Do Lighter Coloured Dogs have More Skin Issues?

Does your furry friend have a lighter coat or lighter patches of fur?

Dogs with lighter coats are just as beautiful as those with darker coats, but they are prone to a few more skin conditions than normal.


The amount of pigmentation your dog produces is what determines their coat colour, meaning the more pigmentation the darker their coat. White coated dogs have a complete lack of pigmentation and this is all part of their genetic make-up. Coat variations even transcend breed, with many dogs of the same breed having a variety of coat colours that can even occur in the same litter!


While skin conditions aren’t exclusive to lighter coated dogs there is one category that shouldn’t be ignored. Sun exposure for light dogs is far more damaging and therefore increases their risk of developing skin cancer.


Skin cancers that develop from exposure to the sun include hemangiomas, hemangiosarcomas and squamous cell carcinomas and are most commonly diagnosed in the most exposed areas of a dog with a lighter coloured coat. For dogs who sunbathe these areas are commonly on the belly, thighs, face, nose and eyes. They appear in various ways, including a blood blister-like appearance, a patch of discoloration or as lumps and masses on the skin. It is always important to have unusual bumps or markings checked by your Vet as they can range from benign to malignant.


Preventative measures can include protective clothing, a pet-friendly sunscreen or even making sure that exposure to the sun is regulated and reduced to times when the sun’s risk is at it’s minimum.