The Unlikely Tale of The German Shepherd’s White-Coated Sibling

The White Shepherd is a distinct breed sanctioned by its own breed-specific clubs in the United States, Canada and Switzerland. Most kennel clubs permit White Shepherds to register as German Shepherd Dogs, but disqualify them from competition with colored German Shepherd dogs, citing its white coat as a disqualifying fault.

The New  Breed Emerges

The White Shepherd originated from white coat lines of the German Shepherd Dog, hence the breed’s inclusion on It was previously called the White Canadian Shepherd, and in Europe it was known as the American-Canadian White Shepherd. The breed was first officially recognized in the United States by the United Kennel Club on April 14, 1999. Then on July 5, 2011 the Fédération Cynologique Internationale gave its official recognition, naming the breed the Berger Blanc Suisse. It is also sometimes called the White Swiss Shepherd.

Twist of Destiny

The story of the White Shepherd reads like fiction. Horand von Grafrath is the German Shepherd Dog recognized as the breed’s founding patriach. His grandfather was a white herding dog named Greif. In the eyes of Captain Emil von Stephanitz, the oiStock_000021782368_Larger for Web Pageriginator of the German Shepherd Dog, the many White German Shepherds born from his original breeding stocks, were as much German Shepherd as those with the more common black and tan coats. But in February 1933 the ruling Nazi party in Germany declared a state of emergency, vesting itself with wide powers to intervene in civilian affairs. They appointed themselves, among other things, as arbiter of dog breeds, with authority to set breed standards. White-coated German Shepherds, it was deemed, were substandard, and must be denied breed recognition. This ideological notion was subsequently tossed out as scientifically baseless. The recessive gene in the White Shepherd simply endows these fine dogs with a white coat, with no harmful side-effects! Nevertheless the stigma remains, and the White Shepherd’s coat is still considered a disqualifying fault by major kennel clubs including the American Kennel Club and the German Shepherd Dog Club of America.

Should you decide that this is the dog for you, you’ll have a wonderful pet, which in every way displays the special qualities of its brother and sister Shepherds.

Resources for The White Shepherd Owner

The information given on German Shepherd Place regarding the care of the German Shepherd Dog is equally valid for the White Shepherd. Our article Showing Your GSD is, for reasons given above, applicable to non-white Shepherds. If you own a White Shepherd, you should find yourself well-served by the resources we’ve provided. Should you wish to connect with fellow owners, you may find that there is a club in your area. The following websites will provide further information: White German Shepherd Dog Club International, Inc at or the American White Shepherd Association at

A Message from the Publisher

We’d enjoy hearing from you!
If you have a moment, let us know what you liked about this article. Plus, share your suggestions – we would value your input. Post comments below, or write,
Mark Mulock


  1. It’s interesting that the white coat is considered a disqualifying fault! I never even knew that white german shepherds existed until my neighbors moved in yesterday. Their dog is such a cute and nice puppy that I started to wish I had one of my own! Thanks for the history and information about the Berger Blan Suisse.

  2. Highly appreciated this article for me and my husband Preben Bindzus just got our German Shepherd ( White ) and info ‘s is very helpful. … thanks so much and more blessings for your website. ….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *