Big dogs are usually pretty eye-catching, and this is especially true of big, white fluffy breeds. Add a big white dog to your family and you’ll surely turn heads while walking around the neighborhood or playing at the park.
But there are a number of large white breeds, so choosing the best one for your family can be challenging. We’ll try to help you decide below, by detailing 17 popular big white dogs. Just read over the entries carefully and try to pick the one that will fit in well with your lifestyle.
Before jumping into our list, we should discuss some of the considerations that went into the selection process. While we considered a variety of factors, the following three were the most important:
Obviously, we wanted to focus on big dogs. We typically consider “large” or “big” dogs to be between about 50 and 90 pounds, although we sometimes let slightly smaller or larger breeds sneak in when it seems appropriate. Our guideline is exactly that – a guideline. It isn’t written in stone.
But, there are also a few awesome white big fluffy dog breeds that fall into the “giant” category (meaning that they usually weigh more than 90 pounds), so we’ve included them too.
We’ve tried to focus on those breeds that give the overall impression of a white dog. But, we won’t limit the list to those breeds that are completely white. Some breeds on the list may also bear patches, stripes or washes of other colors, and a few come in other colors too.
We wanted to make sure that our list included dogs with varying personalities, aptitudes and quirks. Different families want different things from a dog, and we wanted to be sure to include something for everyone. So, you’ll find a bit of everything -- including aloof and independent livestock-guarding breeds, energetic goofballs and protective working dogs -- on this list.
Given the criteria explained above, the following 17 big white dog breeds clearly represent some of the most appealing pets available. Just be sure to consider your family’s needs, lifestyle and desires when making your choice.
Samoyeds are relatively small by big dog standards, as most only weigh about 45 to 60 pounds. However, they may stand up to 2-feet-high at the shoulder, and they have long fluffy coats, so they certainly project a big dog vibe. Samoyeds are pretty well-rounded dogs, who have historically been used for herding, hunting game and dragging heavy loads across snow-covered landscapes.
Hailing from Siberia, Samoyeds feel right at home in cold climates, thanks to their long and ultra-dense coats. But unfortunately, these luxurious coats tend to shed profusely, which can leave everything you own coated in a layer of white fur. Regular grooming is a necessity to keep their coats healthy and looking its best.
Samoyeds are fun-loving, affectionate and smart, but they’re occasionally a handful for first-time owners, and they can be tricky to train. For example, they’re famous for launching themselves toward squirrels, birds and other animals at full speed.
Bull terriers are smart, affectionate and energetic dogs, who come in a few different color patterns, including white (with or without other colors). Many have adorable eye patches or facial masks, but all-white bull terriers aren’t uncommon. Bull terriers are instantly recognizable, thanks to their unusually shaped heads, which are often described as being egg-shaped.
Most bull terriers are ridiculously friendly with people, but because they were originally bred as fighting dogs, some individuals are still a little prickly with other canines. Bull terriers bond strongly with their people and do not tolerate boredom well. In fact, many develop problematic chewing behaviors if not adequately exercised and stimulated.
Bull terriers range between 40 and 70 pounds or so and work best for big, active families, who want to include the family pet in most outings and plans.
Perhaps the largest breed on our list (in terms of average size – the largest Great Danes are taller and heavier than the largest Great Pyrenees), Great Pyrenees are enormous dogs, with long, shaggy coats that make them appear even larger than they actually are. This makes the dogs appear quite foreboding to wolves and other predators, who may threaten the flocks they’re often tasked with protecting.
Because they were often left to live outdoors with their flocks, Great Pyrenees are pretty independent dogs. They still make good family pets for those with the kind of space these dogs require, but they aren’t as clingy as many other breeds – they won’t hesitate to wander off if the urge strikes them.
Great Pyrenees shed quite heavily, so they aren’t great for those who demand a tidy home. They can also present significant training challenges, which makes them a poor choice for novice pet owners.
One of the oldest breeds in the world, the Afghan hound was originally produced in the hot deserts and cold mountains of Afghanistan, where they were tasked with hunting large prey (including leopards and other formidable quarry). They are natural-born runners, who can maintain very high speeds for long distances.
But despite the serious work they were developed to handle, Afghans make great pets for some people. They’re intensely loyal and affectionate with their owners, but they have an absurd and comical demeanor, which will make you smile and laugh time and again.
Of course, the first thing most people notice about Afghan hounds is their long, silky coat. Afghans come in a variety of colors and patterns, but many are all white. These leggy and lithe dogs may stand up to 28 inches tall at the shoulder, but they rarely weigh more than about 60 pounds.
Sweet-tempered and laid-back, the Clumber Spaniel’s easy-going personality belies his skill and work ethic in the field. Originally bred to be bird-retrieving dogs, Clumber Spaniels don’t frantically chase after downed birds the way Labrador retrievers or German shorthaired pointers may; instead, they maintain a calm but determined pace, which helps them last during extended hunting sessions.
Clumber Spaniels are beefy by bird-dog standards, and they occasionally weigh 85 pounds or more. Their coats are mostly white, with yellow, orange or brown markings – usually located on the head or tail. Clumber Spaniels also have very large heads and their bodies look a little bit long for their bodies.
Their wiry coats tend to shed very heavily, so you’ll need to brush your Clumber Spaniel weekly to avoid being trapped under an avalanche of dog hair. However, they make great pets in most other respects. They have very reasonable energy levels and exercise requirements, they’re pretty sharp and most owners find them easy to train.
The Kuvasz is another flock-guarding breed, who hails from the farms and fields of Hungary. Tasked with protecting sheep and other livestock from dangerous predators, the Kuvasz (plural: Kuvaszok) is brave, independent and quick to act. Kuvaszok weigh up to 110 pounds, and they are typically clad in long, white fur, which helps farmers to distinguish them from wolves at a glance.
The Kuvasz is not a good choice for apartment dwellers or people who cannot or will not provide members of the breed with plenty of exercise. They’ve been known to jog for 15 mile-long-stretches when necessary, and they will become quite destructive and miserable if forced to live in a tiny home or yard.
Additionally, while they are quite intelligent, Kuvaszok are often very difficult to train – especially for novice owners. They are often affectionate, loving and loyal to their families, but they regard strangers – including children, in some cases – with suspicion.
Most huskies have quite a bit of dark fur, but some breeders produce all-white or mostly-white lines. When this long, dense, white fur is combined with the ice-blue eyes many huskies have, the results are quite stunning. Huskies are relatively small by big-dog standards; some fail to exceed 40 pounds in weight, and even the tallest are less than 2-feet-tall. However, their long fur and boundless energy make them seem bigger than they are.
Although they are one of the more popular breeds, Siberian huskies present a few challenges for owners. For example, their energy levels and exercise requirements are off the charts. Huskies can run, jump and play for hours, and it is very difficult to wear them out. Leave a husky to lounge about in a small apartment all day and you may find your home ripped asunder when you return.
Huskies are shedding machines, so allergy-sufferers and neat freaks should choose one of the other big white dog breeds on this list. However, those who are willing and able to provide their pet with plenty of exercise and won’t mind living in a fur-covered home, huskies can be very sweet, loving and entertaining companions.
Dogo Argentinos (or, Argentinian mastiffs, as they are often called) are big and bold dogs, who are fierce and ferocious in the face of danger, yet loving and gentle with their families. Typically measuring about 24 to 27 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing about 80 to 100 pounds, these large white dogs were originally developed to hunt wild boars and other dangerous prey.
Dogo Argentinos are rarely a good choice for beginners; they require a firm, yet loving leader, who will maintain discipline, yet still allow plenty of time for fun and games. They also need plenty of socialization when they’re young, to prevent them from being aggressive around visitors.
They are typically all white, although some individuals may have dark facial markings. They don’t shed very heavily, and their short hair length helps to minimize the problems even further. So, they make a great choice for experienced owners, who want a big white dog that doesn’t require a lot of grooming or maintenance.
A relatively poorly known breed in the USA, the East Siberian Laika is essentially a husky-like breed that weighs about 50 pounds and stands a little shy of 2-feet-tall at the shoulder. They do appear to have a heavier bone structure than huskies do, and they aren’t quite as light on their feet either.
Historically used for hunting and sledding, East Siberian Laikas also perform admirably in guarding contexts. They are remarkably brave in the face of danger, and won’t hesitate to stand their ground against wolves, bears or other large predators. However, they’re typically quite friendly with people and loving of their families.
East Siberian Laikas come in a number of different colors and patterns, and some are almost uniformly white. They have medium-long hair, which sheds relatively continuously, so they aren’t great for allergy sufferers. They require plenty of exercise and a few good toys to keep their mind’s busy, or they can develop problematic behaviors, such as destructive chewing or obsessive digging.
The Komondor is one of the most unique-looking breeds in the world, thanks to its long, corded white coat, which helps it blend in with the sheep it is often expected to guard. And while Komondors exhibit most of the traits that other flock-guarding breeds do, including bravery, intelligence and independence, they are better suited for family life in several ways.
For starters, they’re often incredibly affectionate with and protective of their owners. They also have less energy – and therefore require less exercise – than many other flock-guarding breeds do. They still require daily walks and regular playtime, but they’ll fit into your home better than Great Pyrenees or Kuvaszok will.
However, they’re still guard dogs at heart, who won’t hesitate to defend their families from perceived threats. Unfortunately, this can include neighbors, visitors and the TV repair technician. So, it is important to socialize Komondors heavily during puppyhood and instill a solid sense of hierarchy, with you sitting at the top of the pyramid.
Perhaps the ultimate big white fluffy dog, the standard poodle makes a fantastic family pet. They are high-maintenance animals, who require very frequent grooming, but they have a lot to offer in return. Poodles are very sweet, smart and well-behaved companions, who are often used in therapy contexts. And believe it or not, poodles are also quite protective, and they make pretty good guard dogs.
Their iconic coats (which come in white as well as several other colors) shed very little and are often described as being “hypoallergenic.” And, while all dogs shed, and no dog is truly hypoallergenic, poodles do appear to be great breeds for those with allergies. In fact, they’ve been crossed with other breeds (such as Labrador retrievers and cocker Spaniels) because of their allergy-friendly fur.
Poodles come in three different sizes (standard, toy and miniature), but we’ll leave the two small varieties for others to cover – we’re big dog fans. Standard poodles are pretty big dogs, who usually weigh between 50 and 75 pounds, and the tallest individuals measure about 20 or 21 inches tall at the shoulder.
Also called the South Russian Ovtcharka, the Ukrainian shepherd dog is an independent animal, who is one of the more intimidating white dog breeds on our list. They’re not only pretty big dogs, who often exceed the 100-pound mark and stand over 2-feet-tall at the shoulder, they are very brave dogs who won’t hesitate to stand their ground and assume a dominant posture.
Ukrainian shepherd dogs are easy-going canines, who were originally developed for flock-guarding purposes. They don’t require a lot of attention, and they love having a large property to roam, monitor and protect. Their long white coats provide great protection from the elements, and they don’t shed as badly as you may suspect.
This is a breed for experienced owners, who understand how to maintain strict discipline and maintain a dominant position against a dog who will assert his own dominance if given the opportunity to do so. Early socialization is imperative if the breed is to be kept as a pet.
Standing around 2-feet-tall and weighing around 100 pounds (females typically weigh a little less), the Slovensky Cuvac is yet another flock-guarding breed, with a fluffy white coat. Energetic, somewhat puppy-like and, as the AKC describes them, “lively,” these are spirited dogs, who need plenty of exercise and a big yard to patrol.
Slovensky Cuvacs don’t require very much grooming (although it’s a good idea to have them professionally groomed each Spring), but they are pretty heavy shedders, like many of the other long-haired breeds on our list. However, this long fur serves them well when they must sleep outdoors in cold climates, such as their birthplace – the Slovakian Mountains.
Slovensky Cuvacs are very brave and protective, and they’ve been known to face down bears, wolves and coyotes without showing an ounce of fear. They aren’t lap dogs and won’t follow you around like a shadow, but they do bond strongly with their families. This combination of bravery and loyalty helps make them fantastic guard dogs.
The Maremma sheepdog is a large flock-guarding breed that hails from Italy. They are quite similar to most other flock-guarding breeds, insofar as they’re intelligent, confident and independent dogs, who like to patrol large territories. They are often a good choice for families who leave the house for long periods of time, provided that they have a suitably big yard to guard.
However, Maremma sheepdogs do exhibit a few differences from most other sheepdogs. The most striking example being their affectionate nature. They won’t puppy-dog you like a Doberman or Chihuahua may, but they love hanging out quietly with their families. Often, they’ll lean up against one or more members of the family, and it appears physical contact comforts them.
Maremma sheepdogs are quite intelligent, but novice pet owners will often find them difficult to train. Generally speaking, they’re more interested in doing what they want to do, than they are following your instructions. However, they make loyal, low-maintenance companions for those with sufficient space to provide.
Also called the Polish Tatra Sheepdog, or a similar variation on this theme, the Tatra is a big dog, who occasionally stands 28 inches tall at the shoulder. The biggest individuals weigh about 130 pounds or so, but most hover around the 100-pound mark.
When hanging out with their families, Tatras are gentle and loving pets, who get along well with children. However, they are entirely different when patrolling their territories – particularly at night. They’ll aggressively challenge any perceived threats, and they’re often quite vocal, which can cause problems with light-sleeping neighbors.
Tatras are very fluffy dogs, with a thick double coat that helps keep them warm while guarding their flocks. The underlayer is remarkably dense and soft, but the outer layer can feel stiff in some individuals. They are pretty heavy shedders, like many of the other white fluffy dogs on our list, so you’ll want to brush them frequently to remove shed hairs preemptively.
White American shepherds are essentially German shepherds with white coats. The details of their origin are often debated, and they’re recognized differently by different breed registries. But, from an everyday pet owner’s point of view, most of what can be said of German shepherds can also be said of white American shepherds.
Like their darker-colored counterparts, white American shepherds are very intelligent dogs, who typically bond very strongly with their people. In fact, they’re a bit unusual among the big white dog breeds on our list, in that they typically look to their owners for instruction, rather than relying on their own judgment. Accordingly, they excel in obedience trials, agility work and other contexts that require them to work closely with a handler.
White American shepherds do not enjoy being left alone for long periods of time, and they require plenty of daily exercise to prevent them from becoming destructive or mischievous. They are very heavy shedders, so you’ll want to bathe and groom them regularly to help knock some of their hair off preemptively.
Unlike many of the flock-guarding breeds on this list, who tend to hold humans at arm’s length, the Borzoi is a great companion, who loves to hang out with his owners all day long. But despite the breed’s laid-back and loving demeanor, the Borzoi was initially developed to, among other things, hunt wolves in rural Russia. However, despite being so brave and capable, they aren’t really that protective, so they make poor guard dogs.
Borzois vary significantly in terms of size. Some individuals weigh only 50 pounds or so, but most are pretty big dogs, who weigh between 85 and 100 pounds. The largest individuals may even reach 32-inches in height at the shoulder. They have a long and lean appearance, which hints at their exceptional running speed.
The Borzoi has a long coat that sheds heavily, and they require frequent grooming. They can get along with other pets, but they’ll have to be introduced to other animals carefully, as they have a strong and well-developed prey drive.
Coat color may seem like a relatively insignificant characteristic of dogs, but it actually creates a number of tangible differences for owners. This is especially true of white dogs. We’ll explain a few of the most important things to consider when choosing a white fluffy dog breed for your family.
Coat length is one of the most important considerations for owners seeking a white-furred canine. Dogs with longer fur often shed more heavily than their short-haired counterparts do. This means owners who suffer from allergies or prefer a very neat living space will want to opt for a short-haired breed.
Long-haired breeds also require more frequent grooming than short-haired breeds do. Sometimes, a simple weekly brushing will suffice, but some of the other large white dog breeds will require a complete grooming session on a monthly basis. You can learn to groom your dog yourself, but many owners will opt to have a professional handle these duties. In either case, fluffy white dogs will require you to invest more time or money to keep their coats looking good.
Like anything other white or light-colored fibers, white dog hairs can become stained very easily. So, it is important to choose grooming products (such as shampoos) carefully. It is also important to avoid cheaply made leashes and harnesses, as the color may bleed onto your dog’s fur if these items become wet.
Dirt can also present problems for white-coated dogs, especially the fur near their paws and along their sides – the places in most frequent contact with the ground. There’s not much you can do to prevent this for dogs who spend long periods outdoors, but you may want to bathe indoor dogs a little more frequently than usual to help keep them looking their best.
White reflects more light than other colors, which means that white fur can help make dogs look bigger than darker furs usually do. Sometimes, this is a good thing, but it isn’t always desirable. For example, if you want a big dog to help protect your home and family, white fur will help exaggerate their size.
On the other hand, if you are a big-dog lover, who’s trying to dance around size requirements or remain below your landlord’s pet-size threshold, a white dog may be a bad choice. Instead, you’ll probably want to look for a dark-colored dog, whose color will make them appear somewhat smaller.
Do you share your home with a big white fluffy dog? We’d love to hear all about him. Let us know what breed you chose, your favorite things about him and some of the most common challenges he presents.
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Photos of Clumber Spaniel, Komondor and East Siberian Laika courtesy of Wikipedia.