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Alapaha Connection Kennels

Channa Kelly
Alapaha Connection Kennels
San Diego, CA
619-468-0012
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About the eyes

Eye color

Eye color is the result of how much pigment is in the front part of the iris of the eye. Lots of pigment gives brown eyes, some gives green eyes and little or no pigment leads to blue eyes. At least two genes (and probably more) determine the amount of pigment in the eye. The dominant gene in eye color is called OCA2. OCA2 Distinguishes Brown from Blue. OCA2 is like many other genes in that it comes in at least two forms—a working and a nonworking version. As long as someone has at least one working version, they will have brown eyes. (Remember, there are two copies of most of our genes—one from the sire and one from the dam.) This is why brown eyes are dominant over blue eyes.

It takes just one good OCA2 gene to end up with brown eyes. The most common way for a dog to have blue eyes is because of a side effect of the merle gene. Merle dilutes random parts of the pigment, including the eyes. This sort of dilution causes blue color in the iris. Because of the random pigment loss, often merle dogs have blue, wall or split eyes. Wall eyes are when a dog has one blue eye and one brown or amber eye, and a split eye (or also called "cracked eye") has some blue in it and the rest is brown or amber. Split eyes vary from mostly blue to mostly brown or amber. The more dilution there is in the coat of a merle (i.e. the more grey/diluted areas), the more likely they are to have blue eyes. Another way in which blue eyes can occur is when a dog has large amounts of white around its eyes. White areas on the coat are where the cells are unable to produce any pigment, so if these areas spread to the face then there may be pigment loss in the eyes, making the eyes blue.

Does the eye color make the dog more valuable? No. The value of the dog is placed on the total package, not just the eyes. When checking a dog's eyes, you want to insure that the pupil (black part in the center) is well rounded, centered, and clear of any other colors. The coloration of the eye is only in the iris, not in the pupil.


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