White German Shepherd Dog vs. White Shepherd
In the 1960's, the white coat color became a disqualifying fault in the German Shepherd Dog standard determined by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. Before the disqualification, the standard permitted the white German Shepherd Dog to compete side-by-side with its "colored" counterparts in the AKC conformation ring. The disqualification only pertains to AKC conformation competition; the white German Shepherd Dog can still be registered as a German Shepherd Dog by the AKC and participate in AKC performance events.
For over 30 years, white German Shepherd Dog fanciers have worked to try and change the German Shepherd Dog standard in order to give the dog the opportunity to once again show in the AKC conformation ring. Throughout the years, varying ideas on the future of the white German Shepherd Dog arose and two separate views now exist.
The WGSDCA is committed to white German Shepherd Dog staying part of the German Shepherd Dog breed versus the dog becoming a separate breed (White Shepherd). The reasons the WGSDCA feels it's important for the dog to stay a German Shepherd Dog as opposed to separating the breed are as follows:
- The white coat color helped create and has been part of the German Shepherd Dog breed since the inception of the breed.
- The dog is AKC registered as a German Shepherd Dog.
- The gene pool for the white German Shepherd Dog is relatively small and inadequate for separation.
- The white German Shepherd Dog can benefit both structurally, mentally and health wise when bred to "colored" German Shepherd Dogs.
- Coat color should not be a basis for separating a breed. Varying coat colors in other AKC recognized breeds show as one breed or as a variety.
- The white recessive gene is carried by some "colored" German Shepherd Dogs. If the white German Shepherd Dog were to be separated into a new breed, white-coated dogs born to "colored" German Shepherd Dogs would not be eligible for AKC registration since they are not the same breed.
- Separating the breed just to be able to show in AKC conformation events is not a position the WGSDCA feels will ultimately be of benefit to the future of the breed.
White German Shepherd Dogs and White Shepherds are judged by different breed standards although in many cases both dogs look similar. The white German Shepherd Dog standard used by the WGSDCA is similar (except for color) to the standard used by the German Shepherd Dog Club of America. The White Shepherd standard varies from the white German Shepherd Dog standard in shoulder and pelvis angle and length to height ratio.
The white German Shepherd Dog standard is used at conformation events by the White German Shepherd Dog Club of America, American Rare Breed Association, International All-Breed Canine Association of America and Canine Kennel Club among others. In the United Kennel Club, the white German Shepherd Dog can show as either a German Shepherd Dog or White Shepherd.