Mandy the American White Shepherd at 8 months old
The American White Shepherd looks almost exactly like a German Shepherd except for the color. It has a stiff, long, or longhaired coat. The longhaired types do not have an undercoat. The color is always white.
White Shepherds are courageous, keen, alert and fearless. They are cheerful, obedient and eager to learn. Tranquil, confident, serious and clever, White Shepherds are extremely faithful and brave. They will not think twice about giving their lives for their human pack. They have a high learning ability. White Shepherds love to be close to their families, but can be wary of strangers. This breed needs its people and should not be left isolated for long periods of time. They only bark when they feel it is necessary. Often used as police dogs, the White Shepherd has a very strong protective instinct, and is extremely loyal to its handler. Socialized this breed well starting at puppyhood. Aggression and attacks on people are due to poor handling and training. Problems arise when an owner allows the dog to believe he is pack leader over humans and/or does not give the dog the mental and physical daily exercise it needs to be stable. This breed needs owners who are naturally authoritative over the dog in a calm, but firm, confident and consistent way. A stable, well-adjusted and trained dog is for the most part generally good with other pets and excellent with children in the family. They must be firmly trained in obedience from an early age. White Shepherds that have passive owners and/or whose instincts are not being met can become timid, skittish and may be prone to fear biting and develop a guarding issue. They should be trained and socialized from an early age. White Shepherds will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owner, however they will also not respond well to harsh discipline. Owners need to have an air of natural authority to their demeanor. Do not treat this dog as if he were human. Learn canine instincts and treat the dog accordingly. White Shepherds are one of the smartest and most trainable breeds. With this highly skilled working dog comes a drive to have a job and a task in life and a consistent pack leader to show it guidance. They need somewhere to channel their mental and physical energy. This is not a breed that will be happy simply lying around your living room or locked out in the backyard. The breed is so intelligent and learns so readily that it has been used as a sheepdog, guard dog, in police work, as a guide for the blind, in search and rescue service and in the military. The White Shepherd also excels in many other dog activities including schutzhund, tracking, obedience, agility, flyball and ring sport. His fine nose can sniff out drugs and intruders, and can alert handlers to the presence of underground mines in time to avoid detonation, or gas leaks in a pipes buried 15 feet underground. The White Shepherd is also a popular show and family companion.
Height: Males 24 - 26 inches (60 – 65 cm) Females 22 - 24 inches (55 – 60 cm)
Weight: 77 - 85 pounds (35 – 40 kg)
Some of the diseases that have been found in this breed are hip and elbow dysplasia (be sure both parents have their hips certified as OFA good); malabsorbtion syndrome; degenerative joint disease (including osteochondritis); megaesophagus; pannus and other forms of eye disease (not commonly seen); bloat; allergies (food, fleas or airborne); other skin or coat problems and missing teeth. Some lines of Whites are having problems with illnesses such as Lupus and/or other forms of autoimmune diseases, as well as Congenital Spinal Disease. At this point in time, autoimmune problems are fairly rare in the breed.
White Shepherds will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with at least a large yard.
White Shepherds love strenuous activity, preferably combined with training of some kind, for these dogs are very intelligent and crave a good challenge. They need to be taken on a daily, brisk, long walk, jog or run alongside you when you bicycle. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog's mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Most Shepherds love to play ball or Frisbee. Ten to fifteen minutes of fetching along with daily pack walks will tire your dog out quite nicely as well as give him a sense of purpose. Whether it is ball chasing, Frisbee catching, obedience training, participation in a canine playgroup or just taking long walks/jogs, you must be willing to provide some form of daily, constructive exercise. The daily exercise must always include daily walks/jogs to satisfy the dog’s migration instinct. If under-exercised and/or not mentally challenged, this breed can become restless and destructive. Does best with a job to do.
Around 12 years
About 8 to 12 puppies
This breed sheds bits of hair constantly and is a seasonally heavy shedder. They should be brushed daily or you will have hair all over your home. Bathe only when necessary; over bathing can cause skin irritation from oil depletion. Check ears and trim claws regularly.
Originated from the United States, Canada and Europe. It was a direct descendant of the German Shepherd Dog. The White Shepherd has not been mixed with any other breed of dog since its introduction to North America. Certainly, there has been no other breed or breeds added in order to make them white. The gene that controls the white color is a natural component in the total color genetic makeup of the German Shepherd Dog breed. The White Shepherd is registered independently with the American White Shepherd Association in the United States of America.
The White Shepherd is registered as a White Shepherd with the American White Shepherd Association (AWSA) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized it as a Berger Blanc Swiss in 2002, which is the same name the White Swiss Shepherd Dog Club of Australia (WSSDCA) uses (in translation). The Swiss recognized the White GSD as a separate breed first, which is why Switzerland was credited as the country of origin and the breed name changed to reflect this.
Most other clubs register it as a German Shepherd Dog (white) calling the white color a disqualifying fault.