The White Shepherd Dog

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 made the colour white a disqualification in the German Shepherd Dog Breed Standard. White GSDs were fully accepted in Germany until the 1930's. After the German Shepherd Dog Club of America 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 American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club. However, because the colour white is a disqualification, they are no longer eligible to be shown in the conformation ring.

Because of this and because many German Shepherd breeders refuse to breed to the white dogs, White Shepherd clubs in North America have been pursuing the goal of breed separation, in hopes of attaining recognition of the White Shepherd as a separate breed.

In April 1999, the United Kennel Club (UKC) announced that it would recognize the White Shepherd as a separate breed and in 2002, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized the White German Shepherd Dog as the "Berger Blanc Suisse."

The Breed Standards developed for the White Shepherd are very similar to that of the Breed Standards for the German Shepherd Dog except for 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 accepted. Skin colour should be pink to grey, with grey preferred and the nose, lips, eye rims, and pads must be fully pigmented and black in colour. Albinism is a disqualification.