The Crusty White Dog: What Are They and Why Are They Called This?

Pet Type


June 11, 2023

If you’re a dog lover, you’ve probably heard the term “crusty white dog,” but what exactly is it, and why are people making such a big deal over it?

The truth is that crust around a dog’s eyes can happen to any dog, but there are certain breeds where it’s more commonplace than others.

It is also more noticeable on a white dog, which might be why the public seems to be picking on them more than other dogs. Let’s talk about white dogs and their crusty eyes to learn more about the phenomenon.

What Is a Crusty White Dog?

Certain white-colored dogs are prone to having crusty eyes, so this term does not refer to a specific dog but only to their eyes.

And there is more than one crusty white dog breed, including the Shih Tzu and the white poodle, among others. The crust in their eyes is often called eye boogers, but that’s not what they are. Eye crust is usually a combination of tears, mucus, and even pus.

These dogs tend to be small or medium-sized dogs, and while many people consider them downright ugly, they are still some of the most adopted dogs in the world.

The thing is that once you learn how to clean the dog’s eyes and keep them maintained, the crusty eye problem should no longer be a problem. Cleaning their eyes is also a lot easier than you think.

Why All the Fuss on the Internet?

Thanks to TikTok, there are now videos, memes, and more showing people criticizing these poor innocent dogs. The dogs are called shameful, ugly, shady, and even “the most hated dogs in the world.”

Memes and videos that sharply criticize these dogs can now be found not only on TikTok but also on Instagram, Twitter, and Reddit, among others.

In reality, dogs of any color can have these crusty eyes, but they tend to be more obvious on white dogs, in part because the things that cause the crust usually spread onto the dog’s fur. Since these dogs have white fur, the crust is a lot more noticeable.

Unfortunately, the people on these various social media sites obviously didn’t get the memo because they only criticize the white dogs.

So, just because you see all sorts of white dogs with crusty eyes, this doesn’t mean that the condition only applies to dogs of this color. All dogs can get crusty eyes, but the white dogs that tend to get them the most include the:

  • Shih Tzus
  • Pugs
  • White Poodles
  • White Pomeranians
  • Maltese Terriers
  • Haveneses

In fact, any dog that is small or medium in size and has a white, mangy coat can earn this unfortunate name, but as a pet parent, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can do about it. Before you do anything, however, it’s good to know exactly what is in those eyes that causes them to have the name “crusty eyes.”

Why Do White Dogs Get Crusty Eyes?

Simply put, there are a host of reasons for your white dog to have crusty eyes. While allergies tend to be rare in dogs, they are not unheard of and may be the cause of the crust.

In most cases, allergies in dogs only cause ear and skin issues, but they can occasionally cause crusty eyes as well. If you suspect that this is the cause of your dog’s crusty eyes, you should get them checked out by a vet.

Other possible reasons for a dog’s crusty eyes include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Trauma to the eye area
  • Ulcers on the surface of the eye
  • Infections of the eye
  • Chronically dry eyes (called keratoconjunctivitis sicca, or KCS)
  • Itchiness in the eye area

Indeed, any type of irritation to the eyes can cause crust to form in the eye area. The problems mentioned above can also cause some type of discharge from the eyes, and this can make the problem even worse.

As you can tell from the list, some of these causes can be serious, so if your dog has crusty eyes that you can’t get rid of, it’s time to take them to see your vet.

Keeping Your Dog’s Eyes Clear Isn’t That Difficult

In most cases, the reason for crusty eyes that don’t go away is because owners aren’t cleaning their dog’s eyes regularly. The best way to keep your dog’s eyes clean is to take a soft tissue or cotton ball and clean their eyes three or four times per day.

It’s time-consuming, yes, but it’s all worth it in the end. Another way to clean their eyes is to buy certain products that make the job a little easier.

Eye-cleaning products for dogs include various eye washes, tear stain wipes, cleaning pads, eye drops, lubricants, and even some oral products that promise to keep away the crust.

Most of these products are very inexpensive, but remember to use them according to the directions so they work properly. Each product type works differently, but they all produce the same great results.

Other tips include:

  • Never use colloidal silver on any dog over the age of five years
  • Try to choose ointments or products that have zinc oxide in them
  • Make sure no contaminants or irritants are anywhere near your dog
  • When bathing your dog, keep it away from the water dish

You can even use some type of anti-inflammatory ointment on the dog’s eyes because this often helps keep away the crustiness.

The War of the Memes

Now that we’ve discussed some tips and information on crusty-eyed dogs, let’s get back to the videos and memes that won’t go away and which make fun of white dogs with crusty eyes.

While it started on TikTok and is now on other social media sites as well, instead of subsiding or going away, the phenomenon seems to be getting bigger all the time.

Soon after the first TikTok video came out, hundreds of dog parents with white dogs got in on the discussion. They flocked social media sites with videos showing their dogs and bragging about how cute they were.

As of this writing, there are well over 10,000 videos that have to do with white dogs with crusty eyes, with more being uploaded every single day.

These videos show the back-and-forth activity between the parents of cute white dogs and the people who hate these pets. Like numerous other topics on social media, this one seems to be getting out of hand, but it doesn’t look as if it’s going to stop anytime soon.

Every day it seems that there are more videos added and more memes created by people on each side of the issue.

Can Dogs with Crusty Eyes Be Cute?

If you go online and view some of the memes and videos that have to do with crusty-eyed dogs, you’ll notice that these dogs are indeed cute — at least most of the time.

Some of the most attractive white dogs in the world include the Bichon Frise, Coton de Tulear, West Highland White Terrier, and even the French Bulldog. There are other larger, attractive white dogs as well.

The larger dogs that are white in color include the Siberian Husky, Samoyed, Akbash dog, Great Pyrenees, and the White Swiss Shepherd, to name a few.

The thing is that many people are loath to make fun of or criticize larger dogs because they are so beautiful and elegant-looking. For these people, it’s just simply easier and more fun to pick on the smaller dogs.

Owning “Crusty Whities” Has Numerous Advantages

Owning one of these small, cute white dogs has numerous advantages for pet owners. They tend to be very affectionate dogs that are loyal, great with families and even children, and they get along well with most other dogs. They tend to be very small, only getting up to around 20 pounds at the most, and they have a lifespan of around a dozen years.

Having said this, the dogs tend to shed a lot and require a lot of regular grooming, which means they are not hypoallergenic.

If you or any member of your family have any type of allergies, they can be exacerbated by these cuties. Because there is so much grooming involved, many people also consider them too high-maintenance to own.

Nevertheless, they make a great family dog because they are so cute, affectionate, and easy-going. If these are the traits you’re looking for in a pet, tiny white dogs might be the perfect solution for you and your family.


Small white dogs that tend to get a lot of eye crud are nicknamed crusty white dogs, and social media sites have had a field day with them.

Between videos on sites such as TikTok and memes found all over the Internet, there is somewhat of a war going on between people who love and own these dogs and those who think they are the ugliest things on earth.

Whatever side of this issue you’re on, few people can deny that small white dogs with great temperaments are a great choice whether it’s just you or you have a large family. There are, in fact, many reasons to own one of these adorable dogs