White Shepherd Care

The White Shepherd: whip-smart, athletic, loyal, and affectionate. Technically, these fairly rare, large-sized dogs are identical to German Shepherds (from which they're direct descendants) in every way except coat color--and like their German cousins, White Shepherds make fantastic companions to active families. One of the breed's greatest attributes is that besides some high exercise requirements, overall White Shepherd care doesn't take a great deal of work. (As long as owners don't mind a bit of shed hair, that is.)

Below you'll find lots of details on caring for a White Shepherd including puppy development, exercise needs, shedding/drooling tendencies, and more. For answers to your questions about owning this versatile, active breed, keep reading!

White Shepherd Breed Development

As a large-sized breed, White Shepherd puppy development typically spans 18-20 months from birth to full maturity.

Physical Development: WS puppies grow steadily in height and length for the first 8-9 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" by gaining muscle mass and fat. A WS normally reaches its full adult size (an average of 24 inches at the shoulders in height and 80 pounds in weight) at 12-14 months of age.

Social Development: WS pups reach adolescence at 6-7 months, sexual maturity at 11-12 months, and full mental maturity at 18-20 months (though some may retain their playful puppylike behavior into adulthood).

For specific milestones in White Shepherd development, refer to the following:

White Shepherd Exercise Needs

These dogs are incredibly athletic and intelligent, so White Shepherd exercise requirements are pretty high overall. WS dogs are versatile, smart, playful, and active, so they'll enjoy practically any type of physical activity you perform with them. As a herding breed, WS dogs are also independent and task-oriented, so they'll benefit from exercises that stimulate them mentally as well as physically. They make excellent jogging and bicycling partners as well.

The typical adult White Shepherd, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need about 90 minutes of proper exercise per day, which you can accomplish with a couple of walks, jogs, or bike rides and an extended play period. You can start exercising your WS puppy at three months old by taking it on short (10-minute) walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.

A few things to keep in mind when exercising your White Shepherd: first, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running on hard surfaces, or navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And though it's not required, keeping your WS on a leash when in public is definitely recommended. These dogs are very curious and intelligent, and may chase other animals or run off to investigate interesting people or environments if they have the chance; a leash will help you control your WS in these situations. Otherwise, these dogs are hardy and adaptable, and can exercise in a wide variety of situations and weather conditions.

Precautions aside, exercising a White Shepherd every single day is a must. WS dogs are enthusiastic, bright, and energetic, and without plenty of physical activity they'll turn destructive, disobedient, and thoroughly unhappy in general. Consistent exercise will keep your WS happy, healthy, and peaceful! A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging/Bicycling: Two 45-minute walks (or 30-minute jogs or bike rides) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: These dogs will chase a ball, stick, or Frisbee for hours
  • Tug-of-War: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; use a rope or old towel
  • Dog Park: If properly socialized, WS dogs enjoy the company of other pooches
  • Canine Sports: These dogs are fantastic competitors in obedience and agility trials, flyball, and other events
  • Hiking: Excellent bonding activity; your WS can even carry the backpack

When indoors, it's a good idea to give your WS access to one or more balls or chew-toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks, jogs, or bike rides after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.

White Shepherd Maintenance

In terms of shedding and drooling, these dogs need moderate care overall. White German Shepherd shedding is fair and constant for most of the year, and usually heavier during the spring and fall shedding seasons; drooling isn't much of an issue.

Though the breed can have some variation in coat length, most WS dogs have medium-length, double-layered coats that shed moderately--but when they "blow" their undercoats twice per year, the shedding can be quite heavy. Brushing 2-3 times per week (and daily during shedding season) with a pin brush will be needed to reduce the amount of shed hairs; owners can also use an undercoat rake during shedding season to further minimize the stray hair. Unfortunately, cleanup--vacuuming the floors and lint rollers on clothes and furniture--will be necessary fairly often for owners of this breed.

The good news: the White Shepherd rarely drools. These dogs may occasionally drool a bit in anticipation of food, after drinking water, or when especially excited or nervous, but it's not really a problem. If your WS is drooling excessively, it's likely a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is recommended.