In the guide below, we compare the German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd (White Swiss Shepherd Dog/Berger Blanc Suisse) vs White Shepherd dogs.
We outline what both the main potential similarities and differences between these dogs might be, and also provide other important information on these dogs.
(NOTE: the information in this guide is general information only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. See a qualified vet or animal expert for an expert opinion in regards to your pet/s)
German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd vs White Shepherd: Differences, & Comparison
German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd vs White Shepherd – Origin, History, & Where They Each Come From
German Shepherds are a breed of dog.
German Shepherds were first bred in Germany around 1899.
They were bred from different Shepherd breed dogs in Germany at the time (reportedly a sheep type dog, and also a service type dog), with the intention of having ideal working dog traits and working ability.
GSDs as a breed belong to the ‘herding dog’ category.
Today, GSD’s are used in a range of working fields, compete as show dogs, and are also pets & family dogs.
The ‘Swiss Shepherd’ is a dog breed that goes by the names ‘White Swiss Shepherd Dog’ or ‘Berger Blanc Suisse’
It was first bred, and developed in Switzerland, and derives from North American White Shepherds (i.e. purebred white colored German Shepherds) that were imported to Switzerland sometime around the early 1970’s (according to some reports)
Some of the imported dogs may also have come from Canada
One report has a slightly different version of events, with a Swiss woman breeding her imported American White German Shepherd with a White German Shepherd imported from the UK around the year 1967.
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog was first recognized as a breed in 1991
More recently, it’s been accepted as a breed by the FCI in 2011, and the BKC in 2017
There might be two unofficial types of ‘White Shepherds’:
– The first might simply be a German Shepherd born with a white coat coloring to regular colored German Shepherd parents when certain genes are expressed in the puppy’s genetic material
Currently, both AKC and FCI German Shepherd breed standards don’t allow white colored German Shepherds
For the purposes of this guide, the information provided for regular German Shepherds might apply to these types of White Shepherds, except for the coat color obviously
– The second is a ‘White Shepherd’ as it’s own specific breed
‘White Shepherds’ trace back to Germany when the first German Shepherds were developed
White coated German Shepherds were born from regular colored German Shepherd parents, but, the breed standard for German Shepherds was amended some time around 1933 to ban white-coated German Shepherds from registration
This may have been where the emergence (or divergence) of ‘White Shepherds’ first started
German Shepherds were first exported to the US around 1907, and later to Canada
After the GSDs exportation, white coated German Shepherds began to attract interest
Around 1969, a breed club was formed specifically for white-coloured German Shepherds, and this variety of German Shepherd was called the ‘White Shepherd’
Currently, the UKC (an international breed registry) recognizes the White Shepherd as a separate breed
German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd vs White Shepherd – Popularity
Every year, the American Kennel Club publishes a list of the most popular dog breeds based on dog registration data.
The 2021 list shows:
– German Shepherds as the 4th most popular dog breed
– Neither Swiss Shepherds nor White Shepherds are mentioned on this list
German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd vs White Shepherd – Size
German Shepherds might be classified as a large breed of dog
Males might average 24-26 inches in height (60-65 cms), and 66-88 lbs in weight (30-40 kg)
Females might average 22-24 inches in height (55-60 cms), and 49-71 lbs in weight (22-32 kg)
Swiss Shepherds might be classified as a medium to large sized breed of dog
Males might average 24-26 inches (60-66 cms) in height, and 66-88 lbs (30-40 kgs) in weight
Females might average 22-24 inches (55-61 cms) in height, and 55-77 lbs (25-35 kgs) in weight
White Shepherds might be considered a medium to large sized dog
According to one breed standard for the White Shepherd, White Shepherds might range between 23 to 25 inches (58 to 64 cms) in height, and 60 to 85 lbs (27 to 39 kgs) in weight
German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd vs White Shepherd – Lifespan
German Shepherds might have a lifespan of around 9-13 years on average
Although, some reports indicate some GSDs may even live up to 15 years of age
A Swiss Shepherd might have a lifespan of between 10-14 years
An average lifespan for a White Shepherd might be around 12 years
German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd vs White Shepherd – Appearance, Physical Features, Colors, & Coats
German Shepherds might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– Black and tan, or sometimes black and red coat color and saddle pattern (although other colors exist too)
– Erect ears/ears that stand up
– An angulated back and dropped hips (although body shape differs between the individual lines of GSDs)
– Generally medium length hair/plush coat, with a double coat (although, short and long haired GSDs exist too)
Having said that though, different German Shepherds have different physical features and appearances.
You can read about the different variations in German Shepherds, such the different lines, colors, and coat lengths/types here.
Swiss Shepherds might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– An all white coat
– Dark eyes, and a black nose
– A sometimes straighter back, with hips that aren’t as dropped as a German Shepherd’s. This may be more in line with some original Shepherd dogs
– Erect/upstanding ears (like the German Shepherd)
– Either a medium or long length, double coat
White Shepherds might commonly be known for the following appearance and physical features:
– A pure white, or light cream colored coat
– Dark eyes, and a black nose
– A similarly angulated back or dropped hips like a GSD
– Erect/upstanding ears (like the German Shepherd)
– A straight double coat
German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd vs White Shepherd – Temperament
Ultimately, a dog’s personality or temperament might be influenced by a range of factors, with genetics and breeding being key factors
So, this is why the temperament and personality of individual dogs don’t always match the general temperament descriptions found online
However, a generalized description of the temperament of each dog breed, according to either parts of the standard for each breed, or, what they were originally bred to be, might be:
Intelligent, obedient and easier to train, loyal, confident, protective, and may be slightly aloof (without being aggressive)
May have the general temperament of a working breed dog or herding dog
Read more about what temperament GSDs were originally bred for, and what some breed standards outline for temperament and personality in this guide
Various reports indicate that Swiss Shepherds may have some similar temperament traits as GSDs, such as being intelligent, alert/watchful, loyal, and having some working and herding ability
However, some may also have a slightly softer temperament compared to the average GSD too
White Shepherds may have a similar temperament to regular German Shepherds
German Shepherd vs Swiss Shepherd vs White Shepherd – Cost/Price
The cost to buy a specific breed of dog depends on the country it’s bought from, along with a wide range of other factors.
Some general information on buying each breed though might include:
Buying From Breeders
According to different online information at the time of publishing this guide, the general cost to buy each of these breeds from breeders in the US might be:
– German Shepherd
Anywhere from $800 up to $10,000+ (for the highest quality dogs), with the average for a regular puppy potentially being around the $800 mark
– Swiss Shepherd
Anywhere from $1000 to $3000
– White Shepherd
Anywhere from $800 to $4000+
Buying from a breeder may not be the only option to own each of these dog breeds.
Adopting or rescuing may be other options too.
The cost to adopt or rescue a dog can be significantly cheaper than buying from a breeder in some instances, although there’s usually still a basic cost to adopt/rescue a dog.
Buying a dog that is being re-homed might another option to buy a dog.
The cost for rehomed dogs can vary.
More Information On German Shepherds
It’s worth noting that some of the information in the guide above about German Shepherds comes from our ‘German Shepherd Breed Information Guide‘, which also has additional information about the German Shepherd breed.
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