White Swiss Shepherd Dog (Berger Blanc Suisse)

Country of origin:
Switzerland
Height (cm):
55-66
Weight (kg):
25-40
Life span (years):
13-15
Colour:
white
Size:
large
Hair length:
average
Recognized by:
FCI
FCI code:
347
Intelligence:
Good with kids:
Trainability:
Shedding:
Watchdog:
Adaptability:
Allergy:
No
Pros Cons
  • intelligent
  • easy to groom
  • great guardian and watchdog
  • independent
  • doesn't suit family with small children
  • needs a lot of mental and physical stimulation

Overview
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is a friendly, devoted and biddable breed, which inherited its lively temperament from its immediate forebear, namely the German Shepherd. Thanks to its docile nature it is not only widely used as a family dog but also serves as a guide dog, guard dog and oftentimes participates in search and rescue operations.

History
The history of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog started in Germany when the German Shepherd Horand Von Grafrath caught attention of the dog’s lover Captain Max Von Stephanitz. In the XIX century German breeders concentrated exclusively on working talents of their German Shepherds. An ideal herding dog was supposed to possess great deal of stamina while being powerful enough to scare away looters from the flock. Horand Von Grafrath was an excellent specimen with impressive appearance and no less impressive working qualities. The captain used this dog to found its own line of German Shepherds. He didn’t care that it had specific white colour gene, which imprinted into the genealogy of the newly-invented breed for generations to come. This gene belongs to the group of so-called «masking» genes and it’s responsible solely for colouration of the dog’s coat.

Prior to 1959 the White Swiss Shepherd Dog was fairly everyday occurrence among typical German Shepherds. In the 1959 German breeders reviewed the standard of the breed and described all white-coloured dogs as defective. An Albino was called the German Shepherd Dog which had more than 50% or full white coat. The consequences of this decision were quite dramatic. Several countries stopped registering them or even banned white specimens from further breeding. Moreover these dogs were no longer eligible to participate in international conformation show alongside with black and tan breed members.

The population of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog shrank drastically since the breed ceased to exist in the countries where it couldn’t be registered with the Canine Control Bodies. However loyal fanciers were strongly opposed to the gradual eradication of the white-coloured Shepherds from the German Shepherd breed. Eventually several breed clubs were formed in England, America and Australia. The position of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog was pretty secure by 1989 when «White Shepherd Dog Society Switzerland» was established. This organisation united American and English registered dogs and native unregistered specimens into one club. The White Swiss Shepherd Dog was recognised as a unique breed by the Swiss Kennel club in 1991. The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) approved this breed as the Berger Blanc Swiss in 2002. It also has recognition of the United Kennel Club under the name of the White Shepherd.

The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is famous for its versatility. Although it’s mostly kept as a sweet-natured and even-tempered companion dog it also excels at herding and various canine sports. Its docility makes it a rather good assistance dog for handicapped people.

Temperament
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is a highly intelligent and independent breed but it depends heavily on human leadership. It possesses a strong and self-assured character and certainly requires stern approach to its training and socialisation. This dog can’t stand being alone and strives for constantly being beside its master. Well-brought-up specimens behave mannerly with children but this dog won’t put up with much teasing from their part. The intercourse of young children (under the age of 12) with this dog must be always closely supervised.

This breed is characterized with powerful protective instinct, which explains its innate wariness in relation to strangers. It’s safe to say that the White Swiss Shepherd Dog isn’t predisposed to human aggression but it can demonstrate skittishness and shyness when it meets a new person. It will become a fabulous watchdog, vigilant and attentive. The breed is simply destined for the role of a guard dog and will fearlessly defend its human pack no matter what.

Essentially the White Swiss Shepherd Dog has never been used as a hunting dog so it has a prey drive of an average strength. The strong probability holds that it will treat respectfully a home cat if they have been raised together. However it’s rather unreasonable to leave this dog alone with other home pets since it can seriously injure them by its massive teeth while playing. The White Swiss Shepherd gets along with other dogs especially if it has been a part of dog’s community since the early age.

Health Problems
The most common problems for the breed include:
• canine hip dysplasia;
• elbow dysplasia;
• malabsorption syndrome;
• degenerative joint disease;
• megaesophagus;
• eyes problems;
• gastric torsion;
• allergies;
• skin problems;
• missing teeth.

Grooming
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog doesn’t require extensive grooming. This dog loses hair in small portions all the year around so daily brushing is going to help to reduce the amount of its hair all over your house. However the shedding intensifies when the season changes and during these periods the dog gets rid of most of its fur. Its owner should bathe the White Swiss Shepherd Dog rather infrequently in order to avoid highly probable skin irritation.

Training
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is a very capable learner in hands of a skilful and competent handler. If he has managed to become the true leader for the dog then there is virtually nothing that the White Swiss Shepherd isn’t able to learn with proper commitment.

This obedient and smart breed performs with astounding results in different types of canine sports, including obedience, agility, Fly ball. It’s somewhat sensitive to critique so harsh and disrespectful treatment during training should be avoided as much as possible. Its training will be most successful if the handler motivates the dog with gentle encouragement and food incentives.

Exercise
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is really a hard-working dog, which craves for both mental and physical exercises. At the very minimum it should be taken on a lengthy and energetic walk each and every day. Nonetheless it needs opportunities to socialise with other dogs and spend its buoyant energy in some active games like ball chasing, Frisbee catching, etc.

Remember that nothing makes this dog happier than some meaningful work, which will train not only muscles but also its brain. The White Swiss Shepherd Dog that is treated as a couch potato will quickly become bored and dissatisfied and this means that it will entertain itself by destroying your possession and barking without any reason.
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