White dog breeds look nothing short of magic. Their dazzling bright coats make them look like they’re fresh out of a fairy-tale but often, this magnificent hue also serves a purpose. Some white dog breeds have coats to match the crisp snow of the terrain of the country they hail from, whereas others are strategically that colour to keep them cooler in hot climates.
However, there are also related health risks with white dog breeds, as they do have a slightly higher risk of being born deaf due to a hereditary pigmentation gene, and they also have a higher risk of skin problems and sunburn.
10 white dog breeds
From the fluffy Samoyed to the curly coated Bichon Frise, here’s our list of our favourite white dog breeds.
Known far and wide for their big fluffy coat and endearing smile, the Samoyed comes from Siberia where their job was to herd reindeer, pull sleds and hunt. Interestingly, that famous Sammy smile has a purpose and it’s to prevent them from drooling and having icicles form on their faces in the cold climate of their home country. With their great coat comes great responsibility though and they require a tonne of brushing. Expect their undercoat to shed seasonally, but you’ll likely find white fluff on your clothes and sofa all year round.
2. West Highland White Terrier
During the 19th century Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch was hunting a fox and mistook one of his wheaten coloured Cairns for a fox and shot it. The Colonel was so devastated that he decided to only breed white dogs to prevent the same mistake from happening in the future.
Today the West Highland White Terrier makes a super cute companion and they’re also incredibly smart and very confident. Their gorgeous white coat does tend to shed, so you’ll need to make room in your schedule for regular grooming.
3. Bichon Frise
These fluffy and round white dog breeds have one of the friendliest faces in the canine world thanks to their cute black button noses and eyes. Their name is French and is translates to mean ‘fluffy white dog’, but their origins are thought to lie in Tenerife. The Bichon Frise loves to learn and are super easy to train, but underneath that lies a true clown. Every Bichon Frise owner will tell you how much of a canine comedian they are and how their charming personalities brighten their days. Their white curly coat requires regular brushing (around 2-3 times a week) and they’ll also need a professional groomer every 4-8 weeks too.
4. Great Pyrenees
A true gentle giant, the Great Pyrenees is one of the largest white dog breeds and their thick double coats make them look even bigger. Either hailing from Central Asia or Siberia, they got their name as the breed was brought to the Pyrenees Mountains that borders France and Spain to work as herd guardians. Their gorgeous white coat sheds all year round and you’ll need to groom them several times a week and prepare for white fluff to coat every surface you own. However, the good news is that their double coat resists dirt!
5. Coton de Tulear
The nobles were so protective of these dogs that they actually banned common people from having them as they didn’t want them to leave the island, consequently, Coton de Tulears didn’t exist anywhere but Madagascar for centuries. These white balls of fluff come from the same family as the Bichon Frise, however their fur is actually classed as hair and as such, they need frequent brushing to prevent matting.
Coming from the city of Bologna in Northern Italy, the Bolognese is also from the Bichon family but they look much fluffier and have a calmer and more shy personality. Popular with the royals and nobles, the Bolognese was often gifted as companion dogs between different regions and countries. Their fur is considered semi-long and it needs to be brushed at least several times a week to prevent tangling and matting. Some owners choose to clip their Bolognese to make it easier to care for.
Yet another Bichon type, the Havanese possesses similar qualities to other breeds in the family as they’re very sociable and easily trained. Bred to be a companion dog to the Cuban aristocracy in the 1800s, this breed was known as the ‘VelcroVelcro dog’ as they were never far from their owner’s side. This white dog breed has long, silky fur which can turn yellowish if they’re not groomed often, so you’ll need to factor in regular grooms to keep their fur in pristine white condition.
8. Japanese Spitz
The Japanese Spitz is a rare white dog breed with a curled tail and a medium length fluffy coat. Often mistaken for an American Eskimo Dog or a small Samoyed, the breed is descended from white German Spitz dogs that came to Japan, then over the years other Spitz breeds from around the world were imported and added to the breed. The Japanese Spitz of today is alert in appearance with a foxy face and happy, outgoing and super smart in personality.
One of the smallest white dog breeds, the Maltese has a long, silky coat and is commonly depicted with a top knot or bow to keep the hair out of their eyes. Dating back to the Roman Empire, the Maltese was considered a symbol of status and also a fashion statement, so much so that a Roman matron wasn’t classed as fully dressed without a ‘Roman Ladies Dog’ upon her person. In today’s world they continue to be fantastic companions but are also no stranger to competing in dog sports such as agility and obedience.
10. American Eskimo Dog
Often referred to as ‘The Dog Beautiful’ or ‘Eskie’, the American Eskimo Dog is a striking white dog breed with contrasting black eyes. With very lively and active personalities, the breed is naturally curious and loves to learn, making them fantastic at obedience training, tricks and agility. They even used to be circus performers and they travelled the US in the 19th century, wowing audiences with their amazing tricks. Their fluffy, dense coat requires thorough brushing two to three times a week to remove dead hair and to prevent matting.