The American White Shepherd is perhaps one of the most beautiful canines to ever exist. Dog fanciers consider it an exquisite pup, an incredible companion, a lover, and a protector at home.
This dog is a member of the shepherd family, as the name suggests, and very similar to its cousin, the German Shepherd dog. It shares the same history and origin with the German Shepherd, which is a crossbreed of various European dogs, including other breeds that carried the white gene. However, the Germans considered the white color a significant fault and culled it from the breeding program, neutering and spaying the existing white dogs to prevent their spread.
22 – 26 inches
75 – 85 pounds
12 – 14 years
Alert & fearless, intelligent, easy to train, protective, loving & loyal
Breeders purposely began breeding for pure white German Shepherds despite the German Shepherd Club excluding them from the registry and breeding programs to preserve the gene. For this reason, American White Shepherds evolved as a separate breed, and the United Kennel Club recognized it as its own breed.
They are indistinguishable from their German Shepherd ancestors except for the dense white coat. This dog’s color on a wolf-like appearance makes them intimidatingly beautiful.
It’s poised, optimistic, cheerful, and capable of being a friend as well as an alert watchdog and formidable guard. That’s not all about this joyful breed, though. Keep reading for detailed information.
American White Shepherd Characteristics
American White Shepherd Puppies
Despite being considered a fault by some leading kennel clubs, White Shepherd dogs are highly sought after by dog enthusiasts. This dog also requires obedience training. You may spend extra on advanced training sessions, depending on the nature of the work involved. Of course, you’ll also need to find the right dog food for your American White Shepherd, along with a dog bed, crate, treats, vet checkups, vaccinations, and more.
Be sure to read the American White Shepherd’s care guide so you know what type of food, grooming, and exercise your pup needs so they can grow into a healthy and happy dog. These dogs are not a good option for people with allergies or those that don’t have enough time to regularly take their dogs out for long training sessions.
Temperament & Intelligence of the American White Shepherd
American White Shepherds are loyal to the core and always look out for their human owners and families. These pups have well-balanced temperaments, a trait that has earned them employment as guard dogs, herding dogs, search and rescue missions, guide dogs, and family pets.
They are cheerful, devoted, tranquil, and not aggressive by nature, although they can exhibit a serious personality at times. American White Shepherds tend to be wary of strangers and react instantly if a situation requires its protective services.
Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪
Long-time dog owners recommend these dogs for any family that requires a loyal and devoted family pet that can drop its guard to protect them at any time.
They love their family’s children and wouldn’t mind being roughhoused by them. However, always supervise their playtime since White Shepherd dogs can be pretty heavy for small kids.
White German Shepherds are efficient companions and eager to learn new things. They can adapt to various social situations and events, so expect a pup that can live in different places and not mind about the conditions. However, these pups require to be socialized as they can show aggression and attack people due to inadequate socialization and training.
White Shepherds are people-oriented, and you should not leave them alone for extended periods.
They are equally playful and highly interested in expressing their fun-loving side by playing fetch, flyball, running, and other activities as long as they do it with their family.
These dogs are pack animals and need to see you as their pack leader because you don’t want them to assume the role. Therefore, you need to be authoritative but in a gentle, considerate, and consistent way to raise your pup into a well-adjusted family pet.
Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?
The American White Shepherd is attractive, protects its owner, is excellent with kids, and gets along with other pets! These traits are enough to turn any household into a happy one, right?
A stable, socialized, trained, and well-adjusted White Shepherd is, for the most part, great with other dogs and other animals. Breeders seldom breed these pups for aggressive dog activities, so they tend to be softer and mellower Shepherds, unlike their German cousins.
For this reason, they have milder dispositions that fit well into many multi-pet households, particularly if they grew up with other household pets. However, they can be aggressive toward other same-sex dogs. Ensure to socialize your pets right from puppyhood to ensure they coexist.
Things to Know When Owning an American White Shepherd:
Food & Diet Requirements 🦴
An American White Shepherd’s health depends on proper nutrition and a diet containing sufficient amounts of minerals and vitamins.
Most dog parents settle on artificial feeding, which is reasonably acceptable, only ensure that you get premium food for your dog. However, there’s a better way; you can prepare home-cooked dog food.
Canines and humans evolved side by side, which means they mostly ate what humans ate and still do so today. It doesn’t mean table scraps, though. Instead, offer your White Shepherd a low-fat variety of fresh meat like chicken, turkey, fish, and lamb.
Also include dairy products, cool and clean drinking water, veggies, and fruits in the menu. However, dogs are not vegetarians, so only allow it a little.
Ensure that commercial dog food contains dog-friendly nutrients and avoid any that’s packed with rice and other cereal grains. Plus, the brands should be designed for large dog breeds.
Unfortunately, these dogs are prone to bloating, so you may want to feed them two to three times a day instead of a large chunk at once. Puppies require a highly nutritious and good quality diet for development and growth, so it would be best to feed them puppy food 3 or 4 times a day until they can have adult food.
White Shepherd owners will always let you know why they love their dogs so much. They can’t get enough of a robust and beautiful pup that protects you and can be a workout partner that is too happy to accompany you to your runs, jogs, walks, and hikes.
However, you may want to focus on the fact that this breed requires lots of exercise. You can teach it how to run on the treadmill if you keep it indoors or if the outside weather isn’t too conducive.
Whatever you do, ensure you spend at least half an hour a day taking it out for runs and playing with it. This means that this pup will not be happy cooped up in the house to watch a movie all day.
It’s also not the best dog if you are an inactive person or have a sedentary family. You’ll have a frustrated, bored, and restless pup to deal with if you don’t address a White Shepherd’s energy levels.
White Shepherds are suited for obedience, tracking & protection, search and rescue, herding, guide dogs, medical alert, guarding, and therapy. For this reason, owners should conduct obedience training on their pups from an early age.
Inadequate exercise and training can turn a White Shepherd into a timid and skittish do, prone to fear biting and guarding issues. The good thing is that these dogs are intelligent and highly trainable, so expect a dog that can memorize commands almost from the first training session.
You may want to ensure that you are authoritative, though. White Shepherds are quick to know if they are stronger-minded than their human guardians and will not listen to you.
It would be best to learn its instincts and treat the dog accordingly with a bit of natural authority on its attitude. However, this pup will not respond well to harsh training, so ensure that you conduct the training with respect, justice, reward, and consistency.
German shepherd breeds have been colloquially known as German shedders because they are unmatched heavy shedders, and White Shepherds are no different. White Shepherds are heavy seasonal shedders. They shed in moderate amounts all year round, and then there are seasons when it’s warm that they shed excessively.
It’s constantly shedding hair, so you need to brush its coat every day, or there’ll be hair around the home to deal with. Only bathe your dog when you must, as frequent baths dry out their skins of natural oils, irritating them.
You also want to invest in a good vacuum cleaner to help pick your pup’s hairs off the carpet and hard surfaces every day. It would be best to check your pup’s ears for ear infections and inflammation whenever you wipe them every week. Also, clip the nails once a month-a vet can help you with that.
Like any other dog, dental hygiene is paramount, so ensure you brush your White Shepherd’s teeth at least twice a week using only a designated dog toothbrush and paste.
Health & Lifespan 🏥
American White Shepherds are generally healthy dogs with commendable lifespans, although they are prone to some disorders.
- Hip and Elbow Dysplasia
American White Shepherds are prone to joint dislocations at the hips and elbows, as in any other large dog breeds. This condition may cause pain and lameness during the initial stages before your pup becomes entirely or partially immobile with intolerable pain at the last stage.
More often, these pups react to certain foods, fleas, care products, and air.
- Malabsorption Syndrome
Your dog’s digestive tract may malfunction and be unable to absorb and digest certain foods, leading to symptoms like alopecia, bloating, and diarrhea.
- Mega Esophagus
This is where the esophagus, the tube that connects the throat and the stomach, abnormally enlarges. You may notice symptoms like stinky breath, weight loss, and diarrhea.
This is a degenerative joint disease that leads to abnormal development of the hip joint, knee dislocation, damage to the joints, and crucial ligaments.
- Autoimmune Diseases
White Shepherd’s genetic lines predispose them to autoimmune and congenital spinal diseases. Their immune systems can attack their organs and tissues, causing structural and functional damage at the sites.
Also, they experience defects in the structure and number of vertebrae causing issues like scoliosis.[/su_list][/su_box]
Male vs. Female
Male American White Shepherds tend to be larger, prouder, and more aloof than females, but with the same curiosity and enthusiasm about activity and learning.
For this reason, males are more dominant than females, while females tend to be gentler and much friendlier towards both other pets, family, and strangers
The dominance that male White Shepherds exhibit means that you should not keep two male dogs together, or you may witness aggression that can turn fatal. Male and female White Shepherds coexist just fine.
3 Little-Known Facts About the American White Shepherd
1. American White Shepherds are not actually albino dogs.
Although some albino shepherd dogs exist, the American Shepherds descended from a lineage of “white-coat” dogs that originated in Europe and spread to America and Canada.
2. This dog is simply a German Shepherd that is white.
Their white color is due to a recessive “masking” gene that hides their actual coloration and pattern.
3. American White Shepherds can have multi-colored German Shepherd puppies.
You’d want to keep off these dogs if you are an inactive person or any member of your family suffers from allergies. American White Shepherds are constant shedders, and pet danders will trigger allergy symptoms daily.
They also require lots of activities, so get it if you want a dog that motivates you to be fit.
All in all, American White Shepherds are pretty, hardworking, loyal, and fit perfectly into any happy-go family. Just be careful with the whites, though. They can be too soft, which makes them timid and skittish sometimes.
You may also like to read:
- Male vs. Female Miniature American Shepherds: What Are the Differences?
- Karst Shepherd Dog Breed Guide: Info, Pictures, Care & More
Featured Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock