 

Besides red (of course) sable brindle or black other coat colors include red (of course) sable brindle and black.

In terms of height a male Cardigan Welsh Corgi can range from 26 cm (10.5″) to 31 cm (12.5″) and weigh anything up to 38 lbs.

The dogs are described as “sturdy boned” for a reason!

The small size of cardigans made them less likely to be accidentally kicked by cows where they were originally bred to herd cattle.  

Dogs of this breed are extremely loyal and flexible enough to thrive as either companions or hard workers. 

4. Dachshund

There is a great deal of interest in Dachshunds. 

Their popularity is currently ranked twelfth among breeds according to the AKC. 

An animal with such unusual proportions such as long ears long necks and long bodies but short legs is very attractive. 

Listed below are two quotes that I think sum up the most important qualities of Dachshunds.

“Dachshunds are ideal dogs for small children as the dog is already stretched and pulled to the point where the child cannot cause them much harm” said Robert Benchley.

In the words of Queen Victoria “a Dachshund will make any mans house into a castle in no time flat.” This statement gave insight into a Dachshunds fierce loyalty to its owner. 

There are many different kinds of Dachshunds. 

Dachshunds come in two sizes (miniature and standard) and have three different hairstyles: smooth wirehaired and long-haired. 

Dachshunds come in many different colors but only dappled Dachshunds with blue (or partially blue) eyes are acceptable. 

5. The Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie)

Have you ever thought of owning a miniature version of “Lassie” with blue eyes?

Lassie was a Rough Collie and there is no true miniature version of her.

Second place would go to the Sheltie.

It is possible to have three types of shepherd dogs- a black one a blue merle one and a sable one.

The only blue eyes that are acceptable are blue merles.

The eyes of other colors of Shelties must be dark. 

The personalities and physical prowess of Shelties are wonderful.

It is a dog that is easy to train that loves the family and excels at events such as agility. 

Its size ranges from 32cm (13″) to 37cm (16″) high and weighs on average around 20 pounds (9 kgs).

Their only downfall is their tendency to bark a lot.

5 small dogs where blue eyes are banned

Dogs have a right to the protection of the American Kennel Club or the Kennel Club.

Blue-eyed dogs (merle colored) pose a real threat when bred together so the AKC has specifically identified 6 breeds where blue eyes lead to automatic disqualification in any dog shows they hold.

The AKC recognizes one hundred and ninety-six different types of dogs so this ban on six breeds might seem a bit tokenistic.

The six breeds listed above seem to be the most concerning when it comes to maintaining safe breeding standards. 

The following are the six breeds and I have provided links to the breed standards for each one. 

1. American Eskimo Dog

Here is the breed standard. The eyes are specifically mentioned.  

2. Cocker Spaniel

Here is the breed standard. The eyes are specifically mentioned.  

3. Cirneco dell’Etna

Here is the breed standard. The eyes are mentioned explicitly.  

4. Rat Terrier

Here is a link to the breed standard. The eyes are mentioned explicitly.

5. Russell Terrier

The breed standard can be found here. An entire section is devoted to eyes.


You have probably enjoyed reading about small dogs with blue eyes and that you have found your perfect “+1” in the list of breeds where blue eyes are considered acceptable by the AKC.

Avoid breeds on the AKCs banned list for the sake of the breed and your own heartbreak in the future.

In the end you might have changed your mind and decided against getting a small dog with blue eyes opting instead for the “blue-eyed” poster boy of dogs- the Siberian Husky.

You will enjoy gazing into your dogs eyes for many happy hours.

If you want to read more about dog breeds read here: Dog Breeds Updates.

Small Dogs With Blue Eyes (Watch Video)

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