You’ve seen the phrase online, or maybe your grandparents had one. Either way, the internet is buzzing with chatter about those tiny little white dogs that seemingly tons of families have. You know, the ones with the crust around their eyes? If you know, you know.

But just in case you don’t know, let’s take a look at the “crusty white dog” craze, what the breed actually is, as well as how you can avoid those crispy red eye stains on your pooch.

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What Are Crusty White Dogs?

The crusty white dog buzz originated on Twitter and then TikTok, and the meme is as simple as users remarking on the appearance of an old, white, small-breed dog that is often seen in rich white families, or at your grandparents' house. The crusty white dog meme has been around for a few years, and it has become increasingly popular over time.

Bichon Frises

Crusty white dogs are formally known as Bichon Frises, and they are a small breed of lap dog. Their coat is naturally white, and they are known for their cheerful and lively personality. They are usually around 8-12 inches tall and weigh between 8-18 pounds.

These white crusty dogs are also known for their intelligence, making them great family companions. They are also very social and get along well with other dogs and people. A lot of older people tend to get these dogs because they don’t require a lot of exercise, are small, and have a lot of love.

crusty white bichon dog

You may also see this breed on social media, and the meme is that rich white women or rich parents have them, and they always have a crust or goop around their eyes. Usually the crusty white dogs have names like Luna or Bella. Or you may have seen memes about grandmas or first generation families owning crust white dogs. They have also been seen carried around by rich, white girls.

crusty white dog collar

Maltese Terriers

These are another type of crusty white dog. These small crusty white dogs are usually around 8-10 inches tall and weigh between 4-7 pounds. They have a white coat that can be fluffy, silky, and wavy.

Maltese are known for their intelligence and their friendly, outgoing personalities. They are great family dogs and do not require a lot of exercise. They do require frequent grooming, however, due to their long coats.

Pup sitting on chair

Like the Bichon Frise, Maltese and the Shih Tzu can also be prone to tear staining, which can give them the “crusty white dog” look. They are also very popular pets and are often seen on social media for their cute, cuddly personalities.

How Did Crusty White Dogs Become A Meme?

Crusty white dogs became a meme when Twitter users began commenting on how every rich white influencer woman has one of these dogs. The crusty white dog meme quickly went viral and soon enough, everyone was talking about crusty white dogs, their owners, and how they seemed to be the pet of young women rich parents.

Dog collar

On TikTok, users remarked that these dogs were always glorified by their owners to be the cutest, most stylish dogs around. This only added to the meme's popularity, as it was a humorous take on the lifestyle of the rich and potentially delusional, as these dogs almost always look like they need a bath.

However, it's all fun and games.



This small, white dog breed is known for its long luxurious coat and friendly, outgoing personality. Its eyes are usually a deep brown or black color, and occasionally they may have a crusty appearance due to tear staining or eye discharge.


Poodles come in a variety of sizes and colors, but their signature look is a white coat with dark eyes. While the eyes are usually dark, they can sometimes become crusty due to tear staining or eye discharge.

Bichon Frise

This small, white dog breed is known for its fluffy coat, which can sometimes hide the eyes. Bichons often have dark eyes, but they can become crusty due to tear staining or eye discharge.

Shih Tzu

This toy dog breed is known for its long, silky white coat and dark eyes. While the eyes are usually dark, they can sometimes become crusty due to tear staining or eye discharge.

West Highland White Terrier

These small, white dogs are known for their long, coarse coat and dark eyes. While the eyes are usually dark, they can sometimes become crusty due to tear staining or eye discharge.

Of course there can be mixed dog breeds that are small, crusty white dogs. If you scroll through any dog rescue or shelter, you can find similar style dog breeds that also have the red brown stains around the dog's eyes.

Why Do Small White Dogs Get Crusty Eyes?

Small crusty white dog breeds may get crusty eyes due to a variety of reasons, including allergies, blockage of the tear ducts, or irritation from debris or foreign bodies.

As dog owners, it is important to have any eye issues evaluated and treated by a veterinarian to ensure that the underlying cause is treated appropriately.

How Can I Help My Dog From Getting Crusty Eyes?

Many dog breeds with crusty eyes benefit from regular eye cleaning with a saline solution. This helps to remove debris and keep the eyes clean and healthy. Additionally, some dog breeds benefit from the use of artificial tears or eye drops to help lubricate the eyes and reduce irritation. But do not do this without guidance from your veterinarian.

small white dog outside

How Can I Remove Tear Stains From My Crusty White Dog?

Tear stains on a white dog can be difficult to remove, but a few methods can help. The first is to clean the area daily with a damp cloth. This will help to remove any bacteria and debris that can cause staining. Additionally, you can use a commercial tear stain remover that is specifically formulated for dogs.

Prevention is also important. If the tear stains are due to blocked tear ducts, it may be necessary to express the ducts and flush them with warm saline solution. Additionally, some dog breeds may benefit from the use of artificial tears or eye drops to help lubricate the eyes and reduce irritation.

What are the personality traits of Crusty White Dogs?

Of course, it depends on specific dog breeds, but in general, these dogs can make great companions for those looking for a small, loyal, and loving pet. That's why you see so many dog owners with them in families, or alongside grandparents. The crusty eyes may give them a unique look, but it doesn't take away from their loving and affectionate personalities.

So all memes aside, just because these pooches may have crusty eyes, doesn't mean they can't make wonderful companions.

Personality traits you may find in a Maltese or Bichon Frise:

  • Loyal
  • Trusting
  • Friendly
  • Loving
  • Playful
  • Affectionate
  • Intelligent
  • Alert
  • Energetic
  • Gentle
  • Anxious

Do Crusty White Dogs Make Good Pets?

Maltese dogs, bichon frises, shih tzu, and other breeds with tear stains can make excellent pets. They can be very affectionate and loyal companions, and they tend to be low-shedding, making them a good choice for those dog owners with allergies. However, all dogs require regular grooming, exercise, and attention, no matter their coat.

Just because a breed has tear stains, doesn't make them any less lovable. In fact, with proper grooming, nutrition, and exercise, these dogs should live a long, healthy life, just like other dog breeds. The most important thing is to ensure that you're prepared to welcome a pet into your home, and to provide them with the love and attention they deserve as a good dog owner.

dog in backpack


Despite the jokes, Maltese terriers, bichon frises, and other breeds that tend to get tear stains on their faces as they age are still great companions, and should be adopted and taken care of lovingly. In the end, all dogs deserve to be taken care of, no matter what they look like.

For additional pet-parenting tips, head over to's Off Leash blog.

And don't forget to check out TryFi's innovative Fi Dog Collar, which offers GPS tracking, activity monitoring, and escape alerts to keep your furry friend safe. Try the Fi Dog Collar today!