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Breed Information


Are White Swiss Shepherd Dogs the same as German Shepherd Dogs?


White Swiss Shepherd Dogs and German Shepherd Dogs are two distinct breeds with the FCI (World Kennel Club), with separate and differing Breed Standards.


In order to be accepted as a White Swiss Shepherd Dog, the dog must have a pedigree containing 3 generations of all white breeding.


White German Shepherd Dogs are registered in the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. Genetically, there are no differences between the two breeds, but as in most breeds, there are differences in structure and looks between the White German Shepherds in the USA, Canada and the UK, and even more differences in structure and looks with those particular dogs when comparing them to FCI White Swiss Shepherd Dogs.


Due to the Australian dogs not being accepted by the Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC), there is a lot of confusion regarding what they techically and politically are supposed to be called.


Some people refer to them as White Swiss Shepherd Dogs, some refer to them as white German Shepherd Dogs and some try and remain in the middle and refer to them simply as White Shepherds.


White German Shepherd Dogs are not born from coloured German Shepherd lines anymore and the German Shepherd Dog Council of Australia has attested to this. There is no dog with such a pedigree in the breeding programs of Australian White Shepherd breeders.


Australian bloodlines have been promoted, bred and shown through their breed clubs as White Swiss Shepherd Dogs since 2003, but they are yet to be accepted by the ANKC. Australian bloodlines have at least 3 generations of all white pedigrees with no German Shepherds contained in them.  Australian White Shepherds comply with the FCI Breed Standard, as it has been followed since 2003, being registered as White Swiss Shepherd Dogs.


Are they albinos?


No, they have white fur and most have dark eyes and skin pigmentation. Therefore, there is no risk of skin cancer or any problems that are often associated with deafness or blindness.


Defining Characteristics


Similar in shape to the old-style German Shepherd Dog, the White Swiss Shepherd is longer than tall. There are short-coated and long-coated varieties. Colour White or slight deer colour (light yellow or fawn shading) on eartips, back and upperside of tail is relatively common.

Some may be SLIGHTLY aloof with strangers, but should never be aggressive or shy, unless provoked. As soon as someone is introduced to the dog properly, the dog should accept human interaction.


Some people say White Swiss Shepherds are somewhat "softer" in temperament to the German Shepherd Dog, but I don't personally agree. Genetics, as well as upbringing have an influence on the temperament of the dog.  There are many White Swiss Shepherds AND White German Shepherds who are police/security dogs, search and rescue and service dogs.  It all depends on bloodlines and genetics.  Certain White Swiss Shepherd bloodlines are known for their shyness and lack of confidence when meeting people.  I do not advocate unnecessary shyness in the breed myself.


A point regarding bloodlines within the breed... For example, there are German Shepherd bloodlines used primarily for security and protection work. Security lines are large, solid, straight backed dogs, with high drive and confidence.These bloodlines don't usually overlap with the speciality show ring German Shepherds, and as a result differ in their structural form, as well as temperament.  It also changes from country to country too, which proves that genetics and purpose has a lot to do with the breed's temperament. 


There are also White Swiss Shepherds doing protection work throughout Europe, so they must also posess a high level of drive and confidence. 


Learn canine behaviour and treat the dog accordingly, so the dog does not develop behavioural issues. Like most working dog breeds, comes a drive to have a job and a task in life and a consistent owner to show it guidance.


General Health Issues


Hip and elbow dysplasia can be a problem in some lines. Skin problems (allergies). Missing teeth, undescended testicles in males.


Other occasional concerns: bloat, megaoesophagus, skin problems (allergies), cancers, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.




They shed their hair heavily all year around, so regular coat maintenance is required. Regular clipping of nails is also required to reduce joint problems.




Daily exercise is important for this breed. Because of his inherent intelligence, play needs to be stimulating, such as chasing a ball, frisbee, obedience training, etc.


Life Expectancy


12 - 15 years

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