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Can Bernese Mountain Dog Have Blue Eyes?

I receive a lot of questions from owners about Berners having blue eyes. Is it possible for purebreds to have blue eyes? Do blue eyes impact vision? And how does it happen?

There are many great questions surrounding Berner eye color and this article answers everything you want to know!

Bernese Mountain Dogs can have blue eyes, but it’s quite rare for this breed.

A lack of pigment in the iris is responsible for the blue eye color. This is a condition known as heterochromia.

How Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Get Blue Eyes?

So how exactly do Berners get big beautiful blue eyes? Is it natural, or does it indicate a problem?

What is Heterochromia?

Heterochromia is a hereditary eye condition that affects the amount of melanin (pigment) in the eye.

When there is a lack of pigment or an uneven distribution of it, the color of the iris will change. Little pigment results in blue eyes, whereas sufficient pigment results in brown eyes.

The merle gene is the most common cause of blue eyes (heterochromia) in dogs, yet this genetic pattern isn’t something typically seen in purebred BMDs.

In rare cases, Heterochromia may happen through injury, inflammation, or specific brain tumors.

blue eyes bernese mountain dog

Can Purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs Have Blue Eyes?

Yes, purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs can have blue eyes, although purebreds do not carry the merle gene.

The presence of the merle gene in BMDs suggests mixed breeding somewhere in their bloodline.

If a purebred Berner has blue eyes, then this may have been caused by Albinism, inflammation, injury, or other health issues.

So what can take away from this:

  • Heterochromia (caused by the merle gene) causes blue eye color in dogs
  • Purebred Bernese Mountain Dogs are not said to carry the merle gene
  • Berners with the merle gene likely have mixed genetics in their bloodline
  • Blue eyes in Bernese Mountain Dogs can also be caused by injury, albinism, or brain tumors

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Are Blue Eyed Berners More Prone To Eye Issues

Many owners wonder if those big blue eyes will result in bad vision or eye issues.

Assuming the blue eyes were not caused by injury, inflammation or other health issues, then there is no greater chance of eye issues developing later on, just because of eye color.

After extensive testing, experts have said that inherited blue eyes in dogs do not negatively affect a dog’s vision.

Inherited blue eyes should not worry owners.

Do Bernese Mountain Dog Puppies Have Blue Eyes?

Are Bernese Mountain Dogs born with blue eyes?

Yes, all Berner puppies have blue eyes when born! In fact, all dogs of every breed have blue eyes when they are born. True eye color takes several weeks to develop.

The melanin in the iris takes time to develop, so true eye color won’t be seen for around several weeks (2-3 months).

In some rare cases, it may take up to 4 or 5 months before eye color stops changing and settles.

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Bernese Mountain Dogs & Red Eyes

Why is it that some Berners get red eyes?

In most cases of “red eyes,” we aren’t talking about actual eye color here… Red eyes typically indicate an eye issue that should be addressed.

  • Bernese Mountain Dogs can develop red eyes due to allergies, eyelid ectropion, cherry eye, injury, conjunctivitis, or other health issues.

If you see that your Berner is developing red eyes or irritation then we recommend contacting your veterinarian to discuss the situation.

Red eyes do not always signify serious issues, but it’s definitely something to be checked.

Is It Bad For Bernese Mountain Dogs To Have Blue Eyes?

Assuming the Bernese Mountain Dog has not acquired blue eyes via injury, inflammation, or tumors, then having blue eyes is nothing to worry about.

Blue eyes indeed count as a disqualification according to the AKC breed standard. So many breeders and owners are not too keen on blue-eyed Berners…

The truth, however, is that having blue eyes makes absolutely no difference in terms of their ability to be a fantastic family pet.

What Eye Color Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Usually Have?

The regular and natural eye color of Bernese Mountain Dogs is dark brown.

While Berners can have blue and green eyes, it’s still quite rare. And blue eyes are considered an automatic “fault” by the AKC breed standard.

Do Bernese Mountain Dogs Suffer From Eye Problems?

Bernese Mountain Dogs are prone to some eye problems, as are many breeds.

Three eye problems commonly seen in Bernese Mountain Dogs include:

  1. Progressive retinal atrophy (PRA)
  2. Eyelid ectropion
  3. Cataracts

The truth is that many breeds suffer from eye issues. It’s not just Berners alone!

It’s crucial to keep up to date with bi-yearly health checks with your veterinarian. Sometimes these eye problems can be detected early on with the help of a trained professional.

Unfortunately, with PRA and Cataracts, there’s still no way of completely treating this issue once developed. Surgery might be of use in some cases with cataracts.

Back to more Bernese Moutain Dog articles


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.