As a member of one of the consistently most popular breeds in the world, White German Shepherds draw in their fair share of curiosity.
So, what is there to know about White German Shepherds? The answers to the following six common questions might surprise you!
1. Why Are They White?
While albino German Shepherd dogs do exist, the White German Shepherd does not have albinism or a pigmentation defect, as some might assume.
As near as scientists can tell so far, White German Shepherds have a unique recessive “on/off” switch-type gene that determines whether a GSD will be white.
2. Do White German Shepherds Have Increased Risk of Health Problems?
Generally speaking, White German Shepherds do not have any proven increased risk of health problems related to their coloring.
This might be surprising if, for example, you compared them to Dalmatians, whose susceptibility to deafness is said to be associated with their coloration.
However, the white fur of Dalmatians is linked to a white piebald gene that also impacts inner ear structure, unlike the White GSD.
3. Are They Rare?
In the wild, recessive genes for white fur are typically rare in animals for whom paleness conveys no advantage.
Since White German Shepherds are domesticated dogs, their prevalence depends on how frequently they are bred with intention. So, their numbers may rise and fall depending on demand.
They usually exist in far fewer numbers than standard GSDs, though.
4. Are they Expensive?
German Shepherd puppies from a breeder can range from 500 to 1500 dollars or more.
Some breeders may include a surcharge for the unusual coat color, but it is recommended that buyers beware.
This price hike might be an indication a breeder is more concerned with profits than quality and care. Adoption is always an excellent alternative and can be more affordable as well.
5. Are they Different in Other Ways from Standard German Shepherds?
White German Shepherd dogs are still German Shepherds in every way.
Curiously, though, they have long been treated like, well, red-headed stepchildren in the dog-breeding and dog show world.
The white coloring was originally seen as a sign of weakness. Despite having little basis, the stigma carries on to this day, with only some exceptions among major purebred dog organizations.
Nevertheless, the White German Shepherd has its own loyal cadre of fans, especially among pet owners.
6. Will A White German Shepherd Make A Good Pet?
A White German Shepherd is a German Shepherd through and through, and GSDs indeed make great pets.
However, they may not be suitable for every home. GSDs are bred to be working dogs. Thus, they are highly energetic and intelligent. They need plentiful physical and mental stimulation to be healthy and to prevent behavioral issues from forming.
It is a good rule of thumb to always do your research before bringing any new pet into your household.
To learn more about the history of the White German Shepherd click here.