Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

White German Shepherd: Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

White German Shepherd

Height: 22-26 inches
Weight: 75-150 pounds
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Colors: White
Suitable for: Active families or individuals with a large yard
Temperament: Highly intelligent, eager to please, and protective

The White German Shepherd is the same breed of dog as a standard German Shepherd, with the only difference being that White German Shepherds have a double recessive white gene that causes their coat to be all white.

All other aspects of the dog are genetically identical to the German Shepherd. Despite being otherwise genetically identical, White German Shepherds do not meet the current German Shepherd Breed Standard.

Like all German Shepherds, the White German Shepherd is a faithful, loyal, and fearless dog that makes for an excellent family pet and household guard dog, but they can also excel as a working dog.

divider 10

White German Shepherd Puppies

two white German Shepherd puppies playing in the garden
Image Credit: Nikolai Tsvetkov, Shutterstock

Naturally occurring White German Shepherds are quite rare; to produce a white puppy, both parent dogs need to carry and pass on the recessive white gene. It is therefore often the case that White German Shepherds will have siblings within their litter that are not white. In fact, the only way to guarantee a litter of white puppies is to breed from two white dogs.

As such, it is significantly more difficult to find and purchase a White German Shepherd puppy than a standard-colored pup. From a practical point of view, for those looking to buy a White German Shepherd, you should expect to wait longer for a puppy to become available, and you may also need to pay more than you would for a standard German Shepherd puppy.

3 Little-Known Facts About the White German Shepherd

1. A White German Shepherd is not an albino German Shepherd

It is a common misconception that White German Shepherds are albinos. However, this is not the case. Like Black German Shepherds, their coloring is the result of carrying two recessive genes.

Animals that are albinos have deficient pigmentation, and this results in them having pale skin, pink eyes, and colorless hair. The White German Shepherd has either pink or black skin, a black nose, and normal brown- or gold-colored eyes.

2. Both Black and White German Shepherds are a result of recessive coat color genes, but the white gene affects the dogs’ color differently

Unlike the recessive black coat-colored gene that gives the Black German Shepherd a true black color, the recessive white-colored gene isn’t a true white gene, but rather acts to mask the true color of the dog’s coat, leaving it pure white.

3. The White German Shepherd does not have any additional health issues

Contrary to popular belief, White German Shepherds do not have any additional health issues. They are usually just as healthy as any other German Shepherd and are susceptible to the same health issues as any other German Shepherd.

White German Shepherd on the bridge
Image Credit: Nikol Mansfeld, Shutterstock

divider 9

Temperament & Intelligence of the White German Shepherd 🧠

Being the same dog as the German Shepherd, White German Shepherds share all the character traits of their colored cousins.

German Shepherds are extremely intelligent dogs and are capable of being trained to a particularly high standard. They are also a loyal and protective breed that will fearlessly defend their home and family members from any perceived threat.

While German Shepherds are consistently one of the most popular dog breeds, they are not for everybody. They need plenty of attention and exercise and firm and consistent training. Being big, strong dogs, they also need a confident and strong-willed owner who can maintain a consistent approach and keep their dog in line.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

German Shepherds and thus, White German Shepherds, can make excellent family pets, but they are big, strong dogs that need plenty of firm direction. Despite their intimidating size and manner, though, they can be big softies at heart, and they love nothing more than running around the yard playing with and watching over children.

Like all German Shepherds, White German Shepherds can be protective and may act aggressively toward any stranger whom they see as a threat. This is something that can be kept in check with appropriate socialization and training. However, due to their white coat, they can appear to be more friendly than other German Shepherds, and people who would typically be wary of approaching a German Shepherd may feel more comfortable approaching a white-colored dog. While this can be a good thing, it can also be problematic if your dog tends to act aggressively toward strangers.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Like all German Shepherds, White German Shepherds are typically fine around other large dogs. Still, unless they spend time with and around a variety of other animals when young, they may not be accepting of your other pets, though this can typically be overcome with effort and training. That said, this is something that needs to be managed carefully, as these dogs can easily injure or kill other small animals if they respond aggressively toward them.

white german shepherd running in the snow
Image Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock

Divider 4

Things to Know When Owning a White German Shepherd

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Regardless of their color, German Shepherds will do best when they are fed premium-quality dry dog food that has been specifically formulated for large dogs. There are quite a few different brands of food available online and in pet food stores, and ideally, you should buy a product that contains a high percentage of meat protein and that has been formulated to provide a complete and balanced diet.

It is also a good idea to find a brand of food that has a range of formulas for dogs during their different life stages. This will ensure that your dog gets the best nutrition from the time that they are a young puppy to when they are an elderly or senior dog.

Exercise 🐕

All German Shepherds, including White German Shepherds, are bred to be working dogs, and as such, they need to get a reasonable amount of exercise each day. Ideally, this should include at least an hour of outdoor activity, as well as a good long walk or run every day.

Working dogs will likely get sufficient exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis and will not need the same amount of play and exercise as those that spend their days as family pets. However, even working dogs will enjoy a walk or long play session every day or two.

Training 🦮

German Shepherds have a well-deserved reputation for being dogs that can be trained to an exceptionally high standard, and this is true of White German Shepherds too.

In fact, training is essential for these big dogs, and you should start their training regimen by enrolling them into puppy school while they are very young. Puppy school, unlike formal obedience training, doesn’t involve structured training, but rather focuses on socialization and getting your new pup used to being around people and other dogs.

Like all dogs, White German Shepherds respond best to positive reinforcement and will enjoy training that involves play and/or food rewards.

Once your dog has mastered the basics, you may find that your White German Shepherd will enjoy something a little more challenging, like agility training and dog sports. This type of advanced training can be enjoyable for both dog and owner and is a great way to get your dog out for exercise and mental stimulation.

White German Shepherd chasing a tennis ball
Image Credit: Aneta Jungerova, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Like all other German Shepherds, White German Shepherds come in both long and short hair varieties, and as you might expect, long-haired dogs will require more frequent grooming than those with short hair.

Regardless of whether you have a long- or short-haired dog, your White German Shepherd will have a thick double coat and will shed year-round. For most of the year, your dog will typically need a brush once or twice a week. However, twice a year, they will “blow” their undercoat, and when this occurs, they will likely need daily brushing.

Your pooch will also require a bath every couple of months (or more frequently, if they get their white coat dirty) and their claws clipped every month or two.

Health and Conditions ❤️

German Shepherds of all colors are typically quite healthy dogs. Yet, like most breeds, there are a few health conditions to which they are susceptible. Many of these can be prevented or at least significantly reduced in severity through careful breeding practices.

These conditions include the following.

Minor Conditions
  • Ear infections
  • Eye infections
  • Allergies
Serious Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Degenerative myelopathy
  • Cancer

Divider 8

Male vs. Female

Unless you have a particular preference for one sex over another, choosing your dog based purely on whether they are male or female is not necessarily the best way to ensure that you get the best dog. While there are noticeable differences between male and female German Shepherds, particularly in regard to their size, a far better way to choose the right dog is to select one based on their personality and energy level.

Divider 3

Final Thoughts

German Shepherds of any color are fantastic dogs, but there is no hiding the fact that the White German Shepherd is particularly striking. They may not meet the breed standard and as such, can’t participate in dog shows, but they are still extremely popular family dogs.

Like other German Shepherds, these dogs won’t be for everybody, and they aren’t suitable for life in an apartment. However, if you are looking for a large, loyal, intelligent, and highly trainable dog that will get on well with everybody in your family, you may want to consider a White German Shepherd.

Featured Image Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database