White shepherds were already on record in Ancient Rome, and at the end of the 19th century, such dogs where kept in the court of the Habsburgs because they matched the white dresses of the ladies and the favorite white horses of the Lipizzan breed so well.
But since that time, the White Swiss Shepherd has had to overcome many obstacles. These attractive shepherds where discriminated and criticized for decades like no other breed before.
When the German Shepherd was first being bred in Germany, the white colour was nothing special. White shepherds where registered normally. Later the white colour was gradually separated until finally in 1933 it was completely deleted from the standard of the German Shepherd. From this time on, the white colour was considered less valuable and even blamed for the worst defects. That was the end of the White Shepherd in Germany and Europe.
Whereas in the United States, German Shepherds with traditional and white colour were registered in stud books. In 1917 the first litter with 3 white puppies was born. Starting in1920 one breeder from Minneapolis imported white shepherds from Germany, where nobody wanted them, to the USA, where they were very popular. From this time on, various breeding lines of this variation of the German Shepherd were created in USA and Canada, and in this way the survival of the White Shepherd was assured after its “liquidation” in Europe.
This pure breeding overseas prepared the way for the creation of a complete independent breed. The first white shepherd came back to Europe in 1970. The Swiss woman Agatha Bruch brought a white male dog with the name “Lobo”, born 15 June ,1966 , from the USA to her homeland. He was registered in the Swiss dog stud book (SHSB). Lobo was a perfect working dog, and within the course of some years, he finished many working tests with success.
In 1973 Mrs. Burch, after a long and hard struggle, finally could register four offspring from Lobo and the white “Blinkbonny’s Lilac” from England in the SHSB under the kennel name “Shangrila’s”.
That was a milestone in the history of the pure breeding of the White Shepherd in Europe. Thanks to Lobo’s offspring and additional imports from the USA and Canada, the breeding of the White Shepherd in Europe couldn’t be stopped.
The White Shepherd spread very fast under the name American-Canadian White Shepherd or White Shepherd A.C., but it was excluded from the official stud books for nearly 20 years.
Just in 1989 a club of this breed in Switzerland was founded under the name White Shepherd Society of Switzerland (GWS), which decided to make their aim the international recognition of the White Shepherd by the biggest worldwide kennel union, the FCI
In 1991 the GWS was admitted to the Swiss Kennel Club (SKG) because experts from this club acknowledged that the White Shepherd had developed enough over the last decades to create a new, in dependent breed. The SKG worked out a provisional standard for this breed and was the first member of the FCI to acknowledge the new breed under the simple, but revealing name “White Shepherd”. Ten other members of the FCI followed the example of Switzerland and registered the new breed in their countries too.
Within a few years, more than 5,000 white shepherds were registered in important stud books in Europe. A lot of tough exigencies have to be fulfilled to gain acknowledgement/recognition by the FCI.
In 2001 all these exigencies were fulfilled and documented. Because no other country wanted to be the patron for this breed, Switzerland applied in the FCI for recognition of the white shepherd as a new breed and formed a standard for the white shepherd. After the examination of the documents by experts and after various difficulties, the FCI finally published the newest standard no. 347 with the breed name “Berger Blanc Suisse” (White Swiss Shepherd) on 26. November 2002 . Switzerland automatically became the origin country and the patron because it took responsibility for the breed the moment it applied for recognition of it.