Dog Breed Info Center(R) DBIC

Berger Blanc Suisse

Information and Pictures

Picture Needed - (This breed looks very similar to the American White Shepherd.)

Other Names
  • Berger Blanc Swiss
  • Swiss White Shepherd - American name
  • White Swiss Shepherd
  • White Swiss Shepherd Dog
  • Berger Blanc Suisse is the Australian name
Description

The Berger Blanc Suisse looks almost exactly like a German Shepherd except for the color. It is a White German Shepherd with its own registration making the dog its own breed. It has a stiff, thick, medium coat. The color is always white.

Temperament

Berger Blanc Suisses are courageous, keen, alert and fearless. They are cheerful, obedient and eager to learn. Tranquil, confident, serious and clever, Berger Blanc Suisses are extremely faithful and brave. They will not think twice about giving their lives for their human pack. They have a high learning ability. Berger Blanc Suisses love to be close to their families, but can be wary of strangers. This breed needs its people and should not be left isolated for long periods of time. They only bark when they feel it is necessary. Often used as police dogs, the Berger Blanc Suisse has a very strong protective instinct, and is extremely loyal to its handler. Socialized this breed well starting at puppyhood. Aggression and attacks on people are due to poor handling and training. Problems arise when an owner allows the dog to believe he is pack leader over humans and/or does not give the dog the mental and physical daily exercise it needs to be stable. This breed needs owners who are naturally authoritative over the dog in a calm, but firm, confident and consistent way. A stable, well-adjusted and trained dog is for the most part generally good with other pets and excellent with children in the family. They must be firmly trained in obedience from an early age. Berger Blanc Suisses that have passive owners and/or whose instincts are not being met can become timid, skittish and may be prone to fear biting and develop a guarding issue. They should be trained and socialized from an early age. Berger Blanc Suisses will not listen if they sense that they are stronger minded than their owner, however they will also not respond well to harsh discipline. Owners need to have an air of natural authority to their demeanor. Do not treat this dog as if he were human. Learn canine instincts and treat the dog accordingly. Berger Blanc Suisses are one of the smartest and most trainable breeds. With this highly skilled working dog comes a drive to have a job and a task in life and a consistent pack leader to show it guidance. They need somewhere to channel their mental and physical energy. This is not a breed that will be happy simply lying around your living room or locked out in the backyard. The breed is so intelligent and learns so readily that it has been used as a sheepdog, guard dog, in police work, as a guide for the blind, in search and rescue service and in the military. The Berger Blanc Suisse also excels in many other dog activities including schutzhund, tracking, obedience, agility, flyball and ring sport. His fine nose can sniff out drugs and intruders, and can alert handlers to the presence of underground mines in time to avoid detonation, or gas leaks in a pipes buried 15 feet underground. The Berger Blanc Suisse is also a popular show and family companion.

Height, Weight

Height: Male 24–26 inches (61-66 cm) Female 22-24 inches (56–61 cm)

Weight: Male 66-88 pounds (30-40 kg) Female 55-77 pounds (25-35 kg)

Health Problems

Some of the diseases that have been found in this breed are hip and elbow dysplasia (be sure both parents have their hips certified as OFA good); malabsorbtion syndrome; degenerative joint disease (including osteochondritis); megaesophagus; pannus and other forms of eye disease (not commonly seen); bloat; allergies (food, fleas or airborne); other skin or coat problems and missing teeth. Some lines of Whites are having problems with illnesses such as Lupus and/or other forms of autoimmune diseases, as well as Congenital Spinal Disease. At this point in time, autoimmune problems are fairly rare in the breed.

Living Conditions

Berger Blanc Suisses will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised. They are relatively inactive indoors and do best with at least a large yard.

Exercise

Berger Blanc Suisses love strenuous activity, preferably combined with training of some kind, for these dogs are very intelligent and crave a good challenge. They need to be taken on a daily, brisk, long walk, jog or run alongside you when you bicycle. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as in a dog's mind the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. Most Shepherds love to play ball or Frisbee. Ten to fifteen minutes of fetching along with daily pack walks will tire your dog out quite nicely as well as give him a sense of purpose. Whether it is ball chasing, Frisbee catching, obedience training, participation in a canine playgroup or just taking long walks/jogs, you must be willing to provide some form of daily, constructive exercise. The daily exercise must always include daily walks/jogs to satisfy the dog’s migration instinct. If under-exercised and/or not mentally challenged, this breed can become restless and destructive. Does best with a job to do.

Life Expectancy

Around 12 years

Litter Size

About 8 to 12 puppies

Grooming

This breed sheds bits of hair constantly and is a seasonally heavy shedder. They should be brushed daily or you will have hair all over your home. Bathe only when necessary; over bathing can cause skin irritation from oil depletion. Check ears and trim claws regularly.

Origin

The Berger Blanc Suisse has the same origin as the German Shepherd and the White German Shepherd. Switzerland gets the credit for the breeds origin however, because it was the first country to officially recognize the White Shepherds as their own breed, calling them the White Swiss Shepherd.

The White Shepherd originated from the United States, Canada and Europe. It was a direct descendant of the German Shepherd Dog. The White Shepherd has not been mixed with any other breed of dog since its introduction to North America. Certainly, there has been no other breed or breeds added in order to make them white. The gene that controls the white color is a natural component in the total color genetic makeup of the German Shepherd Dog breed. The White Shepherd is registered independently with the Berger Blanc Suisse Association in the United States of America.

The Berger Blanc Suisse has been recognized as a separate breed by the FCI.

Group

Herding, Working

Recognition
  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • AWSA = Berger Blanc Suisse Association
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • UKC = United Kennel Club

The White Shepherd is registered as a White Shepherd with the Berger Blanc Suisse Association (AWSA) and the United Kennel Club (UKC). The Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI) recognized it as a Berger Blanc Swiss in 2002, which is the same name the White Swiss Shepherd Dog Club of Australia (WSSDCA) uses (in translation). The Swiss recognized the White GSD as a separate breed first, which is why Switzerland was credited as the country of origin and the breed name changed to reflect this.

Most other clubs register it as a German Shepherd Dog (white) calling the white color a disqualifying fault.