Ikho, German Shepherd / Black and White

German Shepherd black and white

I was recently asked why I do not breed White German Shepherds. Here is why:

Many people have had a white German shepherd in the past whom they loved. There is no denying they can be very pretty. Once you love something, it really does not matter to you if it is 'right' or not. White is considered a serious flaw and this is why:

German Shepherds were bred to do just that, shepherd sheep. You will find 2 types of dogs used by the sheep herder. One is a guardian dog. Those will lie out amongst the flock day and night and will defend the sheep from predators. Those dogs are white or light colors. Sheep really ARE dumb, and they accept a light color dog as 'being one of them'. Therefore, they do not try to run away from the guardian dog and he hangs out with them with them paying him no attention.

Herding dogs must be mostly dark in color. This is because the sheep see that dog as NOT being one of them and think it could be a predator, therefore they try to move away from the dark color dog. This is very helpful as the herding dog does not have to use force (bite) to move the sheep, therefore there is less chance of risk to the sheep. They naturally move away and thus are easily moved from one place to another by a herding (dark color) dog.

So now that few German Shepherds herd sheep for a living, why should be care? Well. first, a breeder is obligated to try to breed dogs that adhere to the original standard and purpose of the dog, and the other reason is as follows:

"Good" breeders won't let a white breed into their lines. It is not only a Disqualifying fault, the white gene also DILUTES the colors of the following generations of dogs coming from that line. Breeding a white to a black/tan (or other accepted color) washes out the colors of the offspring. If allowed to continue, in a few generations 'normal' colors would be whipped out.

For this reason, the gene pool available to the white German Shepherd is very narrow. Because of this, they are more prone to genetic disorders. They also can get skin cancer, which normal color shepherds do not get.

On the other hand, Black German Shepherds are fine at herding and the sheep move away from a black dog as easily as they will from a black/tan or black/red or a sable. The black dog will IMPROVE the pigment on any standard color dog it is bred to, so they are often used to breed with 'more usual' color German Shepherds. For this reason, the gene pool for the blacks remains very broad, which is a good thing.

Many people assume breeders are just prejudiced against the whites as they don't know the reasons whites are not considered acceptable. It is true some breeders really DON'T KNOW why the white is a disqualification under the AKC show rules, and they ARE just prejudiced; but the reasons I gave above are the real reasons the German Shepherd Dog Club of America and the American Kennel Club of America (AKC) considers white in a German Shepherd to be a disqualifying fault.

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