White German Shepherd Dog,
also known as Swiss shepherd dog
Photo: Joop Snijder
The White Shepherd is obedient and responsive in character just like the standard German Shepherd dog.
Also known as American-Canadian White Shepherd this white variety of the German Shepherd Dog was developed as a companion dog and show dog.
White German Shepherd
(Swiss Shepherd Dog, American White Shepherd,
Berger Blanc Suisse)
Two important breed references "The Alsatian WoIf Dog" written by George Horowitz in 1923, as well as "The German Shepherd, Its History, Development and Genetics" by M. B. Willis in 1977, mention that white German Shepherds were shown in Europe as early as 1882.
The first white to be registered with the AKC dates from 1917 and came from Ann Tracy's kennels. Further white GSDs were imported to the United States by H. N. Hanchett of Minnesota in the 1920's.
In the first 15 years of pedigreed German Shepherd Dog breeding more than half the registered dogs had litters with white puppies.
The color white was not uncommon in the original German Shepherd Dog (GSD). It is said that the developer of the German Shepherd dog, Max Von Stephanitz, owned several white German Shepherd Dogs. A white German shepherd line was also used together with other European variations of the "old style GSD" lines to create the Shiloh Shepherd, precisely because of their pure gene pools.
In America, the color white was made a disqualification in the GSD Breed Standard in 1933 and the breed was banned from competing in the show ring in 1968. Up until that time, the white-coated German Shepherd Dog was eligible to compete in conformation events. At the same time a campaign began in Germany against the White GSD and the variety virtually disappeared from Europe.
Breeders feared that the white color was the result of an albinism condition that carried risks of breed color paling and genetic health defects. Recent genetic research has revealed that the code for white coats in the German Shepherd is located at the MC1R gene locus, a gene that is fundamental to overall German Shepherd Dog breed color conformation and it is completely unrelated to albinism.
The White German Shepherd Club of America was formed in 1969 and the White German Shepherd Dog Club international was established in the US in 1977.
Soon, white German shepherds reappeared in Europe and were recognized as a separate breed in the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland. Hence they are also known as Swiss shepherds.
White German Shepherds can still be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC); however, they can no longer be shown in the AKC conformation breed ring, due to the color disqualification. However, some cynologists also believe White German shepherds should be considered a separate breed, but many fanciers of the white GSD do not support breed separation.
The white German Shepherd dog is not an albino; it has normally colored eyes, nose, eyelids and pads. The only difference with the traditional German shepherd dogs is the white coat color. Ideally the coat should be snow white. Colors ranging from a broken white to a very light tan are acceptable, but not preferred.
The coat is of medium length with slightly longer hairs around the neck.
Photo: Emmanuelle Bonzami
The German Shepherd Dog:
A Genetic History (Hardcover)
by Malcolm B. Willis
A definitive work on the genetic history of the breed
The German shepherd dog in word and picture
by Max von Stephanitz (Author)
Written by the founder of the breed, this book is a must for any serious GSD owner or breeder. The work answers many questions about the history, feeding, raising, training, and breeding of the GSD.
A nose that is not predominantly black is a serious fault. A snow nose causes to fade in winter, which is acceptable, as long as the nose is not pink and darkens again in warm weather.
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