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Just wondering from experience with white versus black German Shepherd puppies, does anyone have opinions on the different temperaments if any? My 12 year old black and brown dog died, and we have a black and brown 3 year old, but this time I'm thinking black or white pup. I'm trying to put my sorrow aside and have asked a friend who is a trainer, she seems to think the white males have a calmer demeanor than other colors. Forgot to mention it will be a male.
 

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Color in GSDs is not linked to behavioral traits - it's just color. The lines and the breeding the dog is from will be the determining factor for temperament, personality, and energy levels. You trainer friend may be right in that most of the white GSDs she has seen were probably from a long-line of dogs bred to be pets, as opposed to have been bred to be working dogs - though dogs from working lines can make wonderful pets also.

If you are ready to start looking at getting a puppy, instead of looking at color, you may want to start to research the different lines of GSDs, and find a breeder that breeds for what you are looking for. Members on the forum can help with breeder recommendations, and I think if you are set on a calm dog, you should look into rescues also, where you can adopt an older dog who'se temperament and energy level is already known.

This article goes over the three main types of GSDs, and explains how they originated:

(Types of German Shepherds, by Wildhaus Kennels )
 

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I know nothing about white shepherds but if a solid black is also from East German working lines, the dogs tend to be drivey and intense. It depends what the dogs were bred to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Color in GSDs is not linked to behavioral traits - it's just color. The lines and the breeding the dog is from will be the determining factor for temperament, personality, and energy levels. You trainer friend may be right in that most of the white GSDs she has seen were probably from a long-line of dogs bred to be pets, as opposed to have been bred to be working dogs - though dogs from working lines can make wonderful pets also.

If you are ready to start looking at getting a puppy, instead of looking at color, you may want to start to research the different lines of GSDs, and find a breeder that breeds for what you are looking for. Members on the forum can help with breeder recommendations, and I think if you are set on a calm dog, you should look into rescues also, where you can adopt an older dog who'se temperament and energy level is already known.

This article goes over the three main types of GSDs, and explains how they originated:

(Types of German Shepherds, by Wildhaus Kennels )
I thought the same about breeding and color. I am by far not an expert. Thank you
 

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What kind of temperament are you looking for in your new GSD? What kinds of activities would you like to do with him?
 

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Just a guess, but I would think that a well bred white gsd would be milder, as they are not usually sold as protection or schutzhund dogs (I think). I had a silver shepherd (1st gsd) from white lines (Hoofprints lineage) and she was completely awesome. She was a tugging machine, wrestled like she meant it (all sound & fury), put on a terrifying cujo display at doors and windows, and greeted everybody butt first (as in, 'scratch my butt, thanks), in other words, perfect family pet for someone who likes shepherds.
Dynamo 'may' have been working lines. She was a great pet too, plenty of drive, but she had 'edge', on a fight vs flight scale, she scored high on 'fight'. I could not imagine her running from anything. She needed plenty of strong training, but that done, she was good with family cats, did agility, and in her late years, did nursing home visits. So another perfect family pet for some who likes shepherds but also has training chops.
Good luck in your search.
Colour doesn't matter, but the breeders goals do, not to mention their success or failure in attaining those goals.
 

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I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sure you can find a suitable companion GSD of either color. I would focus first on what line you want, as others have said: American show lines (ASL), working lines, West German show lines (mostly black and red dogs), and the whites, which have been excluded from the other lines. Each different type of GSD has been bred for different purposes, and so the temperament/abilities seem to differ somewhat among each line--though that's a huge generalization, of course. In general, working line dogs have higher drive and can be more suitable for personal protection/bitework. There are some gorgeous black working line dogs, and they can make fabulous companions. You can ask for a lower to medium drive puppy, and the breeder should be able to make a good match for you.

The important thing is to find a responsible breeder who puts temperament first and produces healthy and stable dogs. At the minimum, I'd look for a breeder who health tests their dogs (look for parent's that have hips certified OFA excellent or good, OFA normal elbows, and who are DM negative).

Although this is entirely up to you, of course, I also like to support breeders who are actively involved in the breed and who title their dogs in something (work, show, or both). The whites are disqualified from showing by the AKC, but they can compete in agility, obedience, and any other AKC dog sport, and they can be shown through other venues/organizations like the UKC. I love white shepherds and hope to have one someday. There are good breeders out there, just make sure they consider health and temperament, not just color.

Here's a starting place to look for breeders of white shepherds: Page Title and Breeders Directory | White German Shepherd Dog Club of America

Breed info: American White Shepherd Association or White German Shepherd Dog Club of America

Of course you don't have to look for breeders.... rescue dogs are wonderful, you'll get to save a life, and you'll already know about the dog's health and temperament.

Echo Dogs White Shepherd Rescue
 

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Colour doesn't matter, but the breeders goals do, not to mention their success or failure in attaining those goals.
This can't be repeated enough times. People should never buy a dog with the assumption that the color of its coat is going to have any bearing on the dogs temperament or drive.

IMHO, on the surface the biggest difference between a black or white GSD is the intimidation factor...black dogs look scarier than white ones. :smile2:
 

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IMHO, on the surface the biggest difference between a black or white GSD is the intimidation factor...black dogs look scarier than white ones. :smile2:
Imagining a snarling snapping white wolf looking dog leaping through the alley after dark, not quite sure if I agree. I can imagine a white K9 officer looking mighty spooky in the most literal sense. :wink2:

I have a soft spot for the whites. I think it's a real shame that bad breeders have given them bad reputation (I was in 'high anxiety class') and 2 of 4 dogs where white shepherds and oversized scary bags of nerves. My silver shepherd was balanced and drivey. I would take one of her lineage any day. So if I was in the market (and now I'm daydreaming) I would be looking for a white shepherd with lots of agility, obedience and service dog titles in the lineage. I doubt I'd see schutz there, just due to market forces. And I think market forces are exactly where the differences would come from.
 

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Video of white shepherds doing protection work....the breeders are in Estonia, I think?




I don't have the experience to evaluate it, but it looks pretty awesome to me!! They have a ton of videos. I wasn't sure which one to pick...
 

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Imagining a snarling snapping white wolf looking dog leaping through the alley after dark, not quite sure if I agree. I can imagine a white K9 officer looking mighty spooky in the most literal sense. :wink2:
LOL, okay you might be right. I was thinking more along the lines of just sitting in the car or walking into a pet store.
 

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@sebrench wow, love the video. Now I REALLY miss Misha, my 1st gsd (Hoofprints lineage). The same attitude, 'lemme at 'im' but in a fun way. Dog's having a blast.
Misha used to haul trees the size of a man's thigh...
 

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LOL, okay you might be right. I was thinking more along the lines of just sitting in the car or walking into a pet store.
Well, yah. Sweetness and light, but running down in a dark alley, working, well, I would like to see a video of that, because I they would look downright freaky.
 

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This is what I have personally lived with: 2 working lines, 1 white mix, and an akc white.

My white mix and my akc white are much easier to live with, more willing to take a day off. My impression is that the whites being bred in america are somewhat equivalent to ASL dogs.

I actually find my white easier to train and work with than my WL because she (wl) is so frantic to figure it out and get the job done that she just kind of explodes all over the place and then gets frustrated that she isn't perfect. Also she is such a ball freak that it can be unpleasant. There is never just a time where she can hang out with a ball and be a pet. Its overdrive, jump off a cliff for the ball and trample anyone and everything in her path. That's what is somewhat annoying about her. That said, she is almost the perfect GSD in my eyes, there will never be another dog I have a relationship with like her. She is fearless and confident and amazing.

The white: now he can just hang out with you with his toys. He likes tug, likes you to toss, but he is VERY sane about it. Breath of fresh air after her. He has never not given me all the motivation I wanted to achieve any training endeavor. He is just calmer about it than her.

I purposefully didn't get a working line this time because I wanted something that was a little easier to live with and he is that. Mind you, she has a great off switch and she has never been a crackhead in the house, just she wanted MORE out of life, even though she was a working service dog, I always did active hobbies and hiked with her to fulfill it all but I don't need that much dog in my life right now and he is just what I wanted. He would have made a fine pet, although I do a lot with him that the average pet home doesn't do, and he succeeds at all of it, he could get by on less. Her? Not so much. I think she could have been a beast in the average pet home.
 

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To be fair if I had known what I know now about working dogs I might have channelled her drive better, but this question was posed by people who just want a housepet.
 

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It all depends on the blood lines and what they are bred for. I have West German working line blacks. There are American showline blacks. UKC recognizes the white. You will find show dogs as well as working. AKC whites can only do performance, not conformation.
 

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generally whites are bred by specialist in producing white dogs --- colour is the primary concern

the same can happen with those breeding specifically for black -- or for that matter those restricting themselves to black and red .

solid blacks can appear in litters through a recessive gene , each partner needing to carry it . You may have blacks or you may not .

the white dog in the video is all light prey / play , there is no protection , there is no threat
 

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have known one great white - apologies to Ishmael

But that said

Color: The German Shepherd Dog varies in color, and most colors are permissible. Strong rich
colors are preferred. Pale, washed-out colors and blues or livers are serious faults. A white dog
must be disqualified.
 

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Black vs white

You cannot judge a GSD by the color of its fur, just as you cannot judge humans that way. The color issue in breed conformation stems from a political issue dating back to the 1960's. Before that whites could become champions as well. The grandsire of the first GSD was a white dog, so the gene is in there. I have owned many GSD's since 1968 and have put obedience titles on whites and have had some very unstable black-and-tans and solid blacks. I've had charming sables as well. White GSD's are allowed(and have never been excluded) in the AKC obedience ring and have earned advanced obedience titles. There are other registries, such as the CKC, which have no exclusions for whites.
 
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