White Swiss Shepherd: an elegant dog devoted to its master

Its immaculate coat distinguishes it from its cousin the German Shepherd

Photo of author

By Kenny G

White Swiss Shepherd

An outstanding rescuer and ideal companion, the White Swiss Shepherd is distinguished by its immaculate coat and elegance. A magnificent dog whose skills make it the “Victorinox” of canines.

The history of the White Swiss Shepherd: when aesthetics force recognition

The breed owes its name to its recognition by the Swiss Confederation, even though it originated in Germany.

In the 19th century, German breeder Max von Stephanitz wanted to create the perfect sheepdog that would resemble his ideal dog, to represent Germany.

Starting with the dogs found on German farms at the time, he selected what we all know today as the German Shepherd, the progenitor of the breed we all know, Horand von Grafrath. Little did he know that this dog would sport an immaculate white coat. In fact, his maternal grandfather, Greif von Sparwasser, was white!

It’s worth noting that the white coat is in fact a recessive trait, so even today, there are still dogs registered as German Shepherds who are carriers of this gene, and if chance brings two carriers together, white German Shepherds are still born.

However, in the 1930s, unproven pathologies were attributed to this whiteness: the Society for the Protection of the German Shepherd decided that white was no longer desirable.

The excuse was that they were too conspicuous on night missions. From then on, white puppies were eliminated and whites were no longer bred.

But the breed’s attractive whiteness kept it alive in the USA and Canada: first as an unofficial breed, but distinct from the German Shepherd, until it was recognized in 1967.

Over time, the white-coated version became popular everywhere, and it was decided to create a new breed. The Swiss Shepherd, thus recognized across the Atlantic, returned to Europe, where it obtained its Helvetic paternity: in 2002, in the wake of its registration by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.

White Swiss Shorthaired Shepherd Dog

This breed can be either long-haired or short-haired, although not very short, and always with a rather thick undercoat. Both breeds can be bred to each other, unlike the German Cushion.

Is there such a thing as a black Swiss Shepherd Dog?

There are no Swiss Shepherds with black fur. In the ancestors of the German Shepherd, there is the recessive white coat gene, which can remain hidden for generations until a carrier parent meets another carrier, which explains why white German Shepherds can still be born to parents with normal brown or dark fawn color.

In reality, the Swiss Shepherd is a ‘recessive fawn’. So he’s not really white. It has the same color as the Labrador and Golden Retriever, but with fewer pigments in its coat. It’s so little that it looks white, but you only have to take it out into the snow to see that it’s not white, but yellowish, and even a little cookie, because it has more pigments in its coat!

All that’s left of the black is his nose, mucous membranes, eyes and nails.

What are the characteristics of the White Swiss Shepherd? A simply beautiful dog

For white, the Swiss Shepherd has a family resemblance to its dark cousin. The same is true of its silhouette.

But it is far superior to its German cousin: massive, whether male (60 cm at the withers) or female (55 cm), the dog is not angular and its back is perfectly horizontal.

As for their famous coat, it’s thick and silky. It’s enough to make you think of him not as a wolf, but as a teddy bear! His tail is also different: bushy, it rises when he’s alert, but never higher than the height of his back.

Elegance in all things, that White Shepherd!

White Swiss Shepherd

Why choose a white Swiss Shepherd?

He can do it all: a real Swiss Army knife! Adopted by the fire department as a search dog in rubble.

A rescue dog (at sea, in the mountains in the event of avalanches) and an investigative dog (searching for explosives or narcotics), but also a guide dog, he is both powerful and agile. A true “Vitorinox” (the famous knife!).

Unerringly attentive, he’s excellent company: this dog is anything but a loner, with a soft spot for people, especially children. They are never aggressive, and prove to be very patient.

As a sheepdog, they are docile, active, ready to bend to their master’s demands, happy to be with him and take part in his life, but they also know how to stay quietly at home.

This is in contrast to dogs like the Jack Russell and Border Collie, which are more in need of movement and activity.

The Swiss Shepherd is more of a family dog than its German cousin, and tends to be less demanding. They almost never challenge their owners, and don’t pose problems of dominance or aggression.

At a pinch, he won’t come back to the call and pull on the leash, or perhaps steal food from the table, but he almost never becomes aggressive or endangers the serenity of the family. However, he’s not a good watchdog, although he’ll bark when he sees someone approaching the house, but he’s not aggressive.

However, like all sheepdogs, he needs to be trained.

Which master for a White Swiss Shepherd?

First of all, it has to be said that he’s a very loyal dog to his master: it’s for him that he throws himself into the water and relentlessly searches through rubble.

This is a dog with a certain distrust of strangers. Distrust is not synonymous with fear or aggression. Distrust in the sheepdog is a characteristic that enables him to do his job well with the herd and as a guard dog.

He has little interest or pleasure in interacting with other dogs and people. His master should not expect the dog to party with everyone he meets; he is not a Golden …

He will reserve the greatest affection and joy above all for his family and his master, for him no one will ever be as special and wonderful as his owner.

The relationship with his master is an emotional and mental bond that is difficult to share with other breeds. Their intelligence, expressiveness and desire to please and live for him are inescapable.

The white Swiss Shepherd puppy

Intelligent, a Swiss Shepherd puppy understands quickly. Very affectionate, it needs both gentleness and firmness. Never be rough!

Make sure he gets to know your environment, including the street and public places. And don’t leave him alone, and don’t let him overwhelm you.

White Swiss Shepherd

Breeding the white Swiss Shepherd: how to choose the right dog?

The Shepherd’s white hair? Don’t worry, they’re self-cleaning. Brush them when they shed, but don’t wash them indiscriminately: two groomings a year are enough.

Brushing with a carder and a good bath with a blower during the moulting period are all he needs. A good bath removes hair and dead skin, letting the skin breathe and eliminating smog and pollution.

Where to buy a puppy? Preferably from professionals, by visiting the place and checking that the papers are in order:

  • Health: ask for x-rays of the hips and elbows and MDR1 tests of the parents:
  • Swiss Shepherds can suffer from hip and elbow dysplasia and MDR1 (a genetic abnormality that cannot tolerate certain drugs, including the anti-parasite ivermectin).
  • must be wormed, tattooed and chipped

How much does a White Swiss Shepherd cost?

For this breed of dog, you’ll pay around 1,600 USD.

Other Sheepdogs and Cattle Dogs

Here are our guides to sheepdogs and cattle dogs: