Can a Cocker Spaniel have Blue Eyes?

June 13, 2022

You can find a Cocker Spaniel with blue eyes but this is seen as being very rare in adult Cocker Spaniels. Seeing a dog with bright blue eyes can be quite an interesting sight.

It is typically associated with Cockers which have the Merle colour pattern. Although it is worth noting that the American Kennel Club do not accept this colour as a breed standard. Nor do they accept blue-eyed dogs.

This is because these traits tend to result in a dog with more health problems. If a blue-eyed Cocker Spaniel is bred it can result in litters who are blind, deaf or born with other health problems.

What is even more uncommon than blue eyes is a dog with heterochromia (eyes of a different colour). While this isn't known for causing any specific vision problems breeders still prefer not to breed it.

Do Cocker Spaniel Puppies have Blue Eyes?

While those bright blue eyes are very rare amongst adult Cocker Spaniels all puppies actually start out with them.

They stay with your puppy during the first part of their puppy stage. Over the first two weeks, a puppy still has its eyes closed. Around this, they will open their blue eyes and gradually their body produces more melanin. This is the scientific term used to describe pigment.

As your dog's body produces melanin its eyes begin to change colour. Also, their vision develops over this time becoming less blurry. This is what makes the colour of the dog's eyes

During this phase, they will gradually shift from blue to one of the more common eye colours which are black, light brown, or dark brown. This is how it will play out in the majority of cases.

Generally, it takes around a month for the adult colour to come in.

But not all.

If your dog has not developed enough melanin their eyes do not change to one of the other colours.

There is no hard science to back this up apart from saying that there have been parallels drawn between the health concerns and blue eyes. There is a slightly higher chance a dog has blue eyes in adulthood if they have the 'merle' gene.

All of this is very rare though.

And unfortunately, there is no way of telling if their eyes will remain blue.

Is a Blue-Eyed Cocker Spaniel Bad?

Yes. Despite how cute they are a blue-eyed Cocker comes with a few issues over their dark-eyed counterparts.

Firstly, they are far more likely to have health defects in their lives. Some examples include blind puppies or other eye issues, hearing problems even being deaf, and other disabilities which can be debilitating.

Also, if bred there is a good chance that they will pass these issues on to the litter.

For these reasons, the American Kennel Club does not accept blue eyes as a breed standard.

This is also the problem with a double merle pup as mentioned before.


It is possible for Cocker Spaniels to have blue eyes though it is rare to see in adult dogs.

Every Cocker spaniel puppy starts out with blue eyes and in most cases, this will fade away to their adult eye colour as melanin production increases.

Of course, there are owners who swear by double merles or blue eyes as not having other profound disabilities not seen in other dogs.

Examples of this could be Australian Shepherds or Huskies.

I suppose this really comes down to luck of the draw at a certain point though. This condition can afflict American Cockers or English alike.

Just be sure to know the potential risks involved if a breeder tells you they have a blue-eyed dog available. A reputable breeder is unlikely to be having pups with these problems. Breeding Cockers with this problem could be deemed quite unethical.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
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