Everything you need to know to buy or adopt a White (German) Shepherd puppy or adult dog.


BE PREPARED

For Your New

White Shepherd!

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Raise and train your dog the RIGHT way and he will live a long, healthy, well-behaved life – and both of you will be happy!

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White Shepherd dog breed

Buying or Adopting a White Shepherd

By Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2017


Is a DOG really the right pet for you?

I've been helping people choose and find dogs for over 35 years now, and I have to say that for many people, dogs are not ideal pets.

Pros AND Cons of Owning a Dog


Should you get a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog?

Don't set your sights on any purebred dog until you read these three eye-opening articles:

The Truth About Purebred Dogs

The Truth About Crossbred Dogs

The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs


Is a White Shepherd the right breed for you?

White Shepherds: What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em

White Shepherd Health Problems


Are YOU right for a White Shepherd?

Can you provide what this breed needs?

  • Someone home most of the day
  • Fenced yard (not an electronic/underground fence)
  • Fenced yard (6-8 feet high, not an electronic/underground fence)
  • Restricted exercise when young – until maturity (at least 18 months old), exercise restricted to multiple short (20 minute) walks, fetch games, and playing with other dogs – no forced running (beside a jogger or bicyclist), no long-distance treks, minimal jumping
  • Ample exercise after maturity – enough ongoing exercise that your White Shepherd stays slim and is tired enough to sleep contentedly and not get into mischief
  • "Mental exercise" – interesting activities that keep the mind stimulated, such as a challenging dog sport (agility, rally obedience, musical freestyle, tracking, flyball, herding, schutzhund); challenging dog toys; a homemade obstacle course; tricks and games such as Musical Toys and Hide 'n Seek; instructions in my training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words
  • Brushing (longhaired coat) – moderate
  • Trimming (longhaired coat) – every few months
  • An indoor lifestyle, except for exercise and bathroom breaks
  • A meat-heavy diet, either homemade or commercial – meat is expensive, so people with less money should opt for a small dog
  • An owner with enough money to treat the health problems White Shepherds are prone to (pet health insurance can really help here!)
  • An owner who is okay with constant shedding
  • Commitment to provide thorough socialization – introducing your White Shepherd to lots of people and other animals, diligently correcting any signs of misbehavior or aggression
  • Commitment to establish the right Leader-Follower relationship with your White Shepherd, teaching him to listen to you and do what you say

Should you get a male or female White Shepherd?

Symbols for male and female Male Dogs vs. Female Dogs
Which one makes a better pet?


Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
What age should your new White Shepherd be?


Where can you buy or adopt a White Shepherd?

If you haven't already, please read my White Shepherd Review, which sorts out the various Shepherd-type breeds that are white.

There are AKC-registered German Shepherds who come in many colors, including white.

There are UKC-registered German Shepherds who have dropped the word German and just go by the name White Shepherd. Some of these dogs look and act exactly like non-white German Shepherds. Others have a somewhat different build and a milder temperament.

Then there is an FCI-registered breed based in Europe, rare in the United States, called the White Swiss Shepherd (Berger Blanc Suisse). This breed differs from AKC German Shepherds and UKC White Shepherds in key areas of appearance, temperament, and health. I'm currently working on an article about the Berger Blanc Suisse.

Adopting From Dog Rescue Organizations
Dog rescue groups have many AKC German Shepherds available, and a few of those might be white. You'll find very few UKC White Shepherds in Rescue. You won't find any Berger Blanc Swiss; they're just too uncommon

Adopting From Public Animal Shelters and Humane Societies
If you see a white German Shepherd in a shelter, is there any way to tell whether it's an AKC German Shepherd who happens to be white, or a UKC White Shepherd? No, not unless the owner brought the dog in with registration papers. But the odds are extremely high that it's not a UKC White Shepherd.

Buying From a Dog Breeder
You can buy from a show breeder, who breeds their dogs to match a detailed standard of appearance for the dog show ring.

Or you can buy from a performance breeder, who emphasizes a more energetic temperament and high trainability for participating in dog agility, rally obedience, tracking, flyball, herding, etc. Some breeders are a combination of show/performance, though how they prioritize those two goals can vary greatly.

You might also be able to buy from people who "just breed pets" or "just had one litter." But should you? Be sure to read the article to learn more about these people.

Here's one difference between a responsible breeder and an irresponsible breeder – BOTH PARENTS of a White Shepherd puppy should have:

  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or PennHip certifying the dog to have normal hips
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) certifying the dog to have normal elbows
  • a certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation of America (OFA) or a report from a veterinary cardiologist – dated within the past year – certifying that the dog has had an Advanced Cardiac Exam and has a normal heart

Also, at least ONE PARENT of a White Shepherd puppy should have:

  • a DNA test proving they are Normal/Clear of a severe neurological disease called degenerative myelopathy.

If a seller can't show you those certificates, the puppies are higher risk for health problems. You might choose to accept that risk. But then you need to be willing (and able) to pay a couple thousand bucks for future surgeries and lifelong meds if your White Shepherd ends up crippled or paralyzed.

Puppy in a pet shop window Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store
White Shepherds are sometimes seen in pet shops. I have plenty to say about buying a puppy from a pet shop!


Related Articles

Girl holding up a puppy and looking at him How To Choose a Good White Shepherd Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of White Shepherd puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.


Pedigree parchment AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you consider buying only AKC registered White Shepherd puppies? Do AKC papers and pedigrees really matter?


To help you train and care for your dog

book cover To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.

book cover My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.

book cover My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.