The white German Shepherd is a unique and stunning dog with a gorgeous, luxurious white coat that certainly makes it stand out from the colored variety. So, why all the confusion around this striking breed? How rare are they? How much do they cost? And do they make good pets?
The white German Shepherd is not as common as the colored variety. Expect to pay upwards of $1400 for a puppy from a breeder – the average being around $1700. They make good family pets and share exactly the same temperament as non-white German Shepherds. The only difference is their white coat.
In this all-new guide, we’ll uncover all the facts and misconceptions about the charming white German Shepherd, including their:
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Welcome to the world of the mysterious white German Shepherd. Let’s begin!
- Are White German Shepherds Purebred?
- Are White German Shepherds Albino?
- Are White German Shepherds Rare?
- Are White German Shepherds Recognized By the AKC?
- Do White German Shepherd Puppies Change Color?
- White German Shepherd Price
- Key Takeaways
Are White German Shepherds Purebred?
If you are contemplating making the white German Shepherd part of your family, you may wonder whether they are a mix or purebred.
White German Shepherds are purebred. They are the progeny of the first German Shepherd bred in Germany in the late 1800s and developed to herd sheep and other livestock. Often, herders preferred the white coat, as it was easy to recognize them from the darker European wolves.
They were not bred to be companion animals; instead, they were bred to be working dogs. Their olfactory scent, intellect, work ethic, strength, bravery, versatility, loyalty, and speed made them ideal farm dogs. They were responsible for not only herding but defending flocks from predators.
The German Shepherd breed quickly grew in popularity before the 1900s and spread to other countries. It is said that the white-coated German Shepherd was bred specifically by the kennels of the then Queen of Hapsburg, Alsace-Lorraine, Austria, as she wanted them to match the white horses that pulled her carriage.
By the outbreak of World War One, German Shepherds became specifically popular in the UK and America. This was due partly to the praise they received from returning First World War veterans and the success of German Shepherd movie stars Strongheart and Rin-Tin-Tin.
Sadly, the purebred white German Shepherd began to be considered a flaw by the Nazi regime in the 1930s, who saw the white coat as an undesirable characteristic and blamed it for causing coat paling across all colors and diseases. They were subsequently excluded from breeding and disqualified from the breed standard.
Fortunately, a few white German Shepherds survived the Nazis and WWII. These white-coated dogs have descendants who can trace their lineage back to the white GSDs of the early 1900s.
Learn More About The White German Shepherd In Our Video…
Are White German Shepherds Albino?
Many myths exist about white-coated German Shepherds and the gene that determines their coat color. When some people see them, they think they are an albino. But are they?
White German Shepherds are not albino. Albinos lack all pigment, whereas white German Shepherds have black noses, black pigment around their mouths, black paw pads, and brown eyes. Their eye rims and nails also have dark skin. The white gene is recessive and is only responsible for coat color.
Although the albino can exist in German Shepherds, it is extremely rare. This genetic mutation causes a complete absence of pigmentation. Most albino dogs will have skin that appears pink around their eyes, giving the appearance of pink eyes when their eyes will usually be blue in color. You will also be able to spot the pink nose easily.
What Causes a White German Shepherd?
German Shepherds with all-white coats have always been present in litters. However, now that you know they are not albinos, what exactly causes their beautiful white coats?
A recessive gene is responsible for causing a white German Shepherd and appears to have been part of the breed’s original gene structure. It masks the dog’s true color, making it appear white. The gene is only related to coat color and has nothing to do with health or temperament.
When studying the genetics of coat color, it’s difficult to predict what colors a white German Shepherd Dog would throw when bred to a non-white GSD because it’s unclear what color or pattern the dog is masking.
The easiest way to explain it is that the white gene is a recessive gene that works independently of all other color genes. If a dog has two copies of that gene switched on, the white hides the color. Consider a white bed sheet on a grey mattress; it conceals the mattress’s color rather than changing it.
So, what’s the bottom line?
If the colored dog has the recessive gene, the pups would have a 50/50 probability of being white or colored. To guarantee an all-white litter, two white GSDs will need to be bred.
Are White German Shepherds Rare?
The discrimination against the white German Shepherd by Nazi Germany quickly spread to breeders elsewhere. Breeders also wrongly believed they were inferior and had a genetic fault. So, in today’s world, a question often asked is, how rare are white German Shepherds?
White German Shepherds are rarer than the colored variety as only two white German Shepherds are guaranteed to produce all-white puppies. However, they are not too rare, and if two non-whites both have the white recessive gene, a small percentage of the litter may be white.
A reputable and experienced breeder will confidently breed two white German Shepherds to produce a litter of purebred, fluffy white German Shepherd puppies, as long as the demand is there.
Are White German Shepherds Recognized By the AKC?
The main purpose of the American Kennel Club is to maintain a pedigree registry of purebred dogs. However, there is often confusion around the white German Shepherd, albeit purebred.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognizes a white German Shepherd as long as both parents are also registered, no matter their color. The confusion is that white dogs are disqualified from the conformation ring, but they can still participate in herding, tracking, and obedience.
In the late 1960s, the American Kennel Club banned the white German Shepherd from the show ring. The official breed standard prefers strong, rich colors. Although the UK Kennel Club recognizes the white German Shepherd, they state they are highly undesirable for conformation.
This is where things start to get a little complicated! Allow me to elaborate…
Advances in science proved that the white recessive gene did not cause albinoism. Scientists also proved that the white German Shepherd was not accountable for any other health issues or the paling of color-coated dogs.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, supporters of the white German Shepherd Dog began to form their own breed clubs and registries. They pledged to defend the breed and changed the dog’s name to White Shepherd.
This led to the United Kennel Club (UKC) recognizing the White Shepherd as a separate breed in 1999 – portraying it as a direct progeny of the German Shepherd Dog.
So theoretically speaking, the white German Shepherd and the White Shepherd are now considered different breeds recognized by different organizations with separate breed standards:
- The white German Shepherd is recognized by the American Kennel Club (although it is disqualified from showing) and the UK Kennel Club.
- The United Kennel Club recognizes the White Shepherd.
In North America, opinions about whether the purebred white German Shepherd should be considered a different breed from the White Shepherd are still divided. The White German Shepherd Club of America does not support breed separation and believes that the white German Shepherd should stay part of the German Shepherd Dog breed.
Do White German Shepherd Puppies Change Color?
Apart from the color of their fur, the white German Shepherd Dog looks almost identical to any other breed variety. When choosing a puppy, it’s only natural to want to know whether it will change color.
White German Shepherd puppies do not change color. A white pup will always remain white, whereas the colored variety is generally born with black fur and will gradually change its color and pattern from birth until they’re around two years of age.
The same goes for black German Shepherds, whose color is also caused by a recessive gene. If pups are born all black, they will remain all black.
Related: Black German Shepherds: 9 Cool (Important) Facts You Didn’t Know!
What Do White German Shepherds Look Like?
The white German Shepherd is truly a stunning-looking dog, and often heads will turn to look at its gorgeous coat and features.
White German Shepherds have the same appearance as other varieties, apart from their all-white coats. They are medium-large sized with a muscular and athletic build. The GSD is double-coated, having a low-set bushy tail. A striking feature is their erect ears, with a noble head and a long muzzle.
Fully grown white German Shepherd males are typically 24 to 26 inches tall, while females are generally 22 to 24 inches tall. When fully grown, males weigh 66–88 lbs (30–40 kg), and females weigh 49–71 lbs (22–32 kg). However, remember that each dog is unique, and sizes can vary. For example, my female is very tall and weighs 88lbs (40kg).
The white German Shepherd has a double-coated, weather-resistant coat that is either medium or long in length. The undercoat is thick, and the outer coat has coarse, straight, or slightly wavy hairs that lie close to the body.
Are White German Shepherds Good Family Dogs?
If you’re looking at a white German Shepherd as a companion for your family, you won’t be disappointed.
White German Shepherds are good family dogs sharing the same temperament as the colored variety. They are intelligent, protective, loyal, affectionate, and easy to train. They will get along with children, other dogs, and even cats if introduced to them when young and properly trained.
Both the AKC and the UK breed standards do not recognize any contrasting traits.
While the white German Shepherd makes a good family dog, they are high-energy, and you need to have lots of time and enthusiasm to socialize, exercise, and train them. Nonetheless, they are excellent with children and other family pets, especially if raised with them.
The breed is keen to please its owners and enjoys having a job to do. This makes them enjoyable and easy to train. Basic obedience training should begin at a young age, preferably around eight weeks old, when you first bring the pup into your home.
Read More: How To Train an 8-Week Old German Shepherd Puppy
Sometimes German Shepherds can be over-sensitive, emotional, or extra clingy. This is due to their undying love and loyalty. They need to be a part of the family and are prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods.
White German Shepherds, like all varieties, are very active – exercise is essential to keep them out of mischief. They need at least two hours of regular physical activity every day. This should include various activities besides walking, such as hiking, off-leash running, flyball, agility, frisbee, and fetch.
Mental stimulation is also essential, which includes playing games and having interactive or puzzle toys. Check out Amazon for this cool Dog Brick Interactive Treat Puzzle. This toy will keep your doggo entertained for hours and gets thousands of positive reviews.
Without regular exercise and interaction, German Shepherds will display unwanted behavior such as chewing, biting, scratching, digging, whining, or barking.
They can live outside but prefer to be inside with their family. Although they can do okay in a small house or apartment, a house with a yard is preferred, where they can run and burn off some energy.
I’m often asked whether German Shepherds are good for a first-time owner. Allow me to share my experience; Willow is my first dog and is fantastic for all the family. I wouldn’t change her for the world.
Are White German Shepherds Protective?
German Shepherds are often used in the police, military, search and rescue, and service or therapy dogs due to their versatility, bravery, loyalty, boundless energy, and easy trainability. But do they make good guard dogs, and are they protective?
White German Shepherds are protective due to their natural guarding instincts. When faced with strangers, they can become nervous or suspicious and watch over their family, especially children. Early socialization and training are important to prevent any over-aggressiveness.
Remember, they were originally bred to herd and protect livestock, so protecting their family is an instinctive characteristic of the breed. The GSD’s unwavering desire to protect his owner and family is unrivaled, and he has even been known to risk his life to save others.
Are White German Shepherds Aggressive?
There is a range of myths and misunderstandings that surround the GSD, no matter their color. In particular, many of these are based on fear, and culture or are caused due to inadequately trained dogs. This may cause you to wonder whether white German Shepherds are aggressive, especially if you want to raise one with your family.
White German Shepherds are not aggressive if they are socialized early and are well-trained. They can become aggressive if provoked or mistreated. Since the GSD is often used for jobs that require them to be aggressive, it seems they have developed a reputation for being aggressive.
They are large, athletic, and muscular dogs often used as guard dogs or in the police and military due to these characteristics and their high intelligence and protective nature.
White German Shepherds can be trained to be aggressive towards strangers or certain individuals. However, a well-raised and socialized white German Shepherd has no reason to become aggressive.
From someone that worked in law enforcement for almost 30 years and has experience with the breed, I can honestly say I never once saw an aggressive dog – except when commanded to be aggressive in the right situation.
So, what’s the deal?
As long as you socialize and train your young pup, he will gain the trust and experience he needs with all new people and other dogs. This will allow him to react calmly and confidently to most situations he will encounter. You can learn how to do this here, 7 Easy Ways To Socialize a German Shepherd: Pup to Adult.
Don’t worry if you plan to adopt an older, untrained or unsocialized dog; white German Shepherds are pretty smart and can be trained at any age with a little patience and discipline.
White German Shepherd Price
As with any purebred, the prices of a white German Shepherd can vary. So, how much does a white German Shepherd cost on average?
On average, a white German Shepherd will cost $1740 to buy. I obtained this price from the average of 5 breeders I contacted. Prices vary depending on various factors such as breeder reputation, demand, location, bloodline, litter size, and whether full breeding rights are included.
These are the white German Shepherd breeders I contacted to get the prices of current litters. Some breeders will charge more if you want your pup to have AKC full breeding rights. Please note, I’m not endorsing any of these breeders, but I wanted to give you a clearer picture of the prices of a white German Shepherd.
|Rolling H Farm||Toone, TN||$1500|
|Gunther White GSDs||Redford, MO||$1800|
|The Great White GSDs||Greenville, SC||$1400|
|White Star Shepherds||Lancaster, NY||$2000|
|Wolfgang Haus GSDs||San Antonio, TX||$2000|
To find out what it will cost you to own and care for a German Shepherd after your initial purchase, check out this article, Costs of Owning a German Shepherd: With 21 Examples!
White German Shepherds are exceptionally healthy dogs, much like the color-coated type. They can, however, be susceptible to certain inherited health problems, just like most other purebreds.
Hip dysplasia is one of the most common health problems in German Shepherds. While all German Shepherd puppies are born with healthy hips, some may inherit this hereditary disorder. Hip dysplasia may affect any dog at any age, but it is most commonly seen in older dogs. When choosing a pup, make sure the parents have been hip scored.
Degenerative Myelopathy is a chronic, incurable spinal cord condition that causes progressive loss of movement and sensation in the limbs. The disease, which is common in GSDs, prevents them from behaving or functioning normally, which is likely to be detrimental to their health. DNA testing can help eradicate this disease from the breeding pool.
Do White German Shepherds Go Deaf?
Another often asked question about the purebred white German Shepherd is whether or not the white coat causes deafness.
White German Shepherds do not go deaf due to the recessive gene that causes their white coats. This gene does not affect the dog’s hearing, nor does it cause hereditary deafness. The confusion lies with the piebald gene that can cause hearing loss in some breeds, such as Dalmations.
Academic studies of the genetics of deafness in domestic pets indicate that dogs with the piebald gene are more likely to suffer from hearing loss.
Experts conclude that the same cells that generate pigments in their hair and skin also play a role in the inner ear’s structure. These cells are missing in dogs with the piebald or merle gene, which is why they are white and leads to their hearing loss.
White German Shepherds, on the other hand, inherit their white coats from a separate recessive gene. This means that their ears develop normally, and their hearing is unaffected.
Are White German Shepherds Hypoallergenic?
The white German Shepherd is double-coated, just like the colored variety, and can have medium or long hair, although long hair is less common. If you suffer from an allergy, you may wonder if they are hypoallergenic.
White German Shepherds are not hypoallergenic. They are a heavy shedder that will shed all year round consistently due to their thick double coats. They will also undergo vast seasonal shedding during the spring and fall. This constant pet dander can seriously affect an allergy sufferer.
The breed requires the same basic grooming and maintenance care as any other variety of German Shepherd. Check out my guide on German Shepherd shedding, which I’m sure you’ll find particularly helpful.
Regular brushing of your dog’s coat can help to keep the shedding to a minimum. The white hair does benefit from being easier to see on floors and furniture, which makes it a little easier!
The rarer longer-haired white German Shepherd requires more frequent and thorough grooming, especially around the ears, to ensure that they remain clean and healthy.
I recommend the FURminator Undercoat De-Shedding Tool from Amazon. I use it on my GSD as it does a great job of safely reaching the undercoat through the topcoat. I’ve tried other cheaper tools but haven’t found one as good as this.
German Shepherds should only be bathed infrequently to prevent losing their coat’s essential oils. Two or three baths a year are normally sufficient, but this can vary depending on various factors such as coat color, dirtiness, and health (e.g., skin allergies).
Obviously, white GSDs would need more baths. Hopefully, you won’t have one who enjoys rolling in fox poop!
Excessive washing can cause skin dryness, which can irritate. To prevent this, always use sensitive or gentle dog shampoo such as Tropiclean Shed Control from Amazon. I like this one as it moisturizes your pet’s skin and hair, reduces shedding, and provides a rich, nourishing clean that leaves skin and coat healthy.
How Long Do White German Shepherds Live?
When choosing a pet, you’ll want to know how long they will be around.
On average, white German Shepherds live between 9-13 years old. This is the typical living age for all German Shepherds, regardless of their color. Many factors influence lifespans, such as the original health of the parents, diet and nutrition, and environmental considerations.
Choose a trustworthy breeder who screens the sire and dam’s health to ensure your white German Shepherd lives a long and healthy life.
It’s also important to provide your dog with high-quality food. I am certain that the food you feed your GSD will keep him fit, healthy, and happy. Want to know the best diet to feed your doggo? Then head over to this article, Best Diet for German Shepherds: Nutrition, Types, and More!
Over the years, the white German Shepherd has survived a tough time earning his status as a recognized purebred. Here’s a summary of the key points of the article:
- The white German Shepherd is purebred.
- They are not as common as the colored variety.
- Their temperament is the same as other German Shepherds.
- A recessive gene causes their all-white coat. They are not albino.
- The white German Shepherd is recognized by the AKC but not allowed to show.
- White GSDs are prone to the same health conditions and life expectancy as other German Shepherd colors. The gene responsible for the white coat does not cause deafness.
Overall, white German Shepherds are very loving, loyal, trustworthy, and fun. They are full of life with boundless energy, and you’ll enjoy spending time with them for many years to come.
If you consider choosing a German Shepherd for a pet, I hope this article has answered all your questions. They are truly amazing dogs, no matter what their color!
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