Is White Swiss Shepherd Right Choice for You?
Loyal, graceful, elegant, playful, very intelligent… White Swiss Shepherd Dog (originally called The Berger Blanc Suisse) is all these things.
I have to admit that I haven’t heard about this breed until I started exploring and learning about all kinds of dog breeds while searching for a perfect dog for me. I have always had German Shepherds and I knew that I want something alike, just a bit mellower. Then I learned about the White Swiss Shepherd Dog. The first thing everybody notices about these dogs is their beauty, class, and stunning white fur. These dogs are not so common – they are pricey and not easy to find. Walking a White Swiss Shepherd Dog is mostly smiling and thanking people because everyone that passes by compliments the dog, often comparing him to a regal arctic wolf.
In this article, I’m going to describe to you how it is to share a life with this dog. My White Swiss Shepherd is a 3 and a half-year-old spoiled wonder named Astor. I got him when he was only 2 months and 10 days old. One of the first things I noticed about this dog is that he is extremely vocal. When he wants something he will whine, when he is excited he will whine and bark at the same time and when he is scared he will, as you can suspect by now, whine.
The most important thing you need to know
These dogs are characterized by long, snow-white fur that is beautiful but challenging to keep clean and white. If you are thinking about getting a Berger Blanc Suisse, make sure you have enough time and will to clean the dogs’ fur and his paws regularly. Playing in a fresh cut grass will turn your Swiss Dogs’ paws green. Playing in dusty areas will turn your dog into Grey Swiss Shepherd Dog and bath will be necessary. However, little tricks can be helpful so you don’t have to bathe your dog too often. For example, sponge and wet wipes can help you get your white dogs’ fur in order.
Keep in mind that these dogs must be brushed at least 2-3 times a week if you want the dog to look nice and to avoid tangles. These dogs shed a lot. This is also one of the reasons why often brushing is a must. Often brushing keeps the shedding under control. However, in periods of seasonal change (in the fall and the spring) shedding will increase and there is no way to live without a hair roller near your door. The last thing you do before going out (after kissing the dog goodbye) is rolling the hair roller all over your body to gather the remaining hairs from your clothes (especially if you are wearing black). It is also a good idea to invest in a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner before getting this dog. Vacuum the apartment, brush the dogs’ coat regularly and you won’t have a problem.
I personally hate vacuuming, and one of the best decisions I made was to invest in an iRobot Roomba. Now I just leave it to go around the flat and pick the loose hair up. It costs a lot (over $200) but it is well worth it if you have a heavy-shedding breed at home.
What we did with Astor is we taught him not to go into the kitchen and not to climb on the furniture. This way we made sure that there is never hair where the food is being prepared and that our guests don’t have to worry about our dog’s hair on their back when they get up from the couch.
The breeds’ coat evolved to withstand the harsh winters of Switzerland where this breed originates from. Thick fur makes Berger Blanc Suisse dogs great for colder temperatures. They can play in the snow for hours without getting cold. This however means also that they don’t enjoy the heat. When it is very warm outside, don’t push your dog. Let him decide how long and how far he wants walks to last. And never leave the house without a bottle of fresh water.
One of the most loyal dog breeds
Apart from their stunning exterior, these dogs are also known to be calm and good-natured.
These are incredibly intelligent and intuitive dogs. They can learn new tricks in no time and are eager to please their owner. There isn’t much that they wouldn’t do for their people. It is also important to mention that they are clingy with their owners. Having a White Swiss Shepherd means never being alone ever again. White Swiss Shepherd, even when he is all grown up, follows his owner everywhere. If you go to the bathroom – your white needy buddy will be there. If you wake up in the middle of the night and just want to go to the kitchen to drink some water you can expect your dog to follow you.
These dogs are intuitive to their owners’ feelings and emotions, hate to be alone and can suffer from separation anxiety. They are excellent at reading the atmosphere. For example, if you are sad and/or crying, your Berger Blanc Suisse will probably just quietly come to you just to be near you and offer you comfort. The dog might lick your face to try to cheer you up. I remember one time I was sick and not able to get up from the bed, Astor noticed something was wrong. He lay down on the floor next to my bed and refused to move for hours. My family tried to get him to go out and do his business but he did not want to leave my side, not even for a second. They truly create a special bond with their owner.
What about their health?
Berger Blanc Suisse is a high energy dog breed that loves to run, hike, and play with both his human and his doggy friends. These dogs need long walks and occasional vigorous running exercises to stay healthy, satisfied, and in shape. They are very energetic and need to be provided with lots of mental stimulation and physical exercise.
White Swiss Shepherds are prone to some serious health issues and demand to be fed quality food that meets all their nutritional needs. Food allergies and intolerances are very common and my Astor is one of the allergic ones. In the beginning, it was really hard to find food that won’t make him go outside every couple of hours. He was pooping and vomiting all over the place (which is even more terrible when you have a snow-white puppy with long fur) until we managed to found out that the only food he tolerates is the one based on lamb meat, rice, and vegetables.
Is White Swiss Shepherd the right dog for you?
It is really hard to be objective writing about a dog breed that has changed your life and makes it a hundred times better. This is a unique dog breed. These dogs are gentle yet very protective. They love to be near their people, showered with attention.
However, I would use this opportunity to ask each individual to be critical enough of themselves and that before buying a White Swiss Shepherd Dog they think carefully whether they have enough time to devote to their new dog. Swiss Shepherds are awesome but they demand a lot of your time and attention. They are the happiest when they are outside, exploring, playing, going on an adventure, and they are not dogs for inactive people. They require a lot of time and space. Outdoor or backyard living is not the best option for these dogs.
When buying a puppy, you should be able to ask the breeder all the questions you are interested in and to request veterinary certificates (for example hip scores of both parents). If possible, make sure to see the mother of the puppy you are interested in; see the conditions she lives in, look at other pups, look at her, and if there is anything weird or unusual about the mother, siblings or the place there are kept in, ask the breeder what is going on.
Beauty and brains aren’t all that you’ll get with the Berger Blanc Suisse. He would rather be gentle than act as a protective guard, making him a lovely family dog, especially around children.
They tend to be naturally suspicious of people they don't already know, so a vital part of training is early socialization, to teach your White Swiss Shepherd Dog to be observant and slightly aloof with new people. These dogs are very sensitive to how they are treated. The environment that they are growing in will shape their character. They respond well to positive reinforcement and treats. It is important to praise them for their good habits and because of that these dogs can easily become spoiled, so keep that in mind.
World Dog Finder team