Can German Shepherds be White?
The color white is one of the original colors of the German Shepherd Dog (GSD). The developer of our breed, Max Von Stephanitz, owned several white German Shepherd Dogs. The white coat color was a very important element in the creation of the German Shepherd Dog. The grandsire of Horand (Hektor, the first registered German Shepherd Dog), Greif, was white. Ann Tracy’s Stoneihurst Edmond, whelped March 27, 1917, is believed to be the first registered white German Shepherd Dog born and bred in the United States. An excellent article on the history of the white GSD can be found here.
Over thirty years ago, the white coat color was made a disqualification in the GSD Breed Standard by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America, the parent breed club for the GSD in the American Kennel Club (AKC). Up until that time, the white-coated German Shepherd Dog was eligible to compete in AKC conformation events. Our dogs are still eligible to be registered with the AKC; however, due to the color disqualification, our dogs can no longer be shown in the AKC conformation breed ring. There are many misconceptions that still exist today about the genetics of the white gene in German Shepherd Dogs.
There are some people who believe that the white-coated German Shepherd Dog is best served by forming a separate breed from the traditional German Shepherd Dog. The WGSDCA does not support breed separation, and you can read more about the views of our organization, on this topic, in this article, regarding the difference between white German Shepherd Dogs and White Shepherds.
On the brighter side, we can show our beautiful white dogs in AKC-sanctioned performance events such as obedience, tracking, agility, and herding trials. Also, the white German Shepherd Dog is able to be exhibited at most rare breed shows, and is eligible to earn conformation titles with several independent kennel clubs, including the WGSDCA and the United Kennel Club (UKC). The WGSDCA maintains a breed standard for conformation events very similar to the AKC German Shepherd Dog standard, with the exception of coat color.