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The White German Shepherd is a type of German Shepherd characterized by the white coat originating from Germany and later on bred in the United States. It’s a large dog at about 22 to 26 inches tall, weighing between 77 to 88 pounds. The lifespan of the White Shepherd is around 12 to 14 years.
Keep reading to find out more about this wonderfully white dog!
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1. Is the White German Shepherd a separate breed to the standard German Shepherd?
Technically, it isn’t, but it is recognized as a separate breed. Let me explain:
The recessive gene that causes this breed to be white has always been present in the original genetic structure of the German Shepherd – White German Shepherds descended directly from German Shepherds.
Since the 1930s, however, the White German Shepherd dog has been considered a fault and has yet to be recognized or accepted as a type of German Shepherd.
Supporters of the breed began forming their own breed clubs and registries for this dog in the 1970s, and eventually, in 1999 the United Kennel Club (UKC), the second largest dog breed registry in the US, recognized the White German Shepherd as a separate breed.
2. White German Shepherd vs standard German Shepherd?
The only significant difference between the White German Shepherd and the standard is the color. Let’s take a look at what’s the same and what’s different:
What’s the same?
- Large, muscular build
- Erect ears
- Height is up to 26 inches (65 cm)
- Weight is up to 88 lbs (40 kg)
- High shedding, grooming is very important
- Loyal, intelligent, protective and energetic
- White or cream in color
- Usually have longer fur, which can be stiff to the touch
- Some do not have a double coat
- Not recognized within the breed standard
3. What makes the White German Shepherd white?
Like the Black German Shepherd, the White German Shepherd is the product of a recessive coat color gene. Unlike the Black German Shepherd, however, whose true color is solid black, the recessive white gene acts as a mask, blocking the dog’s true color and pattern and causing it to appear white.
4. Can a White German Shepherd produce standard colored offspring?
The answer is YES!
The only way to get 100% solid white offspring is to breed two White German Shepherds, but if a White German Shepherd is bred to a colored German Shepherd, they will throw colored puppies. What proportion depends on whether the non-white Shepherd also carries the recessive white gene.
If the non-white carries the recessive white gene, the puppies will have a 50/50 chance of being white or colored.
If the non-white doesn’t carry the recessive white gene, all the pups will be colored.
Given that we cannot know what color or pattern a White German Shepherd is masking, it is not easy to determine what colors the pups will be when bred to a non-white German Shepherd.
5. Does the White German Shepherd have genetic disorders?
The answer is NO!
In fact, the founder of the German Shepherd as a recognized breed, Max Von Stephanitz rebuked this claim himself. In his book The German Shepherd Dog in Word and Picture, published in 1923, he states: “The coloring of the dog has no significance whatsoever for service.”
Unfortunately, though, history has been unkind to this breed, and today people still have the idea that she is flawed genetically.
Myth buster #1: The White German Shepherd is NOT an albino German Shepherd
I’ve heard people refer to the White German Shepherd many times as an albino German Shepherd. While there are albino German Shepherds, the White German Shepherd is not an albino dog.
An albino is an organism that has deficient pigmentation, which causes pink eyes, pale skin, and colorless hair. The White German Shepherd has pink or black skin, gold or brown eyes, a dark nose and solid white fur.
Myth buster #2: Breeding a White German Shepherd with a colored German Shepherd does NOT produce ‘color paling’
Some people think that if you breed a White German Shepherd with a standard one, the white gene will cause the puppies to be born a lighter color. This is not the case, however.
The white gene is not a dilute gene, like liver and blue; it is a masking gene (meaning the recessive gene masks the dog’s true color). The only way for diluting to happen is if the White Shepherd in question is masking a diluted color like liver or blue.
Myth buster #3: The White German Shepherd has NO separate health issues
The recessive gene is only responsible for the dog’s color; there are absolutely no links to poor health or temperament. The White German Shepherd is prone to the same health issues as the standard, the major concern being hip and elbow dysplasia.
Finding a reputable White German Shepherd breeder
Unfortunately, not unlike the case with the Black German Shepherd, some breeders are just in it for the money. As these dogs are relatively rare, breeders can charge more for a White German Shepherd puppy. While the average puppy price for a standard German Shepherd starts at about $300 and goes up to $900, White German Shepherd puppies cost between $750 – 1000.
It is very important to search for a responsible breeder and know how to recognize one. They should be able to provide you with full details on the puppy’s parentage, any health issues and details of the puppy’s vaccinations. They should want to meet with you to ask you questions about your experience as a dog owner and why you think you’d be a good match for the White German Shepherd puppy.
To find a trustworthy breeder, check out The American White Shepherd Association, the largest White Shepherd dog club in the US. They provide links to White German Shepherd breeders all over the US and Canada, all of whom are members of the club.
Other White dogs
Thanks for sticking with me to find out the truth about this magnificent breed. Let’s look at what we found out:
- She is recognized as a separate breed to the standard.
- Physical differences include: a white coat that is usually longer and may not be double.
- Her white color is caused by a recessive ‘masking’ gene that hides her true color and pattern.
- She is no different to the standard German Shepherds in terms of temperament, life span or health.
- She can produce colored German Shepherd puppies.
Let’s change people’s minds about this beautiful dog – go and spread the word!
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