The dog over there looks like a German Shepherd, has the pointed ears and expression of a German Shepherd, is the same size as one – but the dog is totally white, with a pink nose. What kind of dog is that? Believe it or not, they are called White German Shepherds (and often American White or Berger Blanc Swiss). They are everything other German Shepherds are – except they aren’t recognized by most kennel clubs in the world.

There is a strange color prejudice in the world of dog breeding. Despite having purebred parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, a White German Shepherd or a White Boxer are not considered breed standard. Then again, this is the same world that chops off many dog’s tails to a prescribed length or crops naturally floppy ears into pointed ones for purely cosmetic reasons. Perhaps the White German Shepherds and White Boxers are the luckiest breeds of all.

White dogs are not albinos, although they have white fur and often a pink nose. Their eyes are dark instead of pink or red as with true albinos. Most breeds of dog do have white varieties, and it is thought the White Shepherd is just a reflection of the normal diversity of dog’s genes. The American White Shepherd Association is the parent organization of the breed, even though the American Kennel Club does not sanction them.

Many representatives of this striking type claim that they are easier to groom than other colored Shepherds. German Shepherds, no matter what their color, often come in some varieties of coat length and thickness. The official breed standard states the coat should be double layered to protect them from the elements. A lot of White German Shepherds lack this double layer coat. Since most pets today live indoors, not having such a thick coat has proven to be a blessing.

Sadly, not everyone appreciates the uniqueness of a White German Shepherd, and many thousands are abandoned every year. Although there are many fine dog rescues, there are some groups devoted to specifically rescuing White German Shepherds. They will often take the time to get to know, train and medically help the dogs under their care before they consider putting them up for adoption.

If you are looking for a predictably good-hearted dog, don’t mind dog hair and have room in your heart, home and wallet, the White German Shepherd is for you. Please don’t buy one from a pet store, as they get all of their puppies from inhumane puppy mills. You can get a puppy from a breeder, but there are not as many breeders of this breed as for other German Shepherd types. Go to Petfinder.com and adopt a wonderful companion from one of the many dog rescue groups in this country.