White German Shepherd: Albino or Not?

The White German Shepherd is a beautiful snowy variant of the original German Shepherd.

It is not simply a German Shepherd that is white, but a separate breed with its own distinct lineage.

However, you should expect them to have the same loyal and friendly personality.

These dogs are very family-oriented and have a desire to be part of a pack. They will quickly learn to love everybody in your family and will engage you in all sorts of fun games.

Caring for a White Shepherd is not too different than caring for a typical German Shepherd, however, there are a few minor differences here and there.

White German Shepherd

What is a White German Shepherd?

A White German Shepherd is not an albino dog.

Their white coat is the result of a recessive gene that can be expressed in typical German Shepherds.

Due to this selective breeding (for the white gene), they established themselves as their own distinct breed and gained United Kennel Club recognition in 1999.

German Shepherds are classified as herding dogs, and as their name suggests they were bred to help farmers tend their sheep and other livestock. In modern times they are more commonly employed as police K9s and service dogs for people with disabilities.

This beautiful variant of the GSD is known for its snowy white coat.

They are very loyal to their owners and show a strong desire to please. These true people dogs are never shy when it comes to meeting a new friend.

These energetic and highly intelligent dogs need plenty of activity and an outlet to meet and play with new people and other dogs.

Caring for one should be a team effort in the family.

  • Overview: Purebred.
  • Purpose: Herding and working.
  • Weight: 60-85 pounds.
  • Size: 22-26 inches.
  • Temperament: Loyal, protective and confident.

White German Shepherd Appearance

White Shepherd

As per the United Kennel Clubs official breed standard, a White Shepherd should have a muscular build while remaining agile enough to perform tasks without being clumsy.

All of their features should be proportional to one another, with a curved angle between the fore and hindquarters.

You will occasionally find dark colors occur around the eyes, nose and paw pads, but never on the fur. Ears should be erect and always alert.

Height and Weight

  • Males should be between 24-26 inches tall and weigh between 75 and 85 pounds.
  • Females should stand between 22-24 inches and weigh between 60 and 70 pounds.

Colors and Coat

This breed can have a long, short or medium length double coat.

The coat will be a striking snowy white or a darker cream color. A slight rusty tinge is possible for dogs descended from red GSDs.

Eyes are black or dark brown, and the nose is typically black. They often have a snow nose which is a black nose that fades to grey during the wintertime.

An all White German Shepherd will have a thick double coat for protection against the cold. The outer coat has straight, fine fur with no curls or waves.

Shedding is to be expected with any double coated dog, but those with short or mid length coats will shed much less and need less brushing.

German Shepherd

6 Fun Facts About White Shepherds

  1. The first White Shepherd appeared in the early 1900s.
  2. It makes one of the best service dogs around, and can make a wonderful four-legged therapists for those with mental health issues.
  3. They are dynamic show dogs that dominate agility and obedience competitions.
  4. GSDs and their white counterparts are still used as efficient livestock herders on the farm.
  5. White German Shepherd dogs can be trained as K9s and rescue dogs, and have even held a historic role in the military.
  6. The breed has appeared in movies and TV throughout the 20th century, and it has been the preferred pet of many big stars.

White German Shepherd Personality and Temperament

All White German Shepherd

If you have spent any time with a German Shepherd, you can be assured that its white counterpart will have a very similar personality.

They are very close to their roots as pack animals. Once they have identified your family as their pack, they will be loyal to everyone in it (including your children and other pets).

This is a confident, vigilant breed known to develop a protective attitude toward its family.

They can be a bit aloof around strangers (but not to the point of skittishness).

With this pooch you have a highly focused and serious worker, but they are never too shy to show their wild side. Make sure your pup has plenty of outdoor space to run around. After a long day at work, your bedside will be their favorite place to cozy up and settle down.

A puppy might be loud and chatty, but an adult will know when it’s best to be quiet. They will only bark when they want to alert you to something suspicious.

They are puppy class superstars, ready and willing to get along with everyone they meet.

Is the White German Shepherd Dog Good for Families?

These dogs will learn to love everybody in your family, including other animals and children of all ages.

Give each member of the family a special role in caring for and interacting with the dog. This way the dog will grow comfortable with everybody in the house.

Their careful patient nature makes them great even for families with young children.

Caring for a White German Shepherd

A White German Shepherd

When caring for one of these white wonders, it helps if you have had some experience with a German Shepherd before.

They can be a little high strung, but are slightly more manageable than typical GSDs.

The elderly and sedentary will have trouble keeping up with a puppy as they need somebody to run and play along with.

Exercise Requirements

These doggie athletes are just brimming with boundless energy.

Their daily exercise requirements match those of an active human being.

This pooch loves long runs and hikes and they will even go mountain climbing with you.

They will appreciate one long 60 minute walk a day, and some play time on top of this. They will need another hour of off leash play in addition to their walks. They will enjoy just about any of the classic doggie games and will keep you on your toes in a game of tag.

  • Number of Walks Per Day: 2.
  • Total Exercise Needed Per Day: Minimum 90 Minutes.

Grooming and Shedding

Your dogs grooming requirements will depend on their coat type and shed frequency. Short or medium coated dogs only need brushing once a week, but you will need to brush a long haired White German Shepherd every day.

Occasional trips to the groomer can help a white coated dog look its very best, but these should only be done every 6 months or so. Too much bathing will wash out the protective oils in their fur.

Dogs with large ears will accumulate lots of dirt and wax over time. You can use a damp cloth or a cotton ball to clean out your dog’s ears – never use a Q-tip!

If your dog does a lot of running, its nails will wear down naturally and won’t need much trimming.

An All White German Shepherd

Feeding and Diet

Your dog’s diet should match their activity level.

Meat and raw ingredients should make up the majority of the diet. Their dog food should be low fat and low carb, with no additives or grain fillers. Healthy fats can come from eggs, pork and other natural sources.

These active dogs need up to 4 cups of kibble a day, at 2 cups per meal.

While your dog may like people food, it’s just empty calories that they do not need. No matter how much they beg, do not be tempted to toss table scraps to your pup.

An adult male dog should weigh between 75 and 85 pounds, while females should weigh between 60 and 70 pounds.

Calories Per Day: Cups of Kibble Per Day:
1500 ~4

Known Health Problems

  • Degenerative myelopathy (DM) is one of the most serious genetic disorders that affects all German Shepherd dogs. The disease is similar to multiple sclerosis in humans.
  • Hip Dysplasia.
  • If you neuter your dog too early, they may suffer from cranial cruciate ligament (CCL) tears later on. A CCL tear is a painful knee rupture that causes lameness and impaired mobility.

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How Long Do White German Shepherds Live?

White German Shepherds live for 12-14 years, which is slightly longer than the typical German Shepherd which lives for 10-13 years.

How Much Do White German Shepherds Cost?

The average cost of a White Shepherd puppy is about $1500. Many breeders require up-front deposits in addition to their adoption fees.

How To Train A White German Shepherd


This is one of the most trainable dog breeds because they are natural learners. You can begin your pup’s new training program as soon as you bring them home.

Be sure to allow your pup enough time to process your commands. They will lose interest if you raise your voice or repeat the command too much.

When your puppy learns to associate your spoken commands with a treat or a hug, they will know exactly what they need to do to earn that cherished reward.

The best way to train these dogs is to incorporate outdoor play into their dog training. Teach them to sit, heel and stay while the two of you are out for a walk. You can cater to their intelligence with a pretend dog show.

Set up miniature walking, running and jumping courses in your backyard. Practice your dogs basic commands as you teach them how to maneuver through each one.

Training requires cooperation between you and your pup. If you are distant and unengaged, your dog will get bored and behave obnoxiously.

Ignore unwanted behavior and nuisance barking – your puppy needs to learn that it is not the way to get your attention.

Socialization is a breeze for these friendly dogs (they want to make as many new friends as they can). Take them around the block to meet your neighbors and to the park to play with other dogs.

Buyer’s Guide

Makes an excellent family dog.
Needs a lot of daily activity.
Natural socializer and people pleaser.
Prone to physical deformity and poor breeding.
Can learn to do all kinds of work.
Can be high-strung and hyper-vigilant.
Entertaining and engaging personality.
Will tire a sedentary owner out.
Great service or support animal.
Bad for apartments and urban living.

Quick Breed Summary Table

Breed Characteristics
Size:22-26 inches
Lifespan:12-14 years
Coat:Short, medium or long double coat
Do They Shed:Yes
Temperament:Friendly, intuitive, social, alert and protective
Socialization:Socializes readily with people and other animals
Destructive Behavior:Gets destructive if bored or neglected
People Skills:Natural desire to please
Good with Children: Yes
Activity Levels: Very high energy levels


The white variant of the German Shepherd is slightly more mild mannered and easy to care for than the typical Shepherd.

If you can keep up with its high energy and intellect, the White German Shepherd may be the perfect friend for you.

You will be absolutely amazed by what these furry geniuses can learn. Their games and tricks are sure to keep you entertained every day. If everyone in your family gets involved with their care, your dog will see each one of them as a special friend.

Remember these dogs are not the best for those who live in cities or apartments. They like to be outdoors and will need plenty of space to let loose.

A Shepherd is so much more than a pet. If you take one in, they will win your heart in no time at all.

About Thomas Woods 225 Articles
Thomas has been a dog lover since he was 6 years old when his parents got him a rescue Labrador. Since then his love for dogs has lead him to study Animal Behavior & Welfare. He now keeps a six year old English Bullmastiff and educates pet parents through his online publication Perfect Dog Breeds.


  1. Wonderful information about the White Shepherds. I have had German Shepherds since 1989, and would gladly give up a decade of my life if I could have just one more day with each of them. They are the best that life has to offer. May I always be worthy of them.

  2. I had a large White GSD. He was a site to see and weighed 125lbs and was 27″at the shoulder. His name was Ghost and when I took him to the vet people thought he was a wolf.

    • Henry- that’s a big dog! I would love to find a breeder that produces males as large as Ghost. Would you be willing to share where you bought Ghost from? Thanks in advance for your time!

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