The White German Shepherd: 10 Facts You Didn’t Know

Do you know all German Shepherds are the descendants of a white German Shepherd? And during WWII, Germany had even banned white German Shepherds from the conformation ring and the breeding pool?

Although the White German Shepherd is now one of the most sought-after colors of all German Shepherds, it has been an uphill battle for this breed to gain its popularity until this day.

In this article, we will share with you 10 interesting facts you didn’t know about the White German Shepherd. 

The White German Shepherd vs standard German Shepherd

To start, here’s a brief summary of the major similarities and differences:

The similarities

  • They are genetically identical
  • They have a large, muscular build
  • They have erected ears
  • They have a double coat
  • They are shed all year round
  • They are loyal, intelligent and affectionate

The differences (of the White German Shepherd)

  • They have a white or cream coat
  • Long coat is more common

1. The White German Shepherd was the ancestors of all German Shepherd Dogs

In the “beginning”, there was a white German Shepherd with the name of Grief, which was born in Frankfurt in 1879.

Grief was paired with a bitch named Lotte. They both came from the tribes Thuringia and Frankonia known for their wolf-like ears and wolf-like color.

Greif and Lotte then gave birth to Lene.

Lene and was paired with a dog named Kastor. Then they birthed the famous dog Horand von Grafrath. This very dog was then registered on September 20 in the same year, under a new breed registry – making Horand von Grafrath the first German Shepherd Dog.

The rest is history.

For details, read our post on: The White German Shepherd – the Ancestor of All GSD

2. White German Shepherds were preferred for herding in the early days

The White German Shepherd is a breed mentioned repeatedly in literature, where it dates back to before the birth of Jesus Christ. It was first mentioned by the Roman historian, Marcus Terentius in 116 BC, who described the dog as an excellent dog for shepherds.

The tasks for herding dogs were very different from what we know today. They should, like today, keep the flock together – but its main task was to defend the flock from predators/thieves.

Evidence suggests that early German Shepherds were white because that was preferred by shepherds since thieves and wolves couldn’t distinguish a white German Shepherd from the sheep.

Related posts:

Will German Shepherds Kill Chickens?

Will German Shepherd Dogs Kill Cats?

Can a German Shepherd Dog Kill You? (With Stats and Real Cases)

3. The White German Shepherd is considered as a separate breed than the German Shepherd Dog

As Max von Stephanitz, the father of the German Shepherd Dog, wrote in 1908 in one of his countless theses, where he claimed that the color of the German Shepherd had no influence on the dog’s ability to work.

That said, apart from the aesthetic features, there’s no significant difference between the White German Shepherds and colored German Shepherds.

Unfortunately, the White German Shepherd is not recognized by the AKC. And therefore, the White German Shepherd is not allowed in competitions. However, there is very little difference between the white and tan German Shepherds, apart from their coats.

4. Both white and non-white German Shepherds can produce white German Shepherd puppies

The gene that makes the White German Shepherd white is a recessive gene.

A white pup only occurs when both parents carry the recessive gene (which makes them white). And if a white GSD parent mates with a non-white who carries the recessive white gene, there is only a 50% chance of producing a white pup. 

If two non-white dogs with recessive genes produce a litter, they too could have a small number of white pups, but only if the parent both carry the recessive gene.

Also read: 26 Critical Time in a GSD’s Life That Every Owner Must Be Aware of

5. The White German Shepherd is not an albino

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 white or cream fur – which are not the characteristics of an albino

6. The white color has no negative effect on its temperament

Regardless of breeds, the color of a dog does not have any negative effect on its temperament.

However, the White German Shepherds are bred to be more sociable and calmer than their multi-colored counterparts. 

They can make a great family pet, especially good with kids. The White German Shepherds are also known to be very affectionate with and protective of their families.

7. The white fur does not create any extra health issues

Similar to the Black German Shepherd, the White German Shepherd carries a recessive gene that determines its coat color. 

Since the White German Shepherd has no genetic difference as compared to a standard German Shepherd, the white fur does not create any extra health issues.

Like other German Shepherds, they also suffer from Elbow and Hip Dysplasia more frequently than other breeds of dogs. Yet, these are complications that are common in large dogs.

A healthy White German Shepherd can live up to 12-15 years, depending on the lifestyle, food, and location.

8. Long coat is more common in White German Shepherds 

The coat of a White German Shepherd is either medium or long in length. But long coat is more common. Both are double coats with a dense layer to protect them from nearly anything weather or environmental conditions. 

Shedding is a natural and constant process that replenishes fresh and new coats to keep the German Shepherd healthy. Just because their fur is white does not make them shed lesser than any of their colored counterparts.

Related post: How to Deal with German Shepherd Shedding? (Other Than Vacuuming)

9. White German Shepherds are rare

A white pup only occurs when both parents carry the recessive gene, which makes them white. And if a white GSD parent mates with a non-white who carries the recessive white gene, there is only a 50% chance of producing a white pup. 

That said, if you are looking to buy a White German Shepherd puppy, be prepared to pay a little bit more. Breeders charge more for rare colors in high demand.

10. White German Shepherds are more expensive

Given their rarity, White German Shepherd puppies are more expensive than colored ones. 

While the price for colored German Shepherd puppies can start from $1000, the White German Shepherd puppies with a good bloodline and health certifications could cost between $1250 – 2000.

Related: How Much Does A White German Shepherd Cost?

Final thoughts

The snowy-white coat (sometimes in cream) of the White German Shepherd is so distinctive and loveable. They are often bred to have a softer, more mellow, more sensitive personality than their multi-colored counterparts.

Given their rarity, the White German Shepherd has become a very sought-after kind of GSD – for good reasons.

Further Questions

What does a white dog symbolize?

A white dog symbolizes love, respect, and gratitude. A white dog ushers in a time of peace in your life, perhaps after some turmoil, and assures you that you are protected. (Source: Dog Dream Meanings (Complete Dictionary for Dreams About Dogs))

What is the meaning of a dream of a white dog?

To dream of a white dog indicates that you trust your friends to support and remain loyal to you and should serve as a reminder to show appreciation to the people you care about. (Source: Dog Dream Meanings (Complete Dictionary for Dreams About Dogs))

Why don’t police use white German shepherds?

White Shepherds are often bred to have a softer, more mellow, more sensitive personality. Because of this sweeter temperament, white Shepherds are seldom used as police dogs, guard dogs, or to participate in protection dog sports such as Schutzhund. (Source: White Shepherds: What’s Good About ‘Em, What’s Bad About ‘Em)

What is a White Swiss Shepherd Dog?

The White Swiss Shepherd Dog (aka Berger Blanc Suisse) is a breed of dog from Switzerland. It descends from American White Shepherds imported to Switzerland; the White Shepherd itself descends from white-colored purebred German Shepherds. (Source: Wikipedia)The White Swiss Shepherd is shy, skittish and gentle.