Group: Herding Dogs
– Male: 25 inches (64 cm) at the shoulder
– Female: 23 inches (58 cm) at the shoulder
– Male: 75 to 85 lbs. (34 to 39 kg)
– Female: 60 to 70 lbs. (27 to 32 kg)
Also Known As: White Swiss Shepherd Dog; Berger Blanc Suisse
Note: The White Shepherd is recognized and registered as a German Shepherd Dog under the American Kennel Club (AKC) and the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC). The United Kennel Club (UKC) recognizes the White Shepherd as a separate breed. The White Swiss Shepherd Dog has been recognized by the Kennel Club (U.K.) since October 2017 and was originally recognized as a separate breed in Switzerland in 1991. The “Berger Blanc Suisse” or “White Swiss Shepherd Dog”, is also recognized by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (F.C.I.) under Breed Standard No. 347
The White Shepherd is a direct descendent of the German Shepherd Dog. The White Shepherd was recognized by the UKC in 1999 and the F.C.I. recognized the breed as the “Berger Blanc Suisse” in 2002. The colour white in German Shepherd Dogs was one of the original colours found in the breed. The developer of the breed, Max Von Stephanitz, owned several White German Shepherd Dogs and one of the first GSDs imported into the United States carried the gene that produces the white coat colour. In 1968, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America (GSDCA) made the colour white a disqualification in the German Shepherd Dog Breed Standard. After the GSDCA and the German Sieger Verein disqualified the colour, many countries followed their lead, including Canada.
Today, the White German Shepherd Dog is still recognized and registered as a German Shepherd Dog under the AKC and the CKC. Because many German Shepherd Dog breeders will not breed to the white dogs, White Shepherd clubs in North America have been pursuing the goal of breed separation, in hopes of attaining the proper recognition that these dogs deserve. Through careful study of the breed worldwide, it has been determined that there is a sufficient gene pool to support a separate breed.
The Breed Standards developed for the White Shepherd Dog are very similar to that of the Breed Standards for the German Shepherd Dog except, of course, colour. According to the UKC Breed Standard, the ideal coat colour is a pure white. However, colours ranging from a very light cream to light biscuit tan are acceptable. Skin colour should be pink to grey, with grey preferred. The nose, lips, eye rims, and pads must be fully pigmented and black in colour. Albinism is a disqualification.
Like the German Shepherd Dog, the White Shepherd is well known for his intelligence and faithfulness. He shares the same versatility and is known as a family companion, Guide Dog, Police Dog, Search and Rescue Dog, Drug and Bomb Detection Dog, Herding Dog, and Tracking Dog to name a few.
The White Shepherd’s physical characteristics are also similar to that of the German Shepherd giving an impression of strength, agility, and balance. He should be well-muscled, alert and appear athletic and fit. There should also be a distinct difference in males and females whereby the dog is definitely masculine and the bitch, feminine.
He has a distinct personality with a direct and fearless expression. He is self-confident and with a certain aloofness, he does not make immediate or indiscriminate friends. He is however approachable, quietly standing his ground. Any signs of a lack of confidence or nervousness are not typical of the breed. The ideal Shepherd is a working animal with a reliable character that possesses a high degree of beauty and nobility.
The White Shepherd’s double coat is weather-resistant with the outer coat being of medium length, dense, straight and close lying. The undercoat is short, thick and fine in texture. The ideal coat colour is a pure white but may vary from light cream to a light biscuit tan.
German Shepherd Dogs, as with other breeds, are susceptible to certain health problems, some of a genetic nature, others viral. If you are considering the adoption of a German Shepherd puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main General Information page.)
Additional Health Resources:
- German Shepherd Dog Health Issues
- The American German Shepherd Dog Charitable Foundation, Inc. — Devoted exclusively to funding research projects pertaining to the health of the German Shepherd Dog.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) — Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- Health and Nutrition — Growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- AKC Canine Health Foundation — Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene — HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet — Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
- White Shepherd Club of Canada Breed Standard
- White German Shepherd Dog Club of America Breed Standard for the White German Shepherd Dog
- UKC Breed Standard for the White Shepherd
- FCI-Standard No. 347 – White Swiss Shepherd Dog (Weisser Schweizer Schäferhund) (Berger Blanc Suisse)
- CKC Breed Standard for the German Shepherd Dog
- AKC German Shepherd Dog Breed Standard
- The German Shepherd Dog Illustrated Standard — From the German Shepherd Dog Club of America
- The Kennel Club (U.K.) Breed Standard for the White Swiss Shepherd Dog
- Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
- Training — For training information, see this growing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
- RCMP Police Dog Service Training Centre
- Schutzhund — The German Shepherd Dog is the most common breed involved in the sport of Schutzhund. Schutzhund training concentrates on obedience work, tracking and protection. This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes details on the sport as well as listings of Schutzhund clubs and associations.
- Clubs, Sports & Activities — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website covers several sports and activities and also includes listings of non-breed specific Dog Clubs from across Canada.
- Working Dogs — The Working Dogs section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
- Federation Berger Blanc Suisse Internationale (The International Federation for the White Swiss Shepherd Dog) — The worldwide platform for all breeding clubs and breeder groups of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog that are acknowledged by the FCI. Their goal is the international support of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog (WSSD/BBS). They achieve this by uniting all associations which specifically engage in the health and character of this breed.
- Genetics of Coat Color in Dogs — A brief review of the genes controlling dog coat colors and patterns.
- GSD vs. WGSD – It’s not a black or white issue!
- GSD Pedigree Database
- The German Shepherd Dog Breed Betterment Registry — This Registry was created in an attempt to gather comprehensive health information which will enable breeders to make more informed breeding choices.
- Herding Dogs — A developing section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website which includes training and general information about Herding/Stock Dogs; listing of Stock Dog Clubs and Associations; listing of upcoming shows and events; and more.
*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit: www.caninehealthinfo.org
*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.