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White Shepherd History

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The color white is one of the original colors of the German Shepherd Dog (GSD).  Max Von Stephanitz, the person who created the GSD breed, owned several white German Shepherds.  Hektor, the first registered German Shepherd Dog grandsire, Greif, was white. Ann Tracy's Stoneihurst Edmond, who was whelped in March 27, 1917, was the first registered white German Shepherd Dog who was born and bred in the United States.

The white color became a disqualification in the GSD Standard by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America over 40 years ago. Before that time the white German Shepherd Dog also competed in conformation events along side its colored counterparts. 

The White Shepherd can still be registered with the AKC as German Shepherd Dogs but because of the color disqualification,  they can not be shown in the AKC conformation ring. Which is one of hte main reasons White Shepherd fanciers wish for breed seperation.  So that we can enjoy the same rights that the colored German Shepherd Dog fanciers enjoy.

There are many falsehoods that still exist today about the genetics of the white gene in the White Shepherd.  Some like to say it is an albino trait or that it causes deafness or blindness.  Other say it is the cause of fading or health problems.  All this has been proven to be untrue.  Many of the falsehoods about the White Shepherd happened before modern genetics research. Even though these rumors have been proven to be false, the rumors have been hard to correct.

The falsehoods about the White Shepherds and the gene that causes their coat color are many. First White Shepherds are NOT albinos. Albinos have no pigment and usually pink eyes.  The White Shepherds have brown eyes and black pigment on their noses, mouth, paw pads, eye rims,sometimes a black dusting in their ears and sometimes have darker skin and nails.

Color paling was another rumor that has since been proven false.  The white gene is a masking gene, not a dilute gene (such as liver and blue). A masking gene hides the real color and pattern of the dog. A White Shepherd can be any color found in the German Shepherd Dog like black, black and tan, black and red, black and silver, black and cream, blue, liver, sable, saddled and bi-colored. The only time dilution could occur is when a White Shepherd is masking a diluted color like blue or liver. The white gene is a recessive gene. The only thing the gene expresses is coat color. It does not cause  poor health, temperament or any other. 

In the 1960's, the white color became a disqualifying fault in the German Shepherd Dog standard determined by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. Before this happened, the white German Shepherd Dog was able to compete with its "colored" counterparts in the AKC conformation ring. The White Shepherd can still be registered as a German Shepherd Dog by the AKC and can still participate in AKC performance events.

For over 30 years, white German Shepherd Dog fanciers worked to change the German Shepherd Dog standard to allow them to once again show in the AKC conformation ring. This has not worked.  And shows very little chance of actually coming about.  Hence the reason for breed seperation.  

In the UKC the White Shepherd can compete as a German Shepherd Dog or a White Shepherd.  The White Shepherd has also succeeded in becoming a seperate breed with the FCI as well.  They are called the Berger Blanc Suisse or the White Swiss Shepherd.

White Shepherds can perform in and excel at AKC performance events like obedience, tracking, agility, flyball and herding trials. White Shepherds can be police dogs, bomb detection dogs, drug sniffing dogs, and Search and Rescue dogs just to list a few. They are also great family pets, service dogs, farm dogs, therapy dogs, and they have also apeared in many movies and tv shows.  The ablities of these dogs have no end. 

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