Do Light-Colored Dogs Have More Skin Problems?

Just as there are several shapes, sizes, and breeds of dogs, there are many variations in their coat colors. Because coat color affects more than appearance, it can impact your dog’s chances of developing skin problems.

Your dog can be affected by skin diseases, such as infections, immune-related illnesses, and skin allergies. No evidence suggests an across-the-board increase in skin diseases in light vs. dark-colored dogs—differences in the risks of developing skin allergies and skin cancer exist.

Read on to learn more about why light-colored dogs experience more skin problems.

Why Are Light-Colored Dogs Prone to Skin Disease?

Color variations in dogs depend on genetics. Light-colored dogs have less skin pigment resulting in lighter fur color, while dark-colored dogs produce more skin pigment, and white-coated dogs have no pigment.

Dogs with light-colored or white coats are more prone to skin allergies due to a lack of pigment. Dogs with lighter fur are more susceptible to skin damage from the sun and are at a higher risk of developing skin cancers resulting from sun exposure.

You can alleviate some skin issues in light-colored dogs by giving them a gentle massage, increasing blood flow, and improving skin conditions. You don’t want to massage over any open wounds, lesions, or hot spots.

Remember, massaging your pet is not a replacement for veterinary treatment of skin issues.

Light-Colored Dog Breeds Most Prone to Skin Problems

Bull terriers

Bull terriers have white coats and are more likely to have atopic dermatitis. This skin disease causes irritation, infection, and general discomfort.

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They also have sensitive skin and are allergic to inhaled allergens such as chemicals, detergents, pollen, dust, and mildew.

Bichon Frise

This light-colored dog breed is prone to contact allergies that cause skin issues and food allergies. Bichon Frise dogs are also very sensitive to flea bites and airborne allergens from dust, grass, flowers, and trees.

Brussels Griffon

Skin allergies are very common for Brussels Griffon. The areas most affected are the feet, belly, folds of the ears, and skin. If you notice your Brussels Griffon dog licking its paws, rubbing the face, and having frequent ear infections, it may have skin allergies.


The top signs of skin allergies in Maltese are itching, irritated skin, wheezing, thinning hair, and eye, nose, or ear issues. Contact allergies can be to fabric and plastic.

Symptoms of Dog Skin Conditions

Itching is one of the most common symptoms if a dog has skin issues. Still, it’s difficult for owners to determine what’s irritating their dog without a full veterinary examination.

While it is normal for a dog to occasionally itch, frequent or prolonged itching is a clear sign of something more serious.

Dogs try to relieve the itch by rubbing their head against furniture or scratching the irritated spots with their paws. You may also find your dog licking its paws or other body areas to soothe the irritated skin.

Other signs suggesting skin condition include the following symptoms:

  • Skin Sores
  • Skin sores or skin lesions
  • Lumps
  • Redness
  • Dry skin/flaky skin/scaly skin
  • Rashes
  • Dandruff
  • Bumps
  • Excessive scratching
  • Intense itching
  • Excessive licking
  • Hair loss/bald patches
  • Hot spots of inflamed skin
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Related Questions

What is color dilution alopecia?

Dogs with dilute coat colors, especially blue and fawn, may have a genetic fault in hair growth. Sometimes, secondary bacterial infection can cause the dog’s skin to be itchy or scaly, but it’s a cosmetic issue most of the time.

Color dilution alopecia is observed mainly in blue Dobermans, but it is also seen in Chow Chows, Whippets, Great Danes, Poodles, Chihuahuas, and Dachshunds. It is a very rare genetic skin disease.

Which common dog breeds have more skin problems?

Some breeds including Golden Retrievers, terriers, Irish Setters, Lhasa Apsos, Dalmatians, and Old English Sheepdogs are more susceptible to skin problems.

What color is a blonde dog?

Blonde dogs have light-colored, pale yellow fur. Their coat is eye-catching and comes in different lengths and textures.

What dog breeds are white?

Here’s a list of white dog breeds:

  • Samoyed
  • Maltese
  • Bichon Frise
  • Pomeranian
  • Great Pyrenees
  • Argentine Dogo
  • Husky
  • Akbash Dog
  • Japanese Spitz
  • West Highland White Terrier
  • Dalmatian
  • Havanese
  • Chihuahua
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Susan Dorling

I am a pet expert with years of experience working with a variety of animals. From dogs and cats to birds and exotics, I have a deep understanding of their unique needs and behaviors. I am dedicated to helping pet owners provide the best care for their furry friend.

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