The White German Shepherd is a gorgeous snowy-coated variation of the popular German Shepherd breed. While their coat color sets them apart, White Shepherds possess the same intelligence, loyalty, and playfulness that makes German Shepherds such excellent family companions and working dogs.
If you’re looking for an active and devoted dog to share your life with, the White Shepherd could be the perfect choice. Read on to learn more about this magnificent breed!
Here is a helpful table summarizing key information about the White German Shepherd breed:
|White German Shepherd
|Developed from German Shepherd breed started by von Stephanitz in 1899
|Muscular, athletic build; 22-26″ tall; 50-90 lbs; thick white coat in short or longhaired varieties
|Intelligent, loyal, playful, protective; bonds closely with family
|60-90 minutes daily; long walks, runs, playtime, training exercises
|Use positive reinforcement; be patient and consistent
|Brush 2-3 times per week; bath only when needed; trim nails regularly
|Hip/elbow dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, allergies
|Suburban or rural; securely fenced yard; active family
|$1,000-$2,000 from responsible breeder
|$1,500+ annually including food, vet care, supplies
|Good for Families?
|Yes, with proper socialization; supervision with very young children
History and Origins of the White German Shepherd
While most people are familiar with the traditional tan and black German Shepherd, White Shepherds have a long history of their own. They originated from the same breeding program that German cavalry officer Max von Stephanitz started in 1899. Von Stephanitz is credited with creating the German Shepherd breed by standardizing traits like their size, coat, color and temperament.
Occasionally, von Stephanitz’s breeding produced puppies with white coats. While they were part of the early German Shepherd bloodlines, the white coat was considered a fault according to the German Shepherd breed standard at the time. White Shepherd puppies were often culled from litters in favor of those with saddle-patterned coats.
However, a few breeders saw promise in the White Shepherds. In the 1960s, they started breeding programs specifically for White German Shepherds, aiming to establish them as a separate breed from their tan cousins. While the American Kennel Club still does not recognize White Shepherds as distinct from German Shepherds today, the United Kennel Club acknowledged them as the White Shepherd breed in 1999.
White Shepherd Appearance: A Fluffy White Coat
White German Shepherds look just like their more familiar tan counterparts except for one obvious difference: their thick, snowy-white coats.
They have the same muscular, athletic build and impressive stature typical of German Shepherds, standing 22-26 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 50-90 pounds. Males are usually larger than females.
Their heads are cleanly chiseled with pointy ears standing erect. White Shepherds have dark brown, almond-shaped eyes and black noses that contrast sharply with their pale fur.
One distinguishing feature is that White Shepherds can have short or long coats, while German Shepherds always have medium-length double coats. The long-haired variety has thick, lush fur around the neck and legs that requires frequent grooming to keep tangle-free.
White Shepherd puppies are absurdly cute balls of fluff. By one year old, they’ve reached their full-grown height. Their coats become coarser as they mature, though the fur around their ears stays cotton-soft.
White Shepherd Temperament: Smart, Loyal, and Fun-Loving
Like their German Shepherd cousins, White Shepherds make wonderful pets thanks to their playful personalities and eagerness to please.
They are extremely intelligent and easy to train when positive reinforcement is used. In fact, White Shepherds excel at canine sports, service work and other demanding roles requiring both brains and athleticism.
As working dogs bred to herd sheep and protect homes, White Shepherds are vigilant watchdogs who may bark to alert you of anything unusual. They are protective and reserved with strangers but affectionate goofballs with their families.
White Shepherds bond closely to their owners and don’t like to be left alone for long periods. Make sure to provide plenty of stimulating toys and activities to avoid boredom or destructive behavior when left unattended.
With early socialization, White Shepherds get along wonderfully with children and other pets. Supervise interactions with very young kids since their herding heritage means they may try to “corral” little ones by nipping at their heels. But these good-natured dogs will happily include kids in play when raised together.
White Shepherd Care: Exercise, Grooming, and Health
White Shepherds have high activity needs and thrive when given at least 60-90 minutes of vigorous exercise daily. They love going for long walks, playing fetch and learning new tricks. A securely fenced yard is a must so they can burn off steam.
Their thick double coats require brushing two to three times per week to control shedding. Bathe only when needed using a mild dog shampoo. Check and clean their ears regularly as well.
Like German Shepherds, White Shepherds are prone to inherited health conditions like hip dysplasia. Choosing a responsible breeder who provides health clearances for the parents minimizes this risk.
With good genes and proper preventive care, White Shepherds generally live 10-14 years. Feed them a high-quality commercial dog food formulated for large breeds and keep up with vet checkups.
Are White German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?
Absolutely! White Shepherds make wonderful family companions when their extensive exercise and training needs are met.
They are playful and affectionate with kids they’re raised with, though require supervision around very young ones. With socialization, they’ll get along great with any other household pets too.
White Shepherds do best in a suburban home with a securely fenced yard. Apartment living doesn’t provide enough space for them to stretch their legs. Their thick coats also make them better suited for cooler climates.
If you lead an active lifestyle and are looking for a loyal canine companion to include on all your adventures, the good-natured White German Shepherd will fit right in with the family!
White Shepherd Puppy Costs: Is This Breed Right for You?
White Shepherd puppies typically cost $1,000-2,000 from responsible breeders, depending on bloodlines and location. Adopting from a rescue often costs $100-300.
Here’s a realistic look at the expenses of owning one of these magnificent dogs:
- Upfront costs: $1,200 for purchase price, supplies, spay/neuter, microchipping
- Annual costs: $1,500 for food, routine vet care, flea/tick prevention, toys/treats
- Lifetime costs: $20,000+ over a 12-14 year lifespan
In addition to the financial investment, White Shepherds have high needs when it comes to exercise, training, grooming and mental stimulation. They thrive on having a job to do.
Prospective owners must be willing and able to provide at least 60-90 minutes of vigorous daily activity. White Shepherds crave lots of playtime and enrichment to prevent problem behaviors from developing. They want to be with their family as much as possible and don’t do well when left alone for long periods.
If you can meet their needs for an active lifestyle and devoted companionship, White Shepherds will repay you with unwavering loyalty, silly antics, and adventures galore!
Finding a Healthy White Shepherd Puppy From a Responsible Breeder
With a high-drive working breed like the White Shepherd, it’s crucial to get your puppy from an ethical, conscientious breeder. Avoid pet stores or online sellers offering White Shepherd puppies. These pups often come from irresponsible breeders and puppy mills where the parent dogs aren’t health tested.
A good breeder will:
- Have in-depth knowledge of the breed’s history and characteristics
- Screen breeding dogs for genetic issues like hip dysplasia
- Provide vet records showing the puppy’s health checks and vaccinations
- Ask you questions to ensure the dog matches your lifestyle
- Take back any dog they’ve bred if you can no longer care for them
Look for breed clubs like the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America for help locating reputable White Shepherd breeders. Be prepared to wait, as the best breeders often have long waitlists for their sought-after pups. The wait is well worth it to get a happy, healthy dog!
Early Socialization and Training Is Key
White Shepherds are highly intelligent, energetic dogs who need extensive socialization and training starting from puppyhood. Sign up for puppy kindergarten by 8-12 weeks old, then continue with advanced obedience training.
Proper socialization is crucial for any working or guardian breed like the White Shepherd. Introduce your puppy calmly to a wide variety of people, places, animals, and experiences during the prime 3-16 week socialization period. Reward them for acting confidently in new situations to build their sociability and manners.
Always use positive reinforcement like treats, praise and play to motivate your White Shepherd during training sessions. While they aim to please their owners, White Shepherds can be stubborn at times. Patient, persistent training is needed to shape their behavior.
Investing time and effort into training from day one will pay off enormously with your White Shepherd throughout their long life together. They have so much potential when their intelligence is nurtured!
Exercising Your White Shepherd: Physical and Mental Stimulation Needs
High-drive working breeds like the White Shepherd thrive on having a job to do. If under-exercised or bored, their pent-up energy may lead to unwanted behaviors like chewing, barking or aggression.
Plan on providing your White Shepherd with at least 60-90 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. They love going for long walks or runs, playing interactive games like fetch, and learning new tricks or dog sports.
Mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity for this smart breed. Provide food-puzzle toys, “find it” games with treats hidden around the house or yard, new obedience skills to learn or fun nose work. Switch activities regularly so they don’t get bored.
Owners who can meet their White Shepherd’s needs for constant activity and togetherness will be rewarded with a superstar adventure buddy!
Grooming a White Shepherd: Brushing Is Essential
That thick white coat requires regular upkeep to stay clean and prevent mats. Plan to brush your White Shepherd at least 2-3 times per week. Using a slicker brush removes dead hair before it can be shed all over your home.
Bathe only when needed – over-bathing strips the coat’s natural oils. Trim their nails every few weeks or as needed. Clean ears weekly to avoid infection. Brush teeth frequently for good dental health.
If your White Shepherd has the long-coat gene, daily brushing may be necessary along with occasional trimming for a neat appearance. Checking for any mats or tangles should be part of your daily hands-on inspection too.
While a bit high-maintenance, grooming serves as quality bonding time with your White Shepherd. With a thorough brushing routine, you can manage their heavy seasonal shedding.
Health Issues to Be Aware of in White Shepherds
White Shepherds are at risk for the same inherited conditions seen in German Shepherds, like:
- Hip dysplasia: Malformation of hip joints causing arthritis and lameness. Screening breeder’s dogs for this condition reduces risk.
- Degenerative myelopathy: Progressive spinal cord disease leading to paralysis of hind legs usually later in life. DNA test available.
- Allergies: Environmental allergies are common. Symptoms like itchy skin, ear infections and hot spots can be managed with veterinary care.
With proper exercise, high-quality nutrition and preventive vet care, White Shepherds often enjoy excellent health into their senior years. Stay alert for any signs of illness and seek prompt veterinary care when necessary.
The Playful, Devoted White German Shepherd: An Active Family Companion
Few breeds are as fun-loving, smart and loyal as the White German Shepherd. Despite their large size, they retain a playful puppy-like attitude their whole life.
For active individuals and families prepared to provide them with vigorous daily exercise, training and companionship, the White Shepherd makes an ideal pet.
Their magnificent snowy-white coats and sweet, goofy personalities will bring joy and laughter into your home. In return, these devoted dogs will give you a lifetime of love and protection.
The White Shepherd may not be for everyone, but for the right owner, they are an unbeatable adventure partner and loyal best friend. One look into their sparkling brown eyes, and you’re sure to fall in love with this special breed!