Rabbits are known for their adorable feet, ears, and soft, fluffy fur. Rabbits have adorable eyes, most of which are light brown, dark brown, or amber. However, there are a few rare eye colors that make rabbits look even more adorable. Many breeders have claimed to observe rabbits with grey-blue or even light-blue eyes, but is that even possible?
Some rabbit breeds can possess blue eyes. Blue eyes in rabbits occur when eumelanin particles in the eyes are small and pheomelanin particles are larger, resulting in a grey-blue appearance. While blue eyes are quite rare in rabbits, the most common breed with blue eyes is the white Vienna rabbit.
In this post, we’ll discuss the rarity of a blue-eyed rabbit, which rabbit breeds can have blue or grey-blue eyes, why blue eyes occur in rabbits, and more. You’ll also find other unique eye colors found in the many rabbit breeds.
Is It Rare for Rabbits to Have Blue Eyes?
Very few rabbit breeds can have blue eyes, making them exceedingly rare in most countries. Rabbits with blue eyes must inherit the rare Vienna Gene from both parents in order to exhibit a distinctive blue hue.
For example, some rabbits have mottled, red, or pink eyes. These colors are quite rare and can be stunning to look at!
If you want to know whether or not your bunny will have blue eyes, it’s best to ask local breeders. If they have several litters with blue eyes, there’s an increased chance that you might get one, too.
Another reason blue eyes are rare in rabbits is that many competitions and professional animal societies don’t recognize them as an official breed. In other words, nobody tracks how many bunnies have blue eyes, so there’s not a reliable percentage that you can count on.
If you’re interested in owning a blue-eyed or grey-eyed bunny, you should know which breeds have an increased chance of genetic mutation. In the following section, we’ll explain why Vienna rabbits are a crucial part of the beautiful blue eyes found in thousands of bunnies around the world.
What Rabbit Breeds Have Blue Eyes?
Rabbits breeds that most commonly display blue eyes include the White Vienna rabbit, Beveren, Netherland Dwarf, and the Polish breeds. However, any two rabbits possessing the Vienna-marked gene can breed to produce a rabbit with blue eyes.
According to Rheaume’s Rabbitry, Vienna rabbits with the Vienna marked gene often spread white fur and/or blue eyes to their offspring. If you want a blue-eyed bunny, this breeding cycle is the safest bet. Some breeders specialize in creating a blue-eyed litter, but there’s no guaranteeing every bunny (or any of them) will have the desired eye color.
For example, you could have two Vienna-marked rabbits (or one Vienna marked and non-Vienna marked rabbit) parents without a single blue-eyed or white-fur bunny.
On the contrary, half of the litter could have blue eyes, and the other half might have brown or amber eyes. Again, predictions are difficult and often pointless until they’re born.
The white American rabbit can have blue eyes, too. However, it’s important to note that many breeders call the white Vienna rabbit a white American rabbit if it’s born in the United States. The breed’s name is changed, but the results and genes are the same.
Some rabbits look like they have blue eyes, pink eyes, red eyes, and many other shades; These appearances are often affected by the rabbit’s eye particles and different melanin shades. Pheomelanin and eumelanin are the two most impactful pigment particles, so let’s dive into them below.
Why Do Some Rabbits Have Blue Eyes?
Rabbits have blue eyes when they inherit the recessive Vienna Gene from both parents. This gene results in small eumelanin particles and large pheomelanin particles producing the appearance of grey, blue-gray, or even bright blue-colored eyes.
Pheomelanin particles exhibit a light brown color, while eumelanin particles manifest a dark brown hue.
As mentioned above, a rabbit’s breed largely dictates whether or not it has a chance to have blue eyes. Ancestry also determines the possibility of blue or grey eyes, but any rabbit with the recessive Vienna trait can have blue eyes if both parents pass on this gene.
It’s important to note that appearance could be deceiving since ultra-light brown eyes can look grey. Combined with the reflection of a blue sky, a rabbit’s eyes might look blue under the right conditions. Even so, the eyes might just be very light brown or amber.
Blue eyes in rabbits can increase the chance of developing blindness and are at increased risk of damage from sun exposure. If you have an indoor bunny, this might not be a big deal. However, owners with outdoor blue-eyed rabbits should still pay close attention to their eyes as they grow older.
Do Baby Rabbits Have Blue Eyes?
Baby rabbits possess blue eyes if they inherit the recessive Vienna gene from both parents. This gene helps increase pigment particles which dampen dark brown shades and highlight lighter blue hues. While a baby rabbit’s eyes may initially look blue, it is most likely the eyes will darken in color over time.
As mentioned above, baby rabbits with blue eyes often change to a darker color as they age. Often, young rabbits will manifest a light brown or grey color over time. This is because the melanin isn’t fully developed; Therefore, there’s no good way to know your rabbit’s true eye color until he is at least a few months of age.
Look at your bunny’s eyes closely to see if there are any shades of brown or grey. This examination will help you discover if any other colors become dominant with age. In rare cases, rabbits can have vibrantly dark-blue eyes for their whole lives!
What Eye Colors Can Rabbits Have?
Some rabbits have mottled variants of brown, amber, or red eyes, but these colors are incredibly rare. Excess exposure to sunlight, genetic mutations, breed, location, ancestry, and many other factors determine a rabbit’s eye color.
The most common rabbit eye colors include:
Brown is the most common rabbit eye color in rabbits. Some rabbits have light brown eyes, while others have such dark brown eyes that they almost look black. However, it’s not possible for a rabbit to have black eyes, so they either have mostly large eumelanin particles or very wide pupils.
Common reasons for a rabbit’s eye color include:
- Red eyes (including dark red, flash red, and light red) are typically a recessive albino rabbit trait. Red eyes are extremely uncommon in bunnies, so you’ll need an albino rabbit to even have a real chance of getting a red-eyed beauty!
- Amber eyes are most commonly found in wild jackrabbits. Unless you own a wild rabbit, you likely won’t have an amber-eyed house bunny.
- Pink-eyed bunnies have an uncommon genetic mutation that dampens the brown shades in favor of reddish, pinkish shades. Your rabbit doesn’t have to be albino to have pink eyes, though.
- Marble-eyed rabbits have a disorder known as sectoral heterochromia. This mutation can cause a rippling, reflecting marble appearance that can look blue or grey. Rabbits with sectoral heterochromia can expirience multiple colors in one iris.
- Rabbits with mottled eyes can have variations of any colors listed above. These rabbit’s eyes often look warped and discolored. Mottled eyes are entirely unpredictable and can occur from countless genetic mutations and disorders. Many people believe mottled eyes to be the rarest eye color for rabbits.
Some rabbits have eyes that lighten as they age. Eyes that lighten with age are not normal and will most likely result in blindness later in life. Whether your rabbit develops poor eyesight from excessive sunlight exposure, diet, lack of exercise, or genetic disorders, it’s best to monitor your rabbit’s eyes throughout its lifespan.
Blindness is often observed as a foggy, light blue color that envelops the eye over time. If you notice any changes in your bunny’s eyes, I recommend visiting a local veterinarian to have your rabbit’s eyes examined. Loving, proactive care can help prevent, or delay, further vision degradation in your pet.
Rabbits can have all sorts of eye colors, including pink, red, blue, grey, amber, and brown. Some of them are rarer than others, but you’ll find plenty of beautiful variations. If you are interested in adopting a rabbit with blue eyes, talk to a local breeder to ensure you receive a blue-eyed rabbit that’s healthy and disease-free.