There is such an irritating piece in today's Telegraph, by journalist Val Elliott who has bought hook, line and sinker a Kennel Club-fed story that some unscrupulous breeders are trying to pass-off white German Shepherds puppies as more rare (= more expensive) Swiss White Shepherd pups.
For a start, there is zero evidence of this happening on anything more than a one-off scale. The Telegraph story refers to a single case in south Wales. A trawl through the UK's internet puppy sales sites reveals a few ads for white German Shepherds at the market price, but not a single ad for a White Swiss Shepherd other than for a single adult female that is KC-registered.
Frankly, the whole selling of the White Swiss Shepherd as something more precious than a white German Shepherd stinks worse than a month-old corpse in a Victorian sewer.
Here's the real story:
The White Swiss Shepherd was formalised as a breed in the 1990s by breeders who objected - I mean not unreasonably - to the fact that Kennel Club breeders used to kill German Shepherds that were born white.
Why? Because white is now a disqualifying fault in German Shepherds, despite the colour having been in the breed from the start.
The breed's (canine) founder's had a white grandfather called Greif. The breed's human founder (Max von Stefanitz) was always at pains to point out that there was no "wrong" colour for a good working dog. And white was considered a perfectly acceptable colour until 1933 when the Nazi party took over the breed club in Germany and banned the colour, believing (erroneously) that the colour was linked to health issues.
It led to the wholesale slaughter of German Shepherd puppies born with white coats.
The UK and US kennel clubs later blindly followed the German breed standard in effectively barring white German Shepherds from the conformation show-ring.
The result was that white puppies much further afield than Germany ended up being "bucketed" - (drowned in a bucket of water at birth) or otherwise disposed of.
There is, thank goodness, now more of a market for white German Shepherds although this site maintains that some breeders still cull white puppies.
Bottom line, it's all so stupidly arbitrary. The colour should never have been banned in the first place. There is a cost to genetic diversity caused by splitting any breed based on colour alone. And how ironic that a breeder of White Swiss Shepherds, who must surely know the history, is now suggesting that white German Shepherds are a second-class cousin? (Although thankfully the White Swiss Shepherd breeders have, so far, eschewed the broken toplines and wobbly back-ends of the German Shepherds that you'll see trotting round the ring at Crufts this coming week.)
My advice? If you want a White Swiss Shepherd puppy but can't source one because of the long waiting lists, why not go for a well-bred white German Shepherd puppy instead? Choose wisely and it's pretty much the same dog. And hey, it may even ensure that a puppy isn't killed based on its colour.
|Puppy Sophie... Swiss White Shepherd? Or white GSD?|