WHITE GERMAN SHEPHERDS
I was recently asked why I do not breed White German
Shepherds. Here is why:
Many people have had a white German shepherd in
the past whom they loved. There is no denying they can be very pretty. Once
you love something, it really does not matter to you if it is 'right' or not.
White is considered a serious flaw and this is why:
German Shepherds were bred to do just that,
shepherd sheep. You will find 2 types of dogs used by the sheep herder. One is
a guardian dog. Those will lie out amongst the flock day and night and
will defend the sheep from predators. Those dogs are white or light colors.
Sheep really ARE dumb, and they accept a light color dog as 'being one of
them'. Therefore, they do not try to run away from the guardian dog and he
hangs out with them with them paying him no attention.
Herding dogs must be mostly dark in color. This is
because the sheep see that dog as NOT being one of them and think it could be
a predator, therefore they try to move away from the dark color dog. This is
very helpful as the herding dog does not have to use force (bite) to move the
sheep, therefore there is less chance of risk to the sheep. They naturally
move away and thus are easily moved from one place to another by a herding
(dark color) dog.
So now that few German Shepherds herd sheep for a
living, why should be care? Well. first, a breeder is obligated to try to
breed dogs that adhere to the original standard and purpose of the dog, and
the other reason is as follows:
"Good" breeders won't let a white breed
into their lines. It is not only a Disqualifying fault, the white gene also
DILUTES the colors of the following generations of dogs coming from that line. Breeding a white
to a black/tan (or other accepted color) washes out the colors of the offspring. If allowed to
continue, in a few generations 'normal' colors would be whipped out.
For this reason, the gene pool available to the
white German Shepherd is very narrow. Because of this, they are more prone to
genetic disorders. They also can get skin cancer, which normal color shepherds
do not get.
On the other hand, Black German Shepherds are fine
at herding and the sheep move away from a black dog as easily as they will
from a black/tan or black/red or a sable. The black dog will IMPROVE the
pigment on any standard color dog it is bred to, so they are often used to
breed with 'more usual' color German Shepherds. For this reason, the gene pool
for the blacks remains very broad, which is a good thing.
Many people assume breeders are just prejudiced
against the whites as they don't know the reasons whites are not considered
acceptable. It is true some breeders really DON'T KNOW why the white is
a disqualification under the AKC show rules, and they ARE just prejudiced; but
the reasons I gave above are the real reasons the German Shepherd Dog Club of
America and the American Kennel Club of America (AKC) considers white in a
German Shepherd to be a
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