Is it a German Shepherd? Think Again! Why Everyone Misidentifies the White Swiss Shepherd Dog

Make no mistake, these dogs are not German Shepherds—well, maybe they are. When it comes to what a White Swiss Shepherd Dog actually is, things can get a little confusing, but we’re going to break everything down to help you fall in love with this fascinating cousin of the GSD. 

White Swiss Shepherd

This guide contains details on the snowy-white Berger Blanc Suisse, an explanation of their history, and plenty of photos to get you acquainted with these incredible pups. 

Meet 5 White Swiss Shepherd Dogs from Instagram

Truly eye-catching and breathtaking, White Swiss Shepherd Dogs turn heads wherever they go. Let’s meet 5 Berger Blanc Suisse (the French name for this dog) from around the world that showcase the breed. 

1. Echo

Echo: White Swiss Shepherd
Source: @Gang.Of.Love

Did you know that dogs need to take care of their mental health, too? Echo is a sweet White Swiss Shepherd Dog who struggles with anxiety that causes some reactivity, but luckily his humans are super patient and help him live his best life. 


2. Nanook

Nanook: White Swiss Shepherd
Source: @Nanook_The_NiceBear

Nanook is an adorable White Swiss Shepherd Dog who splits his time between Germany and France with his humans. A super handsome boy all grown up, Nanook was just as irresistible as a puppy!


3. Thor

Thor: White Swiss Shepherd
Source: @My.Name.Is.Thor_

This happy boy is Thor, a Berger Blanc Suisse living in Portugal who lives for life’s many adventures! Just two years old, Thor has many years of adventuring ahead of him. 


4. Hotah

White Swiss Shepherd: Hotah
Source: @The_Adventure_Buddies_

That’s the smile of a happy dog! Hotah is a gorgeous White Swiss Shepherd Dog from Hamburg, Germany whose human does tons of training, playtime, and outdoor adventuring with him. 


5. Larko & Loky

Larko & Loky: White Swiss Shepherd
Source: @Larko_WhiteSwissShepherd

What’s better than one White Swiss Shepherd Dog? Two White Swiss Shepherd Dogs! Meet brothers Larko and Loky, two Berger Blanc Suisse living in France who get to spend all day, every day playing together. What a life!

What is the difference between the White Swiss Shepherd and white German Shepherds?

White German Shepherds or American White Shepherds are the ancestors of White Swiss Shepherds. 

The well-initiated know that the AKC German Shepherd breed standards don’t allow white-colored GSDs. Considered a breed fault, lovers of the look of white German Shepherd Dogs created a new distinct breed category, and these pups are now known as American White Shepherds. Still genetically the same as standard German Shepherds, American White Shepherds are selectively bred for their white coats. 

White Swiss Shepherd Dogs are the Swiss cousins of the American White Shepherd, developed in Switzerland since the 1970s using imported American White Shepherds. Today’s White Swiss Shepherds look a little different than American White Shepherds, but they are essentially the same breed of dog developed by different breeding programs. 

Here’s a quick side-by-side look at a White Swiss Shepherd vs white German Shepherd:

White Swiss Shepherd vs white German Shepherd

White Swiss Shepherd Dog (left—Source: @Lisa_Kamper) and White American Shepherd (right—Source: @White_German_Shepherd)

Berger Blanc Suisse Basic Info

White Swiss Shepherd Dogs look a whole lot like German Shepherds because they basically are German Shepherds! An offshoot of a group of white German Shepherds bred in North America (called White American Shepherds), the White Swiss Shepherd Dog is genetically almost identical to the German Shepherd, though it has been categorized as a different breed since the 1970s. 

Here’s what you need to know about this rare shepherd breed. 

White Swiss Shepherd Dog Temperament

White Swiss Shepherd dog

The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is a cheerful, friendly, even-tempered dog breed known for its alert and high-energy personality that lends itself perfectly to work as a livestock guardian and herder. Highly intelligent and easy to train, White Swiss Shepherds love to be challenged both mentally and physically, and excel in obedience trials, canine sporting events, and working roles. 

Confident and independent, the Berger Blanc Suisse is quick to adapt and capable of solving problems with a little trial and error. Brave and loyal, the White Swiss Shepherd is an affectionate and protective companion and is known to do well with respectful children. Sometimes wary of strangers, White Swiss Shepherds are never fearful, but merely cautious until they feel comfortable and at ease. 

“[White Swiss Shepherds] are very smart and affectionate and also want to be with their humans as much as possible. They tend to bark at strangers and visitors but will stop once they get to know them a bit. I absolutely love the breed and can definitely recommend them, but they are still shepherds and are a lot of work. You need to do some kind of training with them to keep their minds busy and daily walks [are a must.]”

Reddit comment

Poorly bred White Swiss Shepherds do have a tendency for nervousness and reactivity, and temperament testing and early socialization is key for this breed. Sensitive and empathetic, most examples of this breed channel emotional energy into loving relationships with their humans when given the right outlets and training. 

White Swiss Shepherd Dog Size

A medium to large dog breed, the White Swiss Shepherd Dog stands around 20–26 inches at the shoulder and weighs between 55–88 pounds

White Swiss Shepherd dog

White Swiss Shepherd Dog Health

White Swiss Shepherd Dogs have many of the same health issues as German Shepherds, though there have been efforts by breeders to eliminate some of the dramatic physical traits known to cause problems, namely the low hindquarters. If you own a White Swiss Shepherd, keep an eye out for health issues like:

  • Joint problems (e.g. hip and elbow dysplasia) 
  • Eye and vision problems (e.g. cataracts)
  • Skin issues (e.g. infections, allergies, hair loss)
  • Back problems (e.g. degenerative myelopathy)
  • Heart disease 

Where To Find White Swiss Shepherd Dog Puppies for Sale

If you’re on the hunt for a Berger Blanc Suisse puppy, it’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for, first. Because White Swiss Shepherds are essentially German Shepherds bred for white fur and specific physical traits, you may find that unethical breeders prey on uneducated dog lovers by advertising things like “White Swiss German Shepherd puppies for sale.” 

If you want a White Swiss Shepherd and not a White American Shepherd, look for breeders advertising Berger Blanc Suisse puppies specifically. 

One way to start your search for your new best friend is by Googling “White Swiss Shepherd Dog for sale near me,” but be aware of profit-hungry scammers and unethical breeders who may try to pass off mixes for this rare breed. Obviously, you’ll find the most authentic examples of the breed in Switzerland, but you can also find an ethically bred Swiss White Shepherd Dog puppy for sale in the U.S. 

The White Swiss Shepherd Club of America has a list of approved White Swiss Shepherds breeding programs and breeders in North America, and we recommend starting there! You can also find Berger Blanc Suisse adoption experts who work to rehome abandoned and relinquished White Swiss Shepherds and white German Shepherds/White American Shepherds to forever families. 

White Swiss Shepherd dog

White Swiss Shepherd Dog FAQ

There’s plenty of confusion about the White Swiss Shepherd Dog—is it a German Shepherd? Is it not? What even is a shepherd dog? Aren’t white German Shepherds banned by the AKC? Before you move on to learn about another fascinating dog breed, take a moment to read our answers to the most common questions about the Berger Blanc Suisse. 

What is the difference between White Swiss Shepherd and white German Shepherds?

White German Shepherds or American White Shepherds are the ancestors of White Swiss Shepherds. 

The well-initiated know that the AKC German Shepherd breed standards don’t allow white-colored GSDs. Considered a breed fault, lovers of the look of white German Shepherd Dogs created a new distinct breed category, and these pups are now known as American White Shepherds. Still genetically the same as standard German Shepherds, American White Shepherds are selectively bred for their white coats. 

White Swiss Shepherd Dogs are the Swiss cousins of the American White Shepherd, developed in Switzerland since the 1970s using imported American White Shepherds. Today’s White Swiss Shepherds look a little different than American White Shepherds, but they are essentially the same breed of dog developed by different breeding programs. 

Here’s a quick side-by-side look at a White Swiss Shepherd vs white German Shepherd:

White Swiss Shepherd vs white German ShepherdWhite Swiss Shepherd Dog (left—Source: @Lisa_Kamper) and White American Shepherd (right—Source: @White_German_Shepherd)

What is the difference between a German Shepherd and a Berger Blanc Suisse? 

The German Shepherd and the White Swiss Shepherd are cousins! German Shepherds are the first stop in the genetic bloodlines of Berger Blanc Suisse. White German shepherd dogs are also called American White Shepherds and are considered distinct from standard German Shepherds, but it is from these GSDs that White Swiss Shepherds descend. 

Because of this, you may also hear some people call the White Swiss Shepherd Dog the paradoxical “White Swiss German Shepherd” or “Swiss White German Shepherd.” These are now categorized as separate breeds.

If you look at a side-side of the White Swiss Shepherd vs German Shepherd, you’ll see their obvious physical similarities, despite their color difference.

White Swiss Shepherd vs German ShepherdWhite Swiss Shepherd Dog (left—Source: @Utah_BBS_) and German Shepherd Dog (right—Source: @Vanda_and_Rex_German_Shepherds)

How much does a White Swiss Shepherd Dog cost?

What is the average White Swiss Shepherd Dog price if you’re buying from a reputable breeder? Before we give you an answer, remember that it is a big financial responsibility if you buy or adopt White Swiss Shepherd Dog, and the initial price is just the start. 

White Swiss Shepherd Dog puppies usually cost around $1,500–$3,000 from experienced and ethical breeders. If you’re searching for an adult White Swiss Shepherd Dog for sale, you’ll likely pay a little less, but you should expect to pay at least $1,000. 

While White Swiss Shepherd Dogs for sale from breeders are quite expensive, you can find Berger Blanc Suisse dogs for adoption for around $300–$900

What is the average White Swiss Shepherd Dog lifespan? 

Most White Swiss Shepherd Dogs live to around 10–14 years old. 

What other shepherd dog breeds exist? 

Other than the German Shepherd, White Swiss Shepherd, and White American Shepherd, what other shepherd dog breeds exist? “Shepherds” belong to either the guarding dog group or the herding dog group of breeds that were historically used as sheep herders and companions/guardians for shepherds and their flocks! 

Some of the most popular shepherds around the world include:

Anatolian Shepherd
Australian Kelpie
Australian Shepherd
Beauceron (Berger de Beauce or French Shepherd)
Belgian Sheepdog
Belgian Laekenois (Belgian Shepherd Dog)
Belgian Malinois 
Belgian Tervuren
Bergamasco Sheepdog (Bergamasco Shepherd)
Berger Picard (Picardy Shepherd)
Briard (Berger de Brie)
Collies
Icelandic Sheepdog
Miniature American Shepherd
Old English Sheepdog
Pyrenean Shepherd
Shetland Sheepdog


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