Seeing a Rottweiler with blue eyes is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. These dogs already have red carpet-worthy looks with their muscular builds and commanding presence.
To add blue eyes to that mix is really going to make for a memorable dog. But how does a Rottweiler, which normally has brown eyes, end up with blue eyes in adulthood?
This is exactly what we are going to explore in this article.
Rottweiler With Blue Eyes
It is rare to see a purebred Rottweiler dog with blue eyes. However, just because it is rare does not mean it is not possible.
When you see a Rottweiler dog with blue eyes, there are a few possibilities to consider.
The dog might still be a young puppy since most puppies are born with blue eyes.
The dog might also be a hybrid or mixed-breed dog who inherited blue eyes from the non-Rottweiler parent dog.
Or the dog might be a Rottweiler with blue eyes.
See a Rottweiler With Blue Eyes
In this short video, you can see an adorable Rottweiler puppy who has bright blue eyes.
However, just like with any other appearance trait in a purebred dog like the Rottweiler, blue eyes can appear along a color spectrum.
Some Rottweilers may have darker or lighter blue eyes as well. In some cases, it may be hard to determine if the eyes are truly blue or if they are black. In this case, only genetic testing can clear up the confusion.
What Does the Rottweiler Breed Standard Say About Blue Eyes?
Purebred Rottweiler dog breeders use the official dog breed standard as their guide.
Let’s take a quick look at what each club’s breed standard has to say about Rottweilers with blue eyes.
AKC breed standard (American)
In the American Rottweiler breed standard, the eyes should be almond in shape and dark brown in color.
The breed standard further specifies that yellow eyes are considered a serious breed fault and that eyes of any color other than dark brown are considered a fault.
ADRK breed standard (German)
In the German Rottweiler breed standard, the eyes should be almond in shape and dark brown in color.
The breed standard goes on to say that light eye color is considered a fault.
Furthermore, as von der Musikstadt Rottweiler kennel explains, the German breed standard provides breeders with an eye color chart.
The chart ranges from 1a, the deepest darkest brown/black, all the way to 6, which is a very light amber color.
Nowhere in this chart is the color blue. In fact, blue is a disqualifying color according to the German breed standard eye color chart.
So here, it is easy to see why most purebred Rottweiler breeders might not be keen to breed a Rottweiler puppy that grows up to have blue eyes.
However, it can happen and occasionally does happen.
But as Fere Perfectum Rottweilers kennel explains, it may or may not matter to you what color eyes your Rottweiler grows up to have.
If you want to show your dog in purebred dog competitions or you want to breed purebred show-quality Rottweilers, it will definitely matter.
But if your primary goal for owning a Rottie is to have a wonderful companion canine, then perhaps the only reason you want to learn about how Rottweilers can have blue eyes is just for your own knowledge and understanding.
How Does a Rottweiler Dog Get Blue Eyes?
To understand how a Rottweiler who is supposed to have dark brown eyes can get blue eyes instead, it is necessary to have at least a very basic grasp of canine genetics.
Dog Coat Colour Genetics explains how the basics of canine color genetics work.
There are two main genes that control all the colors you see on a dog: eyes, gums, skin, nose, coat, etc.
Eumelanin: the gene that codes for black
The first gene is called eumelanin. This pigment gene codes for eyes, skin, nose, and coat and produces black or various shades of black.
Eumelanin can only produce other shades in the black spectrum when it works together with other genes to do this. Other shades can include anything from a very light gray or blue all the way to the darkest shade of blue/black or basic black.
Phaeomelanin: the gene that codes for red
The second is the phaeomelanin. This pigment gene codes just for coat color and produces red or various shades of red.
Like with eumelanin, phaeomelanin can only produce colors other than basic red when it works with other genes in the canine genome to produce these colors.
We won’t talk more about phaeomelanin in this article, since it does not have anything to do with producing canine eye color.
So now you understand that when a purebred adult Rottweiler has blue eyes, it has something to do with the eumelanin pigment gene.
Four Basic Ways a Dog Can Have Blue Eyes
Beyond the simple mechanics of pigment genes, Dog Coat Colour Genetics explains that there are four basic ways a dog can grow up to have blue eyes.
Not all of these ways apply to the Rottweiler purebred dog breed, but they may apply if the Rottweiler in question is actually a hybrid or mixed dog breed that has been crossed with a different dog breed that has blue eyes, such as the Siberian Husky.
Here are the four basic ways a Rottweiler can have blue eyes:
1. The dog has a separate gene that codes for blue eyes
Traditionally, the Rottweiler does not have this gene. However, the Siberian Husky does.
2. The dog has albinism
Albinism is quite rare and dogs, in general, do not typically have full albinism. However, partial canine albinism is possible and can produce red, pink, or blue eyes.
3. The dog has the merle gene
The merle gene is very controversial because it is linked with certain heritable (genetic) health issues as well as with blue eyes.
Merle genes can also produce heterochromia or two different color eyes such as brown and blue. And merle genes can produce split eyes or bi-color eyes where each eye has two or even three colors.
While it is not well documented to date, it is possible for Rottweiler purebred dogs to carry the recessive merle gene, which can lead to a Rottweiler having blue eyes in adulthood.
As the International Federation for Rottweilerfriends explains, it takes some complicated genetics for a Rottweiler to express the merle gene.
When a Rottweiler inherits the merle gene from only one dog parent, the concern over the presence of associated health issues is relatively mild.
However, if a Rottweiler puppy inherits the merle gene from both dog parents, leading to what is called a “double merle” puppy, very serious and even fatal health issues can result.
This is why it is so vital to visit the Rottweiler breeder in person if you can, meet both dog parents, view the breed lineage records, and verify that you are purchasing a healthy Rottweiler puppy.
You should also get an initial guarantee of puppy good health from the breeder along with purebred puppy papers and verification that all required health immunizations and pest treatments have been completed.
Any reputable Rottweiler breeder that values its reputation in the dog breeding community will happily provide all of these things to each puppy owner without even being asked.
4. The dog has a wide ring of white around the eyes
When this wide white ring occurs, it is also linked to a lack of pigment similar to what occurs in albinism. This in turn can produce pink, red, or blue eyes.
Another Less Known Reason an Adult Rottweiler Might Have Blue Eyes
There is also a much less well-known fifth reason that can cause a Rottweiler dog to appear to have blue eyes.
As the Humane Society points out, some dogs that have received an older vaccine to protect against hepatitis may develop cloudy corneas.
Cloudy corneas do not always mean cataracts. The live virus in the vaccine has been implicated in causing pigmentation changes in dog eyes. However, that version of the vaccine is no longer in use so you are unlikely to see this in a Rottweiler puppy.
However, dogs that develop cataracts may also appear to have light blue eyes.
If you are adopting an adult Rottweiler rescue dog with blue-appearing eyes, it is worth making sure the dog does not have cataracts, which may require eye surgery and can lead to blindness if left uncorrected.
Now you understand how a Rottweiler can have rare blue eyes and what makes these blue-eyed dogs so unique.