White Swiss Shepherds - a brief presentation of a fascinating breed

In 1933 the SV (German Club for German Shepherds) agreed to eliminate the colour "white" from the future breeding. As a result, nearly all white shepherds disappeard from the European countries. They absolutely succeeded in Germany and Europe with their efforts. There were no longer white German Shepherds in the 60th. But the dogs survived: American and Canadian breeders did not accept this idea, they continued breeding with the white animals. However, the (coloured) German Shepherd fanciers tried to stop this breeding in America and Canada, too. In the US they suceeded, in Canada, too, but this was many years later. But in America and Canada there were always breeders who continued the breeding with white Shepherds. In 1978 the first White Shepherds entered Germany again. They came from Switzerland.

More and more people liked this breed, clubs were founded. There were quite big clubs working for the breeding of pure white shepherds. The breeders kept to more or less strict rules. None of the clubs is member in the VDH yet (the German member of the FCI) even though meanwhile two clubs asked for membership. Even though the number of dogs in Germany improved more and more, it was not possible until 1.1.03 to become member of the VDH. All trials were stopped, the White Shepherd had to stay beside. On 1.1.03 the FCI finally accepted the White Shepherd as an own breed. The name was changed into White Swiss Shepherd and it is an own breed and no longer a German Sheperd colour white.

The white shepherds have a size of (females) 55-61 cm bzw (males) 60 - 66cm. There are two coat varieties: short hair and long hair (longer hair with under coat) The coat should be pure white and the pigment solid black. The eyes have to be dark brown. The white shepherds are working dogs and they need a lot of work and time.

They have a friendly and sincere character. All in all they come along quite well with other dogs. Because of their weak and calm temperament they are often considered as "not sharp enough", mainly of owners of coloured shepherds. Even though, there are many whites working sucessfully in Schutzdienst. However, this work is not necessary, it is just important to give them a work, be agility, be any kind of sport, be therapy or rescue works. They are perfect family dogs and this is what they shall be by standard. They love all their family members and they are sad as soon as one of the members is leaving. They are very intelligent dogs and they need their "pack". They should NOT be kept in kennels. House and garden are perfect. They learn fast and they love to work.

You will find out that there are more and more white shepherds who are working as rescue dog, therapy dog, dog for blind and handicapped people and visitor dogs.

Extreme shyness is rare if you take a look for a serious breeder. Unfortunately, the breed is said to be shy. These animals who actually exist (like in other breeds, too) are often from unserious puppy-mills. However, many White Shepherds need their time to discover new things. Some do not like to be touched by unknown people, THEY want to be the first to get in touch. As soon as they have accepted somebody as a friend, they will love them dearly. Their good ability for families also means that children are allowed to touch them everytime and everywhere. Of course, children and dogs should always be in the view of adult people.

The breed is quite healty. In some clubs there are exact dates concerning health, genetic problems and so on. They try to find out genetic problems as soon as possible and to eliminate suspect dogs from the breeding. HD (hip dysplasia) is not a big problem in the white shepherd scene. For many years the breeding dogs have to be checked carefully.

The white shepherds are very beautiful dogs. It is great to own such an animal. Many breeders found out that people love these dogs and they tried to earn money with unserious breeding. The prices for seriously bred puppies are still quite high. If you want to buy a puppy look at the following points

- a good and serious breeder is member of a White Shepherd club. He only has one breed. Of course, the membership in a club is no guarantee for a good breeder. Only a personal visit and an own impression helps to find out.

- he will only raise a few litters per year. (the BVWS has a limit of 3 litters per kennel / year even though the breeder has many females). Raising a litter means to spend a lot of time to keep the puppies healthy and to socialize them carefully.

- He will be pleased about your visit at any time. Do not accept a meeting at a neutral place.

- The mum of the puppies (and perhaps but not always the father) will be there. The puppies should not be divided from the mother. They need her to feel comfortable and for socialisation. D

- The breeder can tell a lot about his dogs, their ancestors and characters. He will also show the pedigree of the parents. Take a look at the pedigree, inbreeding is not necessary and dangerous for the whole breed. Inbreeding was necessary in the first time because there were a few animals in Europe but now the genetic pool is wide enough to find a non-related partner.

Some breeders still prefer inbreeding because they have quick improvemts. However, the risks are very high and scientific tests are showing that in the long run the disadvantages are much bigger than the advantages.

- The dogs (especially the puppies) are not kept in kennels but they live in house and garden. Look at the dogs' behaviour towards their breeder, you soon will realize whether they are real family members or just for the time of your visit.

- The breeder will tell about hip results and also about show results. All dogs should be friendly and not aggressive or shy.

- The breeder keeps (when he already breeds for many years) older dogs or dogs that are not for breeding. This is a sign that he does not sell dogs as soon as he cannot earn money with them by breeding.

You should visit more kennels to get a personal impression. It is also possible to visit a show and to talk with other owners.

This is only a short summary about the breed. In case you have special questions please send us an email or fax. The contacts are given at the point "impressum". We cannot recommend breeders but we are willing to help you with all questions you might have about the breed in general.