White German Shepherd

Canis lupus

Last updated: January 16, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© iStock.com/fotyma

It was once thought that White German Shepherds were albinos, but that is not the case. Its white coat is part of the overall German Shepherd genetic composition.

White German Shepherd Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Canidae
Genus
Canis
Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

White German Shepherd Conservation Status

White German Shepherd Locations

White German Shepherd Locations

White German Shepherd Facts

Name Of Young
Puppy
Group Behavior
  • Pack
Fun Fact
It was once thought that White German Shepherds were albinos, but that is not the case. Its white coat is part of the overall German Shepherd genetic composition.
Most Distinctive Feature
It's white coat.
Other Name(s)
American-Canadian White Shepherd, White Shepherd Dog, White GSD
Gestation Period
63 days
Temperament
Confident, loyal, and courageous.
Litter Size
8-12 puppies
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
10 puppies
Lifestyle
  • Pack
Common Name
White German Shepherd
Special Features
White coat
Origin
Germany
Location
United States
Group
Working

White German Shepherd Physical Characteristics

Color
  • White
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
12-15 years.
Weight
Male, 65-90 pounds. Female, 50-70 pounds
Height
Male, 24-26 inches. Female, 22-24 inches.
Aggression
Medium

White German Shepherd as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Shedability
Trainability
Intelligence
Tendency to Chew
Size
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Moderate
Separation Anxiety
High
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Low
Friendly With Other Dogs
High
Pure bred cost to own
$2,000 to $4,000
Dog group
Working
Male weight
65-90 lbs
Female weight
50-70 lbs

This post may contain affiliate links to our partners like Chewy, Amazon, and others. Purchasing through these helps us further the A-Z Animals mission to educate about the world's species..

View all of the White German Shepherd images!



Introduction

The White German Shepherd is a variation of the German Shepherd, known in Great Britain as the Alsatian, a rugged, hardworking dog used worldwide for jobs ranging from herding to protection to military and police work. Confident, intelligent, and loyal, it is a sturdy, muscular, and athletic dog that can retain and perform a large variety of commands. Developed from herding and guarding dogs throughout Europe in the past few centuries, the breed’s progress began with the foundation of its first breed club in 1899 in Germany.

White dogs were part of the original breeding stock, and white pups were reasonably common in German Shepherd litters. In the 1930s, German breeding clubs determined that the white coat represented impurity or diminishing of the stock. Consequently, Shepherds with white coats were judged as “flawed” and barred from competition. Kennel clubs globally followed Germany’s lead, and the White Shepherd became a rare sight. Although the AKC was one such organization, White German Shepherds remained popular in the U.S. and Canada, and breeding continues in these countries. Additionally, the United Kennel Club recognized the White German Shepherd as a breed in 1999.

White German Shepherd Fun Fact

It was once thought that White German Shepherds had albinism, but that is not the case. Its white coat is part of the overall German Shepherd genetic composition.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning White German Shepherds 

Pros!Cons!
German Shepherds are beautiful dogs. They have a confident and authoritative bearing which is only magnified by their muscular physiques. The White Shepherd’s coat is even more striking than the coat of the standard Shepherd.Like standard Shepherds, the White Shepherd has a luxurious coat that sheds year-round. During its two shedding seasons, the White German Shepherd must be brushed daily to keep hair from getting out of control throughout the house.
The White German Shepherd is an intelligent and obedient breed. They are highly trainable, which is why the military and law enforcement covet the standard Shepherd. Given that most of those dogs are trained in Europe, fewer White Shepherds are present in those jobs, though.White German Shepherds bond closely with their owners and families. They also require a steady supply of work. Because of this, Shepherds are likely to suffer high degrees of separation anxiety and may become destructive when left alone.
White Shepherds bond well with their owners and are highly loyal. This is one trait that makes them excellent watchdogs and guard dogs.Their use in law enforcement, loyalty to owners, and use as guard dogs have fostered a belief that they’re aggressive. Though they can be aggressive if trained poorly because of their protective nature, a well-trained Shepherd is confident, observant, and alert.

The Best Dog Food For White German Shepherds

German Shepherds are muscular, energetic, and agile dogs that require the proper balance of nutrients to function at their peak levels, and White German Shepherds are no exception. Not just any large dog food will do, however, as Shepherds are notorious for stomach and joint issues. The best food for them will be packed with nutrients, protein, chondroitin, fiber, and glucosamine to address digestive and joint health.

We at A-Z Animals recommend Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition German Shepherd Adult Dry Dog Food as the best choice. A-Z Animals has also reviewed options for wet food, puppies, and Shepherds with more serious digestive issues here.

White German Shepherd Size and Weight

The White German Shepherd is a large dog. The average height for a male is 25 inches, while a female stands at 23. Muscular, athletic, and agile, males top out at about 90 pounds and females at 70.

Height (Male):24-26 inches
Height (Female):22-24 inches
Weight (Male):65-90 pounds
Weight (Female):50-70 pounds

White German Shepherd Common Health Issues

As with many dogs, White German Shepherds may suffer from elbow or hip dysplasia. They can also have problems with bloat (a condition where the abdomen swells dangerously) and airborne and skin allergies. There are also potential problems with degenerative myelopathy, which is a serious compression of the spinal cord and should be treated as quickly as possible. Some lines of German Shepherds have been diagnosed with Lupus and other autoimmune conditions. Responsible breeders should test for many of these conditions and only breed from healthy stock. Work with your veterinarian to treat and manage any conditions that may arise with your dog.

White German Shepherd Temperament

The White German Shepherd is a working dog at its most basic level. The intelligence that has been bred into it and the physical skills it possesses has made the dog one of the most confident, loyal, and courageous dogs out there. The White Shepherd lives to work for and to protect its pack. As long as it is appropriately socialized, the White German Shepherd gets along well with children, pets, and other dogs, mainly because it is slightly gentler than its standard counterpart.

This is not the type of dog to lie around the house. The Shepherd needs plenty of work and mental stimulation to be at its best. The White German Shepherd is ideal for a household that works and has plenty of movement and energy. It needs to move throughout the day to satisfy its migratory instincts.

How To Take Care of White German Shepherds

Berger Blanc Suisse in a red harness on a leash sitting on a rock with conifer trees in the background
This dog will shed all year, so they should be brushed daily, especially during their shedding seasons.

©Ofenhesse/Shutterstock.com

White German Shepherd Maintenance And Grooming 

They shed all year, so they should be brushed daily, especially during their shedding seasons. Otherwise, you will have tumbleweeds of dog hair rolling through your home. Only bathe them as needed, as their skin can dry out and become irritated. Trim their nails monthly to prevent them from getting overly long and painful. As with all dogs, brush their teeth regularly and check their ears for wax, pests, debris, and contusions.

White German Shepherd Training

They are intelligent and active dogs. Shepherds are naturally confident and alert, so to keep that assuredness from developing into aggression, it is necessary to train them well. They should be socialized from a young age, taking them to many places, meeting other people and dogs, and experiencing new situations to build that quiet confidence that comes with a breadth of knowledge and experience.

Due to their intelligence and loyalty, White German Shepherds are among the most trainable dogs in the world. They are capable of recalling a large number of commands and observing situations to make judgments on their own. You want this independence to develop correctly, so you must not let a Shepherd believe it’s an alpha. White Shepherds must be trained consistently without being harsh, with a firm but authoritative attitude. A passive handler can result in a fearful or aggressive dog.

When trained well, the White Shepherd is suitable for various tasks because it can learn about any dog’s job. In addition to police, military, herding, guide dog, and guard work, the White German Shepherd can perform many canine activities, such as obedience trials, agility courses, disc and ball catching, and ring work.

White German Shepherd Exercise 

This is a high-energy dog with a lot of endurance. A long walk or two each day should help satisfy its migration instincts. Going along for a jog or alongside a bike would be even better. When walking the dog, put it in a heel alongside or behind you. This further reinforces your status as alpha and the dog’s position in the pack. In addition to these daily walks, canine activities, such as agility work, fetch, or disc catching should be incorporated into its daily activities.

White German Shepherd Puppies

The puppies should begin outside socialization as soon as their vaccinations are up to date; something like puppy kindergarten would be a good start. Even before then, you can begin the socialization process by having frequent guests interact with your pup. Once their vaccination status is set, introduce them to pets, other dogs, children, and visitors. Also, beginning at about three months, take them to new places and expose them to new experiences. Obedience training should start as soon as you get the pup home; this will help keep it mentally stimulated and help it learn its place in the hierarchy.

White German Shepherds And Children

They can be excellent with children, though, as with all dogs, there are a few caveats. First, there is the issue of socialization on the dog’s part. From the time they are pups, White Shepherds should begin interacting with a wide variety of people and children. This helps them learn more about what to expect from new humans, especially small ones.

Secondly, you must ensure that any children who interact with the dog are trained to handle a dog. Proper handling goes a long way to ensuring that there are no “misunderstandings” resulting in a nip or worse.

Finally, you must know that small children should be monitored with the dog, not because White Shepherds are naturally aggressive, but because they are large and quite capable of causing an injury by mistake. Young children should never be left unattended with any dog.

Dogs Similar to White German Shepherds

Berger Blanc Suisse: Though similar to the White German Shepherd, the Berger Blanc Suisse is merely a close cousin. The Suisse was bred from the ancestor of the German Shepherd, the Thuringian shepherd dog. The Berger Blanc Suisse is smaller than the White German Shepherd and more playful.

Belgian Sheepdog: The Belgian sheepdog is another herder but smaller and less muscular than the Shepherd. It is also explicitly bred for herding, and it is incredibly hardworking.

Belgian Malinois: Another hardworking herding dog, the Belgian Malinois, is about the same height but slightly leaner than the White Shepherd. Like the White Shepherd, this dog needs work and plenty of it!

Popular Names for White German Shepherds

  • Ghost
  • Apollo
  • Ranger
  • Koda
  • Max
  • Luna
  • Stella
  • Nova
  • Athena
  • Bella

Up Next:

View all 100 animals that start with W

What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?

X-Small
Small
Medium
Large
Xtra-Large

If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Kids
Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

Yes
No
How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

After 22 years as a reference and teen librarian, I am now a freelance writer and novelist based in Cincinnati. I enjoy spending time with my family, hiking, photography, woodworking, listening to classic rock, and watching classic films--my favorite animal is a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey.

White German Shepherd FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are White German Shepherds rare?

White German Shepherds are somewhat rare. Dating back to the 1930s, the Shepherd’s white coat has been considered a flaw in Germany and elsewhere. The exceptions to this have been the United States and Canada. Even in those countries, the norm is the standard German Shepherd.

How much is a White German Shepherd worth?

Many breeders ask somewhere between $2,000 to $4,000 for a White German Shepherd pup.

Do White German Shepherds have health issues?

White German Shepherds are prone to the same health issues as standard Shepherds and are not likely to have additional conditions because of their coats.

Do White German Shepherds have a different personality or temperament?

White German Shepherds typically have the same personality or temperament as standard German Shepherds. Some people believe that the white German Shepherd is a little less intense, though.

How big do White German Shepherds get?

The male White Shepherd stands 24 26 inches tall and weighs between 65 and 90 pounds. Females are slightly smaller.

Is the White German Shepherd the same as the White Swiss Shepherd?

The White German Shepherd is not the same as the White Swiss (Berger Blanc Suisse) though they share a common ancestor, the Thuringian shepherd dog. The Blanc Suisse is smaller than the White Shepherd and is more playful.

Are White German Shepherds aggressive?

White German Shepherds are thought to be less intense than the standard German Shepherd. Aggression in these dogs is a result of poor training or handling and not a result of natural temperament. A properly trained Shepherd should be confident and alert but not aggressive.

Are White German Shepherds smaller than standard German Shepherds?

White German Shepherds are typically the same size as the standard Shepherd.

Are White German Shepherds recognized by the AKC?

White German Shepherds can be registered with the AKC as German Shepherds, but they are not eligible for show competition. The white coat is considered a factor for disqualification. They are eligible for obedience competition, though.

Do White German Shepherds shed?

White German Shepherds, like the Standard Shepherd, are constant shedders. They are exceptionally prone to shedding during their two shedding seasons.

Do White German Shepherds have blue eyes?

The typical eye color of a White German Shepherd is brown. Blue eyes are rare and would be considered a disqualifying factor for United Kennel Club competitions.

Do White German Shepherds make good pets?

White German Shepherds are loyal and hardworking dogs. They make excellent pets for active households with firm, consistent handlers. They need a lot of exercise and mental work, so they would not be suitable for apartment living or families staying around the house. If someone doesn’t want to spend time working with this dog, it is not a good choice.

Are White Shepherds albinos?

White German Shepherds are not albinos. They do not lack pigmentation; they have a gene that masks the colors in the coat.

Are White Shepherds deaf?

White Shepherds are not typically deaf. Deafness is typically associated with albinism, which is not the contributing factor to the White German Shepherd’s coat color.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. UKC Dogs, Available here: https://www.ukcdogs.com/white-shepherd
  2. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Shepherd
  3. United White Shepherd Club, Available here: http://unitedwhiteshepherdclub.org/About%20WS.html
  4. White German Shepherd, Available here: https://www.whitegermanshepherd.org/whitegsdinfo/introduction.php
  5. Dog Pregnancy Calendar, Available here: https://dogpregnancycalendar.com/german-shepherd-pregnancy-week-by-week-calendar/
  6. Embark Vet, Available here: https://embarkvet.com/resources/dog-breeds/white-shepherd/
  7. Dog Breed Info, Available here: https://www.dogbreedinfo.com/americanwhiteshepherd.htm
  8. Hello Bark, Available here: https://hellobark.com/dogs/white-german-shepherd-price-how-much-are-white-gsd-puppies/

Newly Added Animals

A Plott Hound Mix
Plott Hound Mix

While the Plott hound is the state dog of North Carolina, it is a very rare breed and not well-known in other states.

Most Recently Updated Animals

A Plott Hound Mix
Plott Hound Mix

While the Plott hound is the state dog of North Carolina, it is a very rare breed and not well-known in other states.

A Bearded Collie
Bearded Collie

Weekly brushing is mandatory!

A Bavarian Mountain Hound
Bavarian Mountain Hound

Calm, quiet and poised!