An Early History Of

The White German Shepherd

The beautiful coats of our white shepherds can be traced back to the roots of the original German Shepherd dogs. Information provided in books of the origins of the German Shepherd breed make mention of the White Shepherd in Europe as early as 1882. A White German Shepherd was the Grandsire of Horand von Grafrathe, born in 1895, this dog is acknowledged as the foundation dog of the contemporary German Shepherd Dog bloodlines, from that time forward, the color white has been within the natural genetic color variations which make up the modern German Shepherd.

In the United States, the White German Shepherd appears throughout the history of the breed. Ann Tracy, owner of one of the first two German Shepherd champions on record in America, imported some of the finest German show stock to the USA, and white puppies showed up immediately in her litters. In 1917, the first White German Shepherds were registered with the American Kennel Club. In the 1920's H. N. Hanchett of Minnesota imported German-bred White German Shepherds. Some of the finest early German lines such as v. Oeringen, The Strong heart, Rin-Tin-Tin and Long Worth bloodlines frequently produced white dogs.

It was not until the 1930s that white dogs were discriminated against, after the death of Max Von Stephanitz (architect of the modern Shepherd), and increased with the rise of Hitler. During the 1960s as the White Shepherd grew ever more popular, friction developed between the breeders of the White German Shepherd and the breeders of the current standard colored German Shepherd. Genetic problems appearing in the breed were increasingly blamed on the White German Shepherd, and Germany began a campaign to outlaw the white color. Puppies born with the snow white coat were drowned, and records of their births destroyed. White Shepherds were held responsible for "fading" or "washing out" the darker dogs color. This point has been refuted innumerable times by leading breeders and geneticists. However in 1968, following Germanys lead, the White German Shepherd was disqualified from the conformation show ring in America. In 1980 the Canadian Kennel Club was petitioned by the German Shepherd dog Club of Canada to disqualify the white dogs from the show conformation show ring, however, in response to hundreds of letters, the CKC refused to disqualify the White German Shepherd, and the white dogs are still eligible for conformation competition in that country.

Common Questions About White German Shepherds

Are White German Shepherds Albinos?

NO- Albinos, as described by Webster is "an organism exhibiting deficient pigmentation and usually has a milky or translucent skin, white or colorless hair, and eyes with pink or blue iris' and deep red pupils". The dark pointed White German Shepherd possesses dark brown eyes, and black or dark brown pigment on their nose, eyelids, pads and sometimes ear leather and bellies. The snow nose syndrome (fading of nose pigment caused by seasonal changes) is common in White German Shepherds, although not preferred. Snow nose syndrome also appears in other white breeds and even in standard coated German Shepherds.

Are White Shepherds able to be American or Canadian Kennel club registered?

Yes- If both parents are registered with the A.K.C or the C.K.C, and a litter application has been properly applied for, then the resulting offspring is fully eligible for registration as a German Shepherd dog.

Can the White German Shepherd be shown in dog shows?

Yes- The White German shepherd can be shown in obedience trials, tracking competitions, agility, and any other non-conformation type activity within the A.K.C. C.K.C allows competition in all areas. However there are other clubs such as the Universal Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club, The Continental Kennel Club, The World Wide Kennel Club and numerous others which allow whites and standards to compete without prejudice. Also there is the White German Shepherd Dog Club, which is an international organization dedicated to the advancement of the White German Shepherd dog.

How does the White German Shepherd differ from the Standard colored German Shepherd?

Other than color, the White German Shepherd does not differ substantially from the stand colored Shepherd. Color does not affect the dog's personality, temperament or trainability. However, our Jamin Shepherds do differ from standards in some ways. Because of better care and feeding the natural tendency of the breed has been to grow larger than the standard which was set at the early origins of the breed. At Jamin we allow this natural occurrence and do not purposely down size our dogs to maintain out dated standards. Many of our dogs grow to well over 28 inches at the shoulder and weights of 80 to 130 lbs. These are not over weight or disproportional dogs but simply dogs who reflect better feeding and the best in modern care. We also are not breeding to promote the current tendency toward the exaggerated angulation or long hunched back so common in today's show ring. Instead we breed only dogs who have been certified sound in hips and health and proven stable in temperament and trainability.

If you are considering owning a White German Shepherd, you must remember your dog will be devoted to you and your family heart, mind and body. He or she will be willing to give their life for you or your household. Those who acquire a puppy must understand that this is a lifelong commitment to your dog. Your White German Shepherd, if separated from you, will mourn for you, often for the remainder of its life. When you choose a White German Shepherd please do not take your commitment lightly, such selfless love is no small thing.