The elegant and handsome White Swiss Shepherd Dog is much more than meets the eye, although what greets the eye is certainly pleasing and adorable. This pastoral breed has long been popular in continental Europe and less so here in the UK, but that doesn’t make them any less of a loyal, loving companion in the right hands.
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog has a kind and even temperament, beautiful appearance, and should adapt quite well to living here in Britain provided that prospective owners are confident they can raise and train them well.
Much like its related cousin breed, the German Shepherd, the White Swiss Shepherd Dog is muscular, powerful, and medium to large-sized (leaning moreso medium-sized). They are obviously distinguished by their white medium-length double coat of fur. If the puppy doesn’t have a white coat, it isn’t a White Swiss Shepherd Dog!
Their eyes are almond-shaped and medium-sized whilst their ears are high, erect, and parallel, pointing forwards. They carry their bushy tails in a sabre-like form, low to hanging when in a neutral stance and raised slightly but never above the topline when alert.
The breed most closely resembles the German Shepherd, aside from the obvious colour coat difference, because it has only recently been directly bred from German Shepherds.
How big do White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs get?
Height: males 60-66 cm; females 55-61 cm
Weight: males 30-40 kg; females 25-35 kg
The temperament of the White Swiss Shepherd Dog can be summarised as lively, well-balanced, attentive, and always ready to leap into action. Although never aggressive unless provoked directly, they do remain ever vigilant and will gladly and dutifully defend their owners and their property.
One of the greatest advantages of his excellent temperament is that he is a great all-around working dog, serving at times with police forces, as a guardian of livestock, and adapts just as well to being a loving and affectionate companion within the home.
This breed is recognised as a pastoral breed, but it could be considered somewhat of a hybrid simply due to his knack for adapting to different environments.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs intelligent? Yes, very.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs affectionate? Yes, very.
Do White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs have high or low energy levels? Very high energy.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs loyal? Yes.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs playful? Yes.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs aggressive? No, but they are natural defenders.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs easy to train? Yes.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs good guard dogs? Yes, they have descended from property guards and make superb guard dogs.
It is important to socialise all dog breeds, but with White Swiss Shepherd Dogs the task is made much easier in some regards due to their kind and well-balanced temperament. What this means is that around owners and their families, including children, they love to play yet remain obedient and disciplined provided they’ve been well-trained.
The same can be said around strangers, at least if they’re introduced via the owner, an authority figure they already respect. Around strangers unknown to the owner, such as burglars, they will naturally be cautious and defensive.
Moreover, around other pets such as cats, they tend to get along fairly well. Around other dogs, however, they will most certainly try to show dominance and thus are not a good choice for owners with other dogs in the house.
Do White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs get along with other pets? Yes.
Do White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs get along with other dogs? No, not really.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs good with kids? Yes, they love being around children.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs good with strangers? Yes, they tend to be quite friendly around strangers.
White Swiss Shepherd Dogs are suitable as a breed of puppy only for owners that have the patience, skill, and preferably the experience to raise one given their rather demanding lifestyle needs.
Bred for the alpine climate of Switzerland, southern Bavaria, and northern Italy, this breed thrives in cool to cold climates and may suffer in the heat. In Britain, they can adapt fairly well to our seasonal climate.
In terms of maintenance, however, White Swiss Shepherd Dogs do shed profusely all year long and require plenty of cleaning up and vacuuming, especially on upholstered furniture and in carpets.
They much prefer living in large homes in the countryside, so avoid purchasing or adopting a White Swiss Shepherd Dog if you live in a small home or apartment.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs good for first-time owners? No.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs hypoallergenic? No.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs prone to drooling? No, not much.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs a good breed for apartment living? Absolutely not.
Do White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs shed a lot? Yes, they shed profusely throughout the year.
Do White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs bark a lot? Yes, they are known to be yappy.
Can White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs be left alone at home? No, only for brief moments.
Can White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs handle the heat? No.
Can White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs handle cold temperatures? Yes, they love cooler climates.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs sensitive to loud noises? Yes.
Generally healthy, the White Swiss Shepherd Dog does suffer from some hereditary health problems, perhaps a little more than the average breed. Given their large size and extra-large diet, many problems such as allergies and bloat are common, as are bone and joint problems due to their skeletal structure.
No matter whether your White Swiss Shepherd Dog appears healthy or shows symptoms, please have him brought in to see the veterinarian routinely to ensure he remains in top health for many years to come.
Some common problems include:
Allergies: often, allergies in White Swiss Shepherd Dogs stems from a poor or infrequent diet. Other allergies such as skin conditions might also present themselves. Since there are so many triggers for allergies, it’s best to have him diagnosed sooner rather than later;
Bloat: the tendency for White Swiss Shepherd Dogs to overindulge in their feeding can easily lead to bloat and possibly gastric torsion;
Joint dysplasia: as a robust breed, bone and joint problems such as hip and elbow dysplasia are somewhat common.
How long do White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs live? - 12-13 years
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog is no slouch when it comes to exercise and playtime. They require no less than two hours per day of vigorous exercise, so this makes them suitable only for owners that already lead an active, outdoors lifestyle full of sports and activities.
On a lead, take your White Swiss Shepherd Dog out for a brisk walk or jog in the morning, then spend an hour or longer during the afternoon and/or evening playing outdoors, preferably off-lead in a garden or field where it is safe to do so.
Around the water, this breed may have difficulty swimming due to their thick coats and rather large size. While some may not hesitate to jump into the water on a hot day, many will shy away and thus should never be traumatised by simply being thrown into the water. Instead, dip their paws in and gradually introduce them to water to see if they like it.
How much exercise does a White Swiss Shepherd Dog dog need? - At least 2 hours per day
Do White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs like water play? No, but if introduced properly they may enjoy being in the water on hot days.
The enormous quantity of food that White Swiss Shepherd Dogs consume can appear daunting, which is why it is extremely important to create a fixed schedule of feeding sessions, 3-4 daily, with a high-quality diet rich in minerals, vitamins, and nutrients to promote healthy growth.
Bloat and gastric torsion are common health problems, as mentioned above, which is why it’s important to strictly adhere to the breeder’s feeding guidelines and to consult your veterinarian if your White Swiss Shepherd Dog isn’t eating properly.
Are White Swiss Shepherd Dog dogs prone to weight gain? Yes, especially as they age.
How much should I feed a White Swiss Shepherd Dog puppy? About 260-570g per day, in 3-4 sessions.
How much should I feed an adult White Swiss Shepherd Dog dog? About 280-600g per day, in total.
It is quite demanding to keep up with the care, both grooming and weekly maintenance of a White Swiss Shepherd Dog. Their thick double coats shed a significant amount of hair all year round and thus they are very demanding in terms of grooming.
Emotionally, White Swiss Shepherd Dogs shouldn’t be left alone, much like with many other breeds. Boredom and separation anxiety can lead to unwanted naughty behaviour.
- Grooming: 3-4 times a week, thoroughly brush through your White Swiss Shepherd Dog’s thick double coat and stay on top of removing dead hair and debris that may be caught in the hair. This breed sheds profusely throughout the year, so use a high-quality vacuum cleaner to remove all the hairs likely to accumulate in the home.
- Emotional care: although they have an independent streak to them, White Swiss Shepherd Dogs really need to be around owners or their families frequently. They will not tolerate being left alone for more than a few hours at most.
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog, it can be argued, is more American than Swiss in origin. It is believed that shepherd dogs described in Roman literature could have been some form of German Shepherd native to the alpine region of Europe, but what is for certain is that their ancestors are German Shepherds, and until only recently were essentially the same breed, only white-coloured.
This was not known at the time, and all-white German Shepherds were banned in Germany and any pups were immediately culled as their white colour was undesirable and thought to be albino, although this later turned out to be false.
The breed was subsequently brought to America and Canada, and by 1966 the first official White Swiss Shepherd Dog was exported from America to Switzerland for further breeding programmes.
As of 2017, the White Swiss Shepherd Dog has been formally recognised by the Kennel Club.
Unfortunately, White Swiss Shepherd Dogs were routinely culled in the 19th and 20th centuries as they were thought to be albinos;
Their white colour actually comes from a recessive gene, so an all-white puppy can be born to parents with dark coat colours;
The White Swiss Shepherd Dog was revered by Habsburg royalty as their white coats complemented the ladies’ typically white gowns.
This beloved breed is fairly rare in the UK and thus obtaining one through purchase or adoption may prove to be challenging. We recommend all prospective owners first read our buying guide and for anyone wishing to obtain through adoption or to purchase a White Swiss Shepherd Dog to only contact reputable and reliable breeders here in the UK that adhere to Kennel Club guidelines for breeding.
How much does a White Swiss Shepherd Dog cost to buy? - Over £500.
How much does a White Swiss Shepherd Dog cost to feed? - An adult White Swiss Shepherd Dog costs about £1.00-£1.20 per day to feed.
How much does insurance for a White Swiss Shepherd Dog cost? - About £25-£85 per month.
Sensible alternatives to purchasing a new White Swiss Shepherd Dog puppy include rescue and adoption.
Additional resources can be found via White Swiss Shepherd Dog registries and associations such as: