White German Shepherd: A Complete Guide To Fluffy White Shepherds

White German shepherd running over green grass

The white German shepherd dog (GSD) is viewed by organizations such as the United Kennel Club as a separate breed from the German shepherd dog. However, the two breeds share many of the same characteristics, and the American Kennel Club lists white as one of the standard German shepherd’s colors.

White German shepherds grow between 22 and 26 inches tall and weigh between 50 and 90 pounds. These dogs live up to 14 years, but have a few common health issues that may shorten their lifespan. White shepherds have loyal, courageous, and loving personalities. The dogs are also obedient and eager to please.

The white GSD is highly intelligent and hard-working, making it well-suited as a service dog. This breed also makes a good family dog with guard dog tendencies, like its aloof and suspicious nature. The white-coated dog becomes anxious, barks a lot, and partakes in undesirable behaviors if left alone for long periods, making these dogs unsuitable for owners who aren’t home often.

White German Shepherd Quick Summary

Breed typeLarge, herding dog
Size22–26 inches
Weight50–90 pounds
Lifespan12–14 years
Coat typeLong and stiff, single or double coat
Coat color White
Coat markingsNone
Shedding tendencyHigh shedding tendency
TemperamentWary of strangers, energetic, and alert
PersonalityIntelligent, aloof, loyal, and confident
Suitable forExperienced owners and families with children
Exercise requirementsPlenty of exercise and mental stimulation in the form of runs, ball chasing, and agility exercises
Dietary needsApproximately 1–3½ cups of high-quality dog food per day
Common health problemsHip dysplasia, degenerative myelopathy, heart diseases, skin problems, cancer, bloat, and epilepsy


White German Shepherd Appearance

Close up photo of a white German shepherd


The white German shepherd has a sleek, muscular build and erect ears. The white-coated dog shares many characteristics with the standard German shepherd. The breed has a strong and proud posture and large feet, even as a puppy.

Height and Weight

The white German shepherd grows between 22 and 26 inches tall, and the female shepherds are slightly smaller than males. The breed weighs between 50 and 90 pounds at full maturity. The white-coated dog grows quickly and reaches 50% of its full size at four months and its full size at about one year.


The most distinctive breed standard feature of this breed is a white coat — caused by a recessive white gene. The white German shepherd does not have albinism, and the recessive white gene only changes the coat color, not the dog’s skin or eye colors.

The white shepherd’s white coat is either long or short and usually stiff. The coat is generally a double coat, but can also be a single coat. The fur of the white-coated dog is typically thick and straight.

White German Shepherd Origins

The white German shepherd, whether included as a separate or same breed as the standard German shepherd, shares the history of a standard shepherd. The German shepherd breed was brought into existence by Captain Max von Stephanitz in 1899 to work as a herding dog in Germany.

When farmers no longer needed herding dogs, the German shepherd was used as a Red Cross dog in the army to send messages, guard, rescue, and carry supplies. According to the United Kennel Club, the white shepherds were excluded from most breeding programs and became a separate breed in 1999.

White German Shepherd Personality and Temperament

White German shepherds share many characteristics with standard German shepherds, like an aggressive, energetic, and hardworking nature. The white-coated dog is suspicious of strangers and alerts its owners at any sign of danger. Socialize this breed to other animals and people early to prevent unwanted aggression toward visitors, children, and other pets.

White German shepherds are extremely loyal and devoted, usually forming a bond with one owner in particular. The dogs are confident, eager to please, and ready to try new things, including hard work and mentally challenging activities.

White German shepherds are faithful and fearless, always prepared to protect their owners. However, these dogs need an authoritative and firm owner to prevent timid, fearful, or aggressive behaviors towards strangers and children.

Taking Care of a White German Shepherd Dog

White German shepherd quietly sitting in the park and staring at the camera

White German shepherds are high maintenance when it comes to grooming, food, mental, and exercise needs. The white dogs need a dedicated owner prepared to give them weekly brushings and vigorous daily exercise. These dogs also have a few common health conditions an owner should look out for.

Food Needs

White German shepherd puppies need approximately 1 cup of high-quality dry dog food, split into two or three meals per day. Dogs older than one year need up to 3½ cups of high-quality adult dog food. Always check with a veterinarian for exact food requirements for your dog because the amount varies based on the dog’s age, activity level, and size.

Grooming Needs

The white GSD sheds heavily throughout the year — increasing during the two shedding seasons — because of its thick (and often long) white coat. Brush these dogs twice a week or daily during shedding seasons to prevent knotting and to keep the coat healthy.

Bathe the white German shepherd only when highly soiled, because frequent washing leads to dry skin and irritations. Cut the dog’s nails when the nails make an audible noise on the floor, clean the dog’s ears once a week, and brush the dog’s teeth twice a week.

Exercise Needs

The white German shepherd dog is highly energetic, and because of its herding origins, the dog needs a high level of daily exercise. Take the dog on runs, brisk walks (at least 8 miles per week), or play games of fetch and ball throw, making up a minimum of 90 minutes of daily exercise. White German shepherds have high energy levels and need a large fenced-in yard.

Mental Needs

Include plenty of mentally stimulating activities for the white German shepherd, like obedience training, agility exercises, and scent games. The white dogs are intelligent and require daily stimulation to prevent undesirable behavior like chewing on furniture and digging holes in the yard.

Common Health Concerns

The white German shepherd is generally healthy but also prone to certain health issues. There are no health risks associated specifically with the white coloring of this breed. Ask a reputable breeder for the dog’s parent’s health certificate to check for possible health issues the white German shepherd may have.

The following are the most common health conditions affecting white German shepherds:

  • Hip dysplasia: is a genetic condition that occurs when the hip joint develops incorrectly in puppies. Treatment solutions are available from a veterinarian to reduce pain and discomfort
  • Degenerative myelopathy: is a spinal condition causing the dog to lose control of its hind legs. Many cases of this condition are untreatable, although rare cases are cured with vitamins
  • Gastric dilatation-volvulus: also known as bloat, is a life-threatening condition and generally affects deep-chested, large dogs. Providing smaller meals for the dog and limiting exercise soon after meals, reduce the risk of bloat
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy: is a heart condition that prevents the correct flow of blood throughout the body in puppies. Early treatment is essential to avoid death
  • Hemangiosarcoma: is a type of cancer that affects medium- to large-sized dogs and causes life-threatening tumors. This aggressive condition needs early treatment to prolong the dog’s life
  • Idiopathic epilepsy: is an inherited disorder that causes seizures in dogs aged between six months and six years old. Epilepsy in dogs is treated with medication and special diets

How to Train a White German Shepherd

The white German shepherd is intelligent and eager to please, making it a highly trainable dog from six weeks old. Focus on socialization training for the white German shepherd puppies to prevent aggression, wariness, and timidness by introducing them to as many new animals and people as possible.

Keep training sessions short and stimulating for puppies — split into a few sessions, adding up to 10 or 15 minutes a day. Increase training times slowly as the white German shepherd puppy matures. During training include basic commands, including sit and stay, obedience training like walking beside a person, and potty training.

German shepherds respond well to positive reinforcement training methods such as treats and rewards for good behavior. Group training sessions are practical to help socialize and train the puppy. The white German shepherd unlearns good behaviors quickly, so provide consistent training — nearly every day.

White German Shepherd Price

White German shepherds are more expensive than other German shepherds because the white coat is rare. The care costs for this breed are relatively high, especially in the first year of ownership.

How Much Is a White German Shepherd?

A white German shepherd is $750 to $2,500. The rare status of the white dogs increases the price compared to other German shepherds. Adopting a white GSD costs between $500 and $1,000, making adoption cheaper than buying a puppy from a reputable breeder. Adult white German shepherds are less expensive than younger dogs and have established temperaments.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise a White German Shepherd?

Raising a white German shepherd costs approximately $1,100 per year for food, toys, grooming, veterinary care, and other living costs. The first year of ownership costs more — about $1,500 — for initial bedding, toys, and vaccinations. In total, caring for a white German shepherd costs between $12,000 and $14,000 throughout the dog’s lifetime.

Should You Get a White German Shepherd?

White Gernan Shepherd happily playing in the garden

The white German shepherd is a rare and loyal breed that makes a great family pet, or companion for a solo owner. However, like any dog, the breed is unsuitable for certain owners depending on the person’s lifestyle and living conditions.

White German Shepherds are Suitable for:

White German shepherds are great family dogs, making them suitable for families with children as long as the puppies are socialized early. The dogs are also well-suited as guard dogs because they’re highly protective of their families.

White-coated shepherds are hard workers, making them suitable for farms or working environments, including search and rescue, policing, tracking, and sniffing illegal substances. The highly energetic nature of these white German shepherds makes them suitable for active families that spend lots of time outdoors hiking, camping, or doing adventure activities.

White German Shepherds are NOT Suitable for:

White-coated German shepherds need lots of space to live and run around, making these dogs unsuitable for apartments or homes without a yard. Like other German shepherds, white German shepherds have a high prey drive and should not live with smaller pets unless the dog is socialized early.

The breed is unsuitable for inactive families that don’t have the time or energy to give the dog daily exercise, training, and mental stimulation throughout its life.

About John Woods 299 Articles
John Woods is the founder of All Things Dogs, member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, graduate in Animal Behavior & Welfare and recognized author by the Dog Writers Association of America.


  1. We were extremely lucky to find a breeder that had pure white gsd puppies, had years of enjoyment from him from 8wks old to the grand old age of 14yrs 9mths old when he peacefully fell asleep in the comfort of his own home! That was 3 years ago and only now do I feel ready for another dog, needs to be pure white though which I’m finding very difficult to find now.

  2. I am blessed to have a white GSD I love him and his name is Loki and he is the best thing since sliced bread I’m a type one diabetic and I’m hoping to train him for a support dog. If you have any suggestions on helping me with that you can let me know if anybody’s heard of that or know about a diabetic dog or anything just drop me a line thanks

  3. @Rebecca Kern To have a dog that does that requires professional training. He would he considered a service instead of a support or therapy dog. He would be trained to be aware of your blood sugar levels and when they get low alert you. Do know though that once service trained he cannot become a therapy dog as it’s two different things. Service dogs are trained to do one thing and one thing only. They can’t do anything more than that as it will confuse them of their primary job

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