Dog Breeds

Everything You Need To Know About The White German Shepherd

October 4, 2017 — by Carol Reddy0


Dog Breeds

Everything You Need To Know About The White German Shepherd

October 4, 2017 — by Carol Reddy0

The White German Shepherd is a beautiful and mysterious breed. If you're curious to learn more about the White German Shepherd read this article!

Unless you already love German Shepherds you probably didn’t know that there are WHITE German Shepherds.

Although considered the same breed these dogs are very different, while still being the same protective, intelligent, loving breed we all know and care for.

.Despite looking like a ghost there is nothing scary about the White German Shepherd. They are actually known to be immensely loving.

So, if you’re ready to learn everything there is to know about the White German Shepherd, lets get started!

White German Shepherd History

German Shepherd and White German Shepherd

The White German Shepherd exactly like the German Shepherd BESIDES their color. They are a direct descendant of German Shepherds so therefore the recessive trait that turns their coat white has existed since the beginning of the German Shepherd breed.

While very popular German Shepherds aren’t considered an old breed, especially when compared to other breeds. They have been around since 1899 originating from Germany with the purpose of being a herding dog.

During this time there was no disputing over the size or color of what herding dog was used, there was just no point! Any dog that could guard their owners sheep from dangerous predators was considered the ideal herding/shepherd dog.

But this was all about to change…

German dog breeder Captain Max von Stephanitz realized the inconsistency of shepherding dogs throughout the country. He wanted to be able to give farmers a dog that was guaranteed to deliver consistent working capabilities.

Captain Max von Stephanitz dedicated his time to breeding the perfect breed for sheepherders across Germany, he did this by breeding a mix of the most successful herding dogs in Germany.

One dog in particular, a white herding dog named Grief, helped set his standards to the type of high quality dog he wanted to breed. A compliant breed that was strong and determined enough to get the job done.

Max purchased a dog named Hektor Linkrsheim after seeing how obedient, strong, and intelligent he was. Ironically, Hektor Linkrsheim was a grandson of the White German Shepherd Grief.

Ultimately creating the ideal well rounded working dog desired by farmers everywhere, Horand Von Grafrath became the first registered German Shepherd.

Horand von Grafrath had the first genetic model for German Shepherds. and since he was related to Grief he carried the recessive trait of having a white coat.

White German Shepherds soon became no different than Black German Shepherds and were widely popular and accepted.

Unfortunately, this popularity would not last long. The opinion of the White German Shepherd changed when Hitler and the Nazi party took control over German society. In 1933 the White German Shepherd became banned by the German Shepherd dog club of Germany.

Somehow they found the white coat of this dog to be undesirable, responsible for disease, and decreasing the importance of black German Shepherds.

Sadly, while the White German Shepherd was banned there was not enough sufficient scientific evidence to prove there was no correlation between the coat color of White German Shepherds and health issues.

After Hitlers reign the breeds population began to increase. Dog breed clubs in Canada and the USA once again began breeding, showing, and recognizing the White German Shepherd.

Although recognized by many clubs, including the United Kennel Club as the White Shepherd, White German Shepherds aren’t considered to be welcome in the German Shepherd national breed club.

But you can still register a White German Shepherd with the American Kennel Club as a German Shepherd.

It seems like there is a lot of controversy around whether or not the German Shepherd is a different breed than White German Shepherd…

Technically these breeds are the same, they do share the same genes. But White German Shepherds are commonly thought to be their own breed, not only due to coat color but to personality differences.

White German Shepherd Weight/Size 

White German Shepherd family

The White German Shepherd is indistinguishable from the common German Shepherd, besides for the color of their coat. A healthy White German Shepherd should weigh similar to the standard German Shepherd

Although the White German Shepherd wasn’t bred for size, its size definitely played a role in the success of the breed.

White German Shepherds are known to be intelligent herding dogs, and make herding large groups of sheep look easy.

But even though they are extremely intelligent, their brain inst the only thing that got them where they are today!

These are large muscular dogs that surprisingly have a lot of energy for how much they weigh…

On average a healthy adult White German Shepherd will weigh between 77 – 88 pounds.

Although there is not much weight variation between male and female White German Shepherds there is a slight difference in height.

When mature an adult male White German Shepherd can be as tall as 26 inches, give or take a couple. While female White German Shepherds grow to be around 22 – 24 inches in height.

If you’re having concerns with the size/height of your White German Shepherd just remember that they wont be fully grown for at least a couple of years, so give it some time!

The White German Shepherd is not a HUGE dog, like the Great Dane for instance, but it is a large breed…

Remember, these dogs were breed to herd large groups of sheep that on average can reach heights of 36 inches.

That’s pretty big…

If you don’t want a large dog then the White German Shepherd might not be for you.

If you own or want to own a White German Shepherd your main concern about their size (unless health related) should be if they’re tall enough to grab a loaf of bread off the kitchen counter.

White German Shepherd Coat/Grooming

White German Shepherd Coat

Clearly the White German Shepherd has a beautiful white coat, and such an alluring coat deserves the proper grooming.

The White German Shepherd has a weather resistant double coat, this is common for working and herding dogs since they are always outside battling against the elements.

The outer coat of the White German Shepherd is stiff, rough, and dense, while the undercoat is thick and short.

Dogs don’t have different coats just to look pretty, they have a purpose!

The White German Shepherds outer coat is composed of straight, compressed hair for the purpose of protecting themselves from elements such as rain and snow.

In comparison to the White German Shepherds undercoat which is short and thick to ensure the dog stays warm and insulated.

Even though their coat is beautiful one thing for sure is there’s a lot of it, and that means they need a lot of grooming…

If you’ve never had a dog then you need to get used to every single thing you own being covered in dog hair, its pretty unavoidable.

Most dogs tend to shed more as the weather gets warmer, but some dogs shed seasonally or have “blowouts” periods like the Blue Heeler. But White German Shepherds are known for consistently shedding their fur.

It is important to brush White German Shepherds daily. Not only can this be therapeutic and a social/relaxing experience for the dog, but you’d be surprised just how much hair they are shedding.

Even though your clothes, furniture, car, and house will be covered in hair, that’s not all of it!

A lot of hair gets trapped in the long outer coat of the White German Shepherd, and brushing them daily ensures the removal of this excess hair.

The shedding will never completely stop, but how often you bathe your dog might actually help. Just because White German Shepherds have long hair doesn’t mean they need to be bathed all the time.

Any dog should be bathed according to how dirty he/she is. Bathing your dog too much can and will remove natural oils found in their skin.

Unfortunately this can lead to irritation AND therefore more hair removal.

If you want to keep your White German Shepherds coat looking healthy and beautiful you NEED to dedicate yourself to brushing them daily.

White German Shepherd Personality

If you’re looking for a true companion that is loyal beyond belief then you found one with the White German Shepherd. These dogs are determined to be good at whatever they do, including loving you!

Breed for endurance and agility the White German Shepherd is bound to turn your house/backyard into an obstacle coarse built for a game of tag. They of course will want you to be running right beside them…

The major difference between the standard German Shepherd and the White German Shepherd is their personality.

Maybe being bred to be more calm has something to do with that…

Naturally the White German Shepherd is more calm and sensitive than the standard German Shepherd.

We all want a dog for companionship and with a dog like the White German Shepherd, who is

  • smart
  • loving
  • brave

You cant get anything better than the White German Shepherd.

These dogs LOVE their owners/family and though White German Shepherds aren’t an aggressive breed, they will protect their family with everything they have.

So not only are these dogs protective, they are loving and will go to any extreme to prove it to you!

Get ready for tons of kisses, laughs, and a lot of dog language.

The White German Shepherd loves being entertained, and is also very entertaining. Playing a game of catch, or tug of war will be just as fun for the both of you.

White German Shepherd are playful and friendly but if you’re not a member of the family or close to it they may take time to warm up. They are intelligent dogs wary of strangers and danger to their family.

The White German Shepherd is an amazing babysitter and will treat any child like their own. They are known for showing care for other animals and small critters, and will gladly play with your child.

Although their personality is big they are a very well manured breed. The White German Shepherd holds himself to a level of class, you can see it in their eyes and by how they stand.

If you want a dog that has respect and will never cross any of your boundaries (or even try to push them) the White German Shepherd is the dog for you.

White German Shepherd Training

White German Shepherd Training

Every dog responds to training differently but some breads love learning and pleasing their owner, White German Shepherds happen to be one of those breeds.

The White German Shepherd will never seem to fail you when it comes to their ability to complete a task.

Not only do White German Shepherds love to see you happy, they love thinking and solving problems.

Whether this be learning to

  • sit on command
  • give paw
  • count

If you apply the proper training methods with the White German Shepherd you would be amazed by how well the dog responds.

Its good that these dogs are easily trainable and also not that aggressive.

You will need to somewhat train your White German Shepherds to calm down when a stranger comes into your home, but that is just their natural protective trait.

Although these dogs are easy going they need a positive firm hand when it comes to training. They need to be reminded that you are the alpha and what you says goes.

Most White German Shepherds aren’t difficult to train, but there’s always that bunch that are!

That’s why its important to start training White German Shepherd Puppies as soon as possible. If you train your dog from an early age you are more likely to catch or stop any signs of misbehavior/aggression.

But with the White German Shepherd you have little to worry about training or even aggression.

The White German Shepherd is actually SO nice that it is not used for police work or participates in Schutzhund.

The sport Schutzhund is named after a German word meaning “protection dog” and is common in police work to develop a dogs utility. This sport was originally used to test the dogs ability to be a successful German Shepherd.

White German Shepherd Activity Level

White German Shepherd Active

Just because the White German Shepherd is of different color than the German Shepherd, there is not a difference in their activity levels.

The color of a German Shepherd does not affect their behavior, therefore there is no connection between a White German Shepherd having more or less energy than a regular German Shepherd.

Now that we’ve established that both German Shepherds and White German Shepherds have the same activity levels we can talk about what those are!

German Shepherds are sturdy hardworking dogs (as are White German Shepherds) so naturally they are going to have high energy levels and most importantly, endurance.

Breed for the purpose of herding and guarding livestock or their owner and his/her property, White German Shepherds are built to have seemingly endless amounts of energy.

Like most dogs, White German Shepherds can get bored when not entertained or exercising so its important to make sure they are up and moving!

Naturally muscular and active, these dog will love to join you on any sort of physical activities.

Whether this be…

  • a long beautiful hike
  • a round of fetch in the backyard
  • a nice walk around the neighborhood

White German Shepherds love to be active, and it is actually essential to their health.

If you fail to give your White German Shepherd the stimulation they need they will become bored and possibly destructive.

Not only is this bad for you, but it is bad for the well being of your dog.

White German Shepherd Nutrition

White German Shepherd Dog Treats

Nutrition is a key aspect to your dogs health, and if monitored properly it will keep your dog happy and healthy.

There is no doubt that the nutrition of your dog affects their health, but some dogs can handle the occasional cheat meal…

For a muscular dog like the White German Shepherd to maintain a healthy weight they need to have a balanced diet packed with

  • Protein
  • Whole Grains
  • Vitamins/Minerals
  • Essential Fatty Acids

A dog as large as the White German Shepherd will need between 3-5 cups of their dog food. Food can either be dry/wet store bought dog food…


You can go to the extreme of cooking your dog home made meals daily.

Now this means putting in a little extra effort when it comes to monitoring your dogs diet.

But if you decide to cook your dogs meals you will have complete control over their intake of protein, whole grains, vitamin/minerals, and essential fatty acids.

If you feed your White German Shepherd correctly he will be a very happy and healthy dog.

Making homemade dog food recipes for your dog is a fun, quick, easy way to make sure your dog is getting the nutrition they need.

Plus, you can have so many different variations of dog food recipes!

White German Shepherd Health

White German Shepherd Health

The average life expectancy of the White German Shephard is between 12-14 years.

All dogs are prone to certain health issues, especially if they are a large working dog. 

Unfortunately, the White German Shepard is prone to numerous health issues including

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Degenerative Melophathy 

Although all these issues pose serious health threats, the most common joint issues that affect White German Shephards are hip and elbow dysplasia.

Hip Dysplasia is a condition where the hip socket isnt developed properly, leading to a “loose fit” of the femur into the hip socket.

Elbow Dysplasia is caused by abnormal growth disturbances of the bone and tissue.

BOTH of these issues can lead to immense pain and discomfort depending on the severity.

A less common but potentially serious condition that affects White German Shepherds is Degenerative Melophathy.

This progressive disease has similar symptoms to dysplasia, but in this case, the deterioration is occurring in the spine instead of a joint.

Overtime this will compromise the dogs ability to walk. Symptoms to look for are dragging its hind legs, having difficulty balancing, and buckling of their limbs.

Its not hard to notice if your dog is experiencing discomfort or pain. If you see your White German Shepherd experiencing lameness its essential to get them to the vet as soon as possible.

Sometimes you wont be able to cure your beloved White German Shepherd. But bringing them to the vet will ensure the prevention of future damage to their bones.

The White German Shepherd Is Happiest When…

Happy White German Shepherd

Although the White German Shepherd is useful for herding and guarding, they are companion dogs at heart.

At the end of the day White German Shepherds, like most dogs bred for companionship, just want to be spending time with you.

There are so many things you can do to spend time with your White German Shepherd, and it will never go unnoticed..

These are smart yet sensitive dogs, so before you go looking for a White German Shepherd you need to know you can provide for them.

Meeting the needs of a White German Shepherd means dishing out a lot of love, and throwing a lot of balls/sticks.

Although an active breed, White German Shepherds don’t only want to play…

They enjoy downtime just like anyone else!

This means they can be perfectly happy laying on the ground being pet while you watch your favorite movie together.

If you love loving dogs then having a White German Shepherd wont be a problem for you.

The Bottom Line On The White German Shepherd

White German Shepherd

The White German Shepherd is beautiful impressive breed that will leave you in awe with their personality.

Although once misunderstood the White German Shepherd is now loved and accepted in society. Their pure white coat, which was seen as impure, plays a huge role in the beauty and grace of this dog.

White German Shepherds are considered to be quite large dogs, and need constant grooming to ensure the health of their coat.


The loving, playful, curious personality of the White German Shepherd makes their maintenance SO worth it. Is it even considered maintenance if you love your dog?

Not only are White German Shepherds large and loving, they are intelligent and beyond obedient.

Training White German Shepherds will feel like a breeze, they probably will love being trained more than you love them being trained!

Breed with abundant amounts of energy, when this energy is focused on a task the White German Shepherd shows extraordinary results.

Any large breed exerts a lot of energy when participating in any activity. This means they will need to be refueled properly to ensure their health.

Giving your dog the proper nutrition including protein, whole grains, vitamins/minerals and fatty acids is essential for their health and happiness.

Especially when dealing with a large dog like the White German Shepherd. The proper nutrition will not only keep your dog energized, but will ensure the strength of their joints, and the health of their coat.

But at the end of the day feeding a dog that provides you with protection, entertainment, comfort, and love isn’t that much to ask for.


Carol Reddy

Hi, I'm Carol Reddy, Founder and Editor of CommonPaw and Pawthentic. When I'm not sharing my love for and knowledge of dogs, you can usually find me at the gym or the beach, living a healthy lifestyle.