American Pit Bull Terriers come in various coat colors. One of their unique colorings is white, which is hard to find but often sought-after by people with a special preference for rare coatings.
While some would love to have a white Pitbull, othershave doubts aboutadopting one because it could be suffering from albinism. As we all know, albino dogs may be as adorable as any other dog but they may have a higher risk of health issues. If you are thinking of gettinga white Pitbull, read this post first.
How to Identify a True White Dog
White is an accepted color in the American Pit Bull terrier breed. The only coat color that is not recognized by major dog organizations is the merle coloring. Therefore, it does not automatically mean all pure white Pit Bulls are albino dogs. But how will you identify a true white dog from an albino one?
A true white Pit Bull may have any nose color, except pink. The most common colors of their nose are red and black. If your dog is a white Pit Bull with a red nose, have a closer look to see if it’s healthy red or actually a bit pinkish. The color pink indicates that there is pigment loss on its nose.
Their eyes are round and medium-size just like any terrier dog. The eyes can be of any color except blue, because thisis considered a serious fault in the American Pit Bull terrier breed. Most dogs with albino also happen to have blue eyes. Dogs with Heterochromia may have one blue eye and another one of a different color, like hazel.
If you have a white pup with blue eyes without a pinkish hue around them, wait until three to four weeks of age. In some dogs, it may take up to 16 weeks before their real eye color shows. It can change into brown or something darker, which means there is more melanin pigment in it. A change in eye color is a normal thing in canines.
How to Spot Albinism in Dogs
Albinism is the lack of ability to produce sufficient melanin, thepigment responsible for skin and hair coloring. It is found in many parts of the body like the skin, hair, and eyes. This condition affects all vertebrate mammal species and any dog breeds can suffer from it, although it is considered to be rare. Only one out of 10,000 animals is born with this condition.
The problem is that some true white dogs are often mistaken for being albino dogs. But when you look closer, you will notice that their skin is not purely white but pink. The pinkish tinge is actually because of the complete lack of pigmentation in the skin and even in the blood vessels.
The clues can be seen not just on a dog’s skin but also on his eyes and nose. An albino dog appears to have a pinkish hue around its eyes, again, as a result of complete lack of pigmentation. Unlike rodents and rabbits, albino dogs don’t have pink irises,it is only the area around the eyes that exhibit a pink color.
It’s worth noting that some albino dogs are white but do have pigment. This is called tyrosinase-positive, which is another form of albinism. This often affects certain breeds like the White Doberman Pinschers and White German Shepherds. Dogs that are tyrosinase-positive appear pale cream and sometimes have a greyish hue.
Apart from looking at their physical characteristics, dogs can undergo a genetic analysis to confirm albinism. It is considered as the most effective way of determining a dog’s condition. The most common gene that causes albinism in canines is the tyrosinase or the C locus.
What To Do If You Have an Albino Dog
If you suspect your white Pit Bull is actually an albino dog, don’t lose hope. These dogs can live well when given indispensable care and attention. There are just a few things you need to consider, like the fact that they need more skin care.
Just like humans with this condition, albino dogs can be sensitive to ultraviolet rays and they are also prone to skin cancer so you have to put more effort in caring for them and keeping them out of the sun. Avoid going outside during peak hours, which are from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.
Due to their sensitivity to light, you have to limit their time outside during the middle of the day. Consider walking them early in the morning or in the evening. As with any dog, your pit bull needs exercise for his overall health and well-being but you have to be conscious about the right time for it.
When you are at the beach with your dog, consider dressing him in rashguard. You can buy canine rashguard shirts online and in stores selling dog accessories and apparel products. When choosing a rashguard for your pet, consider those made from high-quality but lightweight fabric.
There are sunscreens especially created for dogs, but be cautious in buying this type of product for your pet. As much as possible, get recommendations from your vet regarding pet-safe products because not all human sunscreens are safe for pets. Zinc oxide, for instance, is a common ingredient in human sunscreen but it is not safe for dogs.
You may also put protective gear onyour dog when going outside. This includes doggie shades that offer UV protection. Goggles can also help protect your dog from sunlight and even enhance your pet’s vision. Some vets recommend goggles for dogs especially those K-9 working dogs that need extra protection for their job.
It’s recommended to routinely check their skin for bumps or sores that do not seem to heal. Changes in the skin can be a symptom of a skin disease and this should be checked by a veterinarian immediately.
Experts recommend keeping a dog’s coat long so it will have extra protection from the rays of the sun. In the case of Pit Bulls, it may not be applicable because they usually have a short and dense coat.
Other Reasons for Dominant White Color in Pit Bulls
Leucism is a condition wherein an animal suffers from partial loss of pigmentation. This leads to white or pale coloration of the skin, hair, and cuticles. This condition is actually more common in dogs compared to albinism.
You can tell it is Leucism if the dog has normally colored eyes and does not have a pinkish hue around them. Pit Bulls with Leucism may have black or another color of the nose. In dogs with albinism, it is usually pink and not black.
Partial Leucism is a condition wherein a dog is white and has dark spots all over the body. Some dogs that are not entirely white may be carrying the piebald gene. It happens when there is a lack of melanocytes which are cells that create pigment. In piebald dogs, the markings are random and may be of any color but it is usually brown or black.
White Pitbulls Common Health Issues
In general,Pitbulls can suffer from any medical condition that dogs go through but sometimes, their coat color can have an impact on their health. Even if you have a true white dog and not an albino, you still have to expect that they will go through a range of conditions. The health problems often seen in these dogs include:
- Congenital deafness – just because a dog is white automatically means it will be deaf but thisis likely to happen if a dog carries the double merle gene. If the dog is carrying the piebald gene, it is likely to be born deaf. Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response test can confirm deafness in canines. It can be diagnosed as early as six months of age.
- Skin infections – Pit Bulls, in general, are actually prone to skin infections because of their short hair that makes them more exposed to elements like allergens and the sunlight. The pigment melanin helps in protecting the skin from sun damage by absorbing the UV energy and diverting it away from the healthy cells. Hence, albinism or a lack of this pigment will make the dog more sensitive when under the sun.
- Eye problems – did you know that albino dogs can go blind if exposed to too much light? This is because they don’t have the pigments capable of screening the light that might enter the eye. Just like how their skin is sensitive to light, their eyes can also be very responsive to it.
- Neurological conditions – dogs lacking melanin in the brain also lack the essential brain receptors needed for healthy brain functions. This is the reason why dogs with albinism sometimes become susceptible to neurological problems. It leads to highly unpredictable behavior and often leads to tremors, paralysis, and seizures.
- Immune system disorders – albino dogs are more susceptible to acquiring diseases because their immunity is always compromised. It’s one of the reasons why many albino dogs often do not meet their breed’s average lifespan.
White Pit Bulls Personality
There are a number of studies linking coat color to a dog’s temperament. While there is no scientific evidence to prove that a white dog is indeed more behave than dark dogs, it does not mean it is impossible for this to happen.
There are a lot of misconceptions about Pit Bulls. They are known for being aggressive but breeders claim they are among the most fun-loving dogs out there. In the end, your dog’s behavior will still depend on how you raise him and how much socialization he has. If a dog has little to no socialization with humans and other pets, he will likely turn out aggressive.
In case you happen to have a rescue dog with signs of aggression like biting and growling, seek help from a behavioral veterinarian or a dog trainer. They may be difficult to tame at times but with the right approach, you can surely help your pet let go of his fears or hostility. These dogs might end up harming people around them if their aggression is not resolved.
Neutering or spaying is the often seen solution in trying to lessen aggressive canine behavior. This can curb usual signs of aggression like baring teeth and growling. Also, try to understand that while it sounds dangerous, aggression can actually be your dog’s way of communicating.
There are many benefits in spaying or neutering and it’s not just limited to trying to fix aggression. There are heat-related problems, like excessive mounting and roaming that can be solved when a dog is spayed or neutered.
In many Pit Bulls, the solution is to reinforce calm behavior. You will see that the dog’s aggression would slowly change into fear later on. You will know this is the case if your once aggressive dog suddenly felt like he needed to hide himself during particular situations. The best thing you can do is offer treats and reassure him that everything will be alright.
Be cautious when buying a white Pit Bull. There are breeders who market these dogs as “true white Pit Bulls” when they are, in reality, suffering from albinism. Some dog breeders would even put a high price tag on an albino dog and will market it as a true white Pit Bull. We are not against albino dogs, in fact, they require the same care as any dog deserves to have, but the takeaway here is you have to be more vigilant in dealing with dog breeders. A loving family should adopt an albino dog.