White Shepherd Dog

The White Shepherd Dog emerged from white coat lines of the German Shepherd Dog. It has been recognized (on a provisional basis) as a breed by the FCI on 26/11/2002 as the Berger Blanc Suisse.

White Shepherd Dog Appearance

The White Shepherd is a direct descendant of the German Shepherd Dog and the two breeds share common roots and are similar in appearance. However, the White Shepherd evolved from a continuous selection for a working companion dog with that exclusive color, beauty and elegance as seen both standing and in motion. His high degree of intelligence and sense of loyalty have allowed him to become one of the most versatile working dogs (as well as pets) known to man.

The White Shepherd, as recognized by UKC, is a medium-sized, well-balanced, muscular dog, slightly longer than tall, with a medium length, pure white coat, erect ears, and a low-set natural tail that normally reaches to the hock and is carried in a slight curve like a saber. The White Shepherd is solid without bulkiness and should be shown in lean, hard physical condition. The outline of the White Shepherd is made up of smooth curves rather than angles. When trotting, the White Shepherd moves with a long, efficient stride that is driven by a powerful forward thrust from the hindquarters. The rear leg, moving forward, swings under the foreleg and touches down in the place where the forefoot left an imprint. Gender differences are readily apparent.

The White Shepherd should be evaluated as an all-around working dog, and exaggerations or faults should be penalized in proportion to how much they deviate from breed type; and how much they interfere with the dog's ability to work.

The head is proportional to the size of the dog. Males appear masculine without coarseness, and females feminine without being overly fine. The skull and muzzle are of equal length, parallel to one another, and joined at a moderate stop. There is little or no median furrow.

The White Shepherd has a weather-resistant double coat. The outer coat is dense, straight, harsh, and close lying. The undercoat is short, thick, and fine in texture. At the neck, the coat may be slightly longer and heavier, particularly in males. Ideal coat color is a pure white. Colors ranging from a very light cream to a light biscuit tan are acceptable but not preferred.

Dogs with noses not predominantly black is a disqualification.

The tail is set on low in a natural extension of the sloping croup. The tail extends at least to the hock joint and usually below.

The appearance standard for United Kennel Club registered dogs is very similar to but not exactly the same as for other separate breed lines such as the AWSA-registered White Shepherd or the FCI internationally recognized Berger Blanc Suisse (White Swiss Shepherd Dog). While all of the existing breed lines have a common genetic heritage with the white-coated members of the German Shepherd Dog breed, they are each separately registered with their respective clubs or registries which also maintain the individual breed appearance standards.

White Shepherd Dog Temperament

The breed has a distinct personality marked by direct and fearless, but not hostile, expression. The ideal dog is self-confident and maintains a certain aloofness. It is eager and alert when needed, willing to serve in its capacity as a companion, guard, guide dog, herding dog, or whatever the circumstances may demand. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them. Lack of confidence under any surroundings is not typical of good character. Any dog that exhibits unprovoked aggression and attempts to bite any person, dog or other animal must be disqualified and removed from any dog show event.

White German Shepherds are very loyal, very protective dogs. They are especially protective of those designated as 'pups'. These dogs enjoy running, playing fetch, or any activity with their 'family' or 'pack'. They are loving, and very good with children. These canines are very good companions if raised in a good home. They can learn various tricks (depending on the dog) and are usually intelligent animals. They can also live a very long time - 12–14 years.

The White German Shepherd breed have a very playful and curious personality. Some have a tendency to be very vocal by whining, grunting, and moaning. These dogs are respectful to their masters.

White Shepherd Dog Activities

The White German Shepherd can compete in dog agility trials, obedience, Rally obedience, Schutzhund, showmanship, flyball, tracking, and herding events. Herding instincts and trainability can be measured at noncompetitive herding tests. White German Shepherds that exhibit basic herding instincts can be trained to compete in herding trials.

White Shepherd Dog Genetics

There are many misconceptions about white-coat German Shepherd Dogs and the gene that expresses for their coat color. Clarence C. Little's The Inheritance of Coat Color in Dogs hypothesized that dilution or partial albinism ce, ca and cch alleles of the so called (C) gene caused the cream and white coat color variants in domestic dogs. Little's hypothesized partial albinism explanation for cream and white colored coats has been applied across most domestic dog breeds, including white coat dogs from German Shepherd breed lines, since Little first published his book.

However, comparative analysis of the dog genome and specific breed DNA sequences now shows that Little's hypothesized gene (C) color dilution explanation for cream and white colored coats is most likely not a relevant determinant of cream and white coats known to commonly occur in many dog breeds. Little's 1957-era partial albinism dilution explanation, as applied to explain domestic dog white and cream coat colors, can be replaced by the findings of modern genetic research.

Research has shown that a recessive e allele at the Extension (E) gene is at least partially responsible for cream and white coat color. The (E) gene, now identified as the Melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) gene, is one of the two genes known to code for alleles that are absolutely fundamental to the formation of all German Shepherd Dog colored coat variations. When the recessive allele is inherited from each breeding pair parent, the e/e genotype offspring of certain breeds, including white coat dogs from German Shepherd breed lines, always have cream or white colored coats.

White shepherds were once blamed for color dilution or paling for the entire breed because the recessive e allele of the MC1R (E) gene locus masks expression of alleles at other gene loci that actually do code for lighter (often termed as diluted or pale) colors of silver, black and tan or liver. German breeders of the 1920s and 1930s misinterpreted pale-colored offspring of white dogs as an undesirable "white" genetic trait. A homozygous dog of normal color paired with a white GSD always produces full colored puppies because the e allele is recessive.)

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