White German Shepherd Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
White German Shepherd Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
White German Shepherds are usually bred to have an overall softer, more mellow, more sensitive personality than traditionally colored (black and tan) German Shepherds.
Because of this sweeter temperament, White German Shepherds are almost never used in protection dog sports such as schutzhund. A White German Shepherd can be a good watchdog, but his "watching" is usually limited to alerting you that someone is coming. White German Shepherds are not typically aggressive.
In fact, if a White Geman Shepherd is going to have any temperament fault, it's more likely to be timidity or skittishness. White Shepherds need a great deal of early socialization to build a confident attitude toward strangers and strange situations.
White German Shepherds do need the same physical and mental exercise as other German Shepherds. This smart breed should not be relegated to a home that simply wants a casual pet to walk around the block.
White German Shepherds can be quite vocal, tending to whine, mumble, and grumble in attempts to communicate with you.
Though they seldom have dominant personalities, White German Shepherds can still be a bit hard-headed. All large working dogs, including White Shepherds, need a confident, consistent owner who will establish and enforce rules.
If you want a dog who...
- Is strong, athletic, and natural-looking
- Has a "softer," more mellow personality than a traditionally-colored German Shepherd
- Thrives on challenging activities and exercise
- Is exceptionally intelligent, loyal, and versatile -- when well-socialized and well-trained, can learn and do almost anything
- Makes a sensible watchdog and is not inappropriately hostile
A White German Shepherd may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- Providing plenty of exercise and interesting things to do
- Skittishness or shyness in some lines, or when not extensively socialized
- Destructiveness when bored or not exercised enough
- Potential aggression toward other dogs, especially of the same sex
- Constant heavy shedding
- Legal liabilities (public perception, future breed bans, insurance problems, increased chance of lawsuits)
A White German Shepherd may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the White German Shepherd
If I was considering a White German Shepherd, I would be most concerned about...
- Unstable temperaments. Many German Shepherds are offered for sale by people who don't have the slightest idea how to breed family companions. Obedience instructors and behavioral consultants see lots of German Shepherds (both traditionally-colored and white) with neurotic behaviors, including aggression, sharpness, or fearfulness.
- Providing enough socialization. Without careful socialization, White German Shepherds may be skittish and fearful of strangers, which could lead to defensive biting.
- Animal aggression. Most White German Shepherds are peaceful with other dogs and cats, but some individuals are dominant or aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex, and some are cat chasers.
- Legal liabilities. German Shepherds of any color may be targeted for "banning" in certain areas, or refusal of homeowner insurance policies. In this day and age, the legal liabilities of owning any breed that looks intimidating and has a history as a guard dog should be seriously considered. People are quicker to sue if such a dog does anything even remotely questionable.
- Providing enough mental stimulation. German Shepherds are so intelligent and capable that I hate to see them chosen by owners who just want a dog to hang around the house and yard. German Shepherds thrive when you find interesting things for them to do that challenge their minds. Bored German Shepherds, especially when young, can become rambunctious and destructive.
To learn more about socializing and training your German Shepherd, as well as keeping his mind challenged, consider my dog training book,
Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your White German Shepherd the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
- Heavy shedding. German Shepherds shed only once a year -- for 365 days. In other words, they shed constantly. You'll find hair and fur all over your clothing, upholstery, carpeting, under your furniture -- even in your food. Frequent vaccuming will become a way of life. Make sure you're REALLY up for this. Most people have no idea how much hair German Shepherd dogs can produce.
- Finding a healthy one. From hip and elbow dysplasia, to heart disease and cancer, to stomach disorders and skin diseases, German Shepherds are one of the riskiest breeds in terms of long-term health. The list of serious health problems to which they are susceptible is dismayingly long. The German Shepherd was the first breed I ever loved, so I have a special place in my heart for them, but I seriously doubt that I myself could keep one healthy for a lifetime.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy White German Shepherd. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether a White German Shepherd might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your White German Shepherd home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need. Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT White German Shepherd...
When you're acquiring a White German Shepherd PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult White German Shepherds who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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