Do Catahoula Dogs Have Blue Eyes? Unraveling the Mystery

Catahoula dogs, originating from Louisiana, are well-known for their endurance, agility, and herding abilities. Their striking appearance, with coats featuring different color patches, adds to their allure. If you’re considering becoming a Catahoula dog owner, you’ll need to provide them with commanding and strict guidance while also ensuring they have enough mental and physical stimulation. One intriguing aspect about Catahoula dogs is their eye colors. Are Catahoula dogs with blue eyes a common occurrence? Let’s delve into this question and find out.

Do Catahoula dogs have blue eyes?

The Catahoula dog breed is widely recognized for its blue eyes, which possess a glasslike quality. However, it’s important to note that not all Catahoula dogs have blue eyes. Only the ones carrying the merle gene exhibit this unique trait. Others may have brown, green, amber, or even hazel-colored eyes.

Do all Catahoulas have blue eyes?

No, not all Catahoulas have blue eyes. While it is true that many dogs of this breed have one or two blue eyes, leading to a misconception that only purebred Catahoulas have blue eyes, the reality is quite different. The presence of blue eyes in Catahoulas depends on their inherited genetic characteristics. Dogs inheriting the merle gene from their parents will have blue eyes due to a lack of color pigments in their pupils, giving the illusion of a blue hue. However, it’s worth mentioning that blue eyes in dogs can sometimes be linked to health issues. If you have a blue-eyed Catahoula, it’s a good idea to consult a veterinarian and trace their ancestry for a better understanding.

Do Catahoula puppies’ eyes change color?

Yes, as Catahoula puppies grow into adults, their eye and coat colors change quite rapidly. All Catahoula puppies are born with blue eyes or various shades of blue. It is also common for them to have other colored spots on their pupils. As the puppies mature, their eye color begins to change due to the formation of melanin pigments in their eyes. This process results in their pupils appearing blue, brown, hazel, or any other color. The change in eye color is a common phenomenon within the Catahoula dog breed, and it’s important to remember that their appearance should not be the primary focus. Regardless of eye color, all Catahoulas should receive proper care and attention.

How long do Catahoula puppies’ eyes stay blue?

In general, it takes approximately 10 to 13 weeks for Catahoula puppies to develop their inherited eye color. After birth, all Catahoula puppies have blue eyes. As they continue to grow, their eye pigments gradually form, with melanin pigments in the irises responsible for producing color. The duration for eye color change may vary, with some puppies taking up to 15 to 16 weeks or longer. This can be influenced by factors such as food habits, ancestry, and individual development patterns. Merle Catahoula puppies, who are carriers of the merle gene, will always have blue eyes due to the lack of pigmentation. Interestingly, their eyes are actually clear and lack any particular color.

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Why do Catahoulas have blue eyes?

While your Catahoula’s blue eyes may be beautiful, it’s important to understand the reason behind their color. This knowledge will enable you to take better care of your Catahoula and provide them with the necessary protection. Two main factors contribute to the presence of blue eyes in Catahoulas:


Heterochromia, a disorder characterized by having two distinct colored eyes, can cause Catahoulas to have blue eyes. It may be a result of the merle gene, pigment loss, or a breed-specific gene. Further research is needed to uncover the exact genetic mechanism responsible for blue eyes in Catahoulas. Heterochromia gives the eyes a glasslike appearance, often referred to as “cracked eyes.”

The Merle Coat

The merle coat pattern, characterized by patches of dark and light colors melding together, is another reason Catahoulas can have blue eyes. This coat pattern is comparable to that of the Catahoula Leopard Dog, as well as other breeds with a dapple pattern. The merle gene mutation causes the coat color to appear pale, with regions of solid black, brown, or green alongside lighter colors such as blue or gray. Depending on whether the Catahoula carries the recessive gene for merle, it can have one or two blue eyes.

Considering these factors, it’s important to note that Catahoula puppies start with blue eyes, which gradually transition to their final color as they develop. The presence of melanin pigments in their eyes, which slowly matures over the course of their growth, causes this transition. The result is typically brown or hazel eyes by the time the dog has finished growing.

What color eyes do Catahoula Leopard Dogs have?

Catahoula Leopard Dogs can have a variety of eye colors:


Catahoula dogs are known for having blue-colored eyes. While all puppies are born with blue eyes, only some maintain this color shade as they grow into adults. Dogs who continue to have blue eyes often have either Heterochromia or the merle gene to thank for this unique pigmentation.


As the pigments in Catahoula puppies develop, their eyes gradually turn brown. Various genetic factors also contribute to the final eye color. It’s worth noting that some brown-eyed Catahoulas may still have one blue or glasslike eye, though this is considered a rare trait.

Glass Eyes

Glass eyes, also known as cracked eyes, are distinctive characteristics of the Catahoula breed. These eyes appear blue-white with a broken glaze, creating an almost surreal effect. Double glass eyes, where both eyes have this appearance, are common in Catahoulas. However, it’s also possible for one eye to be glasslike while the other has a different hue, such as green, amber, or brown. Another term for this type of eye is “bi-eye.”

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Amber-eyed Catahoulas typically have both eyes in a golden or amber hue. This unique gold color occurs when the brown pigments fail to develop properly.


Catahoulas can have either one or two green eyes. In some cases, if one eye is green, the other may be blue or glasslike. Catahoulas with gray eyes also fall into this category.

Mixed Cracked Eyes

Catahoulas with cracked eyes may have a combination of colors in their eyes. They can have glass eyes with brown cracks or spots, or the opposite—a brown eye with glasslike cracks. According to the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas, glass eyes are preferred in contests.

Why do Catahoulas have different colored eyes?

The reason Catahoulas have such a wide array of eye colors lies in their genetic characteristics and ancestral traits. When examining the eye color options within the Catahoula breed, you’ll be amazed at the variety. The pigments in the iris are responsible for these color formations. When the pigments develop evenly, the eyes have a solid color such as amber, green, or brown. However, if the pigments form unevenly, the result is cracked glass eyes with different spots on the iris. The cracked glasslike appearance is a distinctive feature that Catahoulas have become known for. Although it is a genetic disorder, there are typically no severe risks associated with it.

Are blue eyes in Catahoula dogs bad?

Whether blue eyes in Catahoula dogs are considered good or bad depends on the type of eye and its ancestry. If blue eyes are caused by an underlying disease, it may pose potential risks for the dog. However, it’s important not to jump to conclusions without a proper diagnosis from a veterinarian. In most cases, blue eyes in Catahoula dogs are not considered bad.

What happens if a Catahoula dog has blue eyes?

If a Catahoula dog has blue eyes, it is generally caused by either Heterochromia or a simple genetic imbalance. In either case, no major health issues are typically associated with this condition. Heterochromia, which does not pose significant health implications, is a genetic disorder. However, double-merle Catahoulas, who carry the merle gene, may have a higher risk of becoming blind at some point in their lives. On the other hand, normal blue eyes in Catahoulas are merely a result of a lack of pigmentation and do not pose any immediate danger.

Do Catahoulas have yellow eyes?

Catahoulas don’t typically have yellow eyes. Some Catahoulas may have amber or green eyes, and these eye color variations can give the eyes different shades of gold.

How rare are Catahoula Leopard Dogs?

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are considered a rare breed. They are recognized as the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog by the United Kennel Club, and they are also part of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service. While they may be a scarce breed, international associations acknowledge and recognize them.

What are Catahoula Leopard Dogs mixed with?

Catahoula Leopard Dogs can be mixed with various breeds such as Labradors, Retrievers, American Bulldogs, and even German Shepherds. These mixed breeds often possess unique qualities and characteristics.

Final Thoughts

Catahoula dog breeds are well-known for their enchanting cracked blue eyes. The presence of blue eyes in Catahoulas is often associated with the merle gene carriers. However, brown, green, amber, or hazel-colored eyes can also be seen in this breed, sometimes with mixed-colored irises adorned with spots of different hues. Understanding the genetics behind the variety of eye colors adds to the fascination of these captivating dogs.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do Catahoulas get along with cats?
  • How fast can a Catahoula run? How many miles can they run?
  • When will my Catahoula calm down?
  • Can Catahoula Leopard Dogs swim or do they like water?

For more information about Catahoula dogs and their care, visit Katten TrimSalon.