What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone for the first time?
In many cases it’s their eyes.
More specifically the color of their eyes.
Are they piercing blue?
Whatever their eye color, we make initial assumptions about the new person, their likely personality and whether we’re going to like them by the color of their eyes. And we do all that in a fraction of a second on a deep psychological level.
It’s what we do because it’s the way we’re wired.
So what about dogs?
It is the same when it comes to dogs.Their eyes tell us so much.
Whether they seem warm and friendly and draw us to them… or whether they are cold and icy. Enough to warn us to give them a wide birth and stay away.
While it is certainly true that most of our four legged companions have brown eyes, would it surprise you to know that some have ice blue, speckled, amber (warm hold) or even hazel colored eyes? And that each color evokes a different response in us?
For example, we rarely feel comfortable around an Alaskan husky with piercingly cold ice blue eyes. Now, that doesn’t mean that the blue eyed dog can’t be a wonderful companion but it does usually mean we have to get past our initial reaction before we can really ‘warm’ to the dog.
So what’s the most common eye color in our dogs?
Regarded as the favorite color for a dogs' eyes by many people, breeds with brown eyes originated in the global warmer climates of years ago. Dogs, like humans, developed brown eyes to protect against bright sun light and damage from ultra violet radiation.
But is there some other color that we love?
There is a variation of brown eye coloring that is prevalent among certain breeds of dogs that many of us find particularly attractive and even endearing. That is amber (also known as warm gold).
Dogs with amber eyes have less melatonin in their irises than dogs with dark brown liquid eyes. This variation has its origins in the genetics of the specific breed of dog.
Amber eyes result when eumelanin (a pigment) produced by the dog is diluted, or it’s modified by recessive genes in the B or D series.
Amber eyes in dogs are haunting, they're like windows that can see into our soul! Naturally, we're drawn to them.
What breeds of dogs have amber eyes?
There are a number of pure bred dogs recognized in the AKC breed standard for their amber eye coloring.
The top 10 dogs with amber eyes are:
- Irish Water Spaniel
- Australian Shepherd
- Ibizan Hound
- Chesapeake Bay Retriever
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Pharaoh Hound
- Neapolitan Mastiff
- Anatolian Shepherd Dog
At first glance when looking at that list many people will believe that amber eyes are associated with ferocious animals. (Remember the comments about psychological reactions above?)
However, that is not necessarily the case. The color of a dog's eyes has nothing to do with its personality or it’s temperament.
Let's take a closer look at these amber-eyed dogs.
Irish Water Spaniel
What’s not to love at first sight, aside from their soulful amber eyes?
Fluffy, adorable, curly hair and floppy ears.
Irish Water Spaniels are playful, hardworking and brave and thrive on affection. Sure they need a lot of exercise and love a good swim, but they’re just as content when they curl up at their owners feet and take a quick nap.
It's quite impossible to not love this sweet face and those amber eyes!
What an amazing breed of dog that just about any family will love.
Australian Shepherds are highly-intelligent, work-orientated and very playful most suited for active individuals.
As a breed, they were originally bred to herd livestock so they'll exhibit strong signs of herding behavior and will herd anything from dogs to kids!
Originally bred to hunt rabbits, the Ibizan Hound hails from the Spanish island of Ibiza.
They have a short coat, long and lanky build, beautiful amber or caramel eyes and big prominent ears!
They make great pets, are highly-affectionate, even-tempered and love human company. Great choice of dog for families but be warned they are a high-energy dog so they need ample space to vent out their pent up engines.
The Sloughi (SLOO-ghee), nicknamed the "Arabian Greyhound" has a reserved, graceful and noble temperament. Their eye color is shades of dark brown to dark amber.
It hails from North Africa and was originally bred to hunt game like like fox, hare, and gazelles. They grow to be between 45 and 75 lbs in weight and 24 to 29 inches in height.
This African dog breed is a gentle dog and perfect family pet. They're not aggressive to strangers and will keep aloof and use a "wait and see" approach but are extremely loving to their human families.
The one thing to be mindful when caring for a Sloughi is to make sure they get plenty of exercise to release that pent up hunting energy. If you let them in the back yard make sure you have a high fence since they can jump quite high!
Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Just look into his amber soulful eyes and you will just know this dog is kind-natured and will be oh so affectionate.
Unlike other retrieves, Chesapeake Bay Retrievers may not be quite so friendly toward strangers however they will be extremely protective of their families - and especially children ‘in their care’.
They love outdoor activities such as running at top speed and their waterproof coats are ideal for swimming.
Beautiful velvety ears and those amber eyes make this a dog to die for as far as so many people are concerned.
Because Weimaraners love children - and show considerable patience and tolerance when interacting with them - this breed is an exceptional family pet. If a young child falls asleep, the dog will often curl up and sleep alongside the child, in protection mode.
The Weimaraner needs plenty of exercise, more so than many other breeds. They would much rather be allowed to run rather than just walk so access to open spaces is to be desired.
Take note, Weimaraners have a big appetite, according to the American Kennel Club, "they will eat their dinner and then try to eat the bowl". Feed them high quality dog food with moderate protein content and consider adding water to their dry food.
From your first interaction, you will just know how affectionate these dogs are and that in their minds, they exist to please you.
The Rhodesian Ridgeback bred in South Africa to hunt lions are strong and fearless. This breed is the perfect addition to an active family. They are dignified, devoted and intelligent and will need a home that will provide plenty of outlets to blow off steam.
The Rhodesians' amber eyes match the color of their coats perfectly.
Devoted to their owners, these highly-trainable dogs are never more happy than when included in family activities, especially those held in the open air and wide open spaces.
Take caution: walking a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy off-leash is simply out of the question given their strong prey drive.
The Pharaoh Hound is a sighthound hailing from Malta and were originally tasked with hunting down small prey.
This friendly, smart and noble dog is very affectionate and will settle down quite nicely in a loving home environment.
One caveat: a Pharaoh Hound is among one of the most expensive dog breeds given that they are one of the oldest breeds in existence. Typical price range for this breed will set you back between $2,500 to $6,000.
It's easy to recognize the Neapolitan mastiff - an astonishingly colossal dog covered in profuse wrinkles and folds. Natural guardians, Neapolitan mastiffs range from 26 to 31 inches at the shoulder and can weigh up to 155 pounds.
Coupled with a pair of amber eyes- the Neapolitans are a handsome breed.
He’s strong, confident, and independent, making him more suitable for seasoned dog owners. They are challenging to train and are known to be a little stubborn.
While Neapolitans will laze around when at home, they still require regular exercise though not nearly as much as some other breeds. Take note, the mastiffs will slober over everything, so make sure you've something at hand to catch some of that drool!
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is an ancient breed originating from Turkey known for being a livestock guardian. This longstanding breed is loyal, reserved, and independent.
Additionally, the Anatolian Shepherd is insanely protective of the people they love and are impressively smart and calm.
Anatolian Shepherds are large dogs with heavy heads, standing at 29 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 110 - 150 lbs. They come in multiple color variations, however fawn with a black mask, black ears and amber eyes being the most common.
They're aloof by nature which makes them easy to train but require a strong leader as they can be quite demanding.