Do Catahoula Dogs Have Blue Eyes? (Explained)

Catahoula dogs are known for their endurance, agility, and herding capabilities. They originated from the state of Louisiana in the USA almost 200 years ago. Catahoula leopard dogs have a striking appearance, and their coats are of different color patches.

If you want to be a Catahoula dog owner, you’ll need to be commanding and strict while providing enough time to keep your dog occupied. Catahoula dog breeds are also known for their eye colors but do Catahoula dogs have blue Eyes? Let’s find out.

Do Catahoula dogs have blue eyes?

The Catahoula dog breeds are widely known for their blue eyes, which are glasslike in reality. However, not all the Catahoula dogs are blue-eyed; only the merle gene carriers are known to have this trait. Other Catahoula dogs can have brown, green, amber, and even hazel-colored eyes.

Do all Catahoulas have blue eyes?

All the Catahoulas don’t have blue eyes, as other variants of eyeshade are widely seen in this breed. Only the Catahoulas with the merle coat possess this unique characteristic.

Because many of the dogs of this breed have either one or two blue eyes, there’s a misconception that only the purebred Catahoulas have blue eyes.

Whether a Catahoula dog will have blue eyes or not depends on its inherited genetic characteristics.

They can inherit the merle gene from their parents, which causes their eyes to appear blue because of light reflection. But in reality, the pupils in their eyes lack color pigments which cause the eyes to seem blue.

Blue eyes can sometimes be associated with health issues. So, if you have a blue-eyed Catahoula, you should consult a vet and trace his ancestry for better understanding.

Do Catahoula puppies’ eyes change color?

As Catahoula puppies start to become adults, their eye and coat color begin to change quite quickly. All Catahoula puppies are born with blue eyes or different shades of blue. Sometimes they will have other colored spots on their pupils, which is also expected.

When the puppies start to grow up, their eye’s color begins to change as well. It’s because the melanin pigments in the eyes of the Catahoulas start to form. The colored pigments cause the pupils to be blue, brown, hazel, or any other color.

Change of color is a common phenomenon for the Catahoula dog breed. No matter which color it grows into, you shouldn’t care too much about appearance. They should be taken care of, no matter what their eye color is.

How long do a Catahoula puppy’s eyes stay blue?

Generally, it takes 10 to 13 weeks for a Catahoula puppy to grow into its inherited eye color. After birth, all the Catahoula puppies have blue eyes, and as they start to develop, their eye pigments begin to form.

The melanin pigments in the pupil of the eyes are what produce the color.

For some puppies, it can take up to 15 to 16 weeks to change the eye color. A lot of this depends on food habits, ancestry as well as its development pattern. So even if it takes a bit longer to change, you shouldn’t be worried.

The Catahoula puppies that are the carrier of the merle gene will always have blue eyes because of their lack of pigments in the eye. By looking closely at a merle Catahoula, you’ll realize that their eyes are actually clear and don’t have any particular color.

Why do Catahoulas have blue eyes?

You may have a Catahoula with blue eyes. While your Catahoula’s blue eyes are beautiful, you should be aware of the reason behind their color. This will enable you to provide greater protection for your Catahoula.


A disorder that has two distinct colored eyes is called Heterochromia. It may be caused by either the Merle gene, pigment loss, or a breed-specific gene.

Additional study is required to uncover the specific genetic matter that is responsible for Catahoula’s blue eyes.

Heterochromia causes the eyes to be glasslike or more commonly known as the cracked eye.

The Merle Coat:

‘Merle’ is a coat design characterized by patterns of dark and light colors that fade into one other. Like the Catahoula Leopard Dog, some breeds have a dapple pattern that gives a clearer idea of how the coat will appear.

The color patterns of the Merle dogs include regions of solid black, brown, or green accompanied by lighter colors like blue or grey. It’s due to a gene mutation that causes coat color to seem pallid.

The merle gene allows the Catahoula to have one or two blue eyes, depending on whether or not they are carriers of the recessive gene for merle.

Catahoula puppies with blue eyes:

Every Catahoula puppy starts with a pair of blue eyes. During their first year of life, the melanin in Catahoula’s eyes hasn’t been fully developed.

Visually, this tricks people into believing their eyes are blue, while they are crystal clear in reality.

Melanin is found in the iris as a pigment. The color of the dog’s eyes slowly transitions from blue to brown due to having Catahoula eyes. This accounts for why by the time a dog has finished growing, its eyes are most often brown or hazel.

Cracked Eye:

This is a unique trait of the Catahoula breed where the iris is of a different color with blue spots on it. Other times the spots can be of a different color. The blue glasslike areas on the iris are a result of pigmentation or the lack of it instead.

It’s also termed marbled glass eyes in certain parts of the dog community.

What color eyes do Catahoula leopard dogs have?


Catahoula’s are known for having blue-colored eyes. All the puppies are born with blue eyes, but only some still have the same color shade even after growing up.

Adults who maintain blue usually have Heterochromia or the merle gene that causes this sort of pigmentation.


When the pigments of the Catahoula pups develop, their eyes turn brown. A lot of other genetic factors are also at play behind it. Brown-eyed Catahoulas can sometimes have one blue or glasslike eye, which is known to be a rare trait.

Glass eyes:

Glass eyes, also known as cracked eyes, are recognizable traits of the Catahoula breed.

These sort of eyes are blue-white with broken glazing that seems unrealistic. Double glass eyes are frequent in Catahoulas, but it’s also possible to have one glass eye and the other a different hue, such as green, amber, or brown.

Another term for this kind of eye is ‘bi-eye.’


Both the eyes of the Amber-eyed Catahoulas are generally amber, aka gold. Amber eyes are quite beautiful on the Catahoulas. When the brown pigments don’t develop properly, the iris turns to this unique-looking gold color.


Catahoulas can have either one or two green eyes. If they have one green eye, the other is likely to be a blue eye or a glass eye. Catahoula’s that have grey eyes

Mixed Cracked eyes:

Catahoulas that have cracked eyes have a mixture of colors in their eyes. They can have glass eyes with brown cracks/spots in them, or it could be the other way around with the brown eyes and the cracks being glasslike. According to the National Association of Louisiana Catahoulas, glass eyes are preferred for contests.

Why do Catahoulas have different colored eyes?

The reason why Catahoulas have so many different colored eyes is because of their genetic characteristics. Ancestral traits can also play a role in eye color.

When you go through the eye-color options in the Catahoula breed, you’d genuinely be surprised. The pigments cause these color formations in the iris. When the pigments form correctly, the eyes have a solid color like amber, green, or brown.

But when the pigments form unevenly, that’s when you see cracked glass eyes with different spots on the iris. The cracked glasslike nature of the Catahoula eyes is something that everyone has become accustomed to. Although it’s a genetic disorder, there’s no severe risk to it.

Are blue eyes in Catahoula dogs bad?

Whether the blue eyes in Catahoula dogs are bad or good depends on the type of eye it has and its ancestry. When any disease causes the blue-eyes, then it may be risky for them.

However, it would be best if you didn’t determine anything without a proper diagnosis from a vet. Because in most instances, blue eyes in Catahoula dogs aren’t bad.

What happens if a Catahoula dog has blue eyes?

When a Catahoula dog has blue eyes, it is either caused by Heterochromia or a simple genetic imbalance. So, if a Catahoula dog has blue eyes, nothing major will happen.

Heterochromia is a genetic disorder that doesn’t have any major health implications. Catahoula dogs that are double-merle, may become blind at some point in their life. But normal cracked blue eyes are just a lack of pigmentation, which isn’t anything dangerous.

Do Catahoulas have yellow eyes?

Catahoulas don’t have yellow eyes. Some Catahoulas can have amber or green eyes. These eye color variations can cause the eyes to appear different shades of gold.

How rare are Catahoula leopard dogs?

Catahoula Leopard Dogs are a scarce breed. The UKC recognizes the breed as the Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog. It is also part of the American Kennel Club’s Foundation Stock Service. Although it’s a rare breed, it is recognized by international associations.

What are Catahoula leopard dogs mixed with?

Catahoula leopard dogs are mixed with Labradors, Retrievers, American Bulldogs, and even German Shepherds. All of these mixed breeds have rare qualities.

Final Thoughts:

Catahoula dog breeds are renowned for their glasslike cracked blue eyes. The merle gene carriers are known to have either one or two blue eyes. Others have brown, green, amber, or hazel-colored eyes, but they can also have mixed-colored iris with different colored spots.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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When Will My Catahoula Calm Down?

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