Yes. The White Shepherd has not been mixed with any other breed of dog from the time of its introduction to North America. Certainly, there has been no other breed or breeds added in order to make them white. The gene that controls the white color is a natural component in the total color genetic makeup of the German Shepherd Dog breed. The White Shepherd is registered independently with the American White Shepherd Association in the United States of America. Effective  May 1, 1999, the White Shepherd was also fully recognized as a separate breed of dog with the UNITED KENNEL CLUB (UKC). UKC is the second-oldest all-breed dog registry in the United States and the second largest in the world. For more information, please contact UKC: 100 E. Kilgore Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49002. The phone number is: (616) 343-9020. The United Kennel Club can also be accessed on the Internet.


No. The White Shepherd should have dark (preferably black) skin pigment. The nose, lips and eye rims must have color and be completely filled in. The skin of the entire muzzle may be dark as well. This dark skin will often show through the sparse coat on the top of the muzzle. It is commonly believed that all albino animals will have milky or chalky white skin pigment, light eyes with pink or red pupils and colorless, white hair such as you might see in the common lab mouse. In many species, including humans, albinos do exhibit these physical characteristics. However, today we recognize cases where albinos will exhibit colored (non-white) coats and blue eyes. (The so-called "white" Doberman Pinscher is such a case.) They are properly known as "Tyrosinase-Positive" or partial albinos. For this reason, any White Shepherd that may appear with blue (or pink) eyes or with a total lack of skin pigment is disqualified by the Breed Standard and should never be used in any breeding program.


The coat color comes from a simple recessive gene. To put it plainly, in order to produce a white puppy, both parents must carry the gene for the white coat color.
The white gene is not associated with the genes that cause color-paling in the German Shepherd Dog, since those genes are located at different loci. It is probably possible that a solid white GSD could carry these dilution genes. However, since the dog is white in color, the paling factor would not express itself in the color of the coat.
All dogs have a total of 78 chromosomes which are inherited from both parents at the moment of conception. Thus, each parent gives half the genetic makeup to their offspring – 39 from the sire and 39 from the dam. In simple terms, the chromosomes (which carry the genes) like to hang out in pairs. They align themselves so that the genes they carry will always exist in pairs. Each gene pair controls a given trait, either alone or in combination with other gene pairs. If the genes that make up the pair are exactly alike, the dog is said to be ‘homozygous’ for that gene pair. If the pair is mixed, then that dog is ‘heterozygous’ for that pair. These gene pairs acting in combination with each other determine what traits the dog will exhibit – called its ‘genotype.’
All white German Shepherd Dogs are homozygous for the gene pair responsible for producing the color white. If we call the white gene ‘w’, then all White Shepherds must have the following genotype: ww. (A non-white dog would have to be either WW or Ww.) If we breed our white dog, the only gene it would be able to contribute to its offspring would be the recessive w. You may have heard the term "phenotype" which describes the physical appearance of an animal. Thus, the phenotype of a GSD that inherits the ww gene pair will be that of a solid white dog. The problem with the phenotype is that what you see isn’t always what you get. In many cases, you can’t tell a given dog’s genotype just by looking at its phenotype. For example, a black and tan dog could be homozygous for non-white (WW). Such a dog would be unable to produce a white puppy, even if bred to a white dog because it doesn’t carry the recessive white gene. However, a black and tan dog could be carrying the gene for solid white (heterozygous for the white gene pair) and you would never know it just by looking at him (his phenotype) because the dominant W ‘covers up’ or takes precedence over the recessive partner gene. A colored GSD that does not carry the recessive w (homozygous for W) bred to another homozygous W partner will produce a litter of non-white, non-carrier puppies. Likewise, two white GSDs (homozygous for w) bred together can never produce a colored puppy. We can use a simple punnet square to determine the probability of producing white offspring from a white parent x non-white parent if we know the genotype of the non-white dog.
In the first punnet square, we see the potential result of breeding two carriers together. (We’ll define a carrier as a non-white dog that carries the white gene, also known as white ‘factored.’) With this mating, there is a potential for 25% of the resultant litter to be white (ww), 25% to be homozygous non-white (WW) and 50% to be heterozygous non-white (Ww – carries the white factor). In example 2, we mate a carrier (white factored or Ww) to a white partner (homozygous ww). The potential exists for half the litter (approximately 50%) to be white while the other 50% will be white factored (heterozygous) like their non-white parent. In the third example, we breed a homozygous non-white dog to a white partner. None of these puppies can be white but all of them have inherited the white factor and can produce white when bred to another carrier or to a white partner. In the fourth example, we breed a white factored dog to a homozygous non-carrier. Again, none of these pups can be white but half of them (approximately 50%) could potentially carry the white gene. The other 50% would be homozygous non-carriers. The only way to tell whether a given puppy has inherited the white factor would be to do a test breeding to a white dog. If no white pups result, then you would know that the parent is probably a non-carrier, or homozygous for WW.
This is a very simplistic explanation and does not account for the actions of other genes at other loci. But it should help explain how and why the white color can be carried along for several generations without expressing itself and then suddenly appear in a litter of GSD puppies.


This is a common term describing a dog having pigment (usually on the nose, hence the name) that lightens or fades out in the cold, winter months and returns with the warm weather and lengthening days. This very common trait does occur frequently in the White Shepherd as well as in many other breeds, both white and non-white. It is generally considered to be of little consequence. The snow nose factor is said to be tied to the enzyme Tyrosinase which is necessary for the production of melanin – the color-producing chemical in the skin. Tyrosinase is believed to be temperature-sensitive, thus, its activity slows in cold environments. Although it is not faulted by the Standard, it is something that breeders should be aware of within their breeding programs. For this reason, breeders should try to breed any dog that exhibits the snow nose factor to dogs from lines that hold their dark pigment year round.


Actually, the white shepherd dog predates the GSD breed, which is a relatively new breed of dog. (The GSD as a breed is less than 100 years old.)
To understand the beginnings of the White Shepherd, one must discuss its parent breed – the German Shepherd Dog. There was no such thing as a GSD before Captain Max Von Stephanitz and his friend Artur Meyer saw the dog Hektor Linksrhein at the Karlesruhe Exhibition on April 3, 1899. Von Stephanitz at once recognized this dog as the perfect prototype for the new breed he had envisioned in his mind’s eye. He bought the dog and renamed him on the spot. Thus, Hektor Linksrhein became Horand von Grafrath, SZ1 – the very first registered "German Shepherd Dog" in history. Also born on that day was the German SV or the Verein für Deutsche Schaferhunde (Club for German Shepherd Dogs). For more information on the history of the GSD breed, please refer to any of the fine books listed in the bibliography.
It is an accepted fact that Horand von Grafrath’s maternal grandfather was a white German sheepdog named Greif who was born in 1879. In his book The Alsatian Wolf Dog (1923), George Horowitz, a British judge, author and historian writes that Greif was exhibited at a show in Hanover in 1882 and then again in 1887. In 1888 in Hamburg, another white sheepdog, Greifa, was shown. A year later, at the Cassel Show (1889), Greif II was shown. These three sheepdogs were all owned by one Baron von Knigge, the Master of Hounds of Beyenrode.
Horand von Grafrath was bred to 35 different bitches, producing 53 litters of which, 140 progeny were registered with the SV. He was also mated three times to his own daughters, thus fixing his genetic code into the developing breed. Of the many genetic traits that became firmly entrenched, the gene for the white coat color would figure prominently. It would be handed down to his progeny as well as through his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It remains with us to this day.


The first dog to be shown as a GSD in the United States was a bitch named Mira v. Offingen (Beowulf x Hella v. Schwaben), in 1906. She was never registered with AKC and eventually, was returned to Germany. The first GSD registered with AKC was Queen of Switzerland (AKC # 115006). In 1913, Luchs – a dog owned by Anne Tracy – made his championship along with Hera von Ehrangrund. Miss Tracy’s breeding program produced white-coated GSDs almost immediately. A litter whelped n March 27, 1917 contained four white puppies: Stonihurst Edmund, Stonihurst Eric, Stonihurst Eadred and Stonihurst Elf. These four white dogs are believed to be the first AKC registered white GSDs bred and born in the USA. They were grandchildren of Am. Ch. Luchs and were enthusiastically received. The first German white GSDs were imported to the USA in 1920 by H.N. Hanchett of Minneapolis, MN. In 1921, Etzel V. Oeringen (otherwise known as "Strongheart") was imported to the USA and caused a sensation which is still felt today. This was a silver-gray dog with very good bloodlines that produced many excellent, black-pigmented, self-color whites. The white dog was bred and kept by such respected early American GSD kennels as Longworth Kennels, Giralda Farms and Grafmar Kennels.


Actually, since the domestic dog descended from the wolf, the technically correct answer to this question is: yes. One of the most influential bitches in the history of the GSD breed was Mores Plieningen, SZ159, born in 1894. According to Dr. Malcolm B. Willis (The German Shepherd Dog: A Genetic History), Mores Plieningen "is the ancestor (many times over) of every GSD in the world today." Her greatest claim to fame was in giving birth to Hektor v. Schwaben SZ13, son of Horand von Grafrath. Hektor was born in 1898 and made the German Sieger title in 1900 and 1901. It is rumored that Mores was the daughter of a working shepherd bitch and a captive male wolf. The story has changed and evolved over the century and cannot be fully substantiated. Even if Mores was indeed a wolfdog, the amount of wolf blood in the modern GSD is probably minimal, having been diluted over the almost 100 year history of the breed.
As far as the modern White Shepherd is concerned, we can emphatically state that no wolf blood has been added to any registered White Shepherd. There have been recent cases where wolfdog breeders have incorporated or used AKC registered white GSDs in their breeding programs. But they have nothing to do with our dogs, our breed or our Club. The White Shepherd Dog is *not* a wolfdog or a wolfdog mix.


That is a question that only the German SV and the German Shepherd Dog Club of America can truly answer. The SV was the first to attempt to eliminate white dogs from the gene pool through the dissavowment of the color around 1960. It was not always that way. In its early days, the SV registered white German Shepherd Dogs right along with all other colors. A dog named Berno von Seewiese, born in 1913 was one of the first whites to be registered with the SV. He represented a direct line down from Horand von Grafrath through Horand’s equally famous, (and some would say, better) son Hektor von Schwaben. For his part, Von Stephanitz had little interest in or use for a "beautiful" dog. This view often put him at odds with fellow breeders of his day. His focus was always geared toward agility, functionality, intelligence and usefulness. In his book, he stated: "The coloring of the dog has no significance whatsoever for service." Clearly, the founder of the GSD breed had no preference for one particular color over any other. What changed to cause the tide to turn against white colored GSDs?
By the mid-1930s, the Nazis were spreading everywhere and getting into all different areas and interests in Germany. Animal breeders did not escape their influence. Nazi Party members held memberships in the SV and increasingly exerted more and more influence over all aspects of the Club. Eventually, Von Stephanitz was forced out altogether. By the time of his death in 1936, the takeover of the SV by the Nazis was fairly complete. As with other animals, the SV and the GSD breed as put to the use for and by Hitler’s Nazi Party. In the flawed medical and genetic "science" of the Party mentality, all manner of ills were attributed to the gene for the white coat color. Discrimination was rampant everywhere. Such problems as deafness, blindness, albinism, mental instability, sterility and degeneration and loss of vigor were associated with and blamed on the white dogs. Once these beliefs took root, they flourished and grew, even after the end of World War II. With the breeding population of quality GSDs at an all-time low in Germany after the War, the impetus to remove these "degenerate throwbacks" from the remaining gene pool as set. Even to this day, white dogs remain ineligible even for registration as GSDs within Germany and throughout most European nations.
Following Germany’s lead, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America petitioned AKC for the disqualification of the color white from the GSD Breed Standard. The disqualification was approved by AKC and went into effect on April 9, 1968. It remains so to this day.


The only reason why one should not buy a white GSD would be if one wishes to become competitive in showing or breeding German Shepherd Dogs in the United States. One other sport that most White Shepherds would not be competitive in would be Schutzhund. Over the years, the White Shepherd has been bred to have a more mellow, soft and sensitive character and most dogs will lack the serious drives necessary to be really competitive on the Schutzhund field. So anyone wanting to compete in the various protection sports would probably do better with a different breed of dog.


At this point in time, there is no difference except that the White Shepherd is only registered as a breed apart with AWSA and with UKC in the United States. In time and with the deepening rift in the separation process, it is expected that the WS will continue to evolve and changes will be more readily seen.


As long as the WS remains registered with AKC and the Canadian Kennel Club as the German Shepherd Dog, individual members of the breed will be able to participate and title in all facets of AKC and CKC sport and competition EXCEPT conformation. It should also be well noted here that white GSDs have not been disqualified from the show ring in *all* kennel clubs or organizations within the various countries of the world. For example, they are not disqualified from showing in Great Britain, where the official Kennel Club Breed Standard still states the following:
Black or black saddle with tan, or gold to light grey markings. All black, all grey, with lighter or brown markings referred to as Sables. Nose black. Light markings on chest or very pale colour on inside of legs permissible but undesirable, as are whitish nails, red-tipped tails or wishy-washy faded colours defined as lacking in pigmentation. Blues, livers, albinos, whites (i.e. almost pure white dogs with black noses) and near whites highly undesirable. Undercoat, except in all black dogs, usually grey or fawn. Colour in itself is of secondary importance having no effect on character or fitness for work. Final colour of a young dog only ascertained when outer coat has developed.
Granted, one might find it extremely difficult to finish a dog sporting a coat color deemed "highly undesirable." However, if one were particularly stubborn, one *could* show one's dog in any Championship event in Great Britain and be fairly assured of not being thrown out of the ring. Even this is one step above what we have in the United States. It wasn't always like this! Before the color white was made a disqualifying fault in Canada, White Shepherds were shown frequently in the breed ring there and did very well. In fact, in 1996, two white GSD bitches received Canadian Kennel Club Championship points -- the first white GSDs ever in history to accomplish this feat. It's too bad they didn't get to finish their Championships before the disqualification went into effect.
If there is a bright side to the matter of campaigning a dog with a disqualifying breed fault, it is this: the white GSD is *not* disqualified from showing in the breed ring with several reputable kennel clubs or registries in North America. Even though the United Kennel Club has recognized the WS as a separate breed, it continues to allow white-coated German Shepherds to compete and title in UKC pointed or specialty shows right along side other German Shepherd Dogs of all other colors. In addition to this, all AKC or Canadian Kennel Club registered white German Shepherd Dogs are fully eligible for showing and titling through the American White Shepherd Association (AWSA) in the USA and through the White Shepherd Club of Canada (WSCC) in that country.
In the United States, AWSA sponsors champion-pointed specialty matches that any AKC or CKC-registered white GSD can enter. And although AWSA does maintain an accurate and independent registry for its members and their dogs, exhibitors need not be members of AWSA in order to compete and title their dogs at shows. In Canada, such point matches are held by WSCC. Very often, the two clubs will hold combined specialty weekends offering exhibitors the chance to put American and Canadian WS Specialty Champion points on their dogs in the same show weekend.
Opportunities also exist for showing in the breed ring within other North American breed clubs and registries. Such clubs as Canadian Rarieties and the Federation of Rare Breeds (FORB) have welcomed the participation of our dogs at their events. White GSDs are also eligible for showing with organizations such as the American Rare Breed Association (ARBA), States Kennel Club (SKC) and Worldwide Kennel Club (WWKC).


You can register your AKC or CKC-registered white German Shepherd Dog with the American White Shepherd Association by becoming a member of the Association and by signing and agreeing to abide by the Club Code of Ethics. AWSA’s registry is only open to members of the Club in good standing. However, you do not have to join the Club in order to show and title your dog in Conformation for an AWSA Champion of Record title. If you would like to show for points at any AWSA event, simply download and fill out an application for an AWSA "Event Registration Number." The application should be mailed to the current Club Conformation Chair together with the required fee and a copy of your dog's AKC or CKC registration certificate. For more information on joining the Club, please contact AWSA’s Membership Chair.


At the present time in North America, you can register your white GSD as a "White Shepherd" only with AWSA and/or with United Kennel Club. The breed is also recognized by States Kennel Club, the American Rare Breed Association and Worldwide Kennel Club as a "White German Shepherd." The American Kennel Club, Canadian Kennel Club and United Kennel Club still register the breed as the German Shepherd Dog, color: white.


The sky is pretty much the limit! The WS can be trained to do almost anything, from police K9 work to circus tricks to baby-sitting. It all depends on your individual dog and his temperament, personality and likes or dislikes. Whatever you care to try, whether it be backpacking in the mountains of swimming in the ocean, your WS will be game to give it a go. A working dog is a happy dog, so let your imagination go and get out there with your dog!


The WS is a medium-large breed. The AWSA Breed Standard calls for an ideal height for a male of 25 inches (63.5 cm) at the top of the highest point of the shoulder blade, with an inch (about 3 cm) variation up or down acceptable. Bitches should ideally be 23 inches (58.4 cm) at the same point and again, an inch variation in either direction of the ideal is fine. Oversized or undersized dogs, (i.e.: dogs outside of the acceptable range of height), are highly objectionable and should be faulted! In fact, the Standard states: "Extremes of anything distort type and are to be strongly discouraged." Ideal weight for a 25 inch tall male would be roughly around 75-85 pounds (34-39 kgms), and about 60-70 pounds (27-32 kgms) for a 23 inch tall bitch.


Oh my heavens, YES! Like other double-coated working breeds, the White Shepherd will shed its undercoat twice yearly, in late summer/early fall and then again in late winter/early spring. The dogs also shed their outer coat hairs (called "guard" hairs) on a continual basis. Unspayed bitches will shed more copiously just before they come into season. During periods of "the big shed," daily brushing down to the skin really helps to cut down on the amount of hair around the house and stimulates the dog’s skin, helping to loosen the remaining coat so that it can fall. At the same time, the hair follicles will be stimulated to grow a new coat. Plus, it feels good! At shedding time, your dog will be itchy and getting the dead hair out will make him feel better.


With good care, your White Shepherd should be with you for a long time. The average lifespan for the White Shepherd is around 12 years. Dogs will often live longer and most will enter into old age in fairly decent health.


It’s an adventure every day! They are usually smart dogs whose brains, sense of humor and fun-loving nature sometimes gets them into trouble. White Shepherds are wonderful dogs that can live very well with families, couples or single people. They bond very closely to the members of their family, but may be particularly fond of one special member. White Shepherds love to be near their people, often following them from one room to the next. They are in tune with people’s feelings and emotions, giving them an almost human-like quality.
These good qualities are tempered by the special needs of this breed. As every breed is not right for every person, we feel that it is vitally important to point out these needs. White Shepherds need a fair but firm hand and obedience training to help them fit into the family’s lifestyle. They have very active minds and they love to work! Your dog will be happiest when it has some kind of job to do. That job is, of course, up to you and your dog. However, a WS left alone in the yard day after day will soon become bored and a bored WS can be an *extremely* destructive animal. This is a large, strong dog that can reduce furniture to splinters or a well-planted garden to a mine field in a matter of minutes! These dogs MUST have structure and consistency in handling to help them learn their limits. Again, a firm but gentle touch will yield the best results with this breed.
Another very important part of owning a WS that cannot be ignored is exercise! This is a very busy breed; daily exercise is essential. Most shepherds love to play ball and ten to fifteen minutes of sustained fetching will tire your dog out quite nicely as well as give him a sense of purpose. Whether it is ball chasing, Frisbee catching, obedience training, participation in a canine play group or just taking long walks, you must be willing to provide some form of daily, constructive exercise to provide an acceptable outlet for this breed’s considerable energies and mental capacities.


Basic temperament is usually that of a very good-natured dog. The breed is protective of its family in appropriate situations. They are loving and open dogs with family members but can be stand-offish or even somewhat leery of strangers, preferring the company of their own pack members. The White Shepherd should never be aggressive! The breed, on the average, is easily trained, inquisitive, generally quite good with children and definitely eager to please. The basic temperament is softer than that of the typical colored German Shepherd Dog. White Shepherds can be sensitive almost to the point of timidity. They are usually quite tractable and harsh training methods should not be necessary, nor should they be used with this breed. In this regard, they are very different from many lines of GSD, especially the imports.


No, it isn’t. A White Shepherd with the proper, harsh-textured double-coat is a very easy care dog. The proper coat is weather resisting and self-cleaning. It does not absorb or hold dirt and the dogs seldom need a bath. Even a thoroughly muddy dog can be simply placed in a crate in a warm place to dry and after a brisk brushing, the coat will be clean and white once again. The White Shepherd is truly, a "wash and wear" breed.


White Shepherds make excellent family companions for all ages of people. They are usually very good with children as long as both the children and the dog are taught to love and respect one another. White Shepherds also get along very well with other pets. Again, respect and tolerance may need to be taught with certain types of pets. Common sense should always prevail. Especially with very young children or other, more delicate pet animal species, supervision is absolutely essential! The dog should have a safe place to go to just get away from it all. A crate is ideal for this purpose. Children should be taught to respect the dog’s private place and to leave him alone when he goes there to rest.


The White Shepherd is a direct descendent of the German Shepherd Dog which was originally bred to be a utilitarian working, herding and guardian breed. Early and continued socialization is a must to have a companion that is confident and calm with strange people and new situations. As stated previously, the breed is extremely high energy (think: "go-go-go"), and the dogs seem to always be thinking or planning their next moves. They can be fairly hard-headed. As a breed, the WS is definitely vocal! If noise bothers you, then this might not be the right breed for you. White Shepherds will often hold entire "conversations" with their owners, with other pets, with the dog next door or with each other. These dogs have a wide range of vocalizations that they do not hesitate to employ, (daily if possible), depending upon their general mood.
An often heard comment from WS owners is: "I swear that she understands *everything* I say!" Be aware that along with this intuitiveness comes a deep responsibility on the part of the owner to provide for such a demanding and intelligent creature. Here are some basic necessities that a WS owner should be willing to provide: leadership, obedience training, structure, time and attention, consistent handling, exercise, supervision, patience and understanding, grooming (remember — the breed SHEDS!!!), a nutritious diet and proper medical care including spaying or neutering for all pets.
It should go without saying, but we feel it is vitally important to also point out that pet ownership is a privilege and a responsibility and not a right. When you take on dog ownership, you should be prepared to care for and to provide for that dog for its entire lifetime! A dog is NOT a disposable commodity, to be used and then abandoned when it becomes inconvenient!!! Care for your dog and meet his basic needs and you will have a wonderful friend, companion and confidant who will love you unconditionally and who would lay down his life for yours. Such is the legacy that was given to the White Shepherd by its parent breed: the great German Shepherd Dog.


Secondary sex characteristics should be easily seen in the White Shepherd. Males tend to be slightly larger, more masculine and perhaps more assertive in temperament and personality. As in other breeds and animal species, the females tend to be slightly smaller with more feminine features. Both sexes should have very good temperaments and should be equally good at any kind of work or play with few differences. Spaying or neutering tends to remove the typical problems associated with both males and females such as the desire to roam, marking of territory and estrus in the bitch.


Since the White Shepherd comes directly from the German Shepherd Dog breed, it is subject to many of the same genetic and congenital diseases or health problems as the GSD. WS club members have kept problems to a minimum through sometimes brutally honest, open breeding policies. It is not at all uncommon for top breeders to openly admit any medical or genetic problems they may have encountered to other breeders and to buyers.
In the year 2000, AWSA sponsored a survey of genetic diseases in White Shepherds. More than 1000 dogs from all over the US and Canada were represented. Fifty seven genetic diseases were identified in our White Shepherds. At first blush, that sounds tragic, but the number is actually very low when you consider that 138 genetic diseases have been identified in the German Shepherd Dog. The White Shepherd breed has avoided many of the diseases that affect the German Shepherd Dog. Our genetic survey is available for reading and/or downloading at the "Health and Genetics" pages at the official AWSA web site. There is also an email list open to everyone who is interested in WS Genetics and breeding better, healthier dogs -- regardless of club affiliation or lack thereof -- where our members and breeders "lay it on the line" on behalf of the continuing good health of our breed.
As with other large (and some smaller) breeds, the White Shepherd faces problems with hip and elbow dysplasia. Dysplasia is the most common problem in the breed. No reputable breeder would ever consider breeding a dog without first radiographing that animal for dysplasia. As a Club, we pride ourselves on our outstanding concern for good health in our breed. Most reputable breeders religiously test their dogs for Von Willebrand’s Disease (vWD), which is a bleeding disorder. Many also routinely test for cardiac problems, as there have been incidences of some heart disease within certain WS lines. Some other diseases or conditions that have been reported in the breed from time to time (and thus, bear watching) include: malabsorbtion syndrome; degenerative joint disease (including osteochondritis); megaesophagus; pannus and other forms of eye disease (not commonly seen); bloat; allergies (food, fleas or airborne); other skin or coat problems and missing teeth.
In addition to the above conditions, we have heard of some lines of Whites having had problems with some immune-mediated illnesses (such as Lupus) and/or, other forms of autoimmune disease. At this point in time, autoimmune problems are fairly rare in the breed. However, we will continue to test and monitor for these problems to ensure that they do not become more commonplace.


Socialization is the process of introducing your puppy to new experiences and friendly people, dogs and other animals. By the age of 49 days, puppies’ brains are fully functional and they are ready to learn. It is vitally important to get them out into the world and let them experience all kinds of new things including small children, city traffic, people in wheelchairs or on bikes, skates or skateboards, climbing up and down stairs or elevators, for people who live in city flats or apartments. Anything that your expect to be a usual part of you and your dog’s world should ideally, be introduced to your puppy in a fun, non-threatening manner at an early age. This will help strengthen the bond between you and your puppy and will encourage an outgoing, confident attitude in your grown dog. Proper socialization also lessens the chances of a pup becoming a shy or fearful dog. Letting a young puppy meet as many friendly human strangers of different ages, sexes, sizes shapes and races as possible is necessary in order for the dog to learn the difference between a friendly or neutral person and a non-friendly or threatening person. Take your puppy with you and show him the world!


A puppy soon grows into a dog — sometimes, a very *large* dog. With good care, your White Shepherd should be a member of your family for twelve years or more. Throughout his lifetime, you should be able to contact your breeder to discuss any matter or concern you might have. Your breeder should be a family friend, a resource for guidance and information and a mentor, should you decide to show your dog or begin a breeding program of your own someday. Here are some tips to help you select a reputable breeder.
  1. The breeder should answer all of your questions, honestly and completely. They should ask you just as many, if not more. Do not buy from a breeder who is all too anxious to sell you a puppy or one who actually tries to pressure you into buying one.
  2. Talk to or visit more than one breeder. Be considerate and call ahead for an appointment and then make sure that you are on time. We all have lives outside of dogs that should be respected. Also, try not to visit more than one litter per day. Diseases such as parvo can be spread on clothing and shoes and going from kennel to kennel is an excellent way to spread potentially deadly viruses around. Don’t be upset if the breeder asks you to take off your shoes before entering the puppy area. If you are visiting a very young litter (under 4 weeks of age), expect to bring a fresh change of clothing and do not attempt to touch the puppies without permission.
  3. The puppy should grow up to resemble its parents. You should be able to see both the sire and the dam of the litter you are considering. However, do not be too concerned if the sire is not available for viewing "in person." (Actually, this may be a *bad* sign.) Since the object of breeding dogs is to improve the breed, it is rare that a given breeder will have the correct stud dog for every bitch readily at hand in his or her kennel. Bitches are routinely sent out for breeding to studs that best complement them and have the most potential for contributing to a better White Shepherd. Therefore, you should be able to view and interact with the mother of the litter, but most times, you might not get to do the same with the father. If the sire of the litter is not present, the breeder should have pictures available to show you. The breeder should be able to discuss why he or she chose this particular male, how he complemented the female and what particular qualities the breeder hoped the male would add to his or her line. If the main reason the breeder used a particular male is that he was local and thus, convenient; or if his fee was the cheapest available; or if the breeder can’t name a reason for using him at all — RUN DON’T WALK away from this person!!! It is an unfortunate fact that there are too many disreputable people out there wanting to cash in on "rare and exotic" white German Shepherd Dogs. The White Shepherd is not rare and should not cost outrageous amounts of money. The average going price for a pet quality puppy is around $300 US funds. Show prospects start at around $500 and up, depending on the quality.
  4. As above, the breeder should be able to discuss the litter’s pedigree in depth with you. The breeder should be able to tell you why this mating was done and what he or she hoped to gain from it. He or she should also be able to point out the good qualities and structural flaws (all dogs have them) of his bitch and the sire. He or she should be able to tell you whether the resulting litter was everything they expected and if it wasn’t, what they might try next time. Many breeders keep a brag book with pictures of all the dogs they have ever owned or bred. This is a valuable tool for the breeder and is an excellent resource for the potential new owner.
  5. The environment the puppy has been raised in should be carefully scrutinized. Is it realitively clean and neat? How does it smell? Have the puppies had adequate opportunities to socialize with their human family? Have they been introduced to potentially frightening household objects such as vacuum cleaners, noisy stereos and dishwashers?
  6. Are you allowed to view the entire litter together or just the one you are considering? If you can see the entire litter, watch them interact together. Note which puppy is the boisterous one, which is the shy one and which one insists on untying your shoelaces. Which one seems to be "the boss" or the pushy, dominant one? Which one likes to cuddle? The cute one who is always into something might catch your eye, but he could very well grow into a handful later. Evaluate your own lifestyle and try to match the puppy’s basic personality to your own. Many breeders will ultimately want to make your pick for you depending on your interview. Do not be put off by this. The breeder knows his or her line and has been living with these little souls for at least six weeks. Based on what you tell the breeder, he or she should be able to place the right puppy with the right owner. Trust the breeder’s intuition!
  7. Will you receive a written guarantee? Compare between breeders. Read the fine print!!! Know and understand exactly what you are buying and what will be asked of you. For example, if you are buying a pet, you will most likely be asked to sign a contract stating that the dog is to be spayed or neutered. If you are looking at a top show or obedience prospect, you might be required by contract to show the dog to the completion of its title.
  8. Will you receive registration papers? What registry does the breeder use? Beware of some bogus registries that now exist as little more than organizations for puppy mills, irresponsible breeders or people who have lost their AKC, CKC or UKC privileges.
  9. Is the breeder a member of any kennel club(s), or more specifically, any White Shepherd (or white German Shepherd) club or organization? Most reputable breeders will be members in good standing of at least the Parent Club for their given breed.
  10. Ask if the breeder shows their dogs in conformation and if they do, ask to see their championship certificates. Most breeders will proudly display them in frames on the wall or in their brag books. If they don’t show in conformation, perhaps they compete in obedience, herding, flyball or agility. Titles by themselves don’t necessarily make a good dog, but they do prove that the dogs can still work. Title certificates also prove that the breeder is serious about dogs and is interested in something other than money. Be very wary of the breeder that cranks out litter after litter but has no titles of any kind on their dogs to prove their genetic worth!
  11. Be upfront with the breeder. Don’t expect to buy a pet puppy for a cheaper price and then breed or show it in conformation. The more honest you are with respect to your personal needs and desires in a dog, the closer you will be to buying the dog of your dreams.
  12. Demand a quality puppy and don’t settle for second best! If the breeder tells you that the sire and dam are free of hip and elbow dysplasia, then you should expect to see the original OFA, PennHIP or OVC certificate. (Some breeders will actually whip out a copy of the x-rays to show you.) Likewise, if the parents have had been cardiac cleared or had their eyes checked by CERF, you should be able to see the certificates as proof. Ask the breeder what other testing has been done on the parents (vWB testing, for example) and ask to see those certificates as well. Ask for references from other people who have bought dogs from this breeder and CHECK them! Remember — it is your responsibility, as a buyer, to do your homework. If the breeder can’t supply you with the necessary paperwork or if you feel uncomfortable in any way, then DON’T BUY THE DOG!!!
  13. Beware of any breeder that says their line has NO faults!!! All dogs have some faults; some are more serious than others. A good breeder will be able to tell you what, if any, health problems may lurk in the line. He or she should be able to tell you which problems they have personally encountered and what they have done about it. At some point in the interview, the breeder should take the available puppies — one by one — and put them up on a table. Especially with potential show pups, the breeder should be able to point out the good points and the flaws in each pup’s physical structure. The breeder should be able to tell you exactly what qualities make each given puppy a show or obedience prospect or a pet quality puppy. Beware of the breeder who claims that ALL their dogs are "show" quality!!!
  14. Get *everything* in writing! A good breeder will provide a written contract together with a 3 - 5 generation pedigree (3 generations is considered the minimum) and the individual registration papers for the puppy. Don’t overlook puppies’ medical records! Proof of proper vaccinations and at least one visit to the veterinarian for a basic health check and worming should be provided. All AWSA member/breeders are required by the Code of Ethics to provide you with a guarantee that all dogs will be free of any and all communicable diseases for a period of at least 3 days after leaving the seller’s premises. You will be encouraged to take your new friend to your own veterinarian within 48 hours after purchase for a complete examination and health check. Per the AWSA Club Code of Ethics, for each puppy or dog transferred, all AWSA members must provide the following:


When choosing any puppy, the first thing to notice is their physical condition. One does not have to be a veterinarian to do a basic health check on a puppy. Do the puppies look clean? Please note that by "clean" I don’t necessarily mean "white." Puppies born in winter will have most likely been raised indoors on newspapers. Thus, their coats may be slightly stained by the newsprint. What I mean by "clean" is the actual condition of the litter. They shouldn’t be covered in their own feces. They should smell good.
Before you even look at the pups, try to spend a bit of time interacting with the breeder’s other adult dogs, in particular — the litter’s mother. What is her temperament and personality like? Is she calm? Suspicious? Playful and outgoing? Shy or aggressive? Temperament, both good and bad, is inherited at the moment of conception. Good temperament is dominant to poor temperament. The pups have inherited half their genes from their dam and half from their sire, it is true. But they have spent the majority of their time with their dam and her basic temperament will have had a great affect on them. Puppies learn much from their mothers in the time that they are with them, so it is important that the litter’s mother be a pleasant dog.
Pick up the pup you are considering. The puppy should feel substantial — neither fat nor rail thin. His coat should not be matted down. Check his ears — they should be clean and sweet-smelling. Dirty ears could be a sign of earmites or an infection. Ruffle the puppy’s coat. It should feel soft and thick. There should be no sign of fleas. The skin should not look irritated or have weeping patches. Look at his eyes — they should be clear and bright and filled with mischief! The eyes should never be crusted over or filled with mucus. The whites of the eyes should be white and not yellow or red. There should be no tear stains down the face. Check the pup’s nails — they should be short. Overgrown nails are a sign of poor care. Look under the puppy’s tail to make sure that it is clean and that there is no irritation around the anus. This could be a sign that the puppy has recently had a bout of diarrhea. Of course, if any of the puppies defecate, take the opportunity to check it out. Their stools should be small and firm and you shouldn’t see any worm segments in the stool. If you can see the entire litter, so much the better. Check them all! If you happen to see one really sick-looking puppy, then you should suspect that the others are also ill. If you see or suspect that the puppies are not healthy, DO NOT BUY A PUPPY!!!
Now set the puppy you are interested in on the ground and watch him for awhile. He should be able to move and play normally and without limping, staggering or dragging a foot. How does he interact with you, the breeder and his littermates and/or mother? Is he outgoing, confident and playful? Puppies at this age should be curious and always ready for a game. They should not be hiding from strangers or cowering in the corner. A puppy that hangs back a bit could be perfectly normal. Spend a bit of time talking to him in a soft or high-pitched, squeaky voice; he should respond. If he continues to hide or run away from you, take that as a possible warning that something is not quite right. Do not make the mistake of buying a puppy "to save it" or because you feel sorry for it. Remember that this is a lifetime agreement between you and that little pup who will, soon enough, grow into an adult. Take the time to be sure that this is what you want, and that this is the right litter, the right puppy and the right time in your life to take on this tremendous responsibility.


Most experts agree that the optimum time to take a puppy home is around 7 to 8 weeks of age. Depending on the individual breeder, the potential new owner and the particular line of dogs they are working with, puppies may go to their new homes as early as six weeks of age (but never any earlier). White Shepherd pups need to be in their new homes sooner than many other breeds because they tend to bond at an earlier age. One top breeder states that she will not ship a pup by air over the age of 10 weeks. She has found through experience that shipping an older puppy is very hard on the puppy mentally. Some may do well, but to this particular breeder, it just isn’t worth the risk.


Your White Shepherd should do well on most types of quality food. You should try to stay away from the cheap, grocery store brands and definitely stay away from any type of generic feed product. Some White Shepherds have the tendency toward food-related allergies, especially to wheat, corn or soybean meals. Try to use a quality meat-based product with meat or meat meal as the first listed ingredient on the label. Reading the feed labels is as important to your dog’s health as it is to you and your family. The expression "garbage in -- garbage out" takes on new meaning when feeding your dog. A good quality feed product will produce less gas or other digestive troubles and yield firmer stools because the dog is utilizing the majority of what he is being fed. A poorer quality food will produce a larger volume of stool because the ingredients are not as available to the dog and thus, they will go in one end and come right out the other. Many people no longer feed their dogs on commercial feeds -- even the very expensive ones. As homeopathy gains a new acceptance among the medical and veterinary community, these folks prefer, instead, to cook an all-natural diet especially for their animals. But a high quality, commercial dry food that is appropriate for all life stages of your dog should really be all that is necessary to keep your pet healthy and in good physical condition.