History of the White German Shepherd Dog
In Karleruube Rhineland, on April 3, 1899,
the first imported German All-Breed Dog Show was held. A retired military man, Max Von
Stephanitz, and his friend, Arthur Meyer, were in search of a "super dog." A dog that
was strong, healthy and intelligent, with erect ears, a medium-short, weatherproof coat,
an outgoing, friendly nature, high trainability and disciplined. They found Hector,
considered the father of the German Shepherd Dog. Hector carried recessive white genes.
With Hector as the foundation dog, other dogs were bred in for various reasons. One
factor that was enhanced was the white coat. Many of the early herdsmen preferred the
white coat, as it was easier to distinguish the dogs from darker European wolves. For
this, such breeds such as the Great Pyrenees, the Kuvasz and the Police Tatra Mountain
Dog were introduced.
The most concerted effort to develop a pure strain of white German Shepherds prior to
the 1900's was in Alsace-Lorraine in Austria by the powerful Royal House of Hapsburg. It
seems the Queen of Hapsburg, as the story goes, wanted white German Shepherds to go with
their white gowns and the magnificent Lipizzan horses.
1912 - Anne Tracy of New York imported the first German Shepherds into the United States
. White puppies immediately showed up in the first litters.
1917 - The American Kennel Club registered the first white German Shepherds from the
New York kennel.
1921 - Von Stephanitz published his book on "The German Shepherd Dog," which included a
photo of a celebrated white German Shepherd Dog, Berno v.d., who was a direct descendant of
During the 1920's and 1930's, with television in America, white German Shepherds,
alongside their colored counterparts, became stars to a growing audience of people. Movies
like "Rin-Tin-Tin" and "Strongheart," based on the stories of the super dogs of the
battlefields endeared the breed to the pubic.
In the 1950's, many white German Shepherds proved to be sensational in obedience
In the 1960's, with the increasing popularity, friction developed between the standard
German Shepherd breeders and the white-coated devotees. The white coat gene suddenly
became erroneously blamed for the genetic problems existing in the German Shepherd
bloodlines. This led to Germany's trying to outlaw the white dogs.
Fanciers of the white German Shepherd Dog were puzzled. White-coated, sheep-guarding
and herding breeds have been known for at least 2,000 years, yet had suddenly become
In 1964, fanciers in Sacramento, California formed the first White German Shepherd
Dog Club to protect these beautiful white dogs.
On April 6, 1968, the American Kennel Club accepted the revised standard from the German
Shepherd Dog Club of America, which disqualified the white-coated dogs from the show
(breed) rings. This still allowed the white-coated dogs' AKC registration rights to
In 1969, white German Shepherd fanciers across the country banned together, following
the lead of the Sacramento group, and formed The White German Shepherd
Dog Club of America. The organization accepted and adjusted the
GSDCA breed standard to allow the white coat color. Soon, specialty shows sponsored by the organization began displaying the white-coated
dog to the public. Meanwhile, members showing in AKC obedience rings, tracking, herding
trials and temperament testing continued to show everyone that these dogs can compete
with the "standard" shepherds, as well as other breeds, in many areas.
The Constitution of the White German Shepherd Dog Club International, Inc. states that
the FIRST objective of the Club shall be: "to preserve the name and heritage of the
white-coated German Shepherd Dog as an integral and inseparable part of the German
Shepherd Dog breed."