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White Swiss Shepherd

The calm white-coated guardians that love being busy

White Swiss Shepherd

Toni Grzunov - Last updated on May 20th, 2021

All you need to know about the White Swiss Shepherd

With their gorgeous white coats and a regal look, White Swiss Shepherds, also known as Berger Blanc Suisse, are a breed that has been showing up more in recent times. Their popularity has been growing, and for a good reason. These beautiful pups will surely win any dog lover over!

The White Swiss Shepherd has only recently been added to the registers of various organizations such as the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom and the Fédération Cynologique Internationale. However, their history is a bit more complex and closely tied to the close cousin of this breed, the German Shepherd.

These dogs are similar to the German Shepherd, both physically and in their behavior, they do have their own specific traits that are unique to them.

White Swiss Shepherds are extremely intelligent, protective, and loyal, just like their cousin breed, but they are also less high-strung and much more mellow. This actually makes them far more appealing pets than German Shepherds!

These pups are often employed in various emergency services and love being kept busy. Physical and mental stimulation is the key to keeping White Swiss Shepherds happy.

The Appearance of the White Swiss Shepherd

White Swiss Shepherds are medium-to-large dogs. Their build is muscular, well proportioned and you can see how powerful they are just by looking at them.

The lines of their body are extremely well-balanced, and their outline is slightly elongated and rectangular. Similar to the German Shepherd, these dogs have a sloping hind limb stance. This makes their spines look much longer than they actually are.

White Swiss Shepherds have long, wolf-like heads that have a wedge shape. They don’t have pronounced brow or cheek arches, and are known for their gorgeous, almond-shaped eyes. Their eyes are dark brown in color and are placed somewhat diagonally on the head.

The lips, eyelids, and nasal cartilage of these dogs are all completely black, and present a nice contrast to the pure white coat these pups show off proudly.

The ears of the White Swiss Shepherd are large and triangular. These dogs usually hold their ears erect and pointed forward a bit. These dogs are also known for their beautiful, long, and bushy tails

We saved the best for last, and that is the coat! White Swiss Shepherds are known for their dense, furry coats that are always of pure white color. The coat can be medium-length or long and has an undercoat. 

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All about the White Swiss Shepherd personality

White Swiss Shepherds are known to be extremely energetic, smart, and watchful. They are very focused dogs and once their attention is set to something they won’t let it out of their sight.

They make for amazing watchdogs because of this, even if they are much less nervous than German Shepherds. These dogs will easily get rid of any intruder, but don’t think they won’t like strangers.

The Berger Blanc Suisse are actually quite mellow so they will warm to anyone you’d like them to meet really fast.

They also love being in the center of attention. If you have a large family these pups will thrive and fit right in. They don’t like being left alone, even if you have a backyard, and lock them outside the house. These dogs want to be able to reach you whenever they feel like it.

Swiss Shepherds will also get along amazingly well with other pets if you have any. However, they need to get to know them first, which is why early socialization helps. They can be a bit aggressive towards dogs they don’t know that well.

Is a White Swiss Shepherd easy to train?

White Swiss Shepherds are often employed as helper dogs in many emergency services which should tell you enough about how trainable they are. These dogs are really smart, and with a good trainer, they are capable of learning basically anything.

However, Berger Blanc Suisse does need to recognize that you are the dominant one in the owner-pet relationship. To accomplish this you should be as confident as possible and always as assertive as you can be.

These pups have an extremely strong personality and will want to take the leader’s role. You need to be able to handle this, so never be skittish or show fear. The dog should realize you’re the one it should listen to.

Still, this doesn’t mean you should use corrective or harsh methods of training. Absolutely never be aggressive towards your White Swiss Shepherd (or any dog, for that matter).

Since this is a very intelligent breed, these types of approaches can be counterproductive. If Berger Blanc Suisse feels like you are not appreciating all of its efforts there is a high chance it might become uncooperative.

Use positive reinforcement as much as possible to get amazing results. These pups love when they feel like their hard work is recognized, and what better recognition is there than a reward!

How much Grooming does a White Swiss Shepherd need?

When it comes to grooming, this breed can be extremely high maintenance. White Swiss Shepherds will require a lot of work to keep looking as good as possible, so be prepared to put in some effort.

First of all, they have gorgeous thick white coats that need to be maintained. You should brush the coat every day, mostly because of the excessive shedding. If you don’t do this, not only will the shedding become an issue, but the coat will mat and form clumps. These can be quite painful for your pet.

Of course, seeing as how the coat is pure white any dirt will be visible. This means you will be bathing your pet quite often. To do this, always use a gentle dog shampoo because these products won’t dehydrate the skin of your pet. 

As we mentioned, these dogs shed profusely, so they are definitely not hypoallergenic

Make sure to check the ears and eyes of your pet White Swiss often, and clean them carefully if you see dirt. Wash its teeth regularly, using a doggy toothpaste. Always consult with your veterinarian on the best products to use for your pet.

Trim the nails at least once a month. If your dog doesn’t wear them down itself, this will be necessary. As with most breeds, if you can hear the nails clicking on the floor it means they are too long. This can become painful for your pet so it is best to trim them regularly.

The Living Environment of the White Swiss Shepherd

White Swiss Shepherds need to be kept active to remain happy. It is preferred that you live in a house with a yard if you plan on getting one of these dogs as your pet.

They can live in an apartment, but you will need to keep them active quite often. They are a hard-working breed and they love being busy. Try to give them any type of working role as often as possible.

For example, you can have your dog drag your groceries home from the store using a cart. They will love doing this!

You will need to dedicate two hours each day to exercise with these pups, so make sure you’re ready for that. The White Swiss will become unhappy if it can’t run around for an extended period of time. They also won’t like being left alone too often. 

The Health and Nutrition of the White Swiss Shepherd

White Swiss Shepherds have an average lifespan of around 12 to 14 years. This is decently long for dogs of this size. They do have several health issues that can become somewhat problematic and you should be aware of them.

  • These dogs can often suffer from allergies and food intolerances. A change in diet may cause various issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, and skin redness. These all point to an allergic reaction and you should visit the vet immediately.
  • Hip and elbow dysplasia are also quite common. This is an inherited condition that manifests as a deformation of the elbow joints. It can cause extreme pain in your dog and sometimes surgery will be needed to solve this issue.
  • Another condition that can be somewhat common is Cruciate Ligament Rupture, which is a degeneration of the cruciate ligament which stabilizes the knee joints. This condition will cause the hind limbs of your dog to become feeble and weak and should be surgically treated.
  • Other conditions these pups can suffer from include epilepsy, which is a neurologic condition that causes seizures, and Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency. This disease reduces the dog’s ability to digest food. This is caused by a lack of digestive enzymes produced by the pancreas.

When it comes to food you should plan the diet of your White Swiss well. These dogs have large energy needs and require a good meal plan. The best thing to do is follow a large-sized breed plan.

Naturally, the best course of action would be to consult your veterinarian. They will determine the best dog food for your pet, as well as the portion sizes. It will depend on its age, size, and activity level.

Be careful not to overfeed your White Swiss. These dogs can become obese easily and this can lead to problems with joints as well as other health conditions.

Where does the White Swiss Shepherd come from?

White Swiss Shepherds actually share their history with German Shepherds all the way until recent times. They were created through a series of breedings with the goal of making a strong, large, obedient dog with lots of energy.

The original dog that started the lineage was called Horand Von Grafrath, and he is considered the first German Shepherd. All of this is well documented, and this dog actually carried a gene for white coat color. He inherited this from one of his grandfathers.

Some German Shepherds had partially white colored coats, but in 1959 the registration and breeding of any dog with more than 50% white markings were banned in Germany. These dogs were declared albinos and this practice actually spread to other countries as well.

In time, with DNA tests we were able to prove that these were not albino dogs. Breeders in the United Kingdom and the United States were the first to continue recognizing these White German Shepherds.

In 1967, a Swiss breeder called Agatha Burch started breeding all-white dogs. She used a male called Lobo and a female with the name White Lilac for her experiments. This led to the first real White Swiss Shepherds. They were recognized by the Federation Cynologique Internationale as a real breed in 2011, and by the UK Kennel Club in 2017.

Questions People often ask about White Swiss Shepherds

  • +Are White Swiss Shepherds good guard dogs?

  • +Are White Swiss Shepherds aggressive?

  • +Do White Swiss Shepherds bark a lot?

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