This pure white form of the German Shepherd Dog has been developed primarily as a companion and show dog. It has been known by the longer name of American-Canadian White Shepherd Dog and the shorter name of White Shepherd.
This has been a controversial breed. For GSD traditionalists the white coat is looked upon as a flaw. For the supporters of the breed it is the dog‘s crowning glory.
The earliest mention of a White German Shepherd has been traced back to 1882, in Europe. The first Whites to be registered with the AKC in the United States date from 1917. More arrived in America in the 1920s, but then, in the 1930s, the breed lost favour. In 1933 the breed standard of the German Shepherd Dog recorded a white coat as a ‘disqualifying fault’.
In the 1960s canine authorities in Germany began a campaign against the White dog, insisting that it should be outlawed. As a result, White German Shepherds virtually disappeared from Europe. America followed suit and in 1968 the breed was disqualified from competing in the show-rings there, too.
There was a backlash against this ban and in 1969 the White German Shepherd Club of America was formed to support the breed. Since that time, groups in both the United States and Canada have developed the breed and have treated it as a separate entity. The White German Shepherd Dog Club International was founded in America in 1977.
In the 1970s White Shepherds were reintroduced into Europe and found favour there with a small number of enthusiasts in Switzerland. The dog‘s reacceptance grew steadily and, by the end of the 20th century, there were several thousand White Shepherds living in Europe. Switzerland, Holland, Denmark and the Czech Republic all came to recognize this dog as a new breed in its own right. Resistance to it still exists in many quarters, however.
The White German Shepherd is not an albino. It has dark brown eyes, nose, eyelids and pads. Apart from its white hair it is virtually the same as a normally coloured GSD, except that it is usually slightly larger. White dogs of over 28 in (71 cm) in height and weighing 130 lb (59 kg) are common, compared with 26 in (66 cm) and 95 lb (43 kg) maximums for the standard GSD