Breed: White Swiss Shepherd Dog I Size: Medium or large I Average lifespan: 12+ years I Temperament: Gentle and loyal I Coat: Medium-long or long I Origin: Switzerland.
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog looks like it comes straight from a fantasy film. It is a peaceful herding dog that is both robust and graceful at the same time.
The origins of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog
White branch of the German Shepherd
In the 1890s, in Germany, a captain of the infantry set out to create the perfect herding dog breed. He crossbred dogs in order to obtain a resistant, loyal, powerful, and hardworking dog. Through multiple crosses, he was able to create the German Shepherd. The male German Shepherd that started this breed had a white grandfather. Many litters had puppies that were completely white. The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is, therefore, a cousin of the German Shepherd. For a long time, the breed’s white coat had been considered a genetic error that was a carrier of disease. This is completely false.
An eradication of the breed in Europe and a resurrection of the breed in Canada
With the standards of the German Shepherd rejecting the white color, white dogs were considered anomalies in the beginning. Because of this, the white puppies were systematically eliminated at birth. This lead to the white dogs nearly disappearing from the European continent. However, white German Shepherd dogs were found in Canada, in registers dating back to the 1910s and 1920s.
The creation of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog breed
It was in 1980, in Germany, when the breed reappeared and was standardized. Switzerland claimed the breed as its own when the name White German Shepherd was definitively abolished. With that being said, it was a Californian who restarted the breeding of white shepherd dogs. All of the White Swiss Shepherd Dogs therefore come from this American-Canadian branch.
The breed was officially recognized in January 2003 by the FCI and became the White Swiss Shepherd Dog, even though it does not really have anything to do with the country.
The character of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog creates strong bonds with their owners. Their loyalty knows no bounds. In addition, aggressiveness is not at all in their nature. Their curiosity and vivacity are unanimously appreciated by owners of this breed. The breed’s sensitivity should not be taken lightly.
Their gentleness and loyalty are their two greatest qualities. They are also naturally sweet and joyful. But the quality that defines them the most is their curiosity, these are dogs that follow their owners throughout their daily life and enjoy sharing moments together. In addition, they love discovery and the company of new playmates. This is a sensitive dog that knows how to listen and can truly be your best friend.
Are there any downsides to having a White Swiss Shepherd Dog?
Sometimes, their qualities can become downsides if they are not mastered. For example, their curiosity can be a downside because they can forget to respond when called for or forget house rules when they are playing or interested in something. For this reason, this dog needs to be trained from a young age. In addition, this dog is sensitive and does not handle solitude very well. They need to be around their owners a lot, as this is not a dog that will put up with waiting for you all day in an apartment.
Their attachment to their owners must always be at the heart of their training. You’ll have to teach them the rules of the house without making them feel neglected. However, you need to dose your attention because giving them too much attention can make them develop bad habits. If they are given excessive amounts of attention, it can trigger a desire for exclusivity that will be difficult to curb during their adulthood. They to find their place by your side, neither too close nor too far away—the right balance!
The physical characteristics of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is the exact copy, morphologically speaking, of the German Shepherd. However, the white coat makes them incomparable. In addition, their silhouette can sometimes be longer and more graceful than that of the German Shepherd.
It is a medium dog, with a large head, partly because of the large triangular ears held straight on the top of the skull. They have a generally elegant allure.
The head of this breed is well-proportioned and looks a bit like that of a wolf, despite the fact that the muzzle is much longer. The skull is a bit rounded and has a slightly marked stop above the muzzle, which is also very well-proportioned.
The eyes are almond-shaped and a little slanted, and the white coat makes them stand out in a captivating way. Their ears are rather large, very straight and held high. All this contributes to a unique expressiveness.
This is a robust dog, slim and graceful. Their body is rather elongated and more angular that the German Shepherd. Their size can vary between 55 and 66 cm. The difference between the male and female is rather notable. Females are much lighter and thinner than males, who are often more muscular.
The tail is very bushy, with longer hair than on the rest of the body and is attached very low on the rump. The general line tends to slant because the tail is attached rather low.
Coat, color, and grooming
The coat of this dog is completely white, it is the only accepted standard. The coat can be medium-long or long, a certain waviness is accepted, but not curly hair.
The standards of this breed are very precise and this is understandable since the breed was created precisely for this specificity and to differentiate them from German Shepherds.
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog has a self-cleaning coat. If they come home very dirty from a walk, as soon as they are dry, they will be white again. They molt twice a year and for this reason it is recommended to brush them twice a day, because they have a very dense coat and the loss of fur is significant.
This dog does not need to take a bath often. A bath after each molt is more than enough to remove all remaining hair.
Did you know?
Because of their resemblance to wolves, the breed is often confused with their distant ancestor. They are also used in films to replace real wolves, for example, this is the case for the film Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years.
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog at a glance
Size: 61-66 cm for males / 55-63 cm for females.
Ideal weight: 35-55 kg (≈ 77.2-121.3 lb) for males / or 25-40 kg (≈ 55.1-88.2 lb) for females.
Health: This breed is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia.
Average lifespan: Between 12 and 14 years.
Is this breed good with children? The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is well-suited to family life. They love children and know how to be gentle when necessary.
Is the White Swiss Shepherd Dog easy to train?Their sensitivity and fear of being alone makes this dog particularly easy to train. It is important to train them during their first few months to create a favorable environment and atmosphere.