Why Are Siberian Husky Eyes Blue?
- Pieter Maas
According to Irizarry, the mutation of the ALX4 gene in Siberian huskies seems to result in decreased pigment production in the eye. The lack of pigment causes the eye to appear blue. ‘There’s no blue pigment.
Are Siberian huskies the only dogs with blue eyes?
Yasser Alghofily/Flickr At-home DNA kits have become a popular way to learn more about one’s ancestry and genetic makeup—and the handy tests aren’t just for humans, either. Dog owners who want to delve into their fluffy friends’ family history and uncover the risks of possible diseases can choose from a number of services that screen doggie DNA.
As Kitson Jazynka reports for National Geographic, one of these services, Embark Veterinary, Inc., recently analyzed user data to unlock an enduring canine mystery: How did Siberian huskies get their brilliant blue eyes? Piercing peepers are a defining trait of this beautiful doggo. According to the new study, published in PLOS Genetics, breeders report that blue eyes are a common and dominant trait among Siberian huskies, but appear to be rare and recessive in other breeds, like Pembroke Welsh corgis, old English sheepdogs and border collies.
In some breeds, like Australian shepherds, blue eyes have been linked to patchy coat patterns known as “merle” and “piebald,” which are caused by certain genetic mutations. But it was not clear why other dogs—chief among them the Siberian husky—frequently wind up with blue eyes.
Hoping to crack this genetic conundrum, researchers at Embark studied the DNA of more than 6,000 pooches, whose owners had taken their dogs’ saliva samples and submitted them to the company for testing. The owners also took part in an online survey and uploaded photos of their dogs. According to the study authors, their research marked “the first consumer genomics study ever conducted in a non-human model and the largest canine genome-wide association study to date.” The expansive analysis revealed that blue eyes in Siberian huskies appear to be associated with a duplication on what is known as canine chromosome 18, which is located near a gene called ALX4.
This gene plays an important role in mammalian eye development, leading the researchers to suspect that the duplication “may alter expression of ALX4, which may lead to repression of genes involved in eye pigmentation,” Aaron Sams of Embark tells Inverse ‘s Sarah Sloat.
- The genetic variation was also linked to blue eyes in non-merle Australian shepherds.
- Just one copy of the mutated sequence was enough to give dogs either two blue eyes, or one blue and one brown eye, a phenomenon known as “heterochromia.” It would seem, however, that duplication on chromosome 18 is not the only factor influencing blue eye color: Some dogs that had the mutation did not have blue eyes.
More research into this topic is needed to understand the genetic mechanisms at work when it comes to blue-eyed dogs. But the study shows how at-home DNA kits can be highly valuable to scientists, providing them with a wealth of genetic samples to study.
“With 6,000 people getting DNA samples from their dogs and mailing them to a centralized location and then filling out a website form detailing all the traits of their dog—that’s a game-changer for how genetics is being done in the 21st century,” Kristopher Irizarry, a geneticist with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University of Health Sciences, tells National Geographic ‘s Jazynka.
The benefits of having access to such huge troves of data go further than uncovering nifty insights into our canine companions. Scientists are also teaming up with at-home DNA test companies to learn more about human genetics and behavior. DNA Dogs Genetics New Research Recommended Videos
Do pure huskies have blue eyes?
Huskies are a medium-sized, thick-furred sled dog breed largely associated with polar regions, They’re as known for their blue eyes as they are for their triangle ears and distinctive, wolflike markings. Though it’s one of their most distinguishing and celebrated features, not all huskies have blue eyes.
- They have just as much chance of being brown-eyed and a smaller chance of having bi-colored eyes (also called heterochromia) or parti-colored (blue mixed with brown) eyes.
- Very rarely, they can even have green irises.
- Huskies’ eye color boils down to genetics.
- More specifically, it’s a result of a mutation that reduces their eye pigmentation.
Learn more about the science behind huskies’ characteristic blue eye color.
Is a Husky more dog or wolf?
Huskies and Hybrids: Domesticated Dogs or Wild Animals? – All dogs are a subspecies of wolves, and a dog-wolf hybrid lives up to its name. Sometimes referred to as a “wolfdog,” a hybrid is a canine cross of domestic dog and any species of wolf. Despite its wolf-like pointy ears, long coat, and general skittishness, the husky is a breed of domesticated dog and not a hybrid at all.
- Huskies are classified as a spitz breed, along with other longhaired working dogs, including the and the Alaskan Malamute.
- Spitzes are characterized by fur that’s long and thick, pointed muzzles and ears, and a curly tail that may prominently droop.
- One of the most notable visual differences between a spitz and wolf is the eyes—wolves have almond-shaped eyes, while a husky’s eyes are round.
Furthermore, a wolf’s tail does not curl. Hybrids can be more difficult to identify as they tend to look and behave more like wolves. Genetic testing may be the only definitive way to determine if your canine is part wolf.
Is Husky aggressive dog?
Are Husky dangerous? – Huskies are not an aggressive or dangerous dog breed. They were not developed to guard or defend their property or owner. Unfortunately, plenty of preventable bite incidents happen every year in the USA. Even though Huskies are generally good with children, these can occur if kids do not respect the boundaries of the dogs.
What is the smartest dog?
1. Border collie – According to The Intelligence of Dogs, which ranks 131 dog breeds in terms of their relative intelligence, the border collie is the smartest dog breed known to man. Need proof? Chaser, a linguistically gifted border collie from South Carolina, could recognize over 1,000 words.
- But it’s not just a matter of being “book smart.” A descendant of European herding dogs that lived along the rocky borders of England, Scotland, and Wales, the border collie was bred to be crafty enough and athletic enough to survive the treacherous landscape.
- It’s also blessed with a strong work ethic.
The AKC, which recognized the breed in 1995, describes the border collie not only as “smart, affectionate, and energetic,” but also as a “remarkably bright workaholic.” Border collie owners should be prepared to provide their doggo with lots of mental and physical stimulation, according to the AKC.
|Smartest dog in the world|
|Height:||18 to 22 inches|
|Weight:||30 to 55 pounds|
|Life expectancy:||12 to 15 years|
What are black Huskies called?
The agouti color gene – Agouti is a gene occurring in multiple different types of animals, such as horses, mice and also dogs. It is responsible for the amount and distribution of melanin (causing black/dark coloring). In dogs, there are different representations of the gene, which can cause a dog to look fawn or sable (like in German Shepherds or King Shepherds ), have tan points or a coloring of the wild-type.
Is a black Husky rare?
Your Black Husky – Black Siberian Huskies are beautiful dogs. Black as a base color is not very unusual in Huskies, but most black Husky puppies also have white markings, called the piebald pattern. Before you commit to bringing a Husky home, be very honest with yourself about whether you can provide the kind of lifestyle they need, and make sure they come from health tested parents.
Do blue-eyed huskies go blind?
Are Blue Eyes In A Dog Bad? – Blue eyes in dogs are completely normal and aren’t linked with any health problems. Certain breeds, such as Siberian husky, carry a gene for blue eyes and don’t experience any vision defects because of it. However, eye diseases such as cataracts and glaucoma can change a dog’s eye color to blue gradually.
Do malamutes have blue eyes?
Appearance – Red and white female Alaskan Malamute. Alaskan Malamute with saddle black and white coat. The American Kennel Club (AKC) breed standard describes a natural range of size, with a desired size of 23 inches (58 cm) tall and 75 pounds (34 kg) for females, 25 inches (64 cm) tall and 85 pounds (39 kg) for males.
- Heavier individuals (90 lb (41 kg)) and dogs smaller than 75 pounds (34 kg) are commonly seen.
- There is often a marked size difference between males and females.
- Weights upwards of 100 pounds (45 kg) are also seen.
- The coat of the Alaskan Malamute is a double coat.
- The undercoat has an oily and woolly texture and can be as thick as two inches.
The outer guard coat is coarse and stands off the body longer at the withers but not more than one inch off the sides of the body. Ears are small in proportion to the head and stand firmly erect when at attention. The Alaskan Malamute is a heavy dog, with a more formidable nature and structure than the Siberian Husky, which is bred for speed.
The Alaskan Malamute is bred for power and endurance, which is its original function and what the standard of the breed requires of Alaskan Malamute breeders. The usual colors are various shades of grey and white, sable and white, black and white, seal and white, red and white, or solid white. There are a wide range of markings in the breed including face markings, blazes, a splash at the nape of the neck, and a collar or half collar.
White is often the predominant color on the body, parts of the legs, feet, and part of the markings of the face. In terms of color variants, some Malamutes exhibit a dark grey to buff-colored undertone around their trimmings and white areas, presenting with a color-linked gene known as Agouti,
- Two agouti alleles, with the possibility of a third, appear to be found in Malamutes: aw (Agouti Pattern or Wolf/Wild Pattern), at (Tan Point Pattern or Black Pattern), and awat (Heterozygous Agouti or Dark Agouti).
- The eyes of the Alaskan Malamute are almond-shaped and are varied shades of brown; however, the darker eye is preferred.
Purebred Alaskan Malamutes will not have blue eyes. The physical build of the Malamute is compact and strong with substance, bone and snowshoe feet. According to the AKC breed standard, the Malamute’s tail is well furred and is carried over the back like a waving plume.
- Corkscrew tails are occasionally seen but are faulted in the AKC breed standard (a corkscrew tail is commonly seen in the Akita ).
- The Malamutes well-furred tails aid in keeping them warm when they curl up in the snow.
- They are often seen wrapping the tail around their nose and face, which presumably helps protect them against harsh weather such as blowing snow.
Their ears are generally upright, wedge-shaped, small in proportion to the head and set to the side of the skull. The muzzle is deep and broad, tapering slightly from the skull to the nose. Nose and gums are black but some Malamutes have a snow nose, which is black with a pink undertone that can get darker or lighter, depending on the season.