There's a lot to love about white dog breeds. Their snow-colored coats are a source of distinction (and make for a fun game of hide-and-seek in the winter). And there are so many fabulous names for white dogs! Icicle. Snowflake. Coconut. Marshmallow. Bianca. Vit.
The following pups defy fashion rules by wearing white all year long (yes, even after Labor Day). While each breed on our list comes in a range of colors, they boast the possibility of being either an all-white pooch or one on which white features prominently.
So whether you’re looking for a white dog that’s big or small, fluffy or short-haired, popular or rare, we invite you to take a look at the following snowballs (mostly!) of love.
Cheese. Crepes. Giant towers. Cute dogs. Is there anything the French can’t do? OK, technically, the French bulldog breed got its start in England, but the fine people of France soon swooned over its comedic charms. (How can you not grin at the sight of those fuzzy bat ears?) And France isn’t alone in its adoration. According to 2019 American Kennel Club (AKC) registration statistics, French bulldogs are the fourth most popular dog breed overall in the United States. Why so popular? Perhaps it’s because they’re so conveniently sized (portability can be an important consideration in one’s companion). Or maybe it’s because they play well with people of all ages or that they’re easy to groom and don’t require a lot of exercise. Clearly, there’s lots to love.
Chihuahuas max out at a height of 9 inches and a weight of 6 pounds. Putting these stats into perspective, the tallest of these pocket-sized pups would barely pass the height of a standard No. 2 pencil (7.5 inches), and the largest would only weigh as much as a bag of coffee beans. But if you’ve ever met a Chihuahua, you know they have more than enough sass to compensate for their size. Chis, as they’re affectionately called, aren’t lacking in brains either, making them easy to train. Of course, with their take-charge personality, you might soon find that you are the one being trained.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’d like to be able to pet your dog without having to bend over, you might fancy a Great Dane. These mammoth pups can grow to be a whopping 175 pounds and could easily be mistaken for a miniature horse. Their appetites reflect their size, which is something your wallet should keep in mind (as well as the fact that they will require greater amounts of medicine than smaller breeds).
Now, we know Samoyeds are technically dogs, but we suspect they could pass for fluffy white clouds too. According to the Samoyed Club of America, the correct pronunciation is “Sam-a-YED,” and as if they couldn’t get any more charming, you can also simply refer to them as Sammies. While they may look like angelic marshmallows with legs, Sammies were originally bred to be working dogs in the Arctic (think hunting, herding, and sled-pulling). This means that their minds and bodies will thrive with lots of human interaction and activity—especially outdoors where they can run around and burn off energy. It also means their double-coated fur will need you to burn off some energy brushing (sometimes daily, depending on the time of year). Being this beautiful takes work!
We admit this is a terribly biased category, but we challenge any sheepadoodle doubters to take one look at their woolly, winsome faces without their insides turning to mush. Sheepadoodles have got it all. Fluffy? Check. Goofy? Check. Sweet disposition? Check. Giant teddy bear vibes? Absolutely, check. As their name suggests, these precious pups are a mix between Old English sheepdogs and poodles. This combination is clearly pleasing to the eye, but it’s also a hit in the personality department as they tend to be laid-back companions who will happily join your side during runs and Netflix marathons. In fact, they love their humans so much that separation anxiety can be an issue, but providing a variety of interactive toys and enrichment activities can help.
Again, this category is wildly subjective, but bear with us. There’s something about English springer spaniels’ satiny, wavy fur, large, earnest eyes, and comically floppy ears that feels undeniably classic. But they’re certainly more than just a pretty face. English springer spaniels have earned a reputation for being particularly reliable gundogs, working in tandem with their human partners to hunt and retrieve game birds. They tend to be as eager to please at home as they are in the woods, though these high-energy pooches will need training, regular outdoor exercise, and enrichment activities to be happy and engaged. One of their favorite places to burn calories? Water. Much like a toddler in the presence of rain puddles, English springer spaniels will look for any opportunity to get wet.
The shih tzu seems to have drawn the short straw in the name department (at least when it comes to the English language), or did it? It’s actually pronounced “sheed-zoo” or “sheet-su,” and it means “lion dog,” so who’s laughing now? Moreover, the AKC notes that this royal pup was developed by the Chinese emperor’s imperial breeders, where it spent hundreds of years in the literal lap of luxury. Thankfully, the shih tzu will condescend to live with mere peasants like us these days, though they haven’t lost their love of being perpetually pampered. They are ideal apartment companions (just don’t remind them that they used to live in palaces—touchy subject) and are most content when occupying a bit of cozy real estate on your lap. As with many dogs on this list, that envious mane comes with a cost: daily brushing and weekly baths. It’s a small price to pay to be able to live with royalty.
It will come as no surprise that a dog with “Alaskan” in its name is better suited to the tundra than the tropics. Considered to be one of the oldest sled dogs, the ancestors of the Alaskan malamute were the companions of the Mahlemuts, an Innuit tribe who used the dogs for hunting large game and pulling heavy loads across snowy terrains. Mals, as they’re sometimes called, are built for these tasks. They tend to be around two feet tall and weigh between 75-85 pounds, but let’s be honest—it’s their incredible fur that gets most of the attention. Their double coat features a short, coarse exterior and a soft, dense undercoat that keeps them insulated in the midst of wind, sleet, and snow. But beware: Mals will shed these coats in large, snow-like clumps twice a year (a process called “coat blow”). But as long as you love your malamute so, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!
Good gravy! Is there any creature with a more endearing face than the basset hound? We humbly submit that there is not and suggest you take another look at those sad, drooping eyes if you’re still on the fence. These stout and stocky hounds (“bas” means “low” in French) are known for their noses and are second only to bloodhounds in accuracy. While their stature would make them a formidable foe in a game of limbo, basset hounds are easily tripped up by their long, velvety ears. But the basset hound takes this all in stride and is an affectionate, even-tempered dog breed that thrives on companionship. And if your hound isn’t happy—you’ll know. Their howling can certainly be sweet, but you (and your neighbors) probably might not find it endearing for long.
“Coton de Tulear” (“ko-tone dih too-lay-are”) may sound like something exquisite you’d order at a French patisserie, but it’s a completely different (and dare we say sweeter?) sort of cream puff. Named for the French word for cotton and the breed’s place of origin, the Madagascan port of Tulear, these pearly white balls of fluff certainly live up to the first part of their name.
Interestingly, their luscious locks are considered to be hair, not fur, which contributes to their hypoallergenic status. They’re also low on dander and don’t shed, but they do require regular brushing to avoid matting. Though referred to as the “Royal Dog of Madagascar,” cotons aren’t too elitist to mingle with mere commoners. They’re known for being extremely playful and cheerful and are especially gentle with kids. In fact, cotons are so fond of their royal subjects that they prefer to be in ruling distance at all times, making them ideal for those who spend more time at home than away. (We’re looking at you, work-from-home folks.)
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If you have to think small due to housing constraints, allow us to present another powderpuff for your consideration: the majestic Maltipoo. As you may have guessed, the Maltipoo is a mix between a Maltese and a toy or miniature poodle, and the breed has only been around (at least intentionally) for 20-30 years.
Their size, temperament (gentle, happy, easy to train), hypoallergenic coat, and preference for the indoors make Maltipoos the ideal apartment roommate. (You also won’t have to worry about them hogging the bathroom in the morning or leaving dirty dishes in the sink). However, if you want to remain on good terms with your neighbors, you will likely need to work on minimizing your roommate’s tendency to bark.
Yes, there are indeed brains behind all that beautiful, curly floof. The standard poodle consistently ranks high on lists of the smartest dog breeds. Though poodles are the national dog of France, the breed actually got its start in Germany hundreds of years ago as duck hunters. And while their topiary-like grooming is mostly ornamental now, it once served a practical purpose. Shaving only the legs (minus the joints), neck and tail allowed poodles to move more freely in the water when retrieving game without exposing their organs and joints to the cold. True to their humble, working-class beginnings, these sharp pups still need lots of activity and are always ready for a swim. While they are friendly family dogs, like many geniuses, they need their quiet too and typically do better with older children.
No offense to English springer spaniels, but English pointers, often simply referred to as pointers, may well have the upper hand when it comes to hunting. As the AKC puts it, for these hard-working pups, their name is also their job description. Another trustworthy gundog, the English pointer has been pointing and retrieving game birds for hundreds of years and has earned many devotees. The United Kennel Club says that the pointer’s four most distinctive characteristics include “its long, chiseled head, short ‘bee sting’ tail, strong hunting instincts, and effortless, hard-driving movement.” But don’t worry—they’re still able to mix business with pleasure and can be affectionate companions too (as long as you aren’t a bird, of course).
It rolls right off the tongue: Nor-bo-TEN-spets. These small (20-30 pound) hunting dogs are so rare that, according to the AKC, the Swedish Kennel Club once declared them to be extinct. However, survivors of the breed were later discovered in Northern Sweden and Finland. Though they be but little, Norrbottenspets are certainly fierce as they must hold their own against the climate, terrain, and creatures (hello, moose!) of Scandinavia. And yet, they somehow manage to be kind companions to humans as well—a beautiful balance of grit and grace.
One more thing: In researching white dog breeds, you may be surprised to see information about hearing loss come up. According to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), congenital deafness (that is, deafness that is inherited) is especially common in white dogs. The condition is particularly linked to two pigmentation genes: the merle gene, and the piebald gene. The merle gene is found in dogs like collies, Old English sheepdogs, Shetland sheepdogs, American foxhounds, and Harlequin Great Danes. The piebald gene, on the other hand, is seen in dogs like Dalmatians, English setters, bulldogs, beagles, Samoyeds, Great Pyrenees, and bull terriers.
While the prevalence of congenital deafness among the various breeds hasn’t been well studied yet, OFA says Dalmatians have the highest incidence. 22 percent of all Dalmatians in the U.S. are deaf in one ear, and 8 percent are deaf in both. One reason we don’t have great numbers is that hearing test devices for dogs haven’t been available for very long. Moreover, unless tested, dogs who are deaf in only one ear can appear to have normal hearing.
If you suspect your dog may have hearing loss, contact your veterinarian about scheduling a BAER test, which stands for brainstem auditory evoked response. It detects electrical activity in the cochlea (inner ear cavity that looks like a snail shell) and auditory pathways of the brain much like an electrocardiogram (EKG) detects electrical activity in the heart. The AKC notes that many breeders of dogs with a higher prevalence of congenital deafness will have their puppies and breeding animals tested.