Siberian huskies are sled dogs known for their striking fur coats and eye colours. The eyes can range from shades of blue and brown to tones of yellow and amber. Sometimes a dog can have differently coloured eyes. The reason behind these eye-colour oddities is genetics. Some huskies have genes that control their eye colour alone, while others' eye colours are determined by genes that control the colouration of their entire body.
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Blue eyes in Siberian huskies are caused by a dominant gene that is inherited separately from the gene that controls coat colour. Blue eyes can be seen on huskies with any colour of fur. The shades of blue that a husky can inherit range from a striking whitish-blue to clear-sky blue. The dramatic effects of the blue colour are most visible on dogs with darker coats.
The shade of brown eyes in Siberian huskies can range from pale brown to nearly orange to almost black. The shade is controlled by "modifiers" that affect the gene that determines brown eyes. Modifiers also determine differences in fur length and coat colour. Sometimes the merle gene affects brown-eye colouration. The gene causes a dog to have one blue eye and one brown eye, which is known as having a wall eye. A husky also can have spots of blue within a brown eye, called a split eye. The blue colouration in both cases is the result of a partial loss of brown pigmentation caused by the merle gene.
Some Siberian huskies have yellow eyes with a blue or grey tint. This colouration is the result of an inherited gene that dilutes certain colours of the dog's body. This gene effects the eyes as well as the fur. Coloured areas that would typically contain black pigmentation are a dark-grey colour. Areas that would contain reddish-yellow pigmentation lose their red tones. This dilution gene controls both of these pigmentations. The result can be seen in grey huskies with yellow eyes.
Amber eyes are the result of having inherited a gene that affects pigmentation throughout the body. A Siberian husky with amber eyes possesses a gene that replaces black pigment with a chocolate brown or reddish colour as it occurs on the body. In turn, what would normally be dark-brown eyes appear a lighter gold and orange colour. Dogs with amber eyes also can be affected by the merle gene and have blue wall eyes or split eyes.
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