White German Shepherd: 12 Facts You Need to Know Before Adopting One

White German Shepherd

Pure and beautiful, the White German Shepherd is truly a wonder to look at. Just like his name suggests, this dog’s coat is completely white. So white, actually, that he could easily blend in the snow. When most people see a White German Shepherd for the first time, they think it’s an albino standard German Shepherd Dog. But, they are wrong. The White German Shepherd doesn’t suffer from albinism. Instead, he is the descendant of an old European “white coat” line. This beautiful pooch later found popularity in the United States and Canada, where he is more and more in demand.

With his soulful eyes and his white erect ears, he has made more than one person fall in love with him. Full of wonder, the White German Shepherd is not a dog for everyone.

So, if you want to know if this dog is made for you, keep on reading. Get comfortable, this is going to be long.

Here are 12 important facts you need to know about the White German Shepherd before adopting one as your official house pet.

1. The White German Shepherd has the same history as the standard GSD, with a slight twist

Just like the standard German Shepherd, the White German Shepherd was first bred by the German military man Max von Stephanitz in the late 1800s. The goal of Stephanitz was to create the perfect working dog, and he succeeded into doing just that by breeding the German Shepherd.

Since that time, German Shepherds have been bred to be intelligent, hardworking, and intuitive dogs. All kind of German Shepherds were produced, from short-haired ones to long-haired ones. The dogs’ coats come in a variety of colors as well, such as solid black, tan and black, red and black, sable, silver and black, and finally, white. However, many breeders in the United States considered the White German Shepherd to be faulty or week, and thus, got this dog barred from shows.

Still, in 1969, some breeders from both the United States and Canada decided to create the White German Shepherd Club. They bred and showed their White Shepherds at small specialty shows throughout all of North America.

Today, the White German Shepherd is recognized by the United Kennel Club as a breed by itself, with its own conformation standard and registry. Just like the standard German Shepherd and the Black German Shepherd, he is being used as a working dog, performing all kind of duties, such as being a police dog, a rescue dog, or even a therapy dog.

2. The white color of this beautiful dog used to be viewed as a genetic flaw

Back in the days, many people though that this particular breed of German Shepherds was a flaw in this dog’s genetic line. However, this is not the case anymore. Before learning more about this handsome pooch, breeders used to think that the White German Shepherd was weaker than his black and black and tan counterparts. They especially thought that the White German Shepherd had different genetic health issues, even though they are only susceptible to the exact same health problems as the standard German Shepherd.

3. Just like the Standard German Shepherd, the White German Shepherd is big and beautiful

White German Shepherd

The White German Shepherd is a medium-sized dog with a muscular body and a beautiful mane. Fully white, he usually weighs between 77 and 85 pounds as an adult, and reaches up to 26 inches, with the females being slightly smaller than the males.

The coat is, of course, white, and usually has a feathered appearance and is stiff to the touch.

4. The White German Shepherd can either be long-haired or short-haired

White German Shepherd

It all depends on genetics, of course. A long-haired White German Shepherd is truly a rare sight, while the short-haired White German Shepherd is usually more common. Not only is this because the long-haired gene is recessive, but also because breeders usually prefer White German Shepherds with a short coat instead of a longer one.

Usually, a longer coat means a disadvantage to your White German Shepherd. Why, you ask? Simply because White German Shepherds with long hair lack the usual undercoat, which normally protects the dog from harsh weather, since it’s waterproof and insulating.

Without his undercoat, the long-haired White German Shepherd will be more vulnerable to the cold during the winter, and to the heat during the summer. So, if you have a long-haired White German Shepherd, make sure to keep him indoors most of the time. With a mild temperature, there should be no big issues. This is also why this kind of dog is not good for outdoor work or being a show dog, since extreme temperature (high and low) might be too harsh on him.

Taking the decision to adopt a long haired White German Shepherd also means that you will have to pay more attention to his grooming.

The short haired White German Shepherd is more common, as well as easier to take care of, grooming wise. This beautiful gentle beast has the same insulating undercoat as any other short haired standard German Shepherd. Since he can withstand hot and cold temperatures, he can work as a guard or a herding dog, as well as a service, rescue, or military dog. The short haired White German Shepherd is sometimes favored by farmers, since it’s easier to spot him among dark haired predators that might attack the flock he’s herding (such as wolves, coyotes, and foxes).

5. Grooming the White German Shepherd can be quite a lot of work

And this is especially right if your White German Shepherd has a long-haired coat. A long haired White German Shepherd will need frequent brushing and grooming to keep shedding minimal. Like other German Shepherds, the White German Shepherd is a moderate to high shedder, especially if he has short hair. Your dog’s undercoat will also shed a lot during the hot season, which is why you will need to pay special attention to your best friend’s grooming during summer. Don’t be lazy and make sure to brush you White German Shepherd daily. This will not only get rid of loose hair, it will also help distribute the oils on your pooch’s skin.

Don’t bathe your White German Shepherd too much, as this might do more harm than good. Two or three baths a year are enough, unless your dog gets unnecessarily dirty. Never use normal human shampoo, as it will dry out your dog’s skin. Instead, use dog shampoo, which is gentler. If you don’t know which brand to buy, check out our review here, it might give you an idea on what’s available on the market.

If your dog’s nails don’t naturally get worn out, make sure to clip them every six weeks. Use special clippers that you can purchase online or at any pet shop. If you are not confident enough to clip your pooch’s nails, hire the services of a professional. It might be pricey, but it’s definitely going to make your life easier.

Finally, make sure to check and clean your best friend’s ears regularly. If you don’t do that, there might be a buildup of wax or your dog might end up suffering from ear mites or a bad infection.

6. The White German Shepherd is a gentler version of the standard German Shepherd Dog

White German Shepherd

The White German Shepherd is perceived to have a softer and nicer personality than the standard GSD. This, partly, might be because of his color, as white is usually used to describe purity and gentleness. The White German Shepherd is considered to have a milder temperament compared to his darker counterpart. Mostly, breeders bred him as a family dog, which explains why his personality is so mellow. But, this sometimes results in a skittish and shy dog. This means that the White German Shepherd usually needs a lot of socialization to feel comfortable around strangers and other pets.

Despite this, the White German Shepherd has a lot of great personality traits. He is loyal to a fault and will risk his own life to protect you and keep you safe in the face of danger. Brave, calm, and cheerful, he makes the perfect family dog and will be your best friend no matter what.

The White German Shepherds, just like the Black German Shepherd and the standards GSD, exudes self-confidence at all times. He is a great guard dog and is perfect for herding (if he is, of course, short-haired).

Around strangers, the White German Shepherd may sometimes look shy, but this is only a façade. Your dog is actually quite smart, and he will be observing the situation, trying to work out if that person is a serious danger or not. If he feels that that person or people are safe, then your dog will drop his guard and warm up to them quickly.

The White German Shepherd is a highly adaptable dog, and thus, can stay calm no matter what the situation is. He also has a very fun-loving and playful nature and loves nothing more than playing with toys or getting to play fetch and run around with people he considers family.

7. White German Shepherds are great family dogs, but keep an eye on them whenever they are around small children

And this is especially true when you are welcoming a White German Shepherd puppy into your house. These puppies are famous for being boisterous and full of energy, and they have enough strength to knock down a small child or an elderly person easily. As he grows up, the White German Shepherd will become calmer and gentler and will learn how to behave around people of all ages. With a lot of training and socialization, your White German Shepherd will turn into a great family dog and will be less excitable. Protective, loyal, and friendly, he will be the best friend you have always wanted.

8. The White German Shepherd is a stubborn dog but training him will still be fun

The White German Shepherd is quite the stubborn dog, but he is also extremely intelligent. This makes training this dog quite the fun affair. With just a bit of training, your white pooch will be able to respond to commands quite quickly, without you having to repeat yourself.

The White German Shepherd is a sensitive dog, and thus, harsh training methods do not work on him. If you want your White German Shepherd to listen to you, you will have to shower him with treats and praise. Positive reinforcement is also the way to go to train this beautiful beast.

Socialization is also important, as the White German Shepherd tends to be extremely shy sometimes. Exposing him to different people and environments will help him be at ease in unusual conditions. Having new people and visitors in the house every day when he’s a puppy is a good start. Taking him to the dog park is even better, since he will learn there that not everything is a threat.

9. The White German Shepherd is full of energy and needs a lot of exercise

The White German Shepherd is a highly energetic dog, and thus, requires a lot of exercise. He is not your usual canine, as the German Shepherd in general was first and foremost bred to be a working dog. This means that if your White German Shepherd doesn’t get enough exercise, he will get bored, and become destructive. And when a dog as big as this one gets destructive, it is not good.

So, fair warning: if you’re not an active person, I would recommend you choose another breed.

The White German Shepherd enjoys all kinds of activities, from light jogging to running behind you while you are biking. Frisbee and catch are also good activities, since not only are they good for your dog’s physical health, they also keep his mind sharp.

A good dose of daily exercise is primordial for this dog. If you can’t play around with him for too long, then take him on at least two long walks a day (make sure to keep your dog leashed when he is still a puppy). Make sure you have enough space for your dog to play and run around as well. This means that the White German Shepherd does not fare well in small apartments. A house with a big backyard is perfect for him.

10. Your White German Shepherd will need a lot of food

Because the White German Shepherd, just like the Standard German Shepherd Dog, is a big canine, he will need quite a lot of food. Usually, three and a half to four cups of quality dog food (make sure the food is made especially for German Shepherds) is enough to fill up your pooch’s stomach. Make sure to divide this quantity into two feedings daily, this way your best friend won’t suffer from bloat.

Don’t forget to give your dog treats as well, just don’t overfeed him to avoid obesity problems. Healthy treats are always the way to go, especially fruits and vegetables, which make perfect dog food (yes yes, believe it or not, you can feed your dog human food).

11. The White German Shepherd suffers the same health issues as the standard GSD

Just because his coat has a different color, it doesn’t mean that the White German Shepherd is weaker or healthier than his standard counterpart. Most often than not, he can suffer from the same health issues his peers suffer from.

Here is a list of the health problems you should look out for in case you adopt a White German Shepherd:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • ​Spinal disease
  • ​Heart disease
  • ​Allergies
  • ​Eye diseases
  • Cancer

But, as I always say, if you take care of your dog, exercise him regularly, and keep him on a balanced diet, then he will have a long and healthy life, right by your side.

12. Purchasing a White German Shepherd puppy will definitely be pricey

I’m not saying it’s going to cost you a kidney, but this dog is still quite expensive. A puppy of this breed will cost you between 900$ and 1500$, which is a bit pricey for a dog. But as always, the more expensive your puppy is, the better and healthier he is as well.

Always make sure to choose a breeder with a good reputation. This will help you make sure your dog is completely healthy.


The White German Shepherd is a beautiful dog, with a healthy demeanor and a gentle temperament. Loyal, friendly, and full of love, he is the perfect pet for an active owner and a loving family.

About the Author Sarah Zayn

A dog lover!

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