A batch of puppies can be adorable from the first day they are born, but they become even more cute as they start developing and first open their eyes. Unlike human babies, newborn puppies will open their eyes as they grow and reach a certain stage of development. Newborn puppies are born in a pretty much helpless state. They are unable to see, unable to hear, unable to eliminate and unable to regulate their temperatures on their own without the help of their mom. Fortunately, mother dog takes good care of them, and when the time comes, newborn puppies will open their eyes for the very first time as a whole new world ready to explore unveils in front of them.
Protecting Newborn Puppy Eyes
Why are newborn puppy eyes closed? For a very good reason, a newborn puppy's eyes are closed when they are born: protection.
Mother dog undergoes a very short pregnancy compared to some other animals in the animal kingdom. For example, a dog's pregnancy lasts only an average of 63 days whereas a mare's gestation lasts about 11 to 12 months.
This is because dogs are an altricial species, and as such, they are born in an underdeveloped state. When puppies first meet the world, their eyes are therefore sealed tightly shut because they are very fragile and in an underdeveloped state. It's Mother Nature's way, to protect them from bright lights and potential damage from any foreign objects.
A Glimpse into the World
Newborn puppies open their eyes when they are about 10 to 14 days old. During the first day of opening, a newborn puppy's eyesight may not be capable yet of seeing too well. They may detect light and movement, but they may not see details too well as their corneas are still developing.
The puppy's eyesight though will be improving as the days and weeks go by and you will notice this as puppies start to move about more and explore. At about the same time when puppies start opening the eyes, their ear canals will also start opening. However, unlike the eyes, the pup's ear canals will be more fully developed compared to the eyes during this time.
Puppy Eye Color Changes
Why are puppy eyes blue? Newborn puppy eyes are blue with a milky appearance because they lack melanin, the pigment that gives a dog's iris its permanent, adult color.
Those blue eyes are therefore a sign that the puppy's eyes are still immature, explains Stanley Coren in the book "Do Dogs Dream?: Nearly Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know."
As puppies will continue to develop they will develop into their final color. A puppy's eyes will turn their permanent color at around 2 months of age.
Generally, by the age of two months, most puppies will have brown eyes, unless they are genetically predisposed to maintain the blue eye color as seen in certain breeds such as this Siberian husky puppy in the picture.