Although German Shepherds come in different color variations, there is one particular variant that most people have little knowledge about — the white German Shepherd.
It is believed that white German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs) have existed in Europe since 1882. However, despite their long-standing origin, they remain to be rare and controversial.
If you wish to know more about the white German Shepherd, you’re on the right page. Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about these white dogs. From their genetics and temperament to care guide — it’s all here!
What Is a White German Shepherd?
The white German Shepherd, also called the white Shepherd, is a unique variation of the German Shepherd Dog (GSD). This dog is known for its snowy, plush, white coat that gives it its eye-catching appearance. White German Shepherds are relatively rare compared to other GSD colors.
Historically, white GSDs were used as herding dogs and farm dogs, just like other variants of the breed. Nowadays, white GSDs are bred by those who prefer white coats over the common colors of the breed, like black and tan.
Because white GSDs are quite uncommon, controversies about them being purebreds or having albinism is the usual talk of the town. Likewise, it is also due to their uncommonness that they are well-loved by white dog fanciers.
Are White German Shepherds Rare?
While they are more commonly bred today than they were several years ago, white German Shepherds are still considered rare to a certain degree.
Due to their complex color genetics, white German Shepherds do not come by as often as other variants of the breed.
Furthermore, white is not a recognized coat variant based on the American Kennel Club’s breed standards. This makes them less desirable for pet owners who intend to register their dogs in conformation shows.
This, alongside its recessive color genetics, is a factor that contributes to the low population of white GSD dogs.
Additionally, some breeders charge high prices for the rare white GSD. The higher price tags make most aspiring owners opt for other coat variants, resulting in low demand for the white German Shepherd.
White German Shepherd Origin and History
The white Shepherd shares the majority of its history with the rest of the GSD breed. As a whole, the German Shepherd breed originated in the Germanic areas of Europe.
These dogs were developed in response to the high demand for herding dogs. However, it was discovered that white-coated dogs were not very effective as herders. This is because their coat color blended in with sheep.
This made white GSDs difficult to distinguish from livestock. In response to this challenge, the breed standards of the German Shepherd were modified in 1933 in Germany.
The new standard banned the recognition of the white Shepherd as part of the German Shepherd breed. As a result, this banning separated the white Shepherd from the traditional German Shepherd breed.
Despite the efforts to separate the white GSD from other GSD colors, it took until 1969 for the white Shepherd dog to be officially recognized. To this day, only the United Kennel Club (UKC) considers white GSDs a breed of its own.
White German Shepherd Appearance
White German Shepherds are purebred dogs whose coat color varies from cream to light biscuit shades. Overall, this white dog shares the majority of its physique with the rest of the GSD breed.
Size-wise, male white Shepherds weigh around 65 to 90 pounds and stand at 24 to 26 inches. Meanwhile, females have weights ranging from 50 to 70 pounds and a height of 22 to 24 inches.
The white GSD also features an elongated head, pointed ears, and an athletic stance. Its well-muscled body is accompanied by a deep chest and straight, level back.
The following are some photos of the different kinds of white German Shepherds:
Pure White German Shepherd
The pure white German Shepherd sports an impressive snowy white coat. This dog has no markings all throughout its body, giving the entirety of its coat a clean and plain look.
Cream German Shepherd
The cream German Shepherd Dog is somewhat similar to the pure white GSD. However, instead of having no markings at all, the cream GSD sports a light shade of pale yellow tint. This appears on its back and near the ears.
Biscuit German Shepherd
Biscuit German Shepherds are white dogs that sport an off-white hue. Their coats are comparable to the “wheaten” or “beige” colors. While they are not entirely white, they are still considered white GSDs.
Short Coat White Shepherd
As the name suggests, the short coat white Shepherd features a fur length that is shorter than usual. Their coats are dense and sit close to the body. Compared to other white GSDs, they are easier to groom and maintain.
Long Coat White Shepherd
The long coat white Shepherd is exactly that — a white Shepherd that features a long-length coat. The coat on this dog is long and straight, with slight feathering near the mane and at the tip of the tail.
Watch this video to see white German Shepherds in action:
White German Shepherd Coat Color Genetics
Although canine color genetics is a complex subject, we can get a good grasp of the white GSD’s coat by understanding two pigments — eumelanin and pheomelanin.
Eumelanin is the black pigment that is usually diluted to produce other colors, such as brown and gray.
Phaeomelanin, on the other hand, is the red pigment that creates different shades of yellow, tan, orange, and other shades of red. Each of these pigments contains default colors that are altered by various genes or loci.
For white German Shepherds, the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R) gene, more commonly known as the extension or E locus, plays the role of producing the breed’s white coat.
This locus regulates the production of eumelanin and phaeomelanin. It is also responsible for producing the black mask pattern common to German Shepherds.
In the case of white German Shepherds, the E locus manifests a lack of eumelanin pigmentation. This leads to the white coloration of the coat.
What Makes a German Shepherd White?
The white coat color in white German Shepherd Dogs is caused by a recessive gene that functions as an “on and off” switch. This gene eliminates the possibility of a dog exhibiting other coat colors.
If a puppy inherits this recessive gene from both parent dogs, it will likely be a white German Shepherd. If both parents are white, the entire litter has a good chance of having white coats.
However, white puppies may also be born even if only one of the parents is a white German Shepherd. This combination can still produce white puppies if the said recessive gene is carried by both the dam and sire.
Can a White German Shepherd Produce Standard-Colored Puppies?
Yes, white German Shepherds can produce standard-colored puppies. This is possible if they carry the gene for other coat colors.
Keep in mind that the white coat color in GSDs is a result of a recessive gene. In other words, for a puppy to be white, it must inherit the gene from both parents.
However, if a white German Shepherd Dog carries the gene for standard colors, aside from the white gene, which it exhibits, it can produce non-white offspring.
This is even more likely if a white GSD is crossed with another German Shepherd that carries the genes for standard colors.
Is the White German Shepherd the Same as an Albino German Shepherd?
No, a white German Shepherd is not the same as an albino German Shepherd. While the two may appear similar to the untrained eye, they are different in many ways.
For starters, albinism is a genetic condition that results in a complete absence of melanin. This condition is characterized by the lack of pigment in the skin, eyes, and hair.
That said, albino German Shepherds have a white-colored coat and pinkish nose and skin. Their lack of melanin makes them highly prone to albino-related health issues.
A white German Shepherd, on the other hand, is a dog that has a white coat color due to a recessive gene and not due to a genetic defect. White GSDs also have pigments on their nose, eyes, and skin, unlike albino GSDs.
Simply put, while the two look the same from afar, white GSDs are different from albino German Shepherds. The former is a healthy white dog, while the latter is a dog born with genetic defects.
Do White German Shepherd Puppies Stay White as They Grow?
It is uncertain whether the coat color of a particular white German Shepherd puppy will stay white. Many factors contribute to a change in coat color in white GSDs.
For instance, the degree of pheomelanin present in a dog’s coat can affect its color. If pheomelanin dilution occurs as a dog ages, it may develop a cream or light tan hue on its coat.
Furthermore, coat color is also influenced by factors such as sunlight exposure and hormonal changes. For example, during summer months, white GSDs may develop a yellowish tint on their coat due to sun intensity.
Are White German Shepherds Recognized by Kennel Clubs?
The recognition of white German Shepherds in kennel clubs depends on the kennel club in question.
For instance, the American Kennel Club (AKC), one of the most popular kennel clubs in the country, recognizes white as one official color of the breed. However, the AKC disqualifies white GSDs in conformation shows.
Likewise, the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) also implements the same rule when it comes to white German Shepherds.
All things considered, the white GSD can still be registered in major kennel clubs. This means you can still keep track of your dog’s pedigree. However, white German Shepherds are unfortunately not favored in the show ring.
White German Shepherd Temperament and Personality
White German Shepherds live up to their fluffy, angelic appearance. These dogs are loving, active, and extremely loyal.
While they are mainly house pets and companion dogs, white German Shepherds also possess a strong guarding instinct and a high work drive.
These dogs can function as guard dogs, therapy dogs, and police dogs.
That said, the white Shepherd requires early socialization and consistent mental stimulation to live up to its full potential. Fortunately, these pups are responsive to training and are natural people pleasers.
The white GSD is also excellent around other pets and children, especially if they are raised together. These dogs are tolerant of toddlers, and they can even get along with cats.
However, the white GSD needs ample physical activities throughout the day to keep destructive behaviors at bay. A good 60 to 90 minutes of exercise and playtime will keep them fulfilled and help release their pent-up energy.
All in all, the white German Shepherd Dog is a well-rounded family companion. This is a dog that matches best with active owners who live in homes with large spaces.
White German Shepherd Lifespan and Health Issues
One common misconception is that white German Shepherds have more health issues than colored German Shepherds. However, in reality, they are generally healthy dogs that live up to 7 to 10 years, just like other GSDs.
That said, the white German Shepherd is still prone to the following health issues:
- Elbow and Hip Dysplasia: As large dogs, white German Shepherds are prone to elbow and hip dysplasia. These conditions result from the abnormal formation of the joints, which can cause extreme pain and, over time, progress as arthritis.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM): DCM is a heart disease common in GSDs. This occurs when the heart fails to pump enough oxygen-carrying blood throughout the body. Symptoms of DCM include weakness, coughing, and rapid breathing.
- Bloat: Bloat happens when air, food, and fluids build up in the dog’s stomach, causing difficulty in breathing. The pressure can also cause the stomach to twist and destroy its tissues.
To ensure that your white German Shepherd will not encounter these conditions, you must provide it with proper care and diet. Furthermore, regular veterinary check-ups must also be prioritized.
How Much Does White German Shepherd Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses
Usually, a white German Shepherd costs around $800 to $3,500. However, since white GSDs are relatively more uncommon than other variants, expect to pay a price on the higher end of the range.
Meanwhile, adopting a white GSD will only run you $150 to $350, depending on the rescue organization’s pricing.
Aside from the price of a white German Shepherd puppy, below are some initial expenses you need to consider:
|Type of Expense||Cost|
|Food and Treats||$80 – $150|
|Bowls||$15 – $40|
|Toys||$30 – $100|
|Beds||$50 – $300|
|Collars and Leashes||$15 – $50|
|Crates and Carriers||$60 – $500|
|Grooming Essentials||$50 – $250|
|Initial Vet Visits||$100 – $500|
|Initial Vaccine Shots||$50 – $300|
|Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications||$40 – $300|
|Neutering or Spaying||$50 – $500|
|Microchipping||$40 – $60|
|Dog License||$10 – $20|
|Other Essentials||$30 – $80|
|Total Initial Cost||$620 – $3,150|
Take note that some of the things above are recurring costs. Hence, you will need to consider those in your monthly budget.
Places to Find White German Shepherd Puppies for Sale and Adoption
When buying a white German Shepherd, it’s necessary to avoid internet scams and steer away from backyard breeders that produce unhealthy puppies.
Fortunately, in this section, we have gathered some of the best sources to help you find white German Shepherd puppies for sale and adoption.
If you’re looking to buy a white German Shepherd, check out the sources below:
- AKC Marketplace – The AKC Marketplace is one of the best platforms where you can look for reputable breeders of white German Shepherd Dogs. On this site, you’ll find hundreds of AKC-recognized breeders who have been in the pet industry for decades.
- White German Shepherd Dogs Lacy Farm – Located in Alabama, this breeder has been providing high-quality white German Shepherds to different families for over a decade. Although most of them are companion dogs, some of their pups become therapy and police dogs.
- ASJ White Shepherds – This kennel, located in Middletown, Connecticut, has been around since 2010. They breed beautiful, loving, and loyal white Shepherds that are ideal family dogs. Their breeding stock is tested by the OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals).
Meanwhile, if you’re leaning toward adopting a white German Shepherd, you can check out the following sources:
- Helping Shepherds of Every Color Rescue – This is a rescue organization based in Alabama. They provide medical care, training, and rehabilitation to abandoned GSDs of every color, including white Shepherds.
- Char-Wills German Shepherd Rescue – Situated in Pennsylvania, this rescue provides medical care and training for rescued German Shepherds. They are either kept in their facility or brought into foster homes before adoption. An adoption fee of $300 is usually charged to cover vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and other expenses.
- Austin German Shepherd Dog Rescue (AGSDR) – Located in Texas, this rescue helps abandoned GSDs in finding loving homes. They provide veterinary care, heartworm treatment, grooming, training, and other necessities to all their rescued dogs.
Before adopting a white German Shepherd, make sure you are financially and emotionally prepared since most rescue dogs need more affection and maintenance.
Dog Name Ideas for White German Shepherd Puppies
If you are getting a white German Shepherd soon, one of the things you need to think about is a name for your new dog. Naming a dog can be quite daunting, especially given the heaps of choices out there.
To give you a starting point, here are some name ideas for white German Shepherd dogs:
The names above are inspired by the white GSD’s snowy white coat; however, you may also draw inspiration from other features of your dog. Just make sure to pick a name that is simple and easy to recognize.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are White German Shepherds Deaf?
No, white German Shepherds are not necessarily deaf. This misconception stems from the myth that most white dogs are deaf. However, fortunately, this is not the case.
The root of the myth can be traced to the piebald coat. The piebald is a coat variation in dogs characterized by large patches of white coat. According to studies, piebald dogs are more likely to be deaf.
Are White German Shepherds Purebred?
It can be hard to believe that white GSDs are purebred because they come by less often. However, the truth is that the white German Shepherd Dog is indeed a purebred dog.
In fact, most major kennel clubs recognize white as an official coat color variant in German Shepherd Dogs. That said, however, there are also GSD-looking white dogs out there, especially German Shepherd mixes.
Are White German Shepherds Good Dogs?
White German Shepherds are excellent all-around dogs. Just like other variants of the breed, white Shepherds are praised for their versatility. They excel as companion dogs, guard dogs, service dogs, and police dogs.
Are White German Shepherds Smart?
White German Shepherds share the same mental capacity as other variants of the breed. That said, you can expect these dogs to be smart. In fact, their intelligence is what landed them in police work, therapy, and military work.
Can White German Shepherds Have Blue Eyes?
Blue eyes are considered a fault across the entire German Shepherd breed, regardless of coat color. However, there are instances when white GSDs may have blue eyes. This results from a genetic defect.
Do White German Shepherds Shed a Lot?
Yes, white German Shepherd Dogs shed a lot. In fact, these dogs don’t just shed normally; they also blow all of their undercoats twice a year. This means they replace their entire undercoat through shedding.
What Is the Rarest German Shepherd Color?
The rarest color variation of the German Shepherd Dog breed is known as isabella or lilac. This rare shade results from mixing liver and blue.
The lilac GSD looks like a light brown dog with hints of purplish tones. Interestingly, the isabella is not a recognized coat color in most kennel clubs. Learn more about this dog by reading our guide on the isabella GSD.
The white Shepherd is every bit similar to the German Shepherd Dogs we all know and love. The only thing different with these white dogs is their snowy white coats, which adds to their impressive appearance.
Additionally, thanks to their impressive wits and trainability, white Shepherds excel in a wide variety of tasks. From being companion dogs to therapy dogs and police dogs, white Shepherds are truly all-around dogs.
However, the white Shepherd is not for everyone. This dog is best suited for active owners who live in spacious homes. A prospective owner of the white GSD should also be able to tolerate its heavy shedding.
So, are you the right owner of this dog? Let us know what you think about the white German Shepherd Dog in the comment section below!