When Do Australian shepherds eyes change color?

by Lisa

Australian Shepherds are a popular breed of dog known for their intelligence, athleticism, and striking appearance. One of the most distinctive features of Australian Shepherds is their eye color, which can range from blue to brown to a combination of the two. However, many new owners of Australian Shepherds may wonder when their puppy’s eyes will change color and what factors may influence this change.

In this article, we will explore when Australian Shepherds’ eyes typically change color, what causes these changes, and what owners can do to ensure their puppy’s eye health.


The Genetics of Eye Color in Australian Shepherds

Before we dive into the specifics of when Australian Shepherds’ eyes change color, it’s important to understand the genetics behind eye color in this breed. Like all dogs, Australian Shepherds inherit their eye color from their parents, specifically through genes that control the production of pigment in the iris.


There are two main types of pigment that determine eye color in dogs: eumelanin, which produces brown or black pigment, and pheomelanin, which produces red or yellow pigment. The amount and distribution of these pigments in the iris determine the color of the dog’s eyes.


In Australian Shepherds, the genetics of eye color are complex and can vary widely from dog to dog. The breed standard allows for a wide range of eye colors, including blue, brown, amber, and even heterochromia, where each eye is a different color.


When Do Australian Shepherds’ Eyes Change Color?

Now that we understand the genetics behind eye color in Australian Shepherds, let’s explore when their eyes typically change color. Like many dog breeds, Australian Shepherds are born with blue eyes, which is a result of the lack of pigment in the iris at birth. As the puppy grows and develops, the iris begins to produce pigment, which can cause the eye color to change.

The exact timing of when Australian Shepherds’ eyes change color can vary from puppy to puppy, but most will experience some degree of color change between 6 and 12 weeks of age. By the time the puppy is 12 weeks old, their eye color will usually have stabilized, although some slight changes may still occur up until the age of 6 months.

Factors That Can Influence Eye Color Changes in Australian Shepherds

While the timing of when Australian Shepherds’ eyes change color is largely determined by genetics, there are a few factors that can influence this process. One of the most significant factors is exposure to sunlight, which can stimulate the production of pigment in the iris.

Puppies who spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight may experience more rapid changes in eye color than those who spend most of their time indoors. Additionally, puppies who are exposed to high levels of UV radiation may be more likely to develop eye problems later in life, including cataracts and other vision impairments.

Another factor that can influence eye color changes in Australian Shepherds is nutrition. Puppies who are fed a balanced diet that includes essential vitamins and minerals may be more likely to develop healthy eyes with vibrant colors. Conversely, puppies who are fed a poor diet or who do not receive adequate nutrition may be more likely to develop eye problems or have less vibrant eye colors.

Finally, genetics play a significant role in determining when and how Australian Shepherds’ eyes change color. Puppies who inherit genes for blue eyes may experience slower changes in eye color than those who inherit genes for brown or amber eyes. Additionally, puppies who inherit genes for heterochromia may experience more dramatic changes in eye color as they grow and develop.

Maintaining Eye Health in Australian Shepherds

As with any breed of dog, it’s important to maintain good eye health in Australian Shepherds to ensure that they remain happy and healthy throughout their lives. This includes regular visits to the veterinarian for eye exams, as well as providing a balanced diet that includes essential vitamins and minerals.

Owners should also take steps to protect their Australian Shepherd‘s eyes from injury and disease. This includes keeping the dog’s eyes clean and free of debris, avoiding exposure to harsh chemicals or irritants, and providing adequate protection from the sun and other sources of UV radiation.


In conclusion, Australian Shepherds are a unique and fascinating breed of dog with a wide range of eye colors. While the timing of when their eyes change color is largely determined by genetics, factors such as nutrition and exposure to sunlight can also play a role.

By providing proper nutrition, regular veterinary care, and protection from injury and disease, owners can help ensure that their Australian Shepherd’s eyes remain healthy and vibrant throughout their lives.


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