Dignity of a Dane asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

Question about white german shepherds?

So, I've frequently seen ads advertising white german shepherds. As far as I know, these aren't quality dogs though. I've heard boxers come in an all white too. Is it similar to a blue merle great dane, where the dog is just not good genetic material? Do white german shepherds and boxers give birth to blind and deaf pups?

I was hoping somebody more familiar with those 2 breeds could help shed some light on these white dogs.

NOTE: I am in NO way implying that I'd ever purchase one of these dogs. I think I know enough to know that these dogs are not as healthy as they should be. I'm just curious about why they are white (as opposed to fawn or sable, etc.) and if they have particular problems separate from their breed.

17 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer


    With the exception of fertility depression (not exactly an "illness"), in-breeding doesn't CAUSE any illnesses. But it sure does help reveal the presence of unwanted recessives. And that is a VERY valuable use of in-breeding. The problem is the multitude of "breeders" who base their decisions on collecting names on paper, instead of considering the DOGS in the pedigree, and the other progeny of those dogs.

    [Small IQ] and [CADRMNDA]:

    Get your terms right. The masking gene is the E^m allele of the Extension gene series (m for mask), and produces the dark face on breeds that are supposed to have masks. Nor is self-white produced by a single gene. I haven't studied the Maltese, but imagine it is like the Samoyed in requiring both a^ a^ and e^ e^.

    I find VERY few fans of white dogs who understand genetics.

    Nor should you believe the propaganda in the sites of fans of white GSDs (the WGSD does not exist). Go talk to shepherds who use dogs. Go read the Standards of the true sheep herding dogs (BSDs, various Collies & the Shelties, GSDs) and you'll see that they ALL demand a dark top. Visibility to the shepherd IS important, seeing as these dogs are left in charge of the flocks for hours on end - but not for commands, it is so that the shepherd can tell where each dog is relative to the flock (BCs in particular can get quite obsessive about keeping the flock moving). The guardian breeds that sleep with the sheep are the ones with pale yellow-white coats. Sheep regard white coats as "one of us" - but that means they don't give such dogs much respect, which means that pale dogs have to work harder to keep hungry sheep out of unfenced crops, to make them stop eating and head for the pen, or go through a gate & into a chute, or come out of the hills to be shorn, etc. Which means it takes LONGER to get the job done, and the dog burns off more energy - energy that must be replaced by feeding more to the dog. Both time and meat are expensive to a farmer.

    [CADRMNA] update:

    Only about the web-sites of ignorant "experts" was I rude. If you choose to quote from THEM instead of from genetic experts such as Sheila Schmutz, you deserve all the correcting we can give.

    #1: WHAT allele produces "dominant-whites"?

    #2: Harlequin and merle are PATTERNS, not colours.

    #3: Anyone who uses merle x merle is a fool, placing their taste in colour ahead of sane decisions on health. I knew THAT back in 1969. My wife's tutor (in the 70s, when she was studying for her judging licence) on GDs loved Harlequins, but couldn't find one worth importing.

    #4: The factor for Harlequin has been tracked to chromosome 9, but not yet actually DNA identified.

    [Danes Forever]:

    Your starter question is quite misleading.

    You end up confusing 3 totally different genetic situations (and some of your "advisers" decided to include the almost-non-existent albinos as a 4th situation!)

    •1• Merles: The dominant M^ allele is a semi-lethal, allowing SOME heterozygous (M^ m^) progeny to be born okay and with a merle coat, but damaging some. When homozygous (M^ M^), almost all such zygotes die in utero; the few survivors will have serious damage - usually to more than just ears & eyes.

    •2• Spotting: I doubt there are any white Boxers. All the ones I'm aware of have the homozygous s^w s^w (w for extreme white) pairing that produces a white spot big enough to cover almost the whole dog. But there WILL be a small amount of melanin (pigment) somewhere in the coat.

    I'm not sure about merles (my sister didn't like them - she wanted tris when she bred RCs; and when I lived ¼ a mile from my country's expert on merle Collies I never thought to ask about their skin) but with spotted breeds the SKIN under the white (actually, colourless) hairs lacks pigment; it's not just the coat that is affected by the alleles of Spotting. And when the white spot surrounds an ear or an eye the sensors in that eye or ear ALSO lack pigment. Without the granules of pigment, those organs cannot react to the stimuli they are supposed to react to and then send organised signals to the brain, and so that ear is deaf, that eye is blind.

    The s^w isn't necessary for this - both s^i (i for Irish spotting) and s^p (p for piebald) can produce deafness or blindness if their spot completely surrounds that organ.

    •3• Self-white is caused by 2 pairs of genes.

    The e^ e^ pairing blocks the production of phaeomelanin (the tan pigment) in the follicle - albeit not always perfectly, thus allowing "badger bleed through" on many self-whites.

    The other pairing (a^ a^ in Samoyeds but not yet DNA identified in GSDs) blocks the production of eumelanin (the dark pigment) in the follicles.

    The correct term for this effect - where an allele in one series prevents alleles in another series from showing their effect (in the case of self-whites, all of Agouti, Brown, Dilute, Grey, Intensity, blacK, Ticking are prevented from showing their effect on the hairs - but Brown & Dilute still reveal their presence by affecting pigment in eyes and "leathers" - eye rims, nose, lips, pads) is epistasis or epistatic.

    NOT "masking"!!!

    Self-white is NOTHING like placing a white sheet over the coloured furniture, as one ignorant "expert" announces in her web-site (and no doubt many ignorant "breeders" announce it in THEIR web-sites...).

    Neither pairing affects skin pigment. So when a self-white pooch of any breed is blind or deaf it is NOT because of its coat-genetics..

    Les P, owner of GSD_Friendly: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/GSD_Friendly

    "In GSDs" as of 1967

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  • anam
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Blue Merle German Shepherd

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  • 1 decade ago

    No they are not the same as white danes. I used have a white GSD when I was a child. He was beautiful, smart and healthy.




    >>>A good white German Shepherd should also have both dark eyes with a black nose and lips. White is also considered a "masking" gene which covers up the dog's true color, although it does not affect skin pigment. This is why "white" German Shepherds often have a cream or blond tint to their solid white coat.

    BTW, white German Shepherds are NOT an albino dog. An albino will have pink skin and blue or pink eyes. Some dog breeds who are predominately white in color have a problem with deafness. This is simply NOT the case with the white German Shepherd Dog.<<<

    King Les The Lofty-- You are rude. Do you feel better about yourself? You can try getting your point across in a respectful manner, so people don't mind learning from you. There is no reason to belittle! It doesn't hurt to be tactful, really!! Actually I didn't write that. My link didn't show up. I was quoting the page. I actually used to breed & show harls. I know about whites in danes.

    WGSDs are no where close to being the same as white great danes. White danes are a Double-merle or dominant-whites they result from harl x harl, harl x merle & merle x merle breedings. Not from any other color.


    White Masking gene (known as S-Locus Series)

    This gene controls the amount of white pattern masking the colour of the dog. The white mask is simply covering up the color and preventing it from showing. Check out bull terriers coat colour. They also mention this.

    I know there is a MASK gene! Duh that's how fawns & brindles get their mask. You can DNA color test blacks out

    of fawns/brindles to see if they carry it.

    BTW--- Many of the breeds are not working what they were bred to do. I don't see many GSDs working sheep here. Mostly cattle dogs or Aussies. Most of them are companions, conformation, agility or obedience dogs. Several are police dogs. Even some of the whites are search and rescue.

    Source(s): Show Danes
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  • 4 years ago

    Yes, white shepherds are "true" german shepherds. The white is a genetic mutation, can be very attractive, but it is not "to standard" and a white gsd cannot be shown in sanctioned matches. White trait often comes with some eye problems or deafness. We had one for nearly 18 years, beautiful dog, but very high strung and went blind in one eye even with vet treatment. You should never breed a white gsd, but the mutation comes out sometimes with normally colored dogs, so treat them as pets and spay/neuter.

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  • 4 years ago

    Dog training are excellent and very helpful to build you a stronger relationship with your dog. Read more https://tr.im/zkYaQ

    After I started training my dog, he became very attached to me and loves to stay by side as long as he can. But just going to them won't help. You have to practice what they teach you outside of the class and you need to keep up with it at least every now and then after the class ends otherwise they'll just go back to previous habits. This course is a really good place to go for dog obedience classes. It get's your dog around other people and dogs to socialize while getting the training you need. As for electric collars, I would say to not get one. In my experience, they're only a negative effect on your dog. I mean of course you're going to need to correct your dog, but being positive and encouraging your dog works a lot faster and easier.

    Every dog is different, so unless you have a german shepherd or a really smart dog, it might take a while to train her. You might get frustrated with her, but go easy. She's still a puppy and has a lot of energy. A backyard or somewhere to run will help her get rid of a lot of energy that might cause her to misbehave from boredom.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well, we know that to some degree color and temperment are related simply because a lot of the genes related to the development of each are together on the same alleles. (one for melatonin production and one for oxytocin production, for example)

    White GSD's and Boxers are not necessarily albino, and they don't have that "lethal white" problem like some breeds although in boxer I believe deafness becomes an increased risk. However, in my experience, both are a little "off". White boxers are quite often... for lack of a better word... f-ing nuts. (not dogs I would want to live with, but that's just me)

    When I worked at kennels, every white boxer I ever met was one of the "special" dogs that had to be covered and had to have a special run so they didn't hurt themselves with their insane hyperactivity.

    You can see an example of an interesting study done with the Silver Fox where animals were selectively bred for temperament only, and a total change in color was observed as generations passed. (the study was done to see if it was possible to very quickly 'domesticate' a species using selection only for temperament, it actually was quite amazing how quickly they had foxes that behaved very similar to dogs) They are called "Balyaev's Foxes" named after the researcher.

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  • 1 decade ago

    White is actually a "normal" colour in GSDs and has been around since the inception of the breed - think of it more like the white of a Samoyed.

    They are not a recognised colour in the breed and the main problem with people breeding for white is that they restrict the gene pool and so increase the chances of a disease caused by a recessive gene coming to light , not all white GSDs breeders are responsible and do not health test before breeding. Many do not have the ideal temperament (but neither do all the dogs of accepted colours!)

    Personally, I can't understand the mentality of people who insist on "specialising" in colours which aren't accepted.

    White Boxers are also more or less as healthy as their coloured counterparts but they do have an increased chance of being deaf.

    Having a white GSD or Boxer shouldn't be a problem - except from breeders who deliberately set out to produce dogs of non-standard colours - and who actually charge more for these "rare" colours

    Any breed carrying the merle gene has a far more complicated explanation which - never having owned a breed where merle is present, I can't really go into except to say no one should embark lightly on breeding for or from merle.

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  • 1 decade ago

    actual skin & nose color tells you

    an albino dog A TRUE ALBINO can be deaf or even blind.

    a dog with a black nose but white fur and black eyes isnt as likely to be blind that depends on the parents BUT because they are white the sun hits them harder and they are more prone to skin cancer.

    my brother had an ALBINO boxer completely deaf.

    i dont know much about blue merle great danes however if you breed two merles the offspring will have some issues yes. unless that is a blue merle o.O? as i said im no expert on merle all i know is 2 merle's = unhealthy pups

    my cousins husband bought a blue merle ausie completely deaf. so it has alot to do with breeding

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  • White GSDs are softer and have less drive. Yes white GSDs were allowed at first, until Max von Stephanitz realized it was a mistake to breed such dogs. It's said that white (non-albino) GSDs have no more health issues than other GSDs. It's said that ones with pink flumes and eyelids are at a higher risk, and that true albinos suffer many of the problems that come with albinism. I say they're all crap. If my dogs threw a random white puppy for any reason they'd be spayed as soon as possible.

    My friend had a white boxer he used to do Schutzhund with...was a highly drive dog, I liked him. He died at 5 years 4 months of age from a brain tumor...

    There is something about dark pigment that relates to solidness of nerves. Dark pigment and dense bone are often accompanied by solid nerves...pale pigment and whippy bones rarely come with solid nerves.

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  • 3 years ago

    long hair can make you look more nicer and sweet and short hair you look just like a little girl.

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  • 1 decade ago

    One of the main reasons on why white German Shepherds are and have been frowned upon is because German Shepherds are working dogs, and were originally meant to herd and guard livestock such as sheep. The owner could not give commands effectively to the dog if he could not see him from far away (snow) or distinguish the dog from the sheep, so white was typically bred out, and darker colors are preferred.

    As a consequence, in order to get the white color, breeders of white shepherd tend to inbreed in order to breed for the trait that has been bred out for over the last century. Inbreeding, as I'm sure you know, can definitely cause genetic issues.

    I don't know of any illnesses directly linked to the white color, though.

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