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White swiss shepherd lying in snow

Breed overview

  • Breed group — Pastoral group (The Kennel Club)
  • Height — 20-25 inches
  • Weight — 55-88 pounds
  • Coat length & texture — Course, medium-length double coat
  • Coat color — White without any other colors or variations of white, such as fawn, yellow, or biscuit.
  • Exercise needs — High
  • Intelligence — High
  • Barking — When necessary
  • Life span — 10-12 years
  • Temperament — Intelligent, adaptable, and devoted family dog
  • Hypoallergenic — No
  • Origin — Switzerland

White Swiss shepherd fun facts

  • The breed isn’t recognized by the American Kennel Club. While White Swiss shepherds are recognized by The Kennel Club in the United Kingdom, they aren’t by their American counterparts.
  • White Swiss shepherds are a new breed. They weren’t recognized as a breed until 1991 and are an offshoot of German shepherds.
  • These are intelligent working dogs. Highly intelligent, these dogs are working dogs that need challenges to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.
White swiss shepherd close up

White Swiss shepherd temperament and characteristics 

Highly intelligent and lively, White Swiss shepherds make excellent companions to owners looking for a German shepherd with a unique coat. Typically friendlier than GSDs, these working dogs do well in active households and, when socialized early on, can do well with other dogs, pets, and children. But, they can be shy and prone to separation anxiety when they bond particularly strongly with one family member. Like their German shepherd relatives, white swiss shepherds can be protective despite a somewhat friendlier nature.

Given their training needs and love for their people, owners should plan to spend at least a few hours a day with their dogs to provide mental stimulation and quality time.

Common White Swiss shepherd health problems 

A relatively healthy breed, White Swiss shepherds have some health concerns that can arise due to lifestyle and age. Here are the biggest things to watch out for with one of these hardy breeds.

  • Bloat. Like with other larger dogs, bloat, or gastric dilatation volvulus, can occur when dogs eat too fast and ingest a significant amount of air, which can cause stomach distension.
  • Hip dysplasia. Common among German shepherds and other larger breeds, hip dysplasia occurs when the top of the femur bone no longer fits perfectly in the pelvic socket.
  • Degenerative myelopathy. Also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy (CDRM), degenerative myelopathy occurs when the white matter in the spinal cord degenerates, leading to weakness and paralysis.
  • Progressive retinal atrophy. A chronic condition, progressive retinal atrophy occurs when part of the retina deteriorates, eventually leading to blindness. This can be inherited, or it can develop with age.

Cost of caring for White Swiss shepherd

The month-to-month cost of caring for your White Swiss shepherd can vary. Monthly dog food can vary from around $50 a month to $80, depending on your dog’s size and the price of the food provided. In addition to food, owners should invest in flea, tick, and heartworm prevention (like Simparica Trio). Some purchases can be made every few months, but overall, pet parents should create a pet budget and expect to spend at least $200 every month on routine costs associated with their dog.

It’s also a good idea to plan for the unexpected. Investing in pet health insurance early on can help with treating your White Swiss shepherd when chronic conditions develop, or if they get hurt while exploring with you.

History of the White Swiss shepherd

The White Swiss shepherd is a newer breed, recognized by The Kennel Club in the 1990s. An off-shoot of German shepherd breed, these all-white dogs were originally disqualified from the show-ring due to not meeting the breed standard. Breeders in Switzerland first recognized the beauty of these unfavorable white dogs when a white dog named Lobo was imported from the United States. Lobo founded the breed and led to the White Swiss shepherd breed in 1991. While an offshoot of the German shepherds, today, these herding dogs, also called Berger Blanc Suisse, are recognized as a separate breed.

White swiss shepherd walking in snow

Caring for your White Swiss shepherd

Caring for a new puppy of any breed can be overwhelming. You’ll need to make your first trip to the vet and schedule your dog’s vaccinations and deworming needs. We can even help you puppy-proof your home and prepare for teething. No one likes to think about losing their new dog, but FidoAlert provides a free Fido ID and tag, so you’re prepared just in case. Here are some other basics specific to White Swiss shepherds.


Active and energetic, White Swiss shepherds need a lot of daily exercise. Plan for a few hours of mentally and physically challenging activities with your dog, like agility training or puzzles that allow them to think through problems. Good old-fashioned quality time, like playing fetch, is also always a good option.

One important thing to note about White Swiss shepherds: these dogs have thicker coats. During winter, it’s best to limit outdoor time and make sure that you use dog booties in the summer due to hot pavement and during the winter to prevent blisters.

White swiss shepherd running in woods


White Swiss shepherds have thick coats and are heavy shedders. Pet parents should expect them to shed year-round, although shedding can be significantly worse when they shed their winter and summer coats. Pet owners should consider a dog spa day that includes a monthly trip to the groomer with frequent (a few times a week) brushings in between.

In addition to regular brushings, pet parents should trim their dog’s nails, and clean their dog’s ears to check for and prevent infections. Lastly, pet owners should also brush their dog’s teeth. This should be done frequently and is an important part of pet care, so consult with your groomer and learn how to brush your dog’s teeth at home to maintain their pearly whites!

Diet and nutrition

As a healthy breed, White Swiss shepherds don’t have many specific nutritional needs more than any other dog. It’s essential to choose a dog food that’s AAFCO-approved and high-quality — this ensures that your dog gets the nutrients and protein they need without a lot of added filler. Depending on your dog’s size, they may eat anywhere from 2 ½ to 3 ½ cups of dog food, but it’s important to refer to your vet when determining how much to feed your dog.

Training your White Swiss shepherd

An intelligent breed, these working dogs thrive with training. They are eager to please and, when owners use positive reinforcement, respond well to various training types. Housetraining is essential for puppies, and crate training can also prove helpful for dogs when it comes to vet visits or providing a safe, quiet place.

White swiss shepherd

Breeds similar to the White Swiss shepherd

Not quite sure that a White Swiss shepherd is right for you? Even if you are, it’s worth taking the time to research and consider other similar breeds. Here are a few to get you started:

  • German shepherd. The parent breed of the White Swiss shepherd, German shepherds are excellent if you want a swiss shepherd with markings.
  • Belgian Tervuren. Very similar to the White Swiss shepherd, a Belgian Tervuren is also a newer breed with a long, black coat and similar in build and personality.
  • Portuguese water dog. For those with a dog allergy, the Portuguese water dog is an excellent companion if you’re looking for a high-energy, intelligent companion.

Frequently asked questions

What are the traits of a White Swiss shepherd?

White Swiss shepherds have a friendly and vigilant nature, and they are highly intelligent. Combined with their adaptability and trainability, these dogs make excellent family dogs. Physically, they are easy to spot — they look like a pure white German shepherd.

How much daily exercise does a White Swiss shepherd need?

White Swiss shepherds should have a few hours of exercise a day. It’s important to be mindful of the time of year and their health (this breed is more prone to hip dysplasia), but overall, walks, runs, and training are all great ways to exercise their mind and body.

What are the dietary requirements for a White Swiss shepherd?

Like other breeds, White Swiss shepherds require a high-quality diet appropriate for their life stage and needs. It’s important to consult with your dog’s veterinarian as some dogs may have medical conditions necessitating certain foods.

How do White Swiss shepherds interact with other pets and children?

If socialized well, White Swiss shepherds are great with children and other pets. Whether a four-legged or two-legged member of their family, these dogs are protective, making them excellent guardians and guard dogs for the home.