The Breed

The Breed

As   the   grandfather   of   the   FIRST   registered   "German   Shepherd   Dog"   was a   white   dog,   the   gene   for   white   coats   has   been   a   part   of   the   German Shepherd   breed   since   it's   beginning   in   1898.   Despite   efforts   in   Germany and   many   countries   around   the   world   to   eliminate   the   white-coated German   Shepherd   Dog,   it   remains   a   popular   -   indeed   "desirable"   -   dog worldwide,   with   hundreds   of   whites   registered   every   year   in   Canada, and thousands registered every year in the United States.   Since   white   GSDs   are   now   disqualified   from   the   CKC   &   AKC   show   rings and   many   German   Shepherd   breeders   refuse   to   breed   to   the   white dogs,   White   Shepherd   clubs   in   North   America   have   been   pursuing   the goal   of   breed   separation   for   the   white   dogs   for   several   years   now,   in hopes    of    attaining    the    proper    recognition    that    these    dogs    deserve. Through   careful   study   of   the   breed   worldwide,   it   has   been   determined that   there   is   a   sufficient   gene   pool   to   support   a   separate   breed:   the White Shepherd. In    1999,    the    UKC    (in    the    USA)    recognized    the    White    Shepherd    as    a separate   breed.   In   2002,   the   FCI   (a   European   registry)   recognized   the White   Shepherd   as   a   separate   breed   -   the   "Berger   Blanc   Suisse".   We hope   to   achieve   breed   separation   in   Canada   (CKC)   and   the   US   (AKC) within the next few years as well

Frequently asked questions

IS THE WHITE SHEPHERD AN ALBINO? No,   an   albino   animal   has   pink   eyes   and   is   totally   devoid   of   pigment   (ie.   pink   eyelids,   lips,   nose, pads). HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT FROM "REGULAR" GSD'S? The   most   obvious   difference   is   colour.   Another   is   the   structure;   typically,   White   Shepherd breeders   strive   to   maintain   the   "original"   sound   structure   of   the   German   Shepherd   Dog.   Most WS   breeders   shy   away   from   the   extreme   rear   angulation   that   is   found   in   so   many   German Shepherds today. WHAT ABOUT TEMPERAMENT? As   with   any   dog,   breeding   and   environment   have   the   most   influence   on   a   dog's   temperament. At   a   recent   Temperament   Test   (conducted   by   Temperament   Test   Associates   of   Ontario),   80%   of the   White   Shepherds   tested   attained   their   Temperament   Test   title.   We'll   stack   that   up   against the "regular" GSDs any day! IS THE WHITE SHEPHERD A PUREBRED? Yes,   they   are   actually   registered   as   German   Shepherd   Dogs   by   the   Canadian   Kennel   Club   (CKC) and the American Kennel Club (AKC). IS THE WHITE SHEPHERD ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN CKC/AKC EVENTS? Yes.   They   are   eligible   to   participate   in   all   CKC   and   AKC   events   EXCEPT   conformation   shows. White Shepherds can and do earn titles in Obedience, Tracking, Herding, Flyball and Agility. ARE    THEY    ELIGIBLE    TO    PARTICIPATE    IN    CONFORMATION    SHOWS    WITH    OTHER CLUBS? Yes.   White   Shepherds   may   be   shown   at   WSCC,   AWSA,   UKC,   WGSDCI   and   FORB   conformation shows. They can and do earn Championship titles at these events.

Health and Genetics of the White Shepherd - The Science of Genetics

May your White Shepherd have a long happy, and healthy life!

That  

being  

said,  

please  

know  

that  

most  

dogs  

who  

are  

properly  

cared  

for,  

loved  

and  

socialized  

will  

live  

long,  

healthy  

lives.  

There  

are  

some  

dogs  

in  

every  

breed,  

however,  

that  

can  

suffer

from  

health  

problems.  

Each  

breed  

of  

dog  

has  

its  

own  

set  

of  

specific  

health  

issues,  

some  

are  

minor  

or  

cosmetic,  

and  

some  

are  

more  

serious  

and  

costly  

to  

treat.  

The  

White  

Shepherd  

is

no  

exception  

and  

unfortunately  

as  

seen  

in  

other  

breeds,  

the  

problems  

tend  

to  

increase  

as  

the  

White  

Shepherd  

becomes  

more  

popular  

and  

there  

is  

an  

increase  

in  

indiscriminate

breeders.  

Failure  

to  

screen  

for  

health  

problems,  

and  

failure  

to  

share  

data  

with  

other  

White  

Shepherd  

breeders  

often  

results  

in  

the  

"doubling  

up"  

of  

unfavourable  

genes.  

  

The  

results  

can

be most unfortunate, not only for the dog owner and the individual dog, but also for the entire breed as a whole.

If  

a  

breeder  

tells  

you  

they  

don’t  

have  

any  

diseases  

in  

their  

lines,  

it  

may  

be  

very  

comforting  

to  

hear,  

but  

beware,  

it  

simply  

cannot  

be  

true.  

  

EVERY  

dog  

of  

every  

breed  

carries  

genetic

diseases,  

and  

it’s  

the  

breeder’s  

responsibility  

to  

keep  

their  

puppy  

buyers  

informed,  

and  

run  

their  

breeding  

program  

with  

honesty  

and  

integrity.  

  

If  

a  

breeder  

tries  

to  

tell  

you  

they  

don’t

have  

any  

diseases  

in  

their  

lines,  

or  

the  

diseases  

they  

list  

are  

all  

cosmetic  

and  

very  

minor,  

then  

you  

know  

they  

are  

not  

being  

100%  

honest,  

and  

perhaps  

it  

would  

be  

in  

your  

best  

interests

to go elsewhere.

A  

good  

Breeder  

of  

White  

Shepherds  

should  

be  

willing  

to  

discuss  

the  

health  

of  

their  

breeding  

stock  

and  

what  

steps  

they've  

taken  

to  

reduce  

the  

likelihood  

of  

problems.  

They  

should  

be

willing  

to  

guarantee  

against  

genetic  

health  

problems  

and  

be  

willing  

to  

offer  

either  

a  

replacement  

puppy  

or  

a  

refund  

if  

your  

dog  

does  

become  

ill.  

  

They  

should  

also  

want  

to  

keep  

track  

of

anything  

that  

might  

show  

up  

later  

in  

your  

puppy.  

  

No  

breeder  

wants  

to  

breed  

a  

dog  

with  

a  

genetic  

disease,  

but  

genetics  

is  

a  

tricky  

science  

and  

can  

be  

hard  

to  

predict.  

  

That  

is  

why

meticulous record keeping is so important, and remember, knowledge is power.

If  

your  

White  

Shepherd  

should  

develop  

a  

genetic  

health  

problem,  

you  

should  

tell  

your  

breeder  

about  

it.  

This  

way,  

White  

Shepherd  

breeders  

can  

remain  

informed  

about  

potential

problems in their lines, and use the information to breed healthier dogs in the future.

That  

is  

the  

whole  

focus  

of  

the  

genetics  

project,  

to  

breed  

healthier  

dogs.  

  

Many  

of  

our  

breeders  

test  

their  

breeding  

stock  

for  

good  

health,  

and  

the  

results  

have  

been  

very  

encouraging.  

 

We  

have  

also  

been  

very  

proud  

of  

our  

White  

Shepherd  

breeders  

who  

have  

come  

forward  

and  

revealed  

the  

genetic  

diseases  

in  

their  

lines,  

so  

that  

we  

can  

all  

work  

together  

to  

breed  

the

healthiest dogs possible.  It takes time, but we sure feel that we’re off to a great start!

Go to the White Shepherd Genetics Project 

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1968 the first K-9 Unit, Tonka and his handler, Sgt. Vern A. Passet
1913 - Berno vd Seewiese, smooth haired dog from North Germany