Although it is very common to call it White German Shepherd, the official name of this dog breed is White Swiss Shepherd. Also depending on the region and at different times it has been called: White Shepherd, Canadian Shepherd or American Shepherd.
The White Swiss Shepherd is a medium sized dog, very intelligent and with a friendly and serene character. It is a working dog, originally used for herding work, however, its use today is more widespread as a guard dog, support dog for the disabled, in rescue and salvage work, etc.
Photos of White German Shepherd
Characteristics of the White German Shepherd
The White German Shepherd is a muscular, medium sized dog with erect ears. Its body is elongated, with medium sized bones and its outline is elegant and harmonious.
There are two coat ranges in this breed of dog. The first is medium coat slightly wavy and the other is long haired. The medium coated dog is athletic, strong and well muscled. The long-haired dog appears more regal than athletic despite being of the same substance. They have more hair on ears, legs and tail.
These dogs have an all-white coat, which contrasts with black on their nose, mouth, paw pads, toenails and eyelids. Their eyes are dark brown.
Head: The head of these dogs is in good proportion to the rest of the body. It is strong and finely chiseled. Seen from above it is wedge-shaped, with the axes of the skull and the front face parallel. The skull is slightly rounded, with a well marked central furrow.
Muzzle: The nasal bridge and the lower line of the muzzle of this dog is straight, slightly convergent to the nose. The lips are dry, tightly closed and black in color. The nose is of medium size, preferably black, although lighter shades are acceptable.
Eyes: Medium size, almond-shaped. Brown to dark brown. It is desirable that the eyelids have black rims. Pupils dark, well defined and positioned in the center. One or both eyes blue, bulging eyes, entropion and ectropion are considered faults, as well as total loss of pigment in the rims of the eyes and being albino.
Ears: Erect, high set, carried erect, parallel and directed forward; triangular in shape, although with slightly rounded tip.
Jaw and teeth: The jaw of the Swiss Shepherd is powerful and complete. It has a scissor bite. The White Swiss Shepherd has a total of 42 teeth: 20 upper and 22 lower teeth. The upper incisors are in front of the lower incisors when the mouth is closed.
Neck: The neck of the White German Shepherd is medium-long and well muscled, well set into the body and without dewlap. It is elegantly arched and runs without interruption from the head to the withers.
Body: The body of the white German Shepherd is strong, muscular and medium-long. It has a pronounced withers and a level, firm back. His back is strongly muscled. Its croup is long and of medium width; gently sloping to the root of the tail. The chest of the White Swiss Shepherd is not too broad, with an oval ribcage.
Tail: The tail of the Swiss Shepherd is thick sabre, tapering towards the tip. At rest it hangs down or with a slight curved sabre in its last third. In movement it rises, but never above the topline of the body.
Legs: The hind legs of the white German Shepherd are slightly longer than the front legs. Their toes are tight and well arched. Their pads are black and their nails should be dark.
Skin: The skin of the white Swiss Shepherd has no folds or wrinkles, of a dark pigmentation. Lack of pigmentation or albinism is considered a serious fault.
Coat: The coat of the White Shepherd is double-coated and of medium length; dense and close lying. There is also the Longhaired White Shepherd, which has a long double coat; abundant undercoat covered with hard, smooth, protective hair. The face, ears and front of the legs are covered with shorter hair; on the neck and back of the legs the coat is slightly longer. Stiff, slightly wavy hair is permitted.
What colors can a Swiss Shepherd have?
The coat of the White Swiss Shepherd is pure, solid white and glossy, contrasting with solid black pigmentation on the nose and lips and eye rims.
Although the white coat, as the white coat of the white German Shepherd is known, is predominant, it may have small, almost imperceptible hints of yellow, fawn or brown.
However, a White Swiss Shepherd showing agouti colors or a two-tone pattern has been bred from an unsolid pure white parent, and is therefore not a White Swiss Shepherd.
Between 60 cm and 66 cm from the ground to the back in males. Between 55 cm and 61 cm from the ground to the back for females.
Between 30 Kg and 40 Kg for males. Between 25 Kg and 35 Kg for females
9 to 13 years old
Faults of the White Swiss Shepherd breed
Any deviation from the above described characteristics of the White Swiss Shepherd constitutes a fault. The degree of severity with which the fault should be considered should be proportionate to its magnitude and its effect on the health and welfare of the dog.
Slight deer color (light yellow or fawn shading) on ear tips, back and upper side of tail.
Partial loss of mottled appearance pigment on nose, lips and/or eye rims.
- Heavy appearance, too short constitution (square outline).
- Masculinity or femininity not clearly defined.
- Droopy (hanging) ears, semi pricked ears, button ears.
- Very sloping back line.
- Ringed tail, curly tail, hook tail, tail carried backwards.
- Top coat soft and silky; coat woolly, curly and open; hair distinctly long without first coat.
- Distinctive deer color (distinct yellowish or tawny discoloration) on ear tips, back and top of tail.
- Overly shy or aggressive.
- One or both eyes blue, bulging eyes.
- Entropion, ectropion.
- Mouth up or down, crooked mouth.
- Total loss of pigment in nose, lips and/or eye rims.
- Total loss of pigment in the skin and pads.
Temperament of the White German Shepherd
The White German Shepherd can be considered a lively dog, not nervous, attentive and vigilant. With respect to strangers he is aloof and cautious, but never aggressive.
The White Swiss Shepherd is intelligent with strong herding and guarding instincts. They are easily trained. They have authority in work and play. It is a very responsible and diligent dog. It is not a shy dog, just reserved with strangers. He enjoys attention and time.
These dogs are exceptional companions, protective of their owner and family. They are attentive and lively, showing strength and endurance combined with abundant agility.
The White Swiss Shepherd is a gentle dog, desiring a close bond with its family. It shows a close connection and appreciation for its home environment. Due to their observant nature, these dogs will learn to vocalize with their owners and efficiently communicate what they need, and only when necessary. Over time, owners can observe and learn from their vocal range and identify their behavior and needs.
They will bark to protect their home, but are quick to accept neighbors and regular visitors.
As a group, they are thoughtful and attentive, however, they are also energetic in their play together.
Any trait of aggressiveness or excessive shyness is symbolic of a serious fault for dogs of this breed.
What is the price of a White Swiss Shepherd?
The price of a White Swiss Shepherd puppy will depend on the country where the purchase is made. In the United States, for example, the average price for a White Swiss Shepherd puppy is $1300 usd. In Europe the price is around 1200 usd. In Latin America prices are somewhat lower.
These prices, however, are subject to other factors. For example, a pedigree dog may cost significantly more. It will also make the price more expensive if you buy your puppy from a specialized breeder with a reputation for handling the breed. Then there are also any vaccinations that have been done on the dog, health certificates or results of tests performed, etc.
Of course, you can get a puppy at a much lower price if you buy it from online stores or from a not very well known breeder, however, it is not recommended if you want your dog to be legitimate, or that it does not carry health problems of genetic origin.
What diseases can a White Swiss Shepherd have?
The Swiss Shepherd or White German Shepherd, as it is also known, is generally a healthy dog. However, there are some diseases to which this breed is predisposed. Among these we find:
Degenerative spinal stenosis: It is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which causes nerve damage.
Progressive retinal atrophy: This is the degeneration of the retina. It can lead to vision loss or long-term blindness.
Hip/elbow dysplasia: This is an abnormal growth of the hips or elbow that causes severe pain and loss of mobility.
Degenerative myelopathy: A spinal disease that impairs the mobility of the hind limbs, eventually leading to paralysis.
Von Willebrand’s disease: A deficiency of a protein that helps blood clot.
History of the White German Shepherd
The White German Shepherd is a very ancient dog. The first reference to this breed was described by the Roman chronicler Marco Terentius Varro in the year 100 B.C., who described the advantages of this breed because of its white color, which allowed to distinguish them well at night and not to confuse them with other wild animals such as wolves.
However, it was not until 1882 that the first white German Shepherd was recognized and exhibited at the Hannover Exposition, which caused a great impression. Then, in 1888, a white specimen of this breed was exhibited at the Hamburg Show. The specimens exhibited in these years were characterized by erect ears, which was a very uncommon characteristic of German Shepherds, which were beginning to become popular at that time.
The Swiss White Shepherd Dog is not descended from the German Shepherd breed, which existed much earlier, as already mentioned. On the contrary, specimens of this breed, crossed with others, gave rise to the breed of German Shepherd Dog that is now widely known and popular.
The Society for the German Shepherd Dog (SV) was formed as the parent club of the German Shepherd breed. Grief, a white German Shepherd Dog born around 1879, was the maternal grandfather of the first dog recorded in the SV’s German stud books, Horand von Grafrath, along with his littermate Luchs von Sparwasser. Both Horand and Luchs were used extensively, crossing to produce many litters. Their genetic code, which included the recessive white coat gene, was passed on through their progeny and, from that time forward, the color white has been part of German Shepherd genetics.
In 1904, the first German Shepherd dogs were introduced in America. Subsequently, in 1908, the first German Shepherd was registered with the AKC, a white-coated specimen. As the German Shepherd flourished in the United States and the rest of Europe during the 1930s, the SV continued to have much influence on the German Shepherd standard worldwide. In 1933, the German SV rejected white coats as a “defective” breed trait and refused to register white-haired dogs.
In the 1960 revision of the SV standard, all white-haired dogs were completely banned and denied registration. White puppies were typically culled from litters and dogs that produced white-haired puppies were considered undesirable for breeding. Many countries around the world that adhered to the strict SV standard also eliminated the white-haired dog from their standard.
White-coated German Shepherd Dogs were almost eliminated in Germany and throughout Europe. However, there were several kennel clubs in other countries, notably those in the United States, Canada and England, that were not so closely tied to the SV standard and had their own standard for the German Shepherd, which still allowed registration of the white-coated German Shepherd. It was mainly within these countries that the white-coated German Shepherd could flourish and the origin of the White Shepherd as a recognized breed emerged.
Disputes continued and the clubs changed names. In the end, the “White German Shepherd Club International” was founded in the USA. In Canada, “The White Shepherd Club of Canada” was founded in 1973.
It took another 10 years before the shepherds found their way to the country of their predecessors thanks to Martin Faustmann. In 1993 the first white shepherd was registered in the Czech Republic as an American-Canadian white shepherd.
Finally, the International Cynology Organization – FCI based in Brussels, in 2003 officially recognized the breed with the name Berger Blanc Suisse (White Swiss Shepherd).
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