Dog Health, Fenrir

Heterochromia in Pets

February 17, 2022

I’ve had my Alaskan Klee Kai, Fenrir, for over 6 years now.  Since his debut on the blog, I get SO many questions about his eyes.  Fen has two different colored eyes, or heterochromia.  His left eye is a beautiful light/ice blue, while the right is a very dark brown.  Heterochromia is common in certain breeds of dogs, such as Alaskan Klee Kai, Australian shepherds, and huskies.  It can also be common in dogs with dapple, or merle coloration.

Different in Looks Only…

Heterochromia in dogsThe question I seem to get most often is whether or not Fenrir can see normally.  He can!  Both of his eyes are healthy and he can see just as well as any other dog.

Heterochromia in dogs can occur for a number of reasons.  Sometimes it can be caused by an injury or defect in the eye.  In Fenrir’s case, it’s just genetics.  Dogs born with two different colored eyes are often referred to as being bi-eyed.  Scientifically, it’s called heterochromia iridum.

Fenrir has what’s called complete heterochromia, which means that his eyes are two completely different colors.  There are other forms of heterochromia where only parts of the eye differ in color.  Central heterochromia is the most common type.  That’s when the center ring of the eye, around the pupil, is a different color than the rest of the iris.  Sectoral heterochromia, which can also be common in certain northern breed dogs, is when one, or both, eyes have sections of different colors.

Heterochromia, although rare, also occurs in other animal species – humans included!

I love Fenrir’s eyes.  They were one of the first things that drew me to him when I saw him for the first time.  Once in awhile we get some negative comments about them but, in general, people seem to react positively to Fen’s unusual eyes.  Not that it matters what other people think.  What matters most is that Fenrir is a happy, healthy pup!

Comment below!  What color are your pets’ eyes?  Have you ever shared your life with an animal with heterochromia, or some other unique eye color?

Heterochromia in dogs

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  • Reply Terri February 19, 2022 at 8:24 pm

    I LOVE Fen’s eyes! They are beautiful! Great information on what heterochromia is all about.

    By the way, do you know that Native Americans say that those born with one brown eye and one blue can see into Heaven and earth at the same time? It’s kind of a cool thought and a different way of looking at those beautiful eyes.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack February 21, 2022 at 11:27 am

      Thanks! I have read that before about Native Americans and heterochromia. It’s so interesting! We joke sometimes that Fen’s got two different colored eyes because one is his good side and one is his naughty side, lol. Kind of like having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other.

  • Reply Marjorie at Dash Kitten February 19, 2022 at 10:38 pm

    I can understand people asking if he can see partly because for me as a cat person blue eyed cats are often deaf, crooked logic maybe but there you go. It certainly adds to his beauty and charm and actually knowing it has an official ‘name’ is so much fun. Don’t you love exotic and amazing things your dog is or does?

    PS Who on earth would dare make less than positive comments about Fenrir. Let me at ’em!!!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack February 21, 2022 at 11:23 am

      I know double merle dogs often have blue eyes and are also commonly blind and/or deaf. Maybe those types of situations are where the questions stem from. I never thought of that!

  • Reply Nikki February 19, 2022 at 11:44 pm

    Fenrir’s eyes are gorgeous! He’s definitely a unique pup. 🙂 My own pup’s eyes have what look like “freckles” – these are totally normal (they have had them since being puppies) but I was informed by a specialist to monitor them. Because if they change in size/shape that could indicate a cancer.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack February 21, 2022 at 11:21 am

      Your pup’s eyes sound cool! Hopefully they stay healthy and never turn cancerous.

  • Reply Kamira February 20, 2022 at 2:12 pm

    Fen is a cutie pie. I never had dogs however I have seen some beautiful Huskies with heterochromia. I never knew that heterochromia can also be caused by a defect or injury to the eye. I learned something new today.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack February 21, 2022 at 11:20 am

      It’s interesting right? I had a (human lol) friend once who had heterochromia caused by an injury to one of her eyes.

  • Reply Ruth Epstein February 20, 2022 at 9:39 pm

    People are weird as I call them especially those that are negative. Layla has brown eyes which I love and I have never had a dog with this condition. Fen is so handsome and his eyes make him unique.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack February 21, 2022 at 11:18 am

      Brown eyes are nice too! My Kitsune has brown eyes 🙂

  • Reply Dorothy "FiveSibesMom" February 21, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    I love the eyes! Huskies can be “bi-eyed” or as in my Gibson’s case, he had a “parti-eye” where one was two colors! I think it really is a beautiful trait. Great post! I also love your blog redesign!

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