Horand von Grafath, born 1895, is acknowledged as the progenitor for German shepherd dog bloodlines and was a descendant of a white shepherd dog (grandsire - Grief). From that time forward white became part of the genetic pool along with sables, blacks, and even reds and blues.
White German shepherds were part of the foundation of the breed, and fully recognized for nearly 40 years as being just another German shepherd, until the colour white was classified as a disqualifying fault in Germany's conformation show ring. No longer could they compete for breed titles within the show arena.
White German shepherds were subsequently transferred onto the breed’s limited register and, therefore, it was no longer viable to keep whites as potential breeding stock. This meant no longer could whites be used to breed registered German shepherds, regardless of the colour of their puppies. These moves were resisted in countries where whites were more popular, such as England.
In 1968, following Germany’s lead, the German Shepherd Dog Club of America introduced, through the American Kennel Council (AKC), a revised breed standard listing the colour white as a disqualifying fault. However, despite pressure, the AKC did not go so far as to stop registering white shepherds, and these dogs today are still able to be registered on the AKC main register. For more information about recent developments with the ANKC, please contact either (or both) of the clubs below.
Around the world there was a push in a number of countries to try and preserve the white genes resulting in a number of different names being used for dogs descended from White German Shepherds, including The Canadian White Shepherd, The White Shepherd, and The White German Shepherd.
While the White Swiss Shepherd and modern German Shepherd Dog have common ancestry, and by some are considered to be the same breed, there are many differences which have occurred between the two after being bred along separate paths for some time. Due to historical and political events these dogs in Australia have been required to seek recognition as a breed apart.
Their enthusiasts exclaim that the White Swiss Shepherds are versatile and capable of anything; they are intelligent and highly trainable in any discipline (obedience, Flyball, agility, etc) and are happiest in the company of their humans!
Links (in no particular order), at the time of writing, are as follows:
Australian White German Shepherd Dog Group www.whiteshepherdclub.org.au
The White German Shepherd Dog Club of Victoria (WGSDCV) www.wgsdcv.org.au.
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog Club of Australia Inc (WSSDCA) www.whiteshepherd.org.au.
Please, as when choosing any dog/puppy, carry out health checks - check for hip and elbow dysplasia (from the parents). As with all breeds, please research your breeder carefully. Statistically, white animals are most susceptible to skin cancer – The White German Shepherd may (or may not) be susceptible but please err on the side of caution and seek advice from your Vet.
Please Note: I do not receive any commission nor have I personally ever met any of the breeders or the Clubs' Committee Members so you must do your own research. I merely provide a place to start.
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