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Buying or Adopting a White Shepherd

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

White Shepherd

Interested in the White Shepherd? Read each post on this page. Make sure the breed is right for you (and that YOU are right for the breed). Decide on sex and age. Then begin the exciting adventure of finding and evaluating breeders and rescue groups and selecting the right White Shepherd. Don't be in a hurry!



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

Don't set your sights on the White Shepherd until you read my advice in these posts.

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton Should You Even Get a Dog? Are You Sure?
Important – I've been helping people choose and find dogs for nearly 40 years, and honestly, some people who decide to get a dog are making a big mistake... [read more]

Purebred dogs The Truth About Purebred Dogs
Pros and cons... (most people don't know about the cons)

Crossbred dogs The Truth About Crossbred Dogs
Pros and cons... (don't get taken by breeder hype)

Mixed breed dogs The Truth About Mixed Breed Dogs
Pros and cons... (are mixes inferior to purebreds and crosses?)

Is a White Shepherd the right breed for you?

Obedience instructor and author Michele Welton White Shepherd Review
I'll tell you what's good about 'em, and what's bad about 'em... most honest review you'll ever find

Are YOU the right owner 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

Which sex? What age?

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

Girl hugging a dog Puppies vs. Adult Dogs
Should you get a young puppy, an older puppy, or an adult dog?

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 and rare in the United States, called the White Swiss Shepherd (Berger Blanc Suisse). This breed differs from both 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 German Shepherds available, and a few of those might be white.

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.

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

Or you can buy a White Shepherd 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 a White Shepherd 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!

Which puppy?

Symbols for male and female Choosing the Right White Shepherd Puppy
How to test the temperament and personality of White Shepherd puppies and pick the best puppy in a litter.

Girl hugging a dog AKC Registered Puppies: Are AKC Papers Important?
Should you only buy a white shepherd who has registration papers and a pedigree? Do papers and pedigrees really matter?

Dog Quest book Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams
My dog buying/adoption book will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

To help you train and care for your dog

dog training videos Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.

The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.

book coverRespect Training For Puppies: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved puppy. For puppies 2 to 18 months old. Your puppy will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
If your dog is over 18 months, you'll want book coverRespect Training For Adult Dogs: 30 seconds to a calm, polite, well-behaved dog. Again your dog will learn the 21 skills that all family dogs need to know.
book coverTeach Your Dog 100 English Words is a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your adult dog to listen to you and do what you say.
book cover11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy helps your dog live a longer, healthier life.
book coverDog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams will help you find a good-tempered, healthy family companion.