Blue-Eyed Pit Bull: Ethical Concerns You Should Know About

Blue-Eyed Pit Bull: Ethical Concerns You Should Know About

The popular Pit Bull is a dog loved by many due to its goofy and affectionate nature. While the Pit Bull is not officially recognized by AKC as a standalone breed, it does not make them any less special!

After noticing many Pit Bull puppies with blue eyes, it is common to wonder if Pit Bulls can have blue eyes as adults. This article aims to answer all your blue-eyed Pit Bull related questions.

The Four Types of Pit Bulls

The dog we generally recognize as the Pitbull is actually a blanket term that covers four different breeds. Whenever you hear someone mention Pit Bulls, they refer to either the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Pitbull or Pit Bull – one or two words?

Both spelling/spacing versions of Pit Bull will be understood by many. However, if you aim to be as accurate as possible, the more accepted version is Pit Bull (two words).

Take a look at the official terms for ‘American Pit Bull Terrier,’ and you will notice it is broken down into two words. Overall, if you use one version or the other, there is no need to worry.

Are blue-eyed Pit Bulls rare?

Yes and no. You may have noticed that all the Pit Bull puppies you have seen have ‘blue eyes’. This is due to a lack of melanin these puppies have when they are born.

As time goes on and they age, they will develop more melanin. The darker brown eyes that you are accustomed to are a result of this.

Fun Fact: Pit Bulls Technically Don’t Have Blue Eyes

Eye color can be very tricky to perceive!

Just like with humans, you may think that someone has blue eyes, but they are actually gray. The same goes with Pit Bulls.

According to Kristopher Irizzary from the College of Veterinary Medicine, any dog you think has blue eyes, lacks pigment in their eyes. Therefore, the eyes could not really be blue.

Light that enters a Pit Bull’s (or any other blue-eyed dog) eyes is scattered back out and makes it seem like it is blue.

What kind of Pit Bulls have blue eyes?

All kinds of Pit Bulls are born with blue eyes, however, some keep their blue eyes as a result of genetics. Certain genes will allow adult Pit Bulls to have blue eyes, and sometimes it comes at a cost.

Are All Pit Bulls Born With Blue Eyes?

Since melanin production does not begin until a few weeks into puppy development, all puppies are born with those adorable baby blue eyes. The change into their adult color gradually as melanin increases.

Dog Breeds With Naturally Blue Eyes

Here are some dog breeds that have blue eyes without the risks blue-eyed Pit Bulls have.

  • Siberian Husky
  • Border Collie
  • Australian Shepherd
  • Catahoula Leopard Dog

Curious about dogs with naturally blue eyes? Check out this Siberian Husky German Shepherd Mix Guide.

Three Main Causes of Blue Eyes in Pit Bulls

Brown is by far the most common eye color for a Pit Bull to have as an adult. Healthy Pit Bulls will often have this color of eyes, but you will encounter a healthy blue-eyed adult Pit Bull once in a while.

There are a few reasons Pit Bulls can have blue eyes, some good and some not so good. Here is the breakdown.

Melanin Levels (Why Puppies Have Blue Eyes)

Just like humans, the pigment of a dog’s skin, fur, and eye color are dependent on the level of melanin. The more melanin present, the darker the pigment.

Melanin is a natural skin pigment that gives color to skin, hair, and eyes. It provides some protection from the sun and is produced by cells called melanocytes.

Since Pit Bulls build their melanin up as they age, they end up with brown eyes when they are adults. Sometimes, Pit Bulls will develop blue eyes from a lack of melanin. This is caused by a gene known as the M (Merle) locus gene.

Albinism in Dogs

The condition known as ‘albinism‘ is not limited to a specific dog breed. It is a rare genetic mutation referred to as tyrosinase. Partial albinism exists as well and is known as tyrosinase positive.

A true albino dog has zero pigmentation. On the other hand, a white dog may carry the genetics for white pigmentation or could be a partial albino.

The Merle Gene

Although the Merle coat is beautiful, it comes with certain health risks. The Merle gene is a dominant gene known to cause deafness, blindness, and sun sensitivity (resulting in skin cancer).

These health risks typically do not show up in homozygous merles (two merle parents) but often show up in dogs whose parents both carry the gene.

The Merle gene can cause a lack of pigment in vital areas such as the inner ears and eyes. Because of this, the dog’s skin is made vulnerable.

Argument Against The Merle Health Controversy

To provide you with both sides of the argument, be sure to check out the Pit Bull registry. You will find a description of the APBR Merle Research Study which claims that there “no proven increase in the potential health issues above that of the normal Pit Bull population.”

For the best source of information, be sure to consult your local veterinarian.

The ALX4 Gene – The Blue Eye Gene

We already know that ALX4 is essential for the development of eyes. It is believed that the ALX4 gene might have an influence over dogs with blue eyes.

Please see the study ‘Direct-to-consumer DNA testing of 6,000 dogs reveals 98.6kb duplication associated with blue eyes and heterochromia in Siberian Huskies‘ for more information.

Do All Blue-Eyed Dogs Go Blind?

No, not every dog with blue eyes is going to go blind eventually. The cause of the dog’s blue eyes is more of the reason health issues exist. Since Pit Bulls are not one of the dogs that have normally occurring blue eyes, there are sometimes underlying health problems that go hand in hand with blue eyes.

The two main known causes are the merle gene and albinism. So when you are looking for breeders, be sure to check if the Pitbull with blue eyes is a cause of intentional breeding or something that has naturally occurred.

Are Pit Bulls With Blue Eyes Accepted as Standard?

Because a merle coat pattern is seen as an indication of a potentially mixed bloodline, it is not accepted by the APBT breed standard.

Ethics of Breeding Pit Bulls With Blue Eyes

In no way do I support the breeding dogs to produce certain colors or color patterns. It goes against the dog’s interests as this kind of breeding often has negative impacts on the dog’s health.

Ethical Breeders will put forth the best interests of their dogs by focusing on health, conformation, and temperament. Adhering to these qualities gives dogs the opportunity to live a high quality of life.

Photos of Blue-Eyed Pit Bulls With Different Coat Colors and Patterns

You may be curious at this point about what Pit Bulls with blue eyes look like. Please view the photos below for education purposes, and refrain from seeking out breeders who produce dogs solely based on the possibility of having certain coat colors and/or patterns.

Pit Bull With Blue Eyes


Pit Bull With Blue Eyes


Pit Bull With Blue Eyes


Pit Bull With Blue Eyes


Pit Bull With Blue Eyes


You will notice that Pit Bulls can have a huge variety of coat colors. These coat colors include gray, white, black, tan, blue nose, red nose, merle/brindle, and blonde. All are beautiful in their own ways.

Cost of Blue-Eyed Pit Bulls

Like many other purebred dogs, you can spent as low as the high hundreds or a few thousand dollars. It will cost more to purchase healthy pups from a quality breeder, however it could save you money in the long run.

An unhealthy pup will ultimately incur many costs like hospital bills and medications. Be sure to do your research when looking up local Pit Bull dog breeders.

Overview of the Pit Bull Dog

As you now know, the Pit Bull dog can be broken down into four different dog breeds. This includes the American Bully, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

These dog breeds come with many stigmas based on falsehoods spread about the Pit Bull dog breeds. Since the Pit Bull is not even one dog breed but four, these untruths impact many innocent dogs.

Like the saying goes, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners. This is especially true in this situation. Due to the naturally strength and athletic ability of these dog breeds, many of them have been exploited by humans.

Pit Bulls have experienced neglect from owners who acquired them as status symbols, while others will go as far as to bet on them in dog fights. Pit Bull dog fights have made the news numerous times (the news stations love a good story after all), and painted them in a negative light.

As result, if you are preparing to adopt or purchase a Pit Bull or even a Pit Bull mix, expect to get apartment applications turned down. If you own your home, please do not become offended when people cross the street as you walk your dog.

As a German Shepherd owner, I understand the struggle. Living in a larger city, I would have thought I could more easily get a place with my GSD. Unfortunately, almost every single place would not accept my dog due to her breed.

If you think you are able to give your dog the awesome life full of love that they deserve, read on to find out which Bull Dog breed is right for you. You will find raising and living with one of these dogs to be extremely rewarding!

American Pit Bull Terrier

American Pit Bull Terrier

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a breed that is recognized by the UKC, but not the AKC. These dogs stem from the 19th century with terriers and bull dog breeds as their ancestors.

In the late 19th century, American Pit Bull Terriers were bred in the United States. Unfortunately, American owners bred to fight in dogfighting rings.

Despite this gloomy history, this dog breed often thrives in homes that give plenty of love and use positive dog training. Be sure to provide your American Pit Bull Terrier with plenty of exercise, though, as they have plenty of energy!

American Bully

American Bully

The American Bully is another dog breed that is not officially recognized by the AKC but is by the UKC (2013). This breed was developed after the American Pit Bull Terrier, using the Terrier as the foundation breed.

The American Bully has a muscular body, and is bred to be affectionate and friendly. Many describe the American Bully as being particularly gentle with children. Like the American Bull Dog Terrier, do not forget to give your buddy lots of exercise.

American Staffordshire Terrier

American Staffordshire Terrier

The American Staffordshire Terrier has a history rooted in England. They tend to be a bit larger than the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The AST has a less sad background than the other Pit Bull breeds as they have been used more for farming than fighting.

Still, always make sure you check if your American Staffordshire Terrier gets along with your other pets before adopting. If all is clear, you will enjoy a playful and loyal companion.

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier is the smallest of the bunch but has just as much love to give! This dog was developed in the 19th century with the intent of being used in dogfighting.

Some say that this dog is best in a one pet household as they prefer to be around people versus other dogs. While a Staffordshire Bull Terrier may get along with other animals, every dog is an individual. Be sure to schedule a meet and greet first.

All this aside, this breed is very affectionate, like the other Pit Bull breeds. If you make sure you take good care of them, they will make you feel like the best dog owner in the world!

Final Thoughts

Since it is improbable a Pit Bull with blue eyes became that way naturally, it is important to get details on your breeder’s practices. Health certificates should show that the Pit Bull does not have the merle gene.

If you are dead set on getting a dog with blue eyes, then the Pit Bull probably isn’t for you. Try looking for dogs who have the blue eye gene without the risks.

Good luck on your pup search!

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