The White German Shepherd has the appearance of a Husky crossed with a Labrador. Perhaps there is a hint of German Shepherd, hence the name. Distinguishing marks include the all-white fur coat, eyes that peer into your soul, and stand-up ears, encompassing a natural reaction and appeal to the majority of people. This is true even if you did not know you were a dog lover!
But, what establishes white German Shepherd dogs as so unique, and desirable when considering your next pet?
The White German Shepherd (WGS) Lineage
It took many years for the white German Shepherd to become recognized as a separate breed to the black German Shepherd. It is a well-earned distinction.
Originally the odd German Shepherd puppy with a white coat was seen as inferior. Hitler agreed with this prognosis and sought to eliminate the white gene. Thankfully, he was unsuccessful, although, to this day, prejudice remains as the white coat prevents dog entrance or showing in American Kennel Clubs. It appears that, despite being a four-legged friend, coat colors make a difference.
The White German Shepherd Genes
Unfortunately, there is still extensive research to be completed to acquire a full understanding of what causes coat coloring in dogs. What has been established is that the white GSD is missing an albino gene and the piebald gene that Dalmatians carry.
At this stage, the sum total of deduction comprises acknowledgment that there is a gene. If the puppy inherits the aforementioned gene from its parents it will be a white color, if not, it will be one of the more common darker colors. Read more about the Black German Shepherd here.
Notably, absorption of the white gene from both parents is essential for the creation of white dogs. This is what makes the white German Shepherd comparatively rare, hence the reason it is called a recessive gene.
If the dog was required to survive under its own devices in the wild, the likelihood is that there would be very few white German Shepherds. Certainty of appearance would only occur if both parents were white. However, a reputable and experienced breeder can visualize the genetic traits in the coat of a standard German Shepherd and supervise the mating of a white dog with a darker colored one to get a white GSD puppy.
Thanks to this dedication, the number of white German Shepherds is increasing, allowing them to become more recognized for the impressive dog they are.
There are still purists that disapprove of the white German Shepherd. Should you attempt to enter your dog into the established, well-known, shows you may encounter them. Fortuitously, for the most part, people are appreciative of the white GSD and acknowledge that with the right training, the dog will return the favor, creating a delightful animal to own and a companion for life.
German Shepherds are generally large dogs and unusually well suited to working as service dogs. The average white GSD is 26 inches, (65cm) tall and extremely friendly.
It has earned an enviable reputation as a softer version of the traditional German Shepherd. Despite the lack of confirming evidence white German Shepherds are rarely seen as Police or guard dogs. Watching over you constantly, it will alert you to danger although is unlikely to be aggressive to any attacker.
The white GSD needs plenty of attention and socializing when young to ensure it is confident with strangers and not timid.
In short, they make excellent family pets and companions. It is advisable to check their parentage properly, the comparative rarity can mean interbreeding, which is not beneficial for the dog.
Short-Haired or Long-Haired White GSD?
There are short hair and long hair GSDs, unsurprisingly the difference is relatively easy to spot. The short-haired version is the more common and popular variant. Short hair white German Shepherds have the same insulation undercoat that traditional German Shepherds utilize, establishing them as a fitting candidate for most weather situations.
In contrast, the much less common long-haired white German Shepherd is missing this coat. This means they are not capable of working in the rain, eliminating long-haired versions from opportunities as service dogs.
Of course, both types of dog are stunning and friendly; either would make a great pet.
The key to keeping a white GSD happy is in establishing rules and adhering to them. This is a large dog and, although not generally a dominant personality, it needs to know you are in charge.
It also needs plenty of exercise and toys to play with, such as this excellent slow feeder. This will prevent boredom and bad behavior, including chewing your furniture; A double knot chew rope is always a good choice.
Training should start from the moment you bring the dog home. This means you decide the rules and you tell the dog what you expect. They should be rewarded for doing something correctly. Any dog will respond best when they get a reward for good behavior.
You should be aware that German Shepherds are classed as the third most intelligent dog in the world. Focus on the basic commands and give them praise and a reward when they get it right. It is best to limit the training sessions, keeping them short brings the best results.
Focus on basic commands, obedience such as walking next to you, and not biting.
However, you should be consistent with what you expect from your dog, even when you are not training them. There are some great training aids that can help you.
You must not forget that your dog will need plenty of exercise, which means walking a couple of times a day and playing with them.
Grooming Your Dog
All German Shepherds are heavy shedders and the white GSD is no exception. That means you need to brush your dog regularly with a dog hairbrush to remove the dead hair for them. This will help to keep their coat looking good and minimize the amount of hair you find around your home.
Experts generally advise washing your dog once a month and use a good dog shampoo, this prevents dry skin. Establishing a routine for washing and trimming their nails helps to ensure the maintenance of the dog’s health.
Health Concerns To Be Aware Of
The white GSD shares similar health concerns to other dog breeds of its size. Common health issues linked with these beautiful dogs are hip and elbow dysplasia. In effect, this is a deformation of the bones where they join which causes arthritis and lameness as they age.
That is why it is a good idea to have a white German Shepherd puppy screened before you commit to purchasing, especially if you are planning on breeding.
It is essential to be aware if your white GSD has a family history of heart disease, eye disorders, degenerative myelopathy, or autoimmune thyroiditis. Additional screening is required to provide verification of your dog’s status and prospects.
It is also a good idea to be aware of the vaccinations your white German Shepherd will need:
- DHLPCC – approx. 6-8 weeks
- DHLPCC – second shot at 11-12 weeks
- DHLPCC – third shot at 15-16 weeks; repeated annually
- Rabies – after 4 months and after a year
- Heartworm – test at 7-9 months
Owning a white German Shepherd can be a very rewarding experience. However, you will need to be prepared to answer questions on a regular basis. Puppies always attract attention but the comparative rareness of the white GSD will ensure you are asked questions even when they are an adult.
A white German Shepherd has an average lifespan of 11 years. With a little training and plenty of consistency, you’ll find that these are enjoyable years for you and ‘man’s best friend’.